23 October 2011

Is that a costume... or not?

This weekend my husband and I attended Wizard World Ohio, a wonderful convention filled with vendors, seminars and more than one person wearing fantastic costumes that were amazing, to say the least. From a Catwoman/Batman couple carrying a pair of Robin babies to a little Supergirl in her stroller with accompanying entourage to a War Machine with full spinning Gatling gun there were costumes across the superhero and monster spectrum - including enough zombies to put The Walking Dead extras to shame!
Which brings me around to the idea of costuming - how we love to wear them and how we love the anonymity they offer. Whether it’s just a rubber mask to scare the kids at Halloween or the superhero garb to hide our real identity, there’s an appeal to wearing a mask year-round and the freedom it provides.

In one of my favorite superhero movies/comic books, Watchmen, one of the characters bemoans the fact that he’s had to retire his superhero persona due to government regulations and now has to be just a regular person but was able to do so because no one knew his real identity thanks to his costume. But Nite Owl/Dan has a problem - his superhero life has become so intertwined with his own self-esteem that he feels less of a man without the costume and the gadgets. The same holds true for other heroes and villains outside of the Watchmen universe - once you pull back the mask and reveal Bruce Wayne or Spiderman they become less of a hero and more of a human being wearing some wild costume. Unless, of course, you’re the Joker and your costume IS your face!

There’s power in the darkness of hiding your true self - when the werewolves change, no one knows who they are in the daylight. Vampires, at least those who can walk among us in the daylight, don’t advertise their particular needs and wants to the average human. Even the mutants such as the X-Men, for the most part, can move freely in society with their true abilities and identities hidden until the time comes to reveal who and what they are.

But they still love to hide their faces, whether it’s with the fur of a werewolf change or the mask of a hero or a pair of dark sunglasses, they all still crave the anonymity a mask offers. And when Halloween comes around, who knows who’s really under that mask - maybe it’s not just a little kid playing a vampire or a werewolf or a dragon - maybe that little one really *is* a vampire or a werewolf or a dragon taking advantage of the one time of the year when they can roam free among human society without fear!
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