There’s a scene in Mobius’ acid-tinged graphic novel Airtight Garage where one character, bundled up in an extravagant coat of purple fur, turns to his companion, The Archer, and asks, “Why do you wear that mask?” The Archer, who’s decked out in a dream-logic version of a superhero costume, complete with underwear on the outside, responds simply: “So that I can be recognized.”
It seems counterintuitive. Especially in this age of online handles and anonymous comments, when we’re constantly hearing about trolls and identity thieves hiding behind false facades. Surely masks and costumes are not meant to reveal ; they exist to hide, to obscure, to transform.
And yet, when we select our Halloween costumes, we are consciously choosing how we wish to be seen. We want to be recognized, not as schoolchildren or underpaid interns or office workers living lives of quiet desperation, but as the scary, sexy, colorful people we know we are on the inside. We don’t want to disguise ourselves—our very selves—we want to unveil them.
I write more about costuming over at Philadelphia Weekly: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/arts-and-culture/why_we_cosplay-175487501.html#ixzz2AF2qkQCZ