The Telefile
<i>Heroes of Cosplay</i>: Picking Season 1′s Heroes and Villians

Syfy's strangely addictive and occasionally just plain strange hybrid of a competitive and candid reality show, Heroes of Cosplay, wrapped up its limited freshman season run last night with a team-based challenge at Kansas City's Planet Comicon, the fifth and final stop on a six-episode cross-country tour of the comic convention scene. We've gotta admit, this show kind of surprised us as it went along; what initially seemed like a crass and exploitative appropriation of a geek tradition (the early promos did spend an awful lot of time playing up the busty-girls-in-skimpy-outfits aspect of cosplay) wound up becoming a fun and even moderately respectful tribute to the women and men -- but mostly women, at least on the show anyway -- who spend their time designing and donning costumes derived from comics, video games, anime and American cartoons and pretty much every other medium under the yellow nerd sun. (To see what true geek exploitation looks like, steel yourselves for the hideous Fangasm, which takes over Heroes' slot next week… one more good reason why this show deserves a second year.) We take a look back at which of the show's core cast of costumed-players deserves the status of "hero" and which are closer to villains.


Yaya (and Brad)
The literal poster girl for cosplayer, Yaya spent most of the season in an advisory capacity -- sitting on various judging panels and mentoring some of the younger contestants, not all of whom took her lessons to heart -- before getting her competition on again in the finale. Her costuming prowess repeatedly than lived up to the hype during the course of the season, but what really made her the season's standout hero was her impressive business savvy. Along with her quiet, but omnipresent fiancée Brad, Yaya runs a modest empire that includes calendars, a line of accessories and even an action figure. She's like the Adrian Veidt of the cosplay realm… minus the whole masterminding a fake alien invasion of New York thing.

As the daughter of special effects artist John Dykstra (and the girlfriend of professional nerd, Chris Hardwick), not to mention host of an online cosplay series, Chloe entered the show as something of a ringer despite repeatedly pronouncing her cosplaying inexperience. Once she stopped playing at being the outsider-looking-in and got down to the business of designing costumes, she proved to be a natural. Her animated Beetlejuice costume was catnip for '90s nostalgia fans and that Boderlands 2 get-up scored a well-deserved victory. Plus, she's just so darned nice. Almost makes us forgive her boyfriend for popping up after every AMC show to needlessly recap what we just watched.

Holly & Jessica
The season's other cosplaying entrepreneurs (and recruited ringers, having been featured in Morgan Spurlock's Comic-Con documentary last year), this L.A.-based duo runs a costuming company, Crabcat Industries, in between convention appearances. Apart from an ill-advised (and, we're assuming, producer-initiated) decision to compete against each other at one con, Holly and Jessica were always on-point and 100 percent professional. Also, Guillermo Del Toro personally requested that they shoot a viral video for Pacific Rim, which makes them heroes alone in our book.

A mostly forgettable cosplayer all season long, Riki rose to the occasion in the finale, joining Yaya onstage in their Alice the Madness Continues skit for the team competition despite spending much of the morning puking her guts out. As far back as 1982, the willingness to put the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the few (or the one) has always been the mark of a true geek hero.


The recipient of our Worst Person of the Week no-prize earlier this month, cosplaying's answer to April Ludgate-Dwyer (minus any sense of humor) earned our enmity for being consistently haughty and condescending to her fellow contestants. The overinflated balloon that is her ego is in major need of puncturing by a Batarang.

While her long-suffering boyfriend (and, as of the finale, fiancée) Jinyo deserves inclusion in the hero column for his enviable ability to maintain his patience level, Victoria's dithering and procrastination makes her the enemy of all serious-minded cosplayers. We'd love for her to prove us wrong, but we have a feeling she'd just give up and make Jinyo do it at the last minute.

The lone dude in the cast wins points for his enthusiasm, but he really has to stop taking every loss so personally. Suck it up and congratulate the winner instead of moaning and groaning over being ignored. Also, there are other genres beyond steampunk -- look into that.

While she earned our sympathy for being on the receiving end of Monika's heinousness, her costumes were noticeably sub-par compared to some of the other work being done. The fact that she openly admitted to not watching Game of Thrones didn't exactly bolster her geek cred either.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.




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