Nfld. & Labrador

Cosplay is just fandom, and we're all fans

There’s not much difference in dressing up as a Ninja Turtle or as Sidney Crosby, writes Mike Hickey.

Sure, you didn't spend weeks on a Batman costume, but I see your Leafs jersey

Mike Hickey wears his fandom on his sleeve. And on his jean jacket. (Submitted by Mike Hickey)

I'm a fan.

A fan of a lot of things — horror movies, my fiancée, the Boston Bruins.

And I wear my fandom on my sleeve. Literally. You can take a look at me on any given day and guess from the pins on my jean jacket, my T-shirt, and my ball cap what, or who, I'm a fan of.

Not everyone is like me. Some people are more subtle, or even secretive, with their fandom, but everyone — yes, everyone — is part of some sort of fan culture.

'Everyone — yes, everyone — is part of some sort of fan culture,' writes Hickey, right. (Submitted by Mike Hickey)

As Sci-Fi on the Rock takes over the Sheraton this weekend, hundreds of fans will flock to the hotel to share in their collective fandom and celebrate pop culture.

It always makes me think of an exchange I had with a group of friends a few years back.

In the elevator with Ninja Turtles

It was the Friday of the Sci-Fi on the Rock conference and a bunch of friends were in from out of town to go to an IceCaps game. They'd booked rooms at the Sheraton not knowing that it was SFOTR weekend.

Last year's Sci-Fi on the Rock brought out lots of fans. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

When I met up with them for a few drinks, they were talking about sharing the elevator with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and made a couple of jokes about the cosplay — nothing disparaging, they just thought it was weird.

The thing was, these guys were heading to a hockey game and at least one of them was wearing a jersey.

And that's basically the same thing as cosplay.

The only real difference is that he bought his jersey at a store and didn't spend the time to make it, but that's just because Sidney Crosby jerseys are easier to buy than a Master Splinter suit.

There's not much difference in being a sports fan or a sci-fi fan.

'Got me right in the feels'

The Goldbergs, a comedy show set in the 1980s I'm definitely a fan of, tackled this issue in a recent episode. Theatre-geek son Adam Goldberg goes to a hockey game with his hockey-fan father, Murray Goldberg, and then Murray goes to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Adam.

Murray doesn't dig the musical as much as Adam digs the Flyers, but their fandom gives them a shared language and understanding for being passionate about something.

They even hugged a bunch at the end, which got me right in the feels.

That's the thing about being a fan: you feel acceptance when you find other people who share your fandom and it gives you something outside yourself to rally behind.

I literally jumped with joy when Jordan Peele won his Oscar for Get Out because it was acceptance of a horror film by the Academy. (It also put representation in perspective for me in a way that I, a straight white dude, never understood before.)

Jordan Peele accepts the award for best original screenplay for Get Out at the Oscars in March in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

When It became a cultural phenomenon last year it felt the same way.

There's a sense of pride when your fandom is accepted or the thing you're a fan of is successful.

But I don't have to explain that to you, you know how it is.

You're a fan.