Cosplay Competition

2020 Planet Comicon Kansas City  Cosplay Contest

Let the battle again!

One of the most entertaining events at Planet Comicon Kansas City (PCKC) s the annual Cosplay Contest. The contest is free to attend with your valid convention admission credentials.

This year’s contest will be held in the Grand Ballroom, room 2501, Saturday March 21, 2020 at 7:30pm. Please be sure to check the convention app and/or programming schedule online  to determine if the start time has changed. This is a judged competition and the competitors are vying for a chance to win prizes, bragging rights and the coveted Planet trophy! The Planet trophy  is a symbol of excellence and we have been fortunate to see some amazing cosplays cross the stage over the years. Be sure to mark your calendar and attend this wonderful exhibition of art and craftsmanship! 

The Cosplay Contest – Sponsors! 

We are so excited this year to announce our partnership with Nebraska Furniture Mart! This year our winning contestants will  walk away with some amazing home electronics and other exciting items found at Nebraska Furniture Mart!  A total of $6,000 in prizes from Nebraska Furniture Mart. We are also pleased to announce that US Toy Magic and Costume Shop are back as a sponsor of the Cosplay contest and they are providing over $1,000.00 in Gift certificates to our winners! If you are a fan of cosplay and the contest, please be sure to consider patronizing these two fine establishments! They are making it possible for us to provide the best awards that we have ever offered!  

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a…Cosplay Contest at Planet Comicon Kansas City!
Fun?! Passion?! Prizes?! Whatever drives you, we’ve got the contest for you! PCKC’s cosplay contest is an awesome opportunity  to showcase the skills from both local and visiting cosplayers based on craftsmanship and character portrayal. It is a spirited competition that is inclusive of all mediums and skill levels, so everyone can have a chance to have their work appreciated by judges and audience members. 

Overview of the Mainstage Contest
PCKC will accept up to 55 entries to compete in the main stage cosplay contest. The contest is divided up by class and category. Class delinations are Novice, Journeyman, and  Master. Within each of these classes, entrants may choose their costume category of Needlework, Foamwork,  Mixed Media and Group. All contestants will be judged on craftsmanship and stage performance with a heavy emphasis on craftsmanship. Be sure to read all of these rules to learn more about the contest and how to register. Most of your questions will be answered by a simple reading of this document!

General Rules

  • All contestants, models and their handlers must have valid tickets for PCKC for the day of the contest. 
  • A single entry can be an individual or a duo. If your team has three or more individuals, you must enter in the group category. Participants are only allowed one entry (e.g. you may not enter one costume in the foamwork category and enter a different costume in the needlework category). 
  • Convention staff and crew members may not enter the Cosplay Contest. Headlining and invited cosplay guests are also not eligible to enter the costume contest.
  • All contestants must bring reference photos of their costumes. These photos must be printed copies and bound in some way (e.g. in a folder, or a notebook). No digital (e.g. cell phone pictures) will be accepted.
  • PCKC is a craftsmanship centric contest. The required percentage of handmade elements of your costume is determined by your class. No fully purchased costumes are allowed.
  • Cosplays must be recreations or fanart of licensed characters to be eligible for Best in Show. Original characters are eligible for other awards, however. 
  • Only entrants 15 years of age and up may enter the Mainstage Cosplay Contest. Children 14 and under are not eligible to enter the mainstage contest unless they are part of a duo or group entry with at least one member who is at least 15 years old. Children 14 and under may enter the Young Fans Cosplay Showcase held on Sunday.
  • You can have someone model your costume, but you, the crafter, must register for the Costume Contest and be present for prejudging to answer the judges’ questions. If the costume receives an award, the award recipient will be the crafter, not the model.
  • No nudity, profanity, anything deemed racially or culturally offensive will be allowed. No politically charged or discriminatory cosplays or props will be allowed. When in doubt, ask!
  • No liquids, messy substances, glitter, confetti or anything that may pose a danger is allowed on stage.
  • No pyrotechnics, fireworks or open flames. No fog machines.
  • All electronics must be self-contained. There are no electrical outlets onstage.
  • No glitter/ confetti or anything smaller than 3 square inches may be used as part of your stage walk. 
  • No weapons that violate PCKC’s Weapons Policy or Bartle Hall’s weapons policy or local laws, including but not limited to: realistic-looking firearms without an orange muzzle cap; live steel; projectiles of any kind; unsheathing of bladed weapons without clearance from the cosplay contest directors. Due to safety concerns, minors may not perform combat simulations. (See Weapons Policy https://planetcomicon.com/weapons-policy/
  • Stage walk time is limited, so please make sure to consider what you will do before showtime. Single and duo entrants will have up to 1 minute  of stage time, and groups will have up to 2 minutes.
  • No throwing things into the audience, including yourself.
  • Background music requests are not available at this time, so all background music will be provided by PCKC staff.
  • Contestants agree to allow video recording and photography of their costumes for future promotions of PCKC.
  • Contestants understand that the published contest awards may be adjusted, changed or withheld pending complaint resolution or for any reason deemed appropriate by the contest administrators. 
  • Show integrity and the spirit of competition are important!
    • This contest is about balancing fun with true competition.  For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate category/class at the discretion of the judges and cosplay contest directors without prior notice. 
    • You may not enter with a costume that has previously won Best in Show or a category award at PCKC or another convention/cosplay contest.
    • This is largely a craftsmanship contest, where craftsmanship will make up the majority of your score. All entrants must have made a percentage of their costumes to be eligible for entry. Please see class divisions for your required “handmade” percentage, and the Glossary for clarification on “handmade” vs. “altered” cosplays. 
  • I have to drop out – Be sure to communicate with us if you find that you cannot participate in the contest after signing up. Failure to communicate that you are dropping out may disqualify you from future competitions!

Violating these rules will disqualify you, and possibly result in escort off the premises.

CLASSES 

You must enter at the class of the individual who has the highest class in your entry (e.g. if you are in a duo and one person is a master and the other is a novice, you must enter in the master class).

Novice (20 spots)
If this is your first time entering a costume contest, or you’ve never won a category award before at any other convention, this is the category for you! 50% of your costume must be handmade by you.

Journeyman (15 spots)
If you’ve won 1-2 category awards at any convention, this is your category. 60% of your costume must be handmade by you.

Master (15 spots)
If you have won 3 or more category awards in a cosplay contest,  if you have taken best in show at any cosplay contest of similar or larger size to PCKC, or if you make or sell cosplay props/costumes professionally, please enter this category. 75% of the costume must be handmade by the contestant.

CATEGORIES 

Category delineations allow for recognition of  all mediums used in cosplay. Contestants may enter one of four different categories.


Needlework: For costumes created predominantly by sewing, embroidery, and fabricraft. Sewn leather costumes may enter this category as well.


Foamwork: For costumes created predominantly from foam products, such as eva foam, rigid foam, expanding foam, etc.  Worbla-covered-EVA foam cosplays would also fall in this category. 

Mixed Media: For cosplays that feature animatronics, prosthetics, special effects, or a variety of materials such as plastic, PVC, metal, latex or a variety of mediums that aren’t exclusively needlework or foamwork (e.g. if your costume incorporates formwork and needlework equally), this is the class for you.

Group: Show us your team chemistry and costume making skills! The Group category has 5 slots. This category is for groups of 3-6 cosplayers and at least 50% of each costume must be handmade by at least one member of the group. Craftsmanship of the group costumes will be judged based on the highest classed individual in the group (e.g., a group with 1 master and 2 novices will be judged on craftsmanship at the Master level).

Unfortunately, mics will not be available for groups  as they have been in years past.

 NOTE: You may select the category and class you wish to compete in, however the cosplay contest directors reserve the right to move your entry to another category or class if it is deemed appropriate for the sake of the integrity of the contest.

What can I win?

All kinds of awesome prizes! And of course the coveted Planet trophy! There are a number of award categories to be had, as well as a Best in Show given to the best costume overall. Judges may recognize other worthy contestants with a judge’s choice award!  An assortment of fantastic prizes  will be issued by Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) and US Toy Magic and Costume Shop. (US Toy)  More details will be forthcoming! Here are the award classifications: 

Best-in-Show:

Overall Champion 2020 $1500.00 in Prizes from Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM)

Best Needlework in each class:  

Master $750.00 in prizes from NFM   
Journeyman $400.00 in prizes from NFM
Novice   $250.00 in prizes and gift certificates from NFM and US TOY!

Best Foamwork in each class: 

Master $750.00 in prizes from NFM
Journeyman $400.00 in prizes from NFM
Novice $250.00 in prizes and gift certificates from NFM and US TOY!

Best Mixed Media  in each class:   

Master $750.00 in prizes from NFM
Journeyman $400.00 in prizes from NFM
Novice $250.00 in prizes and gift certificates from NFM and US TOY

Best Group Overall: 

Best Group $750.00 in prizes from NFM

Judge’s Choice Awards:

Judges’ choice awards: Each judge may award a judge’s choice award. Maybe you didn’t win a mainstage prize, but you left a major impression on the judges in some way, so we want to recognize you. You will be given a commemorative  medal and a gift certificate from from US Toy! 

CHECK-IN

March 19, from 12:00 pm to 6:00 p.m. CST  at the Cosplay Registration Table (Location TBD). This is a mandatory check in for everyone who has registered for the cosplay contest. Please arrive between these times so we can make sure you’re registered. This will include verifying that you are present and plan to participate. You will also fill out your onstage contestant card. If you do not check in by 6:00 p.m. Friday, or do not make prior arrangements,  you may be disqualified from the competition.  

JUDGING:

The contest is divided into two parts: Craftsmanship judging and stage judging. 

Craftsmanship judging: For craftsmanship, contestants will arrive at the designated time and location for their class and meet with the judges to discuss how their costume was made. Be prepared for judges to check your seams, paint job, wig work and other elements. They will ask you about how you created the piece. You will be judged on technique, finish, how well stays together, and overall impression. Entries of 1-2 people will have 5 minutes with the judges and groups of 3-6 will have up to 7 minutes to talk about their work. This is to ensure we can get everyone judged in a reasonable amount of time and everyone can enjoy as much of the convention as possible. With that in mind, please do not be late to your judging time slot, or you may be disqualified from the competition. Please arrive 5 minutes early to your designated class time slot.

  • Contestants will be judged on accuracy. Factors that will NOT be considered for accuracy include the cosplayer’s race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ between the cosplayer and the character. See Glossary for complete “accuracy” definition. 
  • Each class will have a designated judging timeslot and craftsmanship percentage requirement (see class requirements for details on required percentage).
  • Please note that if you are entering any of the categories with more than one person, each of you will be judged on craftsmanship/participation individually, and the scores will be averaged. You will be judged at the class level of the person in your entry with the highest class.
  • You are required to bring reference images of your source material, as well as 3-5 work In progress photos in hard copy form (no digital copies or photos on your phone allowed). Crew Members will be standing by to help line you up, and handle your photos if needed. When the competition concludes, you may pick up your progress photos in the Green room. 
  • Judges will be closely examining your work and may need to get close and touch your costume. If this makes you uncomfortable, please let the cosplay contest directors know and we will assist with finding an alternative arrangement.

All entries are free to enjoy the convention after judging, but must be back for Green Room prior to showtime.

REGISTRATION AND WAIT LISTS

Contestants will sign up using the online registration form below beginning February 12, 2020 at 6:00pm CST. The limit is 55 entries–15 for Masters, 15 for journeymen, 20 for Novice and 5 groups. Online registration will close after all spots are filled, or by March 11, 2020 at 6:00pm CST. Within one week of your submission, you will be contacted via email with your entry status. If your entry accepted, this email will include details about your judging time slot and confirm any details about your entry. Applications will be accepted on a first come first serve basis, however, the cosplay contest directors will review each application for compliance with the contest rules and to prevent excessive duplicate entries. 

Once the Online registration date passes (or if all spots are full prior to the deadline), you may fill out the online registration form to be added to the waitlist. Individuals will be added to the wait list in the order they are received. If a space opens up for your entry, you will receive an email notification, and you will have 24 hours to respond to that email or your spot will be given to the next available person on the waitlist. The wait list will be closely monitored until March 18, 2020 6:00pm when the wait list will be closed. No on-site registration will be allowed for the 2020 show.

The wait list process was added in an effort to allow individuals the opportunity to more accurately plan ahead for travel, hotels and their convention experience. 


Register Here! 

NOW THAT I’VE SUBMITTED MY APPLICATION, WHAT’S NEXT?

Thanks for signing-up! We are thrilled to have your entry  in the contest this year! 

Cosplay Contest Registration Checklist:

-Carefully read all the rules and ask the cosplay contest directors if you have any questions.

-Sign up during the designated registration period.

-Keep an eye on your inbox for confirmation of your entry.

-Make sure your costume adheres to the rules.

-Create your hard-copy work in progress book and bring it with you to judging.

-Make note of all mandatory time slots: Judging, green room and showtime, and double check these times at the convention in case there are last minute changes. 

Make sure to enter sooner rather than later, as space is limited! If you have any questions, please email the cosplay contest directors at [email protected] 

Cosplay Etiquette

In General: Cosplay is not consent. This means:

  • Do not touch a cosplayer, their costume, or their props without permission.
  • Do not take photos of a cosplayer without asking permission and allowing them to pose first.
  • Do not use the zoom feature to highlight only aspects of a cosplayer without their consent. If you would like them to do a specific pose or do a closeup of a certain aspect, ask them!
  • Do not make any lewd or suggestive comments to a cosplayer because of what they are wearing. Unwanted criticism/critique or comments directed at cosplayers may be treated as harassment. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Criticizing someone because of their race, gender, body, etc. 
    • Making snide remarks about skill level.
    • “I could do that better” statements.
    • Unwelcomed critiques of their cosplay. Unless a cosplayer specifically asks for feedback about how to do something better, do not give it.
    • In short: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Etiquette for Photographers: 

  • Please do not use flash or auto-focus assist lights during the cosplay contest! It makes it difficult for cosplayers to see when they are walking across the stage. 
  • Do not ask to take photos with only one cosplayer out of a group from the same series/clearly in a group cosplay. Take a picture of the group, and if you’d like an individual shot of your favorite character, ask later.
  • Please be mindful of your equipment that may block walkways, entryways, or other general traffic.
  • Only Planet Comicon Kansas City approved press will be allowed in the Green Room. 

Etiquette For Cosplayers:

  • Be fully aware when in a large costume or in a costume with protruding elements (like wings, tails, etc.). If you cannot see well, make sure you have a friend help make sure your pathways are clear.
  • If asked for a photo, move out of the flow of traffic, against a wall, or to a less common area. 
  • If you are wearing extensive makeup or body paint, seal it properly. You don’t want to be in a situation where you cause damage to something (e.g., the pool, hotel or convention center decorations, etc.).
  • Do not use being “in character” as an excuse to be a jerk, make lewd or suggestive comments, or physically or verbally bother someone. The harassment policy still applies to you, regardless of who you are dressed as.
  • You may not, under any circumstances, Black/Brownface, or wear any costumes that are offensive or disrespectful to any group of existing, living cultures and people. This includes darkening your skin to match that of an existing race, wearing Nazi regalia, etc.
  • Do not use accessible stalls or other designated accessibility areas to change or store props unless you would otherwise need that space. Doing so can result in removal from the cosplay contest.
  • If you are not a cosplay handler or cosplayer, please do not hang out in the green room.
  • There may be photographers in the green room. You are welcome to politely refuse photography if you do not wish to be photographed.
  • Please remember that Green Room is a collective space with a lot of nervous energy. When in the Green Room, please be mindful of your noise level, how much space you are taking up, as well as the content of your conversations.

Glossary

  • Accuracy: This term is in reference to how closely your costume and/or stage presence matches your character and/or reference images in terms of color, choices and overall character essence. If you deviated from the reference, is the deviation sensible? Areas NOT considered for accuracy include: race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ between yourself and the character. 
  • Category Award: This is an award that has won a first place class or category award at Planet Comicon Kansas City, such as Best Novicer Needlework, Best Journeyman Foamwork, Best Master Mixed Media, Best in Show, etc. This does not include a Judge’s Choice award or a runner up award.
  • Class: Your rank within a contest based on the number of awards you have received: Novice, Journeyman and Masters. Each contest and convention has different ratings, so please make sure you read the information carefully. 
  • Entry: Participant(s) registered in any of the cosplay contests. May include more than one person.
  • Fanart: Cosplays that have characterization rooted in existing, licensed characters, but have been reworked artistically. This includes reworks of licensed characters and licensed character interpretations (e.g., Pokemon gijinka, your interpretation of a podcast character etc.) Fanart also includes mashups of licensed characters (e.g., Deadpool Sailor Moon).
  • Green Room: Pre-show meeting and stage queue. This is usually an hour before your actual stage walk. This is an opportunity to make sure everyone is present, organized and ready to go. 
  •  Made Cosplays: “Made” refers to elements of your cosplays that have been fabricated from raw materials and count toward your craftsmanship points and required craftsmanship percentage (See class level for details). Please note that this is different from “altered” items, which are elements of your cosplay that have been purchased or fabricated by someone other than the contestant and modified in some way, such as painted or embellished. If you are altering a piece of your costume, only the portions of the item that have been altered count toward your craftsmanship points and required craftsmanship percentage. It is also important to note that a costume that is comprised only of alterations does not meet any minimum required craftsmanship percentage.
  • Main Stage Cosplay Contest: This is the main cosplay attraction at Planet Comicon Kansas City on Saturday of the Convention and includes a craftsmanship pre-judging element, and a stage walk. 
  • Minor Award: Awards that are not category specific, or first place awards in those categories. Examples would include a Judge’s Choice award, a runner up award, best prop award, etc.
  • Offensive Cosplays: “Offense” is a somewhat subjective term, but we are functioning with the following definition: cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. Blackface/Brownface) as well as costumes that replicate historic or current international or national tragedies. The goal is to make sure our attendees feel safe, included, and appreciated, so cosplays should reflect this intent.
  • Original Characters: Characters that are not licensed characters. Original characters may be submitted but they are not eligible for Best in Show.
  • PG Rating: No nudity or coarse language will be permitted on stage. Simulated violence and thematic situations are okay. 
  • Progress and Reference photos: Progress photos are images that document the elements of your costume that you made and highlight anything particularly interesting/difficult about your costume. Reference images are images of the character you are personifying. These images bust be presented in a hard copy form (i.e. “Progress book) and bound in some way (e.g. in a binder, a folder, stapled together etc.) No digital copies or photos on your phone allowed. 
  • Sandbagging: Sandbagging has two meanings in the cosplay community, and both may disqualify you from the contest and bar you from competing in the Contest at Planet Comicon Kansas City in future years: 
    • Intentionally placing your costume in a skill class lower than yours to increase your chances of an “easy win.” For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate class at the discretion of the judges and cosplay contest directors without prior notice.
    • re-entering a cosplay for which you have already won a category award.