PHOTOS: Best Womens Costumes from NY Comic Con 2013 – from X-Men to Anime

Cute, badass and always creative.

The women of New York Comic Con know how to bring it.

Clad in vinyl bodysuits or frilly lolita dresses and often clutching homemade weapons, NY Comic Con’s female cosplayers draw massive attention from media and pop culture fans. When you see a face-painted woman in a fur bikini on the showroom floor, you know a photo frenzy is about to ensue!

I give major props to the NY Comic Con fangirls of all shapes and sizes wearing thongs, bras and tummy-revealing outfits. Still, my favorite female costumes are homemade, show major creativity and offer a twist on classic male characters– even if they don’t show much skin.

Many women at the 2013 Con embraced “rule 63”– which says a female version exists for every male character. I didn’t see many female Lokis and Thors– last year’s hot cosplay trend– but a voluptuous blond Khan (from Star Trek lore) menaced the crowd with realistic Ceti eels. With so many guys dressing as female characters and ladies dressing as traditionally male characters, next year I may rethink my “best women’s costume” category!

Read on for photos of my favorite women’s costumes from the start of NY Comic Con 2013; we’ll add additional photos from the weekend when they become available. With so many amazing costumes, it was hard to narrow down the list!

The most popular women’s costume is…

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Harley

…Harley Quinn! The Joker’s female accomplice in the Batman universe, Harley looks like a sexy version of the joker in a pack of playing cards. Clad in black, white and red, and often wielding a giant hammer, Harley is sexy and extremely badass. It’s no surprise that she was the top costume for women this year and she even inspired a few little girl costumes!

NY Comic Con Womens Costumes Harley Quinn

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Harley Quinn

NY Comic Con Womens Costune Harley Joker

Harley with her co-conspirator The Joker.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Harley Poison Ivy

And with her fellow Gotham villainess, Poison Ivy.

Adventure Time

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Princess Bubblegum MLP

The Cartoon Network series “Adventure Time” is a popular source of women and men’s costumes for the under-25 set. This girl was a vision in pink with her Princess Bubblegum costume.

My Little Pony – All grown up!

If you grew up in the 80s, then you may think of My Little Pony as a range of adorable plastic toys. The brand has morphed since then, and the ponies have taken on a much sexier (and more human) form. Last year I encountered a man dressed as a “brony” (aka a guy with a fetish for My Little Pony) at NY Comic Con, and this year I met a few ladies dressed as characters from the series. My favorite were the homemade, elaborate and colorful looks.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Pinkie Pie MLP

Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony was in a festive mood, and had an amazing DIY costume.

NY Comic Con Womens Costumes Lyra Heartstrings mlp

Lyra Heartstrings from My Little Pony looked downright innocent next to a black-clad friend.

On the dark side of the Con

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Black Cat

Every superheroine or arch villainess has a LBD: a little black dress-up outfit that usually includes a black spandex or vinyl bodysuit. Ladies, if you are looking to create a DIY superhero Halloween costume, start with black leggings and a bustier!

I bumped into the Black Cat from the Spiderman universe (above), who sported shock-white hair and matching white fur trim. With a few tweaks, this could be a Storm (from X-Men) costume.

NY Comic Con Womens Costumes Avacyn

Some cosplayers wielded impressive weapons. Avacyn from Magic the Gathering had wings, a black leather bustier and a long pointy staff. The trifecta of a cool costume.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Catwoman

Catwoman is a Comic Con staple– and why not? Few can resist leather pants, a come-hither pose and a whip.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Jack Skeleton

Lots of costumes were creative interpretations of well-known characters. One fangirl dressed as Jack Skeleton from Nightmare Before Christmas- with a lolita-style outfit and vampire fangs to complete the look.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume X-23 Wolverine

Attending NY Comic Con can be dangerous, with so many pointy objects darting from costumes! X-23 (from the Wolverine universe) sported some impressive claws.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Steampunk White Rabbit

This Steampunk White Rabbit costume combined two popular trends — steampunk and Alice in Wonderland. It’s a cute costume and, if the apocalypse comes to the Javits Center, she’ll be ready with her gas mask.

NY Comic Con Womens costume Mad Moxxi Borderlands

Mad Moxxi from Borderlands looks like a mime crossed with Harley Quinn. The character hosts Colosseum matches, which might explain the pinup looks and eccentric attire.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood appears to have gone Goth since I was a child, and now sports black lipstick and a form-fitting bodice. Her cool factor is way up in my book.

Badass women – don’t mess with them!

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Firefly

This female fan had the perfect pose, wardrobe and weapons to portray River Tam from Firefly– and looked eerily similar to the Serenity film poster.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Alice Madness Returns

Continuing on the Alice in Wonderland trend at 2013 NY Comic Con, this young fan dressed as Alice Madness Returns. The video game features a mentally disturbed and powerful Alice, who is, ahem, more multifaceted than her character in the original book.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Jeff the Killer

I wasn’t sure what costume this young woman was wearing when she first caught my eye, but it was worthy of a serial killer haunted house. She informed me the clown makeup and bloody knife represented Jeff the Killer, an Internet horror legend. Creepy!

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Laharl Chan

New York cosplayers are trendsetters, often embracing looks and characters way before they hit the mainstream. This woman dressed as Laharl Chan from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, a male character that turned female.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Lilly Anime

These ladies may look a lot like Sailor Moon, but they are dressed as Lily. I don’t have much info on this character, but she appears to sport horns, a purple wig and samurai swords. A lethal combo!

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Cylon

As a Battlestar Galactica fan, I know how deadly the cylons can be. These robots are bent on destroying the human race– and they usually are incredibly attractive. I’m not used to seeing a cylon with pink hair, but this woman is obviously a badass. Look at how she double fists those cocktails!

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Juliet Starling Lollipop Chainsaw

Whenever I attend NY Comic Con I learn about subcultures and characters that sound bizarre, cool, and sometimes bizzarely cool. This spunky fangirl was dressed as Juliet Starling, a cheerleading zombie hunter from Lollipop Chainsaw. The character looks like a sexier version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with an enormous chainsaw instead of a stake.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Katniss Hunger Games

You don’t have to wear head-to-toe leather to look intimidating. Katniss from the Hunger Games is a powerful costume and can be made from everyday clothes. (Assuming you have a crossbow lying around the house).

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Khaleesi GOT

I saw a few Khaleesi costumes at NYCC, but this was my favorite. This Game of Thrones fan sewed the outfit herself using an old prom dress, a men’s suit and other thrift store finds. As she walked through the showroom, people kept asking her, “where are your dragons?!”

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Mechromancer Borderlands

If I were trapped in a video game, I would immediately make friends with the girls sporting deadly weapons. This mechromancer from Borderlands (right) is packing some impressive heat!

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Xmen Rogue

She may not sport any pointy weapons, but Rogue from X-Men is a force to be reckoned with. Check out that attitude! One touch from her and you are a goner.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Storm Psylocke

If you are looking for a sexy costume, then the X-Men universe is a good place to start. Storm is a popular costume at NY Comic Con, and here she is joined by Psylocke.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Legend of Korra

Would you mess with a girl who has mastered waterbending, earthbending AND firebending? Didn’t think so. I’ll give Korra from The Legend of Korra a wide berth.

NY Comic Con Womens Costumes Skeleton Muscles

To be honest, I have no idea what this costume is but it is terrifying. I normally ask what the costume is when I’m taking a photo, even if it seems obvious, since I don’t want to say a costume is Spiderman when it is actually Deadpool. But this fangirl answered a phone call just as I snapped the pic. If you know what this scary skinless skeleton costume is, please leave a comment below!

>> UPDATE! Two helpful readers have identified this skeleton costume as “Female(-type) Titan” from Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). Thanks for the tips!

Gender bending

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Jack Frost Guardians

Many NY Comic Con attendees have fun playing with traditional gender roles in comics and pop culture. It’s common to see women dressed as male characters.  Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians caught my eye with this impressive handmade staff.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Wrath of Khan

Ricardo Montalban played Khan as a sexy Star Trek villain in 1982, wearing a blonde shock wig and a leather shirt with plunging neckline. It’s no surprise that the female version of this Wrath of Khan costume would be equally tantalizing! This cosplayer even brought a cage with the creepy eels that Khan used for his mind control.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Luke Skywalker Jedi

There were several Jedi in attendance on opening day of NY Comic Con 2013, but this female Luke Skywalker caught my attention.

Going all out for a role

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Mystique Xmen

There is no better way to show your dedication to a character than by wearing full-body paint. Possibly toxic, hard to apply and impossible to get off, this paint is proof you will do anything for your role. Mystique from X-Men even sported textured face paint that turned her forehead into blue scales.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume She Hulk

The female version of the Hulk is way hotter than you might expect. The She Hulk has the classic green skin but also sports a bouncy ‘do and some pretty amazing sea green lipstick.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Kankri Vantas Homestuck

If you were born after the first Clinton administration, then this costume needs to introduction. Homestuck remains incredibly popular with the Generation Y set at NY Comic Con, with many girls donning a blond wig to dress as Dave. This woman opted for blue gray paint as Kankri Vantas from the webcomic.

>> CORRECTION: An eagle-eyed reader has pointed out that Homestuck face paint is gray, not blue. Let’s petition Ricky’s drugstore to re-calibrate its gray makeup shades to avoid any future confusion.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Zachary from Off

Likewise, if you were a 1980s child you probably don’t know what Off is or recognize this character, Zacharie.

The girly girls

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Prince Tiana

It’s not all leather and swords at NY Comic Con– there is quite a bit of lace as well! Thanks to the anime influence, many women sport short frilly dresses and cute accessories. This young cosplayer gave Disney’s Princess Tiana an anime makeover, with adorable results.

NY Comic Con Womens Costumes DIY Look

Some women attending the Con aren’t dressed as a specific character, but wear amped-up versions of their everyday wardrobes. This fan sewed this unique outfit, inspired by the fabric instead of a specific character.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Plaid

Similarly, the girl on the left created this outfit herself, including a strappy leather bodice.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Lolita Fairy Kei

This woman describes her outfit as Lolita Fairy Kei– inspired by Japanese fashion.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Valkerie Nordic

Not all of the ultra-feminine influences are Japanese. This young woman dressed as a Valkerie from Nordic mythology.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Jessica Rabbit

I didn’t get this costume right away, but when I heard it was Jessica Rabbit I was overcome by a feeling of nostalgia. This sexy cartoon was a precursor to Angelina Jolie, with her pout and tight, slit dress.

NY Comic Con Womens Costume Spinel Sun Cardcaptor

OK, this is where my attempt to classify NY Comic Con costumes breaks down. This woman is dressed as Spinel Sun– a character from the anime series Cardcaptor. The character is actually a male panther in original form, making this a gender- and species bending costume. But her fairy wings and skirt have a feminine feel, so I’m putting Spinel Sun in the “girly” category. Sheesh- this is getting harder each year!

What’s your favorite costume at NY Comic Con?

Share your pick by leaving a comment below! If we’ve left out your favorite costume from the 2013 Con, please leave a description– we’d love to check it out.

About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.