Most children grow up with tales of heroes and heroines told to them, the brave and the bold, the free and fearless, coloured in by their imagination.
Sometimes – these masked, moral mascots – their greatest, most enduring victories start out through their mistakes or misadventures.
These lessons learned, shadowed in conquest or failure, can often prove an unconscious stepping stone to a child’s own, later life.
For many, entering Veolia Arena for the 2017 Goulburn Comic Con was a portal to those self-same childhood fantasies and dreams.
As children and adults walked hand in hand, both shared the glint of excitement and wonder in their eye.
The creative power of the cosplay community was in full force, and a bridge was formed between reality and the world of fiction.
As attendees marched along this path less taken, there was a visible transformation among those in costume.
Hand-made or hired just for the day, the costumes enabled individuals to become their character of choice.
There was no judgement. Just community and acceptance, seen in every group photo, whether strangers or friends.
Goulburn cosplayer Jasmin Jesenkovic spoke of this special aspect of the movement in interview with the Post in the lead-up to the weekend event.
“When people wear their costume, it’s an armour,” Ms Jesenkovic said. “Introverts become extroverts. No one shuns you.”
We all wear a costume every day. For some, it’s a corporate suit and shiny shoes; for others, a handy pair of overalls and sturdy boots; or perhaps the colour-coded uniform of school.
But unlike in the cosplay community, these daily suits of armour don’t seem to unify us, only divide us by our exterior identity.
We could all take a leaf from the cosplay book (which is no doubt a comic) in understanding that no matter the costume, the hero/heroine lies within.
We could do more to acknowledge and encourage that greatness in others, as well as bring it to the fore in ourselves, if we could all just take off those masks of mystery and really find the ‘unity’ in ‘community’.
No judgement. No one shunning you. Just acceptance, whether strangers or friends.