The very first Comic-Con-esque event that ever graced Nigeria was held in September of 2014 and it certainly left a positive mark. Since then, conventions which centre around popular comic book characters, cartoons, and even beloved international TV shows have only grown in popularity. One particular result of comic cons is the boom of the cosplay scene. What exactly is cosplay like in Nigeria?
Nigeria is not unfamiliar with the pageantry of costumes with the Odo Masquerade Festival being celebrated every two years. However, the concept of cosplay is still relatively new. Unlike most western cosplayers, Nigerians are highly economical and are in it for the joy of representing their favourite character rather than creating a faithful recreation. So it’s not surprising that a lot of cosplayers build their own makeshift Iron Man armours. If the apparel isn’t doable, they focus on face paint and makeup. The homegrown charm of Nigerian cosplay creates a close-knit community of people who all share an appreciation for comics.
Positive Market Impact
Different industries have felt the boon of cosplaying. Many cosplayers love to use their skills and materials to experiment with building their own costume. Another option is to rent, and both have created quite a growth in the costume-making industry. An additional industry which boomed was the Nigerian makeup industry which is now worth N500bn. Cosplayers try as hard as they can to build accurate costumes that are in line with their budgets. Businesses that sponsor conventions and cosplay events get to enjoy a positive reputation with their consumers. So it’s not just the cosplayers that benefit from cons.
Joys of Cosplay
Cosplay acts as a sort of safe space for those that would like to explore the worlds and characters that they love or resonate with. Cosplay has also turned into a great opportunity to create a career with the likes of world-famous Yaya Han. In a traditionally conservative country like Nigeria, many are surprised that something as exploratory or liberal as cosplaying has taken root. This proves that times are changing and cosplayers are leading the way. While, of course, Nigerian cosplayers are sticking to tamer variations of costumes, this does not make it any less personal for them.
Future of Nigerian Cosplay Scene
Conventions which celebrate comics and popular characters are still alive and well in Nigeria. The 2019 Lagos Comic Convention wrapped up in March and was highly successful in drawing in cosplay crowds. As long as there continue to be comic books, anime shows, manga, and books, cosplay will exist. For those interested, Comic Con Africa will be held in September of this year in Gallagher Convention Center.
Cosplaying in Nigeria is pretty healthy and there is no reason why it should die out. Thanks to the advent of social media, cosplayers are able to reach out and connect with other people that enjoy the same things. There is reasonable ground to expect more cosplay events in the future of Nigeria and her active cosplay scene.