chapter  9
12 Pages

Becoming Batman: Cosplay, Performance, and Ludic Transformation at Comic-Con


I always wanted to be a superhero. But I never seriously thought I could be one, even as an actor who is no stranger to identity play and entering into fantastic realities. After all, superheroes, with their idealized bodies and miraculous abilities, stand apart from the material realities of my life. They are fantasies born from artwork and CGI imaging. They are looked at, never the lookers. But after the first year of my ethnographic study of costumed attendees at comic-book conventions left me with some unsatisfactory data, I felt the call to be something more than a witness. Donning my playful red bodysuit and gold lamé cape, I became a superhero.