The Cosplay 101 panel

Among the many panels at Salt Lake Comic Con, we were up-front-and-center for Cosplay 101.

Bryan Young, writer for BigShinyRobot.com and The Huffington Post, led the discussion with Jennifer McGrew, owner of McGrew Studios in SLC, and cosplayers LeeAnna Vamp, Nicole Marie Jean and Tanglwyst de Holloway.

While much of the cosplay "rules," are pretty subjective, here's what we took away front he panel: 

Cosplay is wearing a costume you created or one that was created for you. It can be an existing character, or it can be your own invention.

The details of the costume are important.

There are different schools of thought on "how to cosplay." Orthodox cosplayers try to create an exact match of the character they portray. But others do character mashups or variations on characters in pop culture and comics. If you're one of the latter, you may get some hate from a vocal minority of orthodox cosplayers. 

Sometimes you'll have to compromise with a costume. Forget the heels if you're going to be walking up and down a lot of stairs. There's no separation between Space Ghost's tights and boots, but some solid white sneakers will do the trick.

Dress up as a character you like, but keep costume creators in mind given what works for your body shape and size.

Know what you're talking about when approaching a costume creator with a project.

It's generally accepted to dress up as a character of the opposite gender.

It's ok to ask to get a photo of or with a cosplayer, but be respectful. Remember, that's someone's daughter, wife or sister.

If you're going to spend 100-plus hours creating a costume, you should probably do some reading on the character's background, too.

Everyday items can make great cosplay material (Nicole's been known to use egg cartons). 

The dollar store is your friend. 

Don't look at cosplay as a competition, but as an art form.

Sometimes you'll work on a costume for days, just to end up with a disaster. Start over. That's the way it goes.

Shelf liner is very strong. Use it.