Masquerade Information

9 MAY 2013

If you're a hardcore enough cosplayer to enter the Masquerade, you already know all this - but here it is anyway.

The Masquerade, Comic Con's major Saturday night event, is now accepting entries. The deadline isn't until 1 July (kind of surprising) but of course the people who take part in this have been getting their costumes together for months. 

If this year is your first Comic Con, you might think "Masquerade" sounds like some decadent Edgar Allan Poe-esque ball but it's actually a talent competition for cosplay. Or as CCI poetically describes it: "a show full of spectacle, beauty, awe, comedy, light-saber battles, and song and dance, an event where you never know what’s going to happen next."  

Most people dress up as characters from film, TV, comic books and so on, but some are completely original. This is all homegrown; no professionally-sourced costumes are allowed, although more than a few of the winners go on to professional careers in costume design and makeup.

The Masquerade has never been my thing, but I will admit the prizes are pretty sweet:

  • If you win a trophy category, you get a free 4-day badge to Comic-Con 2014. No Registration Day angst for you.
  • The "audience favorite" gets $1K and a trophy from Frank And Son Collectible Show
  • The best DC Comics character portrayal wins a a DC Direct collectible valued over $300
  • The best Star Wars costume gets "fabulous items" from Lucasfilms Licensing Archives, including limited-edition collectibles.
  • Another "people's favorite" (these are judged independently by the award givers) will get $100 from "That's My Entertainment" while a "best movie representation" will also get $100
  • The best movie or TV character gets a free digital subscription to Geek magazine plus a "prize package worth $500 from Geek magazine advertisers and sponsors"
  • And for the cosplayers who prefer to compete in a narrow category: Century Guild is awarding $200 cash or $400 booth credit to whoever best portrays "the elements of Archaic Technologies or Art Nouveau"

As for whether anyone can compete in this: technically, yes. But the efforts here are way beyond the kind of homegrown costumes people throw together for their neighbor's Halloween party, and if you show up with a half-assed Catwoman costume, you'll probably feel like an idiot when you see your competition. Contestants go on stage before thousands of people. Just something to keep in mind if you're obsessing over those free 4-day badges for 2014.

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