The way fandom is now, no show ever truly goes away. Even if it's canceled before its time or gets a satisfying final season that ties every arc into a perfect bow, invested fans will stay dedicated. They'll still draw fan art, write fanfics so that the characters can end up the way they wanted them to, and of course, they'll cosplay as their favorite characters. The Nickelodeon cartoons of decades past hold a special place in the hearts of many fans, so much so that finding cosplay of old Nickelodeon characters is easy. There's plenty, and in as many variations as you can imagine. Some cosplayers have tried to accurately portray The Wild Thornberrys, while others have imagined what Danny Phantom would look like as an adult, but this time around, we thought it would be fun to show both sides of the coin. There's a certain kind of joy you get from seeing how someone managed to actually recreate Nigel Thornberry's unsightly nose, and there's also a marvelous amount of creativity that goes into making SpongeBob into a human.
Scroll down to see and you'll also find a spooky costume from Doug, along with one take on a bafflingly specific Spongebob villain. The only thing that would be better is if someone could figure out how to cosplay Stick Stickly.
22 Whatever Happened To Invader Zim?
One of Nickelodeon's strangest shows by far, Invader Zim earned a cult following thanks to its cynical sense of humor and darker subject matter. Unfortunately, that was also what did the show in. Reports say that Nick higher-ups would often veto certain jokes or story decisions they felt were too dark for kids.
Still, it eventually came to a point where Zim was more trouble than it was worth, and it was canceled. However, over a decade later, Nickelodeon is finally bowing to fan demand and bringing Zim back as a movie. But in the meantime, all we have to keep us going is awesome cosplay like this.
21 Pure Spookiness
When Doug hit televisions in the '90s, fans were almost instantly captivated by the cartoon's mix of relatable issues and bizarre character designs. One particularly memorable look belonged to Doug's nemesis, Roger Klotz. His prominent nose, beady little eyes, and thin hair that seemed to laugh at gravity as it shot out were his trademarks (as was his green skin).
This cosplayer managed to somehow recreate Roger in real life, and boy is it spooky. I can now see why Doug feared him. Who wouldn't run if they saw this noodle-haired menace coming after them?
20 Gotta Consult “Da Rules”
Sewing is something that takes years of practice, as is armor crafting. Both can produce eye-catching cosplay when done at a master level, the kind of work that goes viral and inspires lists just like this one. However, never underestimate the power of props. Clever props can take a simple cosplay, like Cosmo and Wanda here, to the next level.
The giant book of “Da Rules” adds a fun flair to the pair and allows for creative poses like this one when photoshoots happen. Also of note are the other little details like the wings and Timmy's hat. Many cosplayers would just opt for Halloween store fairy wings and a full-size baseball cap, so it's nice to see more accurate and properly-sized pieces here.
Photo by Chauntel Carmen.
19 Wicked Good Cosplay
Azayaka Cosplay is up-and-coming in the Los Angeles scene, having just earned a victory at SacAnime's masquerade as part of an amazingly-detailed Sailor Moon group. Before that, she got a lot of attention at Anime Expo as Mai Valentine from Yu-Gi-Oh! All of that to say that she's quite an expert when it comes to bringing cartoon characters to life.
Here, she decided to have some seasonal fun as Sam from Danny Phantom. Sam is a deceptively easy cosplay, with most going for a close-enough skirt and t-shirt combo. Azayaka did her research, though, specially ordering a fabric and hand-making the skirt in order to achieve the weird, green lines that Sam wears. She could have phoned it in for nostalgia points, but she actually put in the effort to be a top-tier Sam.
18 Alright, I'll Say It... A Smashing Cosplay
If you search for cosplay of old Nickelodeon shows, you're bound to find a lot of Debbie Thornberry. The combination of being a simple outfit, (who doesn't have jeans lying around and a nearby department store that sells orange shirts?), a nostalgic reference, and being simplistic enough to make attractive makes it great fodder for cosplayers who want quick likes.
However, what makes this version, brought to us by Uncanny Megan, so great is that it also includes a staggeringly-accurate Nigel Thornberry cosplay. That beast of a nose is no easy task, but this Nigel gets it so right. The poses of both cosplayers are also on point. It goes to show that playful acting and great photography is just as essential as expert craftsmanship.
17 The Closest You Can Get Without Becoming Porous
Why don't more people cosplay SpongeBob Squarepants? Probably because there's little appeal in making a costume that's essentially a giant rectangle. Fortunately, cosplay is all about finding creative workarounds to impossible character designs, and the people at He Geek She Geek found a SpongeBob cosplayer who did just that.
Rather than becoming a sponge, this person decided to humanize the character; Krabby Patty included. It reminds me of the SpongeBob Broadway musical, where the characters were also done with creative human costumes. It featured songs from the likes of Panic! At The Disco and John Legend, and it was actually quite fun.
16 Rock-Solid Cosplay
Toph might be my favorite Avatar: The Last Airbender character for her sass and kick-butt earthbending skills. So, I jumped at the chance to include a photo of an excellent Toph cosplay to this list, and this one is certainly a champ.
From her work on the wig and the outfit, to the perfect choice of contact, every detail is done right here. The photographer also deserves credit for the choice of location and framing of this shot. Overall, everything about this is as solid as the stones Toph throws.
15 The Family That Cosplays Together
This isn't the first example of Rugrats cosplay out there, and it surely won't be the last, but these parents did the remarkable by choosing to be the actual Rugrats parents Stu and Didi Pickles. Most cosplayers choose to be the babies themselves, which makes sense on some level because they were the main characters; however, it more often than not turns into some weird baby-adult hybrid where the cosplayer wants to wear tiny clothes and take photos of Chuckie Finster.
So, I raise a bottle in toast to you, random cosplay couple and baby, for being accurate versions of the characters.
Doug's imaginary alter-ego, Quailman, is a costume I see thrown together often at Halloween parties. Like many other characters in '90s Nickdom, he wears everyday clothes and exudes pure nostalgia. Where this particular guy shines, at least to me, is that he matches Doug's proportions pretty well. The belt really shines for me in all of its oversized glory.
If you look at pictures of Quailman from the cartoon, that belt really droops, and this guy picked the perfect one to make that happen. The only question I have, and this goes for any Quailman really, is where is everyone finding green sweater vests in the 21st century?
13 Is That... Goddard?
Let's just get it out of the way quick; Jimmy Neutron can be a challenge to pull off. His clothes are easy, sure, but his unorthodox, soft-serve looking hairstyle requires an expert wig stylist. This guy does okay in that department by choosing to swirl his own hair instead in a similar manner to Jimmy's.
Where this cosplay really shines is the prop, none other than Jimmy's robot dog Goddard. The jury's out on whether it can actually fly or bark (probably not), but it's still an impressive piece of construction nonetheless. Again, we see how someone can take a relatively simple cosplay and elevate it with a clever prop.
12 That Other Avatar
Just kidding, I actually really liked Legend Of Korra. Sure, it had its rushed moments, but it still delivered an intriguing take on the “chosen one” story started by The Last Airbender as the world-building and more mature characters were particular standouts.
Anyway, here's a fantastic Korra cosplay from Hamano--Ayumi. May her intense and powerful demeanor provide a nice break from the more silly and colorful characters that dominate Nickelodeon cosplay lists.
11 How Awkward
Actual baby Rugrats! Well, sort of. Actual adults dressed as baby Rugrats instead. Whatever their age, it's a nice change of pace to see cosplayers aiming for the full outfits of Chuckie and Kimi instead of doing some weird adult versions for those Patreon subs.
This Chuckie has me especially amused. The glasses, wig, and freckles are on-point, but it's the expression that really sells it. This person perfectly captures the eternal hesitance of Chuckie Finster, or they could have been sneezing when the person with the camera took the picture. Then again, that's in-character, too. Whether it's good acting or an ill-timed photo, it's as Chuckie as any cosplayer could ever hope to be.
10 When You Cosplay One Specific Episode
In our social media-driven world, there's just too much content; so much so that the only way to stay relevant as a creator is to constantly pump out work, and not just any work, but work no one's seen before. In the cosplay world, this often takes the form of people dressing up as more and more obscure characters. Everyone has already done Into The Spider-Verse, so why not pick some random spider person from an old comic?
Here, we have DoodleBob, the sinister drawing version of SpongeBob from that one episode. He actually did appear in one other episode, and several video games as a boss, but still, that's quite a deep dive for a Nickelodeon cosplay, don't you think?
9 She Even Got Barbie Cosplaying
Cosplayer Sakurith does a great Angelica from Rugrats here; she even managed to make those weird polka-dotted tights. But, her true achievement definitely has to be her doll, Cynthia.
Angelica's favorite toy looks to have been brought to life by a Barbie doll, which means Sakurith is perhaps the only cosplayer to have a toy that cosplays as well. She really put the work into the prop, styling Barbie's hair and procuring a dress that matches Cynthia's. How's that for dedication?
8 It's Okay To Get A Big Head About This Cosplay
If any cosplayer deserves to have an ego about their creation, it's these two. Rocko's Modern Life is already a series you don't see often in the cosplay world, let alone the Bighead characters. So, props to these two for coming up with a fun and unique spin on the characters and their titular large craniums.
DTJAAAAM is a great photographer known for finding unique cosplays at conventions. He's definitely worth the follow if you want to see more work like this.
7 Warriors Assemble!
Avatar: The Last Airbender's Kyoshi Warriors may have not played a huge role in the story, but their traditional outfits and awesome martial arts moves earned them a number of dedicated fans. It also helped that one of them, the leader Suki, helped Team Avatar later in the series and had a romance with Sokka. Now, they're here in cosplay form thanks this talented group of women.
Everything, from the armor and kimonos to the poses and makeup, is done flawlessly. All they need is to get to a traditional garden or park and take some really good photos with an appropriate background. Can someone make that happen?
6 It Never Fails
For being a simple kids show, Blue's Clues had some sordid rumors surrounding it. The most famous of these rumors was that the actor who played Steve, the show's host and sole human character, got involved in sketchy activities that caused him to leave the show.
To this day, people claim things like he had a problem with different substances, when a quick Wikipedia search shows that he was just losing his hair and getting tired. He left the show on good terms because he wanted to pursue other things, and he actually shaved his head the day after he left. Now that that's settled, we can now enjoy some good, wholesome cosplay. Here's a Steve cosplayer that even went the extra mile to make the mailbox. How nice.
5 Alone In The World...
CatDog was Nickelodeon's strangest concepts for a cartoon, and that's saying something considering the network was home to things like Ren & Stimpy. The show had a banger of a theme song, but what it doesn't have is an abundance of cosplay.
Maybe it was never that popular, or maybe, the characters are just too difficult to pull off. Whatever the reason, it didn't stop these two from busting out an amazing CatDog cosplay. They even captured the characters' personalities in their expressions. This is truly some surprising, pro-level cosplay.
4 The Hero We All Need
With the numerous yearly Marvel movies and DC's increasing attempts to build a franchise, it can be easy to forget about the real heroes. Thankfully, we have Jeremy D. Fisher to bring us Powdered Toast Man, the breakfast-based superhero of Ren & Stimpy fame.
Seriously, though, the work that went into this costume is impressive. He got the giant toast head, he gave himself enormous fake muscles (or spends a good deal of time at the gym, either way good on him), and he even made the “PTM” logo on his underwear. All of the cosplayers on this list deserve to be called artists, but Fisher might just be an artistic genius.
3 He Is Number One
Lazy Town is another one of those bizarre cases of a children's show that gains an adult following. No, adults aren't having Lazy Town watch parties (unless they're doing so discreetly, in which case, send me an invite!), but they have brought the show to meme status. It's to the point where people who probably didn't even watch the show during childhood got very invested in the characters, Robbie Rotten in particular.
Where there is demand, there are cosplayers to meet that demand. Robbie Rotten cosplayers are legion, but this one sticks out due to the way they got the hair right, as well as those thick sinister eyebrows.
2 Woogity! Woogity! Woogity!
Rocket Power is another one of those old-school Nickelodeon gems that just seems to fly under the radar, at least when compared to the bigger hits like Rugrats and Doug. But, there's no nostalgic costume that people haven't done, and that's as true for Rocket Power as it is anything else.
We got the whole gang here! The best part about this is that whoever is dressed up as Otto really committed to the hair. Although, it could just be that his hair is actually like that in real life. If so, that might actually be even more radical.
1 Angry Beavers!
It's vastly rewarding to see a series that rarely got recognition during its time be honored through cosplay. Basically, seeing people that liked an underrated show as much as you did or even more, considering they chose to spend money and time making costumes of the characters.
Seeing Angry Beavers cosplay inspires that sense of validation in me. I loved its offbeat sense of humor at the time, and was confused when it was unceremoniously canceled. So, I love seeing this duo go all-in on their costumes and Stump prop. Go give them some love, Beavers cosplay deserves it!