The Comic-Con Cosplay That Almost Made Me Cry

The Comic-Con Cosplay That Almost Made Me Cry
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My first Comic-Con has been a blur. Things to see, play and write about have dominated my time in San Diego but one moment yesterday brought back into sharp focus why I love the transformative power of pop culture.

I was rushing from one crush of people towards another while I was on the way to see or play about some other hotly-promoted entertainment experience. That’s when I spotted a person in what appeared to be a homemade Speed Racer costume.

I didn’t talk to Speed Racer, other than to ask for his permission to take his picture. Didn’t think to get his name or his story because, had I done so, I’m certain that tears would’ve started running down my face. And there’s a chance that he could’ve misinterpreted those tears as pity. So I held them in.

But what I felt wasn’t pity. It was laughter, connection and respect. This stranger dressing up as Speed Racer reminded me of how comics, games, cartoons and other parts of nerd culture can provide escape, inspiration and a bond with others. It’s an easy thing to lose sight of when people elbow each other out of the way for a free t-shirt or grouse about how a change to an action figure sculpt ruins everything everywhere forever.

But Speed Racer rolled in front of me, a living avatar of the perseverance and transcendence the superheroes and outcasts of geek lore can symbolise. There are lots of reasons we show up and dress up for the Comic-Cons of the world. And Speed Racer reminds me of the best of them. Thanks, Speed, whoever you are.


  • okay… might have actually been nice to get speed racers interpretation rather than pushing your own view onto him.
    I don’t want to be a dick but are you a blogger or a journalist? I’m neither and maybe my understanding of kotaku is flawed but I come here for news, whereas articles like this seem to purposefully shun the facts and jump straight to opinion piece.
    I don’t have any problem with personal opinions or human interest articles about gaming culture but this wasn’t a piece about how zelda defined your childhood it was an actual event occurring right now. Maybe the story behind this guy was interesting, maybe not, but we’ll never know cause you didn’t bother to find out.

    • You must be new here. Personally, I’m just waiting for to go live so that I can get real news instead of having to wade through piles of opinion articles and cosplay pictures to get the news I’m looking for…

  • This guy might be a very happy person. Maybe he doesn’t want people crying over him.
    If this guy saw your article labling him some sort of hunch back figure that you should feel sorry for.
    I’m sure that if anything would make him sad.

    Do tears well up in your eyes when you see the whores at these events who whack our their tits and dress up as street fighter characters just to get a bit of attention?

    I’d give this mofo a high five and we’d be talking about what a sad figure you are.

    • And yes, I agree. It’s quite condescending to say that because he’s in a wheelchair, he must be a miserable mess because who wouldn’t be? If he’s had it all his life, he probably has a thick skin and sense of humour about it. I think it takes a certain degree of humility and self-deprecation to go in such a great costume.

  • If you wanna do the right thing you wouldn’t single the guy out… you’d stick him in your montage with everyone else. I know your heart was in the right place… but nigga please.

  • I see that he *says* he doesn’t mean he wanted to cry out of pity or whatever.

    But I don’t see any other way he could possibly be meaning it.

  • See, this is nothing but a pity play.

    See, the thing is you walk passed someone in a wheelchair and you all of sudden become really passionate about his plight. You think him a hero. You even begin to invent his story, it’s the story of a man, broken and bound to a wheelchair, the story of a man who found himself again in the world of comic books. After he was hit by a drunk driver and left paralysed from the waist down this man lost his career and his family and in the spiral of alcoholism and teetering on the brink of suicide he found a scrap of a comic book on the ground that changed everything … cue inspiration music.

    For all you know his story could be

    Douche bag 1: “Hey, bro, I’ve got the best idea, this year I’m gonna rent a wheelchair and go to Comicon, have you SEEN how much free stuff disabled people get? I’m gonna totally clean up!”

    Douche bag 2: “Sweet idea bro, I’m gonna bring my camera and film you while you crash into things and piss people off and the best thing is they can’t be mad at you cause you’re in a wheelchair!”

    Douche bag 1: “This is gonna be the best Comicon ever! And I should dress as Speed Racer, that’d be SO ironic!”

    And this is the problem. We all have a mind and it thinks thoughts all day long but now in our always online world the question that goes unanswered a million times a day is simply “should I publish this?” See, like the annoying twat that clogs your Facebook feed with pictures of their lunch we confuse the ability to share everything with the responsibility to do so. It’s like we are petrified that if we don’t document and publish every mildly notable occurrence in our life it’ll be lost forever. Few people stop to think “will this thing in front of me that has my attention be interesting to anyone else? I should I just take it with me safely in my mind?” It’s a guy in a wheelchair, in a costume, does he need to be singled out, converted into pixels and published on the internet, used as a picture of the transformative power of nerd culture? Next time, just smile and take that heart warming image with you.

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