I’m sure we all remember waiting all week to wake up on Saturday morning and watch cartoons. For decades, we would rush to the television sets and watch the shows of the time, whether it was the Space Ghost and Herculoids of the 1960s, the Magic School Bus and Histeria! of the 90s, or anything in between. While Saturday-morning cartoons seem to have since gone by the wayside, their impact was undeniable as we can see networks like Boomerang focused primarily on playing reruns of cartoons like Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes to this very day!
Cosplay, short for costume play, came to popularity in the United States in the 1990s, coinciding with the tail end of the Saturday-morning cartoon trend. People that had grown up with the previous decades of Saturday-morning cartoons were at the perfect age to combine two of their passions! As a result, it was only a matter of time before they inspired people to bring these characters into the staple of any pop culture convention, cosplay!
Here at TheGamer, while we are no stranger to cartoons and cosplay, we have scoured the web to find 15 cosplayers who were moved by these cartoons to create phenomenal cosplays of everything from the frequently-rebooted Scooby Doo to the less remembered Jem and the Holograms.
Which one is your favorite? Did we miss a character that you were hoping to see?
Let us know in the comments!
15 Long Tails, And Ears For Hats
After the remarkable success of The Archie Show, hitting number 1 on the Billboard charts in September 1969 with “Sugar, Sugar,” Hanna-Barbera created another show based on the Archie comics, Josie and the Pussycats. The show would frequently feature the girls on their way to a gig when they are tangled in the plot of a spy or mad scientist that they would thwart to the newest track on their album. Despite only running for 16 episodes, the show later spawned a 2001 live-action movie
14 years after the movie and 44 years after the conclusion of the show, AminoApps user, Vonniu and his roommates created this fantastic cosplay. Before creating a group cosplay of Josie and the Pussycats, Vonniu had cosplayed as the more recent Adventure Time’s Marshall Lee and Marvel’s Scarlet Witch, hoping to get a group together to cosplay as the entire Maximoff family.
14 The Only Girl In The Village
Originally a Belgian comic by Pierre Culliford, better known by his pen name of Peyo, The Smurfs was another cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera, though this one ran for significantly longer. With 256 episodes spanning 9 seasons, The Smurfs is one of the most recognizable cartoons of the era, frequently adapted and parodied into increasingly newer media. Just the mention of the title invokes their telltale aesthetic of tiny blue people living in their mushroom houses and thwarting the plans of the persistent Gargamel and his pet cat, Azrael, to turn them into gold.
The show brought Instagram user, xandrastax, to create a gorgeous cosplay of Smurfette. Posting it on her Instagram, placed next to Katy Perry’s Smurfette from the 2011 live-action movie, wowed commenters, praising it with emoticons and smurf-related portmanteaus alike. More recently, xandrastax has made impressive cosplays of characters such as Rick and Morty’s Rick Sanchez and Final Fantasy VII’s Tifa Lockhart.
13 We're The Misfits
Despite the fact that Jem and the Holograms was the name of the 2015 live-action film adaptation, the title still invokes the 1985 television show, Jem, in most people’s mind instead. Like many shows of the time period, Jem received a much later live-action movie. Unlike adaptations of other shows of the time period, Jem and the Holograms did little to impress fans, primarily just stirring nostalgia for the original series. Fans remember the show for rather uniquely blending the existing magical girl genre and the trend for shows centered around fictional bands, which still exists today!
Memory of the show brought AC Paradise user, mostflogged, to create a fantastic cosplay of Pizzazz, the lead singer and guitarist of Jem’s in-show rival band, The Misfits. In more recent years, mostflogged has created cosplays of other popular characters like Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Kreuger and Naruto’s Guy Moto.
12 The Gang's All Here
Peanuts has been hailed as being “arguably the longest story told by one human being,” spanning 50 years of comic strips, totaling almost 18,000 strips in all. After the remarkable success of the comic strip, Charles Shultz’s creation was brought to the television screen as one of the most recognizable cartoons in history. The influence of the show can be seen from the naming of spacecrafts to the art style of the Mother series, known in America as Earthbound.
The prolific property inspired AC Paradise user, Gale, and her group to create this fantastic rendition of the cast of the show. Gale comments that it was difficult to, “pose for a character who has no personality.” In the gorgeous picture, we see that the group even included props for everything from Schroeder’s piano to Lucy’s psychological help stand. Gale and her group truly went all out for this piece!
Scooby-Doo is perhaps the entry on this list with the most adaptations, appearing as 40 feature-length films and 12 different animated series. The show was big enough to attract such big names as the band Kiss, WWE, and Batman, creating collaborations like Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Scooby-Doo is one of the few times where almost everyone, regardless of age can remember waking up on Saturdays or rushing to the theater to see the rendition of the time.
The charm of one of the series’ long-running main characters, Daphne Blake, inspired Instagram user, CommanderCosplay, to create this gorgeous piece! Aside from Daphne, she has cosplayed as Love Live!’s Honoka Kosaka, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt’s Panty Anarchy, and so many more! Make sure to check out what she makes for MAGFest early next year!
10 What's Your Function?
While not a full-length cartoon, I’m sure we all remember Schoolhouse Rock!, the educational series of shorts that ran from 1973 to 1985 and 1993 to 1999, known for its catchy songs that explained everything from conjunctions to science to civics. Over the 3 decades that it aired, Schoolhouse Rock! explained topics like how a bill passes into law, how the body circulates, and how to properly use pronouns and other grammatical devices to viewers. Despite each segment lasting only 3 minutes, the show retains much of its popularity, to the point that I even remember one of my grade school teachers showing a few episodes!
One of the most popular sketches the show had, Conjunction Junction, explained how to use conjunctions properly by comparing them to cars in a railyard. This skit brought DeviantArt user, kurthy113 to create this costume of the conductor with the signature phrase, “What’s your function?”
9 All's Fair In Love And War
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was a series that was known for its larger than life characters and the surprisingly graphic nature of the children’s show. Many memorable characters from the Hasbro and Marvel collaboration were immortalized in the series for years to come, even spanning into later decades with the reboot of the same name and the 2009 live-action movie, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra and it’s 2013 sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Arguably one of the show’s most powerful villains was The Baroness, also known as Anastasia Cisarovna or Anastasia DeCobray. This inspired DeviantArt user, Daeylth, to create this absolutely stunning cosplay. Aside from television and film, she has also cosplayed as video game characters like Bayonetta’s Bayonetta and the more classic Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2’s Umah. More recently, the Italian cosplayer has returned to work on variants of The Baroness.
8 Thundercats, Assemble!
A staple in 80s cartoons was ThunderCats, an American written, but Japanese animated series about a team of cat-like aliens. The team originally consisted of 7 characters: Jaga the Wise, Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, the duo of WilyKit and WilyKat. The team comes together to form a uniquely cohesive team that viewers enjoyed in the original series and its 2011 reboot of the same name.
One of the most memorable member of the ThunderCats, Cheetara, inspired Instagram user, niicakes to create this gorgeous cosplay. The photo, taken by Instagram user nokenjindont, perfectly shows off the precise makeup work and elaborate costume put together by niicakes. In more recent years, the Los Angeles cosplayer has cosplayed as such characters as Yuri on Ice’s Yuri Plisetski and Love Live’s Eli Ayase.
7 That's Princess Allura To You
One of the most prolific mech-focused television shows was Voltron: Defender of the Universe, and its many subsequent spin-offs and reboots. The series shows several humans and the princess of the fictional Altea pilot massive lion robots, deeming them paladins. The paladins can use the color-coded lion robots to combine and form the 100-meter-tall Voltron, a towering humanoid robot that wields a sword and the power to save the universe. The series follows the paladins as they fight to turn the tide of the Galran War and restore Altea, the home world of Princess Allura.
Carrie Keagan, known for her role on her talk show, Bravo After Hours with Carrie Keagan, and several executive producer credits wore a cosplay of Princess Allura’s original design to Comic Con in 2011, the year that her show, Big Morning Buzz Live, premiered on VH1. Photos of the piece are even featured on her IMDB page!
Following the success of Uncle Scrooge and other Duck Universe comics from Walt Disney, Walt Disney Television Animation and Buena Vista Television teamed up as producer and distributer to create a show centered around these colorful characters. The series became so popular that it spawned a movie, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, which has been credited with paving the way for movies like Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin. Just this year, the series received a reboot on Disney XD.
One group, consisting of Vash Fanatic, Courtoon, Mouse’s Cosplay, Shiya Wind Cosplay, Avianna Cosplay, little0lily, and AmeZaRain, came together to create this fantastic cosplay of Donald Duck, Huey Duck, Dewey Duck, Webby Vanderquack, Scrooge McDuck, Gene the Genie, and Louie Duck respectively. Apart, they have cosplayed as everything from Trigun’s Vash to Star Wars’ Rey, but it is fantastic to see a group come together into something as fantastic as this.
5 It's Shreddin' Time
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles showed a rather unique premise for a super hero team: characters that are literal turtles. While many super heroes incorporated aspects of animals into the design and abilities, this approach was fairly unheard-of. Unlike their Italian namesakes, the turtles were trained in martial arts and frequently fought ninjas and other mutants. The juxtaposition of the animalistic appearance of the turtles and their surfer-dude personalities and lingo created a charming combination that would entertain fans for decades to come. The turtles are perhaps remembered most by their signature line, “cowabunga.”
The turtle’s frequent human companion, April O’Neil, was a news reporter and frequent badass that inspired pigsinpajamas to create this surprisingly elaborate costume of her design from the original television series. On her site, you can find her works creating outfits for her and both of her adorable dogs, Minnie and Max.
4 Meet George Jetson
The Jetsons served as a contrast to The Flintstones, using a similar art style, but a remarkably different setting and cast of characters, even going so far as to have a crossover episode! The show experienced a few revivals over the years, culminating in the recent The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!, featuring Paul Donald Wright II, better known as his ring name Big Show. The show focused on the Jetson family, consisting of George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, and their robot Rosie, applying similar concepts of cartoons of the day to a space-age setting.
The show inspired yurichan90, rikarinn, Daniele, and Francesco to come together as Jane, Judy Elroy, and George respectively. Unfortunately, I can only link to two of the cosplayers in this group, but we can all appreciate the effort that went into creating this fantastic lineup!
3 Camel Commitment
Jonny Quest is a franchise of several series, movies, and games, beginning as a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The series pioneered the way for action-adventure cartoons like Space Ghost (not to be confused with the visually similar, but remarkably different in tone, Space Ghost Coast to Coast) and The Herculoids. The series is noted for its significantly more realistic art style and heavy sci-fi focus. Jonny Quest and its subsequent iterations followed Jonny and his friend Hadji accompanying Dr. Benton Quest and his friend Rodger T. “Race” Bannon on adventures across the globe fighting mummies, robots, and even dinosaurs!
This creative show inspired AC Paradise user, Miri to create this cosplay. The pose and setting really capture the spirit of the show, combining the exotic locales and cool attitudes we know and love from the show.
2 Watch Out, Moose And Squirrel
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends (which was called also Rocky & His Friends, The Bullwinkle Show, or The Rocky Show depending on the station) followed the exploits of a talking moose named Bullwinkle and his friend, a flying squirrel named Rocky. The show was known for its satire and pun usage with names like Boris Badenov (a play on Boris Godunov) and Natasha Fatale. As a result of the show using rather blatant Soviet imagery for the antagonists and victims of frequent thwarting of their plans, it was banned in the USSR as being anti-Soviet propaganda.
The show is known for being a heavy influence on later animated series, particularly those featuring the contrast of talking animals and normal day-to-day life, like Rocko’s Modern Life. More directly, the show created the characters of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which were adapted into their own movie in 2014 and later their own series in 2015. This cosplay, seen at Phoenix Comic Con, is stunning!
1 Riverdale Isn't Big Enough For These Two
It isn’t terribly uncommon for what was originally a side character to surpass the main character in popularity and receive their own series, movie, or the like. We see this with Betty Boop surpassing Bimbo and Jessica Rabbit surpassing Roger Rabbit. More to the point of this entry, we see it with Betty and Veronica surpassing Archie. Originally serving as supporting cast members in the 1968 television show, The Archies, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge still exist today in the remarkably popular Betty and Veronica comic book series.
Cosplayers Uncanny Megan and Leah Rose do a remarkable job bringing these characters to life. They have tons of cosplay experience, dressing up as everything from Velma and Daphne to Nurse Joy. Rounding out this list, we have two prolific cosplayers dressed as some of the most enduring characters from the age of the Saturday-morning cartoon!