OCTOBER 2014 SPECIAL ISSUE • 409
P E E BL
SUPER VILLAINOUS COCKTAILS
WE GET THE SCOOP FROM THE CAST OF “DA VINCI'S DEMONS”
WE ARE ON THE SCENE AT NEW YORK COMIC CON!
Y A L P S O C F O S HEROE
CHLOE DYKSTRA RIKI LeCOTEY MIGUEL GUIFARRO
& SOME OF THE COOLEST COSPLAYERS IN THE COUNTRY
GRAPHIC ARTIST CENTRAL: WESLEY CRAIG TYLER LOLONG TULA LOTAY DAVID REDDICK
OUR AMAZING COMIC-CULTURE-CENTRIC SPECIAL EDITION BLEEP 1
n i p e e bl inside: 20
These aren’t your average cocktails. These have the bite of some of comic books’ greatest villains and masterminds. You’ll want to surrender.
25 YEARS OF COMIC CULTURE
NEW YORK COMIC CON
Our map of 25 years of the most important moments in comic culture that have defined our time. Once a year, New York is taken over by superheroes and cosplayers. We were on the scene and we’ve got some of the most creative and interesting artists at the convention. Not to mention, some of the fiercest cosplayers we’ve ever seen.
THE CAST OF “DA VINCI’S DEMONS” BLAKE RITSON, TOM RILEY, LAURA HADDOCK & GREGG CHILLIN TALK TO BLEEP ABOUT THE NEW SEASON!
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EXTRAORDINARY PRODUCTS INCREDIBLE ARTISTRY COSPLAY AT NYCC
THE ENGINEERS OF COMIC CULTURE: THE WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS 36 40 44 48
WESLEY CRAIG TYLER LOLONG TULA LOTAY DAVID REDDICK BLEEP 3
n i p e e l inside: b
COSPLAY CENTRAL: THE UBER CREATIVE COSTUMERS Interest in cosplay is on the rise and thanks to shows like SyFy’s “Heroes of Cosplay,” fans all over the country could see what goes into making such incredible costumes. We even talk with Chloe, Miguel and Riki from “Heroes of Cosplay” about the show and the future of comic culture.
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CHLOE DYKSTRA MIGUEL GUIFARRO JOHNNY HYBRID CHAD LITOBOSKI RIKI LECOTEY JAYSON ‘PANZER’ SLONE DAELEN CORY CAROL KANE PHIL YEE HASANON MICHAEL HUFFMAN MICHAEL HAMM NATASCHA JONES
BLOGGER WE LOVE
We love bloggers and we love telling people’s stories. We found the perfect cosplay blog. We are obsessed with Share My Cosplay and you will be too.
SUPER BODY PAINTING
Not the Markey Mark you’re used to - this Markey is a body painting extraordinaire.
BLEEP CREATIVITY. UNCENSORED.
RYAN BRINSON Editor-in-Chief SARAH ROTKER Business & Audience Development Manager PABLO SALINAS Social Media Associate BEN HUMENIUK Cartoonist RACHAEL MARIBOHO Culture Editor COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: Greg De Stefano FEATURE EDITORS: Nathan Robins WRITERS: Caleb Bollenbacher Hatley Moore Laura Seitter Alex Wright FEATURE CONTRIBUTORS: Florian Hubertus WEB CONTENT: Sheena Wagaman Eric Lehman
All articles and photos are the property of the writers and artists. All rights reserved.
Letter from the Editor I remember, when I was a kid, being called a nerd wasn’t exactly a badge of honor. Now, being “nerdy” is something people use to describe themselves proudly. For a while, those were the only people you’d find at any sort of Comic Convention. That was until a few years ago when big name movie studios began bringing their top-billed stars to San Diego’s Comic Con. That, coupled with the resurgence of comic book films at the box office created an entirely new meaning to the terms “nerd” and “geek.” Now, it’s cool to be a comic book nerd. Thousands and thousands attend Comic Book Conventions across the country each year and those people have become influencers on the decisions studios are making about comic book properties. This year, I was able to attend my first convention, New York Comic Con, and was on hand to experience it all in person. It was incredible. I sat down with the cast of “Da Vinci’s Demons” and talked with them about the upcoming third season of their hit show, we met with artists and authors and cosplayers and basically had the best weekend ever. This issue is more than just covering the convention though. We talk with some of the cosplayers from SyFy’s “Heroes of Cosplay” about why they do what they do and the artistry that goes into the looks they create. We also talk with some of the authors and illustrators who are crafting the stories in some of the newest and most exciting graphic novels and comic books. It’s fun to be a comic book geek. Some people have merely an annual foray into comic culture when they go to the conventions with the hopes of seeing movie stars, some are enthusiasts who are in homemade costumes you’d swear were movie props. It’s an amazing culture rich with artistry of all types. Authors, illustrators, filmmakers, writers, costume creators, make up artists - they all converge to tell some of the most incredible stories in entertainment. If you’ve never been to a convention, I encourage you to do so. It’s quite the experience and the art you’ll encounter is second to none. I want to give special thanks to Ben Humeniuk, Tyler Ellis and Caleb Bollenbacher. We are lucky enough to feature their work in our issues every month but this issue wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Ryan Brinson Editor-in-Chief
BLEEPbliPs Why we love Lee Pace Lee Pace first entered my radar when I saw the film “The Fall.” First, if you haven’t seen “The Fall,” you are missing out on one of the most gorgeous and moving films ever created. His performance (and the film) were the most over-looked of 2006. Since then, he’s starred in the cultfavorite series “Pushing Daisies,” starred on Broadway in The Normal Heart, and joined Middle Earth as Thranduil in “The Hobbit” trilogy. Oh, and he was a part of a little film series called “Twilight” too. This summer, he threatened the Picture inset: Pace in “The Fall.” Below: Pace as Ronan in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
universe in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” proving there’s nothing he can’t do. He can be the lovable leading man one day and play the most heartless villan in galaxy the next. Lee Pace is someone to watch, not only in the final chapter of “The Hobbit” this winter, but as his career continues to rise. We’d love to see him back on Broadway, but for now, check him out in “Halt and Catch Fire” on AMC.
The Normal Heart
BLEEPbliPs The death of Saturday morning cartoons & remembering one of the greatest of them all In the fall of 1992, Fox began airing “Batman: The Animated Series” during it’s after school programming. A month later, Fox Kids launched “X-Men: The Animated Series” as a part of their Saturday morning cartoon block. “Batman” ran for 86 episodes and “X-Men” ran for 76, both launched video games, lines of merchandise and “Batman” even won four Emmys. These cartoons transcended their audience in a way that cartoons hadn’t. Sure, adults watched “The Simpsons,” but that show wasn’t intended as children’s entertainment. Artistically, “Batman” was heralded for its art deco style of animation and both “Batman” and “X-Men” were widely acclaimed for the level of maturity and sophistication they brought to a cartoon landscape that included shows like “Bobby’s World” and “Garfield And Friends.” Perhaps this was most accurately represented in the first episode of “X-Men: The Animated Series,” when Morph was killed during an attack. For an audience of mostly children, this level of storytelling proved intrinsic to the success of the series. “Batman” took a similar approach and was so popular, it led to a feature film, “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,” and spurred a wildly successful spin-off in “Superman: The Animated Series” which ran for 54 episodes. Both “X-Men” and “Batman” (and later, “Superman”) took the aspects people loved in the comic books and brought them to life with multi-episode arcs, extensive back stories and an ever expanding mythology of recurring characters. They raised the bar for animated storytelling on children’s television and now that Saturday morning cartoons have disappeared from network programming blocks, there doesn’t seem to be an opportunity to encourage imagination in the way these shows did. The disappearance of Saturday morning cartoons probably has less to do with a lack of interest by the networks than it has to do with their inability to compete with the cartoon-centric cable channels who are able to play cartoons all day. Couple that with the ability to watch cartoons instantly on any number of online platforms, Saturday morning cartoons have been doomed for a bit. Luckily, “X-Men,” “Batman,” and “Superman,” are all available on cartoon-centric stations and on DVD. Hopefully, those who enjoyed them as kids will introduce them to their own kids and let them in on cartoons that were truly innovative and important. - by Ryan Brinson 16 BLEEP
Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia BLEEP 17
BLEEPbliPs Why we love Lee Pace Photographer Nicholas Carter headed to GLounge, a New York hotspot, for “N3RD NIGHT.” Each Monday at 7pm features a different themed party with trivia, games, prizes and drink specials. www.glounge.com
s u o n i a l l i v s l i a t k c co Alcohol has gotten a bad rap in comic books over the years. It’s Tony Stark’s vice and more often associated with the bad guys than the good. So long as you don’t overdo it, however, what’s the harm in taking a step on the dark side of the comic strip now and again? These Super Villain inspired cocktails include a slew of distinct ingredients, some potent flavors and an effect or two just for show. Two of the drinks call for less than common mixers, Rose Lemonade and Dandelion and Burdock. These and other formerly hard to find concoctions have become more readily available in large grocery stores in recent years, and can be ordered online. Fentimans, a UK based brewery specializing in botanical beverages, is a brand to look for and was used in the formulation of these recipes though there are several fine producers to choose from. Whenever mixing with less than common ingredients, especially with something like the beta-alanine seen in one of these drinks, it is good practice to make sure imbibers don’t pose any allergy risk. Poisoning the drinking supplies of major metropolitan areas is certainly a tried and true plot point in comic books, but likely not something advisable to attempt on friends. Drink safe, and experiment with your own take on these – sometimes it’s good to be bad. 20 BLEEP
Poison Ivy’s alignment with the botanical world comes through in this deceptively simple drink which may literally make your skin itch. Green Chartreuse, is a bold liqueur made with some 130 flowers, herbs and other plants by Carthusian Monks. The liqueur is a distinct yellow-green, having inspired the name of the color chartreuse, and is both sweet and spicy with prominent vegetable notes. Green Chartreuse is 55% alcohol by volume, and given its potent flavors should be used with other ingredients with care. The rose lemonade used here mellows the flavor slightly, and the amount can be altered to suit taste. If a stronger drink is desired it is best to replace some of the
rose lemonade with a relatively neutral spirit such as vodka rather than something that will introduce additional strong flavors. The beta-alanine is admittedly nothing more than a cheap party trick and adds nothing to the taste of the drink. It is an amino acid supplement used by athletes which may delay muscle fatigue, and it has the interesting side effect of causing the skin of the consumer to tingle and itch for several minutes, particularly on the hands and face. Though it doesn’t compare to adding actual poison ivy to a drink, many may find this rather unpleasant, so only add it with caution and understanding.
1 ½ oz. Green Chartreuse 5 oz. Rose Lemonade (chilled) 2 lime leaves ¼ Tsp. Beta-Alanine (Optional) Rub one lime leaf along the rim of a Champagne saucer, then gently swirl the Green Chartreuse, rose lemonade and beta-alanine in a cocktail shaker before pouring into the glass and garnishing with the remaining lime leaf.
A traditional, and in fact trademarked Dark ‘n’ Stormy is simply ginger beer, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and possibly a lime wedge. Just as when Jean Grey transforms into the Dark Phoenix her powers are enhanced, this take on the drink adds a bit more complexity to the traditional mix while staying true to its roots. Gosling Brothers, a Bermudan based rum distillery, holds the aforementioned trademark so their Black Seal Rum remains at center stage along with the ginger beer. While ginger beer is intense and contributes strong flavors, Dandelion and Burdock add depth to the drink. Dandelion and Burdock is a drink traditionally fermented from dandelion leaves and
Dark Pheonix’s Storm 3 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum 3 oz. Ginger Beer 1 oz. Dandelion and Burdock 1 oz. Dark Jamaican Rum
Combine all ingredients except Jamaican rum in a wide tumbler filled with ice and stir well. Float Jamaican rum on top. 22 BLEEP
burdock root. Modern incarnations are typically non-alcoholic, maintaining the flavors of the drink using extracts rather than fermentation. The Dandelion and Burdock produced by Fentimans is sweetened with pear juice and spiced with ginger, making it a natural complement to the ingredients in this drink. An extra touch of darkness is added with a floater of dark Jamaican rum, giving initial sips a supplemental kick. If the ginger beer does not contribute enough spice to fan the Phoenix’s flames, a few drops of spicy bitters, such as Bittermens’ Hellfire Habanero Shrub featured in a previous column, can turn up the heat.
Electro’s Power Surge 3 oz. Vodka 1 oz. Blue Curaçao ½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice 2 oz. Tonic or Soda Water Tropical Punch Pop Rocks
Dip the rim of a cocktail glass into a shallow plate of water than coat with Pop Rocks laid out on a separate plate. Combine vodka, curaçao, and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the glass and add tonic or soda water. Sprinkle in a pinch of Pop Rocks.
The manipulation of electricity is an effective ability seen in both prominent villains and heroes including Storm, Dr. Doom, and Thor. One distinct wielder of current is Electro, who took on a bright blue aspect in his most recent movie incarnation. Pop Rocks candy are used to produce a simulation of electrical discharge in this drink. Along the rim of the glass they crackle when drinkers take a sip, and sprinkled into the cocktail they hiss and pop for several minutes. This drink sits at the intersection of an Electric Kamikaze and a Vodka and Soda or Tonic. It is meant to be flexible and open to additions or changes, the tonic or soda could even be left out to make an intriguing shot. Tonic was used initially to enhance the electric effect further by harnessing the florescence of quinine, the substance that gives tonic its bitter flavor, but unless you have black lights on hand that can’t be seen, so soda water is a viable, less bitter alternative. BLEEP 23
25 YEARS OF CO 1991 2008
BATMAN is the top grossing film of the year.
Time Warner buys Dallas-based SIX FLAGS & DC Comics-themed rollercoasters begin to populate in the parks.
The Death of Superman series of comics makes national news
San Diego Comic Con attendance is over 100,000 for the first time.
HELLBOY released to moderate success but gains cult following.
BATMAN RETURNS & Michelle Pfeifer’s CATWOMAN introduce sex appeal to comic book movies. 24 BLEEP
Geek culture goes mainstream as “Big Bang Theory” debuts & The Simpsons Movie features “Spider-Pig.”
“BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES” & “X-MEN THE ANIMATED SERIES” cartoons introduce comic charaters to a new generation.
IRON MAN marks Marvel’s debut as an independent production company.
Eminem’s “Without Me” video brings superheroes to rap music.
SPIDER MAN reboots a genre & features the best movie kiss ever.
The Incredible Hulk ride debuts at Universal Islands of Adventure.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY becomes the top-grossing film of the summer.
OMIC CULTURE 2009
Heath Ledger wins an Oscar for his work as The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT.
DISNEY buys MARVEL COMICS for $4.64B.
THE WALKING DEAD premiers on AMC.
Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark debuts on Broadway amid much press.
X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST repairs the X-Men mythology destroyed in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Northstar, a gay superhero, marries his partner Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #51.
THE AVENGERS grosses $1.51B worldwide. By Ryan Brinson / Illustrations by Tyler Ellis ÂŠBLEEP Magazine BLEEP2014 25
Everyone has a favorite and we here at BLEEP are no exception. We pay tribute to our favorite characters from comic book films and say why they deserve our respect.
“Thor” & “The Avengers”
When I was a kid, I had Marvel trading cards and the one that was my favorite was Thor. When they introduced him into the Marvel cinematic world, I was beyond elated to see my childhood favorite on the big screen. He’s funny, he’s arrogant, and he takes himself too seriously. I love it. -Ryan Brinson
Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy “The Amazing Spider-Man”
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield (as Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker) are by far the best things about Marc Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man” series. I love Gwen’s fearless and compassionate approach to life, and Peter’s misfit, smart-mouth attitude is a great update of Sam Raimi’s nebbishy nerd version. They’re so good, both independently and together, that Gwen’s fate in the sequel almost threw me into an inverse fanboy rage. You don’t stick to the comics canon when actors like these have the reins. -Ben Humeniuk
Catwoman “Batman Returns”
It was the first time I found myself rooting for the villain rather than the hero. Michelle Pfeiffer lit up the screen as Catwoman, slipping into the now iconic shiny black car suit and kicking serious ass. She was a woman done wrong who became the woman who could steal Bruce Wayne’s heart while simultaneously fighting him on the rooftops of Gotham. Sorry Ms. Hathaway, this is the Catwoman. -Ryan Brinson
Spider Man “Spider Man”
I didn’t really grow up reading comic books, but I remember the first time I saw a Spider-Man film. I loved how he, despite all of his super natural powers, still struggled with the same High school issues that most kids, including myself at the time, try to navigate. Plus, he looked oh so good in that suit. Who knew spiders could be sexy? -Alex Wright
The character of Dr. Manhattan, played brilliantly by Billy Crudup, is a disturbingly emotionless entity from one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. While initially a hero, his continuous evolution into a “god” from human form is powerful to watch, and brings an insight on humanity in a way that causes a carnal terror that is rare and can only be developed by a talented director and especially writer. This extraordinary expansion of the mind to a higher power leads to him becoming a “villain” of the human race, with a point of view of nihilistic and higher level thinking that leads him to actions that are so terrifying due to his emotionless state. I think Zack Snyder does a brilliant job bringing this troubled character to life, and it’s philosophical character development in a powerfully disturbing and terror-inducing story makes him my favorite comic book character brought to film. -Hatley Moore
One of the best parts of one of the greatest comic book movies ever made, Nightcrawler absolutely captivates from the first moment he appears on screen. That opening scene in the White House is one of the most dynamic action sequences I’ve seen to this day. I love that Nightcrawler is an X-Man whose faith is at the center of his being, who unabashedly believes in God, in spite of his striking physical similarities to a demon. Brought to life with the perfect balance of vulnerability, playfulness, and occasional dash of menace by the delightful Alan Cumming, this interpretation of one of my favorite comic characters is spot-on. -Caleb Bollenbacher
new york comic con coverage
BLEEP CHATS WITH THE CAST AND CREATIVES OF THE STARZ HIT “DA VINCI'S DEMONS” “Da Vinci’s Demons” is a fun and adventurous take on the part of Leonardo Da Vinci’s life that is wildly unknown. The STARZ hit is coming back for season three in 2015 and we sat down with cast members Blake Ritson, Tom Riley, Laura Haddock and Gregg Chillin, as well as showrunners John Shiban and Amy Berg to talk about the new season and what has challenged the actors in the roles they have been comfortably inhabiting for three seasons. “We were left with such a great cliff-hang and that’s our starting point. It only goes up from there. I’m a fan of cinematic storytelling,” showrunner John Shiban said. More than just provide a cliff-hanger of a finale, season two proved to stretch the actors, both in their craft, but also physically. “Last year, it was physically exacting,” Blake Ritson said. “More so than I’ve ever been. I had to train in krav maga, to toughen up a bit and learn how to fight. I loved the challenge.” 28 BLEEP
hit shows Now that the cast is in production of the third season, the characters and the world they live in have been firmly established, allowing the actors to really delve into their characters and their nuances. “Coming into season three, [the actors] know their characters better than we do at that point,” writer Amy Berg said. “We sat down with all of them at the beginning of the season to talk about who they were as actors and as characters to get a sense of what we could do to make their performances even more spectacular and I think season three does that. We dig really deep into who these people are and their relationships with one another.” “That’s the complete joy of it, in all honesty, and having writing from John and Amy and their team that has completely backed up that desire,” Tom Riley said. “It feels like the show we always wanted it to be. It was the show we thought we were making in the beginning and the show it always promised to be. It’s very nice to delve into characters or set up a new world.” “It’s felt really satisfying this year. The actual playing of these people who all have a sort of through-line – I’ve got a real connection with Lucrezia this year,” Laura Haddock said. “Every decision she makes, I totally understand it. I feel her past, I feel her present and I’m progressing into her future with a much clearer mind. It feels really solid.” Riley, the show’s Leonardo Da Vinci, said that playing such a determined and inventive man has spilled over into his real life. “I’m not very lazy anymore,” Riley said. “I used to waste a day watching a box set and now if I go two hours in the morning without achieving something – if someone like Leonardo Da Vinci could have ended his life saying ‘I haven’t achieved enough. I have offended God and mankind by not exploring knowledge to its depth,’ it throws down a stark reality.” Another reality is the novelty of being able to hang out with fans for a few days at the convention. A reality that isn’t lost on the actors. “I love Comic Con because we are filming away in Wales and suddenly, you come out here and the fans know the show better than you do, which is revealing. It’s nice to feel such a nice fan base,” Ritson said. “It’s the best,” Riley said. “We don’t see the outside world and when we come here, people know it inside and out. They ask us insightful questions that we are asking ourselves.” So what can fans expect from the new season of the show? “I will tell you this: Episode four of this upcoming season is perhaps my favorite episode of ‘Da Vinci’s Demons,” Gregg Chillin said. “It’s just a lot of fun.” “It was so much fun,” echoed Haddock. “You see everyone in a new light. Telling a different truth.” We can’t wait. -Ryan Brinson, Editor BLEEP 29
new york comic con coverage
Perhaps the most original idea at New York Comic Con came from Matt Cornell, inventor of the Ink Whiskey Entertainment Flask and founder of Ink Whiskey LLC. Yes, those sure do look like Nintendo cartridges, except you won’t be able to play Duck Hunt with these. You will, however, be able to bring your favorite booze where ever you go. Part novelty gift and part practical need for any gamer, these were flying off the table when we were there. And as we were told at the booth, “It’s plastic which means you can get it through the metal detectors.” Best sales pitch ever. www.inkwhiskey.com
We stopped by the Vampire Freaks booth to check out some designs the J Crew set can’t handle. For all of their great products, head to www.vampirefreaks.com 30 BLEEP
The gang from Volante Design wearing the coolest anime, comic books, film and video game inspired clothes you’ll ever see! Check em out at www.volantedesign.us
With all the cookie companies in the world, how do you set yourself apart? By coupling it with an original comic crafted by some of the industry’s best. Houston, Cadiz, Romsey and Broxurn are “the roughest, toughest, most stylin’ squad of unicorn warriors in the galaxy,” and with each cookie, you get another chapter of their story. It really is as cool as it sounds and with flavors like Peanut Butter Bacon and Chocolate Chip, Birthday Cake Crisped Rice and Sprinkles, and Chocolate Chip and Potato Chips, they taste even better than they sound. www.einhorns-epic-cookies.com BLEEP 31
new york comic con coverage Incredible tattoo and visual artist Christian Masot stuns the crowd at New York Comic Con. His attention to detail is extraordinary, and for what it’s worth, he’s a super cool guy. For more of his work, head over to www.christianmasot.com
The idea for his newest book,“Earthman Jack vs. The Ghost Planet,” came to author Mattew Kadish in a dream. Literally. “When I was in college,” Kadish said, “I had a dream about a kid who finds a magic spaceship in the center of the Earth. When I woke up, I thought it was sorta cool and over the years, I’ve added to it. The concept is taking all the sci-fi I loved growing up, mashed it into a ball and said ‘what would it be like if Steven Spielberg directed this?’” Kadish was bit by the comic bug when he was growing up in Germany because his dad was in the Airforce. “We only had two English outlets. One was a VHS copy of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” and the other was at the grocery
store where there were English comic books.” Now that he’s a part of comic culture, he likes how big and known the conventions have become. “The biggest thing is that once the girls have adopted something, it’s a real thing. They drive commerce and once it wasn’t just a bunch of dudes hanging around and beautiful women stepped in, it’s only going to get bigger and bigger from here.” FOR MORE INFO, HEAD OVER TO WWW.MATTHEWKADISH.COM We stopped by the Symphony Blush booth to check out amazing make-up in progress. Find out more at www.symphonyblush.com
extraordinary artistry Working with some of the most iconic characters of all time, Alexio Gessa’s pieces were a hit at NY Comic Con. For more of Art by Lex, head over to www.alexiogessa.com
Artist and author Jay P. Fosgitt brought Bodie Troll to Janet Lee, illustrator of comics like “Lost Vegas” and Comic Con and we were immediately smitten. It’s fun, it’s “Dapper Men,” stood out in the sea of artists for her funny, to find out more, check out to www.jayfosgitt.com unique and stunning imagery. We love her. Head over to www.j-k-lee.com BLEEP 33
new york comic con coverage
Cosplay superstar YaYa Han.
Wes Craig is the phenomenal artist of one of the year’s hottest new series in Deadly Class. He chats with BLEEP about his various projects, including a collections of his own stories out this month!
wesley cr AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT PURSUING THAT DREAM? That’s what I’ve always wanted to do- make comics. My older brother would always draw comics and I would do the same. When I had to start thinking seriously about getting a job, my art wasn’t half bad (not nearly as good as I thought it was, but not bad). I sent away samples of my work for years, original comics ideas, and superhero stuff for DC and Marvel while working part-time jobs along the way and saving up to go to conventions with my portfolio. Finally, I started getting some gigs about 10 years ago, working for DC, Marvel, and now “Deadly Class” at Image. WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR YOU BEING A PART OF COMIC BOOK TEAMS? WHAT DOES THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? It changes from project to project but for “Deadly Class,” Rick works with me and our editor Sebastian Girner to work out the story. I do rough layouts that I 36 BLEEP
email to everyone, Lee works his magic on colors and sometimes I’ll go over them to change something I’ve miscommunicated to him. And Rus and Rick work together on the lettering. IN “DEADLY CLASS,” YOU’RE ORIGINATING A COLORFUL CAST OF CHARACTERS. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT COMING UP WITH THE UNIQUE VISUAL LOOKS OF YOUR CAST? We wanted the school to be international, so that gave us a lot to feed off of. And researching, and remembering, that 1980’s era, both the cool and the ridiculous: punks and hip-hop kids, crazy Flock Of Seagulls over-the-top fashion, etc. It’s also very prominent in the hipster crowd today so I use that too. My neighborhood looks like the 80’s sometimes. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRIKES ME MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK ON “DEADLY CLASS” IS THE FLUID NATURE OF YOUR SEQUENCES. MUCH MORE SO THAN MOST BOOKS, READING “DEADLY CLASS” IS LIKE WATCHING A CARTOON. VISUALLY,
raig IT’S A TOTAL STANDOUT. ARE THERE OTHER ANIMATORS OR ARTISTS THAT INSPIRED YOU AS YOU DEVELOPED YOUR STYLE AND CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE WAY YOU PUT TOGETHER SUCH KINETIC SEQUENCES? Some of it is just the way it turns out. Every artist has their strengths and sometimes we’re not even aware of them. I’ve heard it a few times, “Deadly Class is kinetic and it flows.” It’s funny because I remember thinking a few years ago my work was too stiff and static, so maybe pushing against that has resulted in “Deadly Class.” Trying to make the reader feel motion in a medium with no motion is an interesting challenge. I’ve been making notes in my sketchbook for years on how to express movement on the page. A lot of that shows up in “Deadly Class” and in my other project, Blackhand Comics. As far as influences, there’s just way too many to name, but to focus in on the motion aspect I can say anyone from Moebius, Otomo, Robert Valley, Anime like Afro Samurai, Frank Quietly, and B. Krigstein.
WHAT COMICS DID YOU LOVE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? My favorite comic was “Teen Titans.” But I was also influenced by “The Spirit,”‘Dark Knight Returns,”“Lone Wolf and Cub,” “Akira,” Moebius’ work, and “The Killing Joke.” ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE SPECTRUM FROM YOUR CREATOR-OWNED PROJECTS, YOU’VE RECENTLY DONE SOME WORK ON BATMAN. WHAT’S IT LIKE FOR YOU RE-INTERPRETING MORE ESTABLISHED CHARACTERS LIKE THE “DARK KNIGHT? “ It was fun. It’s Batman so when you work on those characters, you can kind of cross them off your list and high-five the mental image of your 10-year old self. Also getting to draw Alfred, Arkham Asylum, and Clayface - the more of that world you get to draw, the more exciting it is. A LOT OF ARTISTS USE MUSIC AS A TOOL TO HELP THEM CREATE. ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SONGS BLEEP 37
OR BANDS THAT ARE “GO-TO” FOR YOU WHEN YOU WORK? For “Deadly Class,” sometimes I start off with the “Drive” or “Tron” soundtrack, to get myself into that era. Even though it’s current music they both capture the feeling of the era really well. Then I might get into some Misfits, Dead Boys, some Public Enemy and N.W.A. Modern stuff like Black Lips too. For Blackhand Comics it’s Tom Waits, Willis Earl Beal, Mark Lanegan, Howlin’ Wolf, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, old Blues and Jazz, older the better. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and talk radio too. BEST PITCH FOR A COMIC YOU’RE ABLE TO SHARE WITH US? “It’s A Clockwork Orange meets Toy Story.”
Class” and that’s really exciting too. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR UP-ANDCOMING ARTISTS? Well I’d say first off you have to LOVE comics and be willing to work long hours alone, honing your craft. You need to make your own comics and not wait for anyone else to say you can make them. Draw all the time. Draw from real life. Look at and read stuff that isn’t just modern comics. Broaden your horizons, so when you start working professionally you can bring something fresh. For a writer, do the same just replace the word “draw” with “write.”
LASTLY, YOU HAVE A COLLECTION OF YOUR WORK COMING OUT THIS MONTH: WHAT CAN OUR READERS EXPECT TO FIND INSIDE? WHAT UPCOMING PROJECTS ARE YOU ESPECIALLY Yeah, that’s called Blackhand Comics- like I said EXCITED ABOUT? that’s my solo gig- I put it out online for free here: “Deadly Class #7” is the start of a new story arc www.blackhandcomics.com Me and Image are and comes out in September, my collection of putting out a collection of the first three stories in Blackhand Comics (that’s my solo project) is out Oct. October. 1st. I’m excited for both of those. Also, me and Rick I don’t want to overhype it but it holds the secrets to are starting to talk about what we’ll do after “Deadly life’s riddles and can cure disease. 38 BLEEP
tyler l & the bib
The Bible is still the best-selling book of all time and there are many versions and interpretations of it in circulation across the world, but Tyler Lolong is doing something completely new with the Old Testament (and eventually the New Testament).
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR BIBLENAUTS COME FROM? I originally got the idea in undergrad when I was doing a college comic in my college paper. There was a TV show in the 80’s called “Superbook” and it was an anime show and the premise was that these kids get shuttled back into the past. I thought this concept would work if it had a little bit more edge to it. It should have the edge that it has in the Bible, rather than the watered-down version that’s made for kids. A PIECE OF THE STORY IS RELEASED EACH WEEK ON MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY. HOW MANY HAVE YOU PLOTTED OUT? As of right now, I’m still in Genesis. It’s going to take me about two years to get through Genesis. The plan is to go in somewhat canonical order, which depending on which
canon you’re going through is a complicated issue, taking her into his harem and it’s a really awkward but the plan is to do most of the Hebrew Bible. story that doesn’t get covered very often. Other than that, my absolute favorite story in the HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE YOU TO DO THE WHOLE Bible is the story of King David in 1 Samuel and 2 WORK? Samuel. It’s an absolutely amazing story with great Right now, the outline I have goes 12-13 years if I’m characters, great action, a lot of political intrigue, able to go on the plan that I have. The Pentateuch people stabbing each other in the back - that’s the alone will take me four years to do. one I’m most looking forward to. LOOKING AHEAD, WHICH ARE SOME OF THE STORIES YOU ARE MOST EXCITED ABOUT EXPLORING? In Genesis, I’m particularly excited about doing stories that don’t typically get adapted. I’m doing what’s called the “Sister Wife story” where Abram shows up in Egypt and has to pretend his wife is actually his sister because he’s worried he’s going to get attacked. Pharaoh ends up grabbing her and
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH? I would say I’m trying to basically explore the Bible, explore my and America’s relationship with the Bible and the very complicated relationship we have with these very complicated but vibrant stories. I’m a cartoonist too and I want to make people laugh. HEAD OVER TO WWW.BIBLENAUTS.COM TO READ AND FOLLOW THE SERIES.
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The driving force behind one of the UK’s biggest comic book festivals and the artist of one of Image Comics’ fresh new series, Tula Lotay talks with us about her out-of-the-box art style, her passion for the medium, and women in comics.
Illustrations/pages courtesy of Image Comics and Warren Ellis
THE FIRST QUESTION I HAD WITH “SUPREME BLUE ROSE,” THE NEW SERIES YOU’RE DOING, IS THAT THERE’S NO COLORIST LISTED IN THE CREDITS. DO YOU DO THE COLOR AS WELL AS THE PENCILS/ INKS? Yeah, I do everything. I’m not very conventional with my art so I kind of just do it all from scratch and experiment with the process. I don’t have traditional pencils and then inks and then colors. I just use textures and change it as I go along. WOULD YOU MIND WALKING US THROUGH YOUR PROCESS ON “SUPREME BLUE ROSE?” In the first two issues, I was actually using traditional inks on paper. I was doing it that way and then scanning them, then I would touch the ink files up in Photoshop. That’s where I would use traditional colors and start laying scanned watercolor textures over it. In issue 3 and a little bit through issue 2, I moved those to digital inks in Photoshop and still use the same coloring process where I’m coloring normally, but still overlaying the scanned watercolors. I paint a lot of light watercolor textures at home and then scan them in and change the color and lay them over the top. HOW DID YOU GET THE JOB ON “SUPREME BLUE ROSE?” My work was shown to Eric Stephenson, the head of Image, because I was working on a Thought Bubble Festival anthology at the time (I run a big comics
festival in the UK and we put out an anthology for charity). Stephenson really liked my work and he was in the process of doing something with Warren (Ellis, writer of “Supreme Blue Rose”) at the time and they needed an artist. Eric said to Warren “how about Tula’s work?” I’m not sure if Warren was sure if I suited that book but what came from that is that Eric really wanted Warren and I to do something together. So Warren and I started talking about what we could take to Image and the thing we were talking about was kind of interesting but it wasn’t really gelling for either of us. That’s when Warren said to Eric “Look, I’m going to re-work Supreme.” Warren sent me the script and it blew me away. I think it worked really well because Warren knows me quite well and he knows what my interests are so I feel like he’s written the book for me; it’s a book inspired by everything we love. COULD YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT CHARACTER CREATION? IN GENERAL WHAT GOES INTO MAKING THE CHARACTERS WE SEE ON THE PAGE? With other writers I’m working with, they will send through a character profile of what somebody’s like. I didn’t get any of that with Warren, I just got a straight script and Warren’s writing is so amazing that it’s really easy to get a feel for what a character is like. So I got a real feel for the main character, Diana, just by the way she behaves and the way she interacts with everyone around her, that she’s obviously had some mental health issues in the past. But she’s an incredibly strong character and despite her fears and doubts, she dives in and does something anyway. When you start to look at those aspects of a person, how they work and how they interact with people around them, I find it quite easy to picture someone then and I kind of take it from there. It’s super important to me that I feel emotionally invested in a character. You can take a lot from facial expressions and the way people react, not necessarily when they’re talking but when they’re listening and viewing things. So for me it’s super important to get facial expressions right so you can portray emotions through that.
dyslexia – so reading and writing never came easy to me. I struggled throughout school. I could never read a book as a child and I struggled into my teenage years. The one thing that enabled me to read when I was younger was the comic books my father used to buy for me. Because I’ve always loved drawing, the art really called me in. The art made me want to know more, and that helped me to start reading more and from there I just started picking things up more and my love for the medium just grew. I’ve loved comics since I was about seven years old. Eight years ago I set up a comic art festival in the UK called Thought Bubble. It’s purely comics. One of the main things that made me set that up was that it would allow me to put on free writing and art-based workshops for children and adults with literacy problems. Because comics helped me so much growing up I thought it’s such a nice thing for people to be able to embrace that art form if they do struggle with anything or feel excluded. That’s close to my heart. AS FAR AS COMICS IN GENERAL GO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY. WHERE DO YOU SEE IT GOING FROM HERE? To be honest I’m not sure. I feel worried about it sometimes. With the recent blockbuster films that have been coming out gaining more and more interest, the medium seems to be really growing and flourishing. I think there is this movement away from the printed form and possibly onto digital. A lot of people worry about that because you do need that ground base, those retail shops, to really encourage people to pick up more. I worry that we may lose some of that in the future. In terms of the medium growing, it really does seem to be flourishing. It’s quite exciting!
LOOKING BACK THE OTHER DIRECTION, WHAT WERE SOME OF THOSE EARLY SERIES THAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN COMICS? My most favorite comic ever is Daredevil. That’s the first comic I picked up when I was little, it was Frank Miller’s Daredevil, around the time of the Elektra YOU HAD TALKED SOME ABOUT NOT REALLY saga. That kind of stuff I really got into. When I was GOING WITH A CONVENTIONAL APPROACH TO reading it would be old Star Wars comics, X-Men, a COMICS. DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO WORK IN lot of Marvel stuff. But Daredevil’s the only one that COMICS? I’ve always stuck with. It’s had some great writers and I’ve loved comics since I was very young. I had artists work on it. problems in school when I was young – I have 46 BLEEP
are women out there working in comics that have incredibly positive stories and love what they do and have been welcomed by the industry. We don’t talk about the positives. My experience is that it has been very nice and it’s a great place to be. Any girls wanting to get into the industry should just go for it and work really hard to get where they want to be! I have nothing but positivity for the whole art form; it’s a lovely environment! WHAT’S COMING NEXT FOR YOU? I’m looking at doing a series with a writer after “Supreme” that I’m really excited about. I’m working with Brian Wood on his new series, “Rebels,” and there’s going to be ten issues of that. I also have five more issues of “Bodies” to do, which is going down really well. It’s really exciting, there’s so much going on, so many opportunities await! I can’t find enough time in the day to do everything!
Illustrations/pages courtesy of Image Comics and Warren Ellis
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BIG PIECE OF ADVICE FOR OTHERS WHO ARE WANTING TO GET INTO COMIC CREATION, ESPECIALLY WOMEN? Persevere with what you want to do. Just keep trying, keep drawing all the time – or if you write, write all the time – and don’t be discouraged if it seems difficult, or doesn’t seem to be going in a place where you want it to, or you don’t get the right kind of feedback. You have to see your goals, see where you want to be, and work hard to get there. I think the thing with females in the industry there’s a big thing online at the moment about how women are treated in the comic book and gaming industry. It gets talked about a lot. There seems to be a lot of talk about the problems there are and I worry sometimes that any female going into that might feel afraid that it’s not a very nice environment for them to be or that it might not be very welcoming. I worry that that could discourage people – but also there
david reddick 48 BLEEP
David Reddick has been a fixture in the world of web comics for years. He’s done licensed work for big franchises like Star Trek and Garfield, and his creatorowned content has had fans clamoring for more. His new strip, “Intelligent Life,” puts a “comic” spin on the culture familiar to many readers. AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU REALIZE/ DECIDE YOU WANTED TO PURSUE COMICS? AND HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT CHASING THAT GOAL? I knew when I was 5. I remember it clearly because I received a “Peanuts” paperback book, and I was hooked immediately on that beautiful art form. And then, when I saw a picture of Charles Schulz in his comfortable cardigan sweater, fancy corduroy pants and loafers, well, that was a comfortable-looking cartoonist, and I knew that was the life for me. From then on, I spent all my time reading comics and drawing all my favorites, including many old comics from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. I grew up in an antiques shop, and was exposed to many old actual newspapers starting at about 1910 and up, and I cut my teeth on classic comics from times gone by and experimented heavily with the tools those cartoonists used in order to achieve the same effects.
and write, access my keywords for the week, or for a month, or for a theme, or just in general, and open up my template in Photoshop and literally type the words for any given strip directly into the comic strip template (as I work digitally for the final work), so it is raw and “live” and in the moment. I then have all text already laid in, and I may edit as it progresses. The art process kicks in from there, and I will roughly pencil in the action very minimally, staging the strip (a good comic strip is all about good design, to paraphrase the great Charles Schulz), and once satisfied, will take it to the next step, which is to pencil in and detail the action, and then ink. I also color all of my own strips, so that is the final step. I also sketch a lot... poses of the characters, ideas, etc.... sometimes I will pull a sketch from the sketchbook (as I love to work on paper as well) and ink the art directly from a sketch that way. If I DO ink on paper, it is with a Pigma Micron .08 and .05 on Bristol.
AS SOMEONE WHO WRITES COMICS BUT CAN’T DRAW A LICK, I’M ALWAYS IMPRESSED WITH CREATORS WHO CAN DO BOTH. COULD YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS? YOUR ART PROCESS? IN “LEGEND OF BILL,” THINGS GET MORE SERIOUS My writing process is interesting and likely appears AS THE STORY PROGRESSES. HOW DO YOU FIND haphazard to an outsider ... I mostly write based BALANCE BETWEEN HUMOR AND STORY? WAS THE off of keywords. I will get ideas constantly (I carry a BIG, OVER-ARCHING STORY INITIALLY PLANNED sketchbook everywhere as well as a pocket blank OR DID IT JUST SORT OF TAKE ON ITS OWN LIFE AS notebook) and will jot down words of interest. I also YOU PLAYED WITHIN THE WORLD? keep a log of varied keywords and themes digitally It totally took on a life of its own, and it fascinated me as well so I can transcribe them quickly there, too. and kept my interest constantly. With Legend of Bill, And, of course, I keep words and quick doodles in my because of the fantasy tone of the comic, I’d put Bill and sketchbook. I will then, when it’s time to hunker down Frank (his little blue dragon sidekick) into situations, BLEEP 49
and then let them dig their way out. Suddenly, new characters emerged, new threats, new action, new needs ... all sort of formed from the background. It is a fascinating thing when your creation begins to live and breathe, and you realize you are but a scribe to this living world. (Only an artist/writer could say such a thing and not be locked up and heavily medicated!) “Intelligent Life” has started taking on that place as well ... living, breathing, as I watch its world unveil. That, to me, in comics making ... is magic. YOU HAVE A LOT OF CHARACTERS BREAK THE FOURTH WALL IN YOUR COMICS (ESPECIALLY LOB), WHICH SEEMS TO SPEAK TO YOUR GREAT INVOLVEMENT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE. WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR YOU HAVING SUCH A THIN (AND AT TIMES NON-EXISTENT) LINE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR AUDIENCE, ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF YOUR STATUS AS SUCH A SOCIAL MEDIA GURU? I love it. When a creation and its creator are synonymous, that is a deep and meaningful thing to me. In the case of “Intelligent Life” and “Legend of Bill,” I am so intimately ingrained in those worlds of geekdom, cosplay, conventions, pop and geek culture, social media and interests, that “Intelligent Life” is as natural a place for me to exist as my own everyday non-drawing life. I live the very things I write and draw. With “Legend of Bill,” while I have never been a wandering Barbarian, I HAVE been a wandering nerd most of my life, often standing on the periphery of 50 BLEEP
the mainstream and navigating the world in my own little bubble of reality, much like the characters in “Intelligent Life” and “Legend of Bill.” They say write what you know, and I am constantly fortunate to do exactly that (such as also in the case of The Trek Life, my “Star Trek” webcomic that appeared at the official Star Trek website, www.startrek.com for three years. My intense knowledge and love of “Star Trek” actually manifested a chance to live in it through my characters in “The Trek Life,” and afforded me the opportunity of getting to meet every “Star Trek” actor out there, and forming friendships with many of them. So, in short, what it’s like having a thin or non-existent veil... that is pure interaction with myself and readers... it forms an intimacy with the comic that gives it a very “inside” feel, and I like to think that readers become friends in this way, and feel invested in this world, as it is, ultimately, also their world. “INTELLIGENT LIFE” IS OFF TO SUCH A FUN START! WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE GETTING THIS OFF THE GROUND, AND WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THIS NEW COMIC? It has been fantastic! Readership online is particularly growing strong, and “Intelligent Life” is met with a lot of love and goodness! It has been such a wonderful experience thus far, and continues to be so. King Features Syndicate is so fantastic. My editor, the PR folks, the marketing folks, the sales folks, the online folks, all of them... this is a total team effort and
I adore them all greatly. There’s a real excitable family atmosphere to this process that just plain inspires me and makes me happy. “Intelligent Life” came about out of my love of all things geek that I have had since I was a kid. I actually created the beginning (and title) of “Intelligent Life” back around 1991, when I was in the Navy (four years, lived in Japan), as an escape from things, as usual (since childhood), I created my own characters and worlds and comics... and I created “Intelligent Life.” It was not a geek culture thing then... but Skip was intact as the main character. It has morphed over time in sketchbook after sketchbook and the time was right for it to come to fruition as it is today, which is still at its core true to its origins. I’VE LOVED GARFIELD FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. WHAT IS IT LIKE COMING INTO SUCH AN ESTABLISHED PROPERTY AND LEAVING YOUR MARK WHILE WORKING WITHIN A BRAND? WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING WITH JIM DAVIS? I’ve been with Garfield for more than 10 years, and it is just fantastic. You won’t find a better family than the wonderful folks at Paws, Inc., nor a more devoted staff who believes in Jim and in the little orange fuzzball. We all keep it consistent and solid as a team, through Jim’s personal guidance and vision and personal interaction daily. And working with Jim is a hoot you better keep sharp, as he keeps you on your toes. Good luck keeping up! Jim’s a prime example of a
cartoonist who is ever-devoted to his vision, and he knows how to treat people right, which is a testament to his creation that we all love. WHAT UPCOMING PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE THAT OUR READERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? A: The expansion/next version of my and Jonathan Schwarz’ game, “RedShirts,” should be coming out in the near future (current game can be found at ThinkGeek.com) Other than that, I am intensely focused on Intelligent Life and growing it, so that is really my primary focus and project. The time involved in producing a daily syndicated comic strip is not for the faint of heart! But it affords one a chance to work in their pajamas while sipping chocolate milk and listening to Bollywood. (Or is that just me?) FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THE WORLD OF COMICS? Never, ever, ever give up. Believe it, see it, eat it, breathe it, and be willing to work twice as hard as the next person to reach it. Follow David at www.Twitter.com/DavidReddick and for info on all of his upcoming projects, head over to www.IntelligentLifeComics.com
Photo by Greg De Stefano
CHLOE DYKSTR 52 BLEEP
You’re at the forefront of the cosplay community. What was the most surprising aspect of being a part How did you first become involved? of that show? It all started with some “Left 4 Dead” Halloween Two things: costumes my boyfriend at the time and I threw 1. The fact that, despite most networks’ infamous together one year, and the more we edited them for ability to ignore good advice and continue to accuracy, the crazier we got until we had beeping make bad choices, SyFy listened to viewers (and pipe bombs and were making people incredibly the cast) and did a 180: the silly personal drama uncomfortable in 7-11. of the show got dumped halfway through the season in favor of real costume-related drama. I What types of characters are you drawn to for your consider that a huge victory. costumes? 2. I would also have to say the community. I always I love characters with BIG knew that people would personalities or awesome be grumpy and judge-y, fighting abilities. Gaige but a spectacular number is one of my favorites of people came out of because she’s got both the woodwork to tear the a badass persona and a show down for being a murder robot. trashy, shallow show, and in the same breath, slutHow do you stay sharp shaming my cast mates with your design skills? and tearing apart our I wouldn’t exactly call costumes. It was atrocious myself sharp when it comes and nauseating, to be to design, but that’s okay. honest, to see that kind of If we’re talking designing behavior in the community [in terms of ] how to put I was so damned proud together a costume, I kind to be a part of. Luckily for of just keep running at a us, however, the majority wall until I break through of people were incredibly or fall over. I’ve had to supportive, and I can’t tell scrap some projects, but you how lovely most of that’s all part of the game. the messages I’ve received personally regarding the How did you become show have been. a part of “Heroes of Cosplay” on SyFy? Tell me about “Jus Cos.” I was approached about “Just Cos” is a show I did the show and I was instantly for the Nerdist Channel wary. A reality show? About where I got to run around cosplay? I don’t know about that; I had no idea how and interview people in cosplay. Honestly, it was a they were going to portray the community. I turned dream come true: It’s pretty much what I do anyway, them down, but they assured me that it wasn’t what I they just threw some cameras in there and called it a was thought it would be. I was still so nervous about show. joining the cast that I actually didn’t even technically sign the contract until the night before our first shoot Your father’s resume reads like a cosplayer’s dream. day. From “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica” to “Batman and Robin” and “X-Men: First Class.”
Photo by Greg De Stefano
He even has Academy Awards for his work on “Star Wars” and “Spider Man 2.” How does he continue to inspire you? I’ve always considered my pops to be one of my biggest heroes. Not because he worked on “Star Wars,” but because he was incredibly innovative - he invented a motion-controlled camera - while still just being ridiculous, probably drunk, and blowing stuff up in a warehouse with his friends. In a weird way, I feel like old school ILM kind of embodied the spirit of cosplay. What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? I try to get work done, but usually end up watching Star Trek and playing video games. I’m currently on a self-prescribed diet of lots and lots Reddit. Also, I play a lot with my two dogs and my two (human) best friends. What’s next for you? Lots of goodies! I have a Kickstarter up for “Tenspotting” - a romantic comedy short about one woman’s search for her perfect tenant. Every Thursday you can catch me hanging with my friends on my Livestream/Google+ Hangout eating pizza and watching porn for my silly show, “Pizza and Porn.” I’m writing quite a bit for several different thingsnothing I can talk about yet, though! For more on Chloe, follow her on at www.twitter. com/skydart. As she put it: “All random things end up there, along with missing socks and Miley Cyrus’s childhood.”
Photo by Alexa Karii
Where are you from? I was born and raised in NYC. I am a New Yorker through and through. Its in my accent to my mannerisms. Ethically I am half Spanish, and half Egyptian, so that’s where I get my good looks. I spent a lot of time abroad though, touching my roots in Colombia.
How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? Originally I started up with my ex-girlfriend. We started off together with the crappiest costumes. After we split up, I really hunkered down to learn how to work with higher grade materials. It was a huge learning process, and I’ve evolved over the years to get to where I am. I’m still pretty new to learning different medium, and I am always eager to improve. What was the first character you decided to inhabit? My first real attempt at costumes was with Angemon from Digimon. Growing up, I used to wake up every Saturday to 4kids and so Digimon really holds that nostalgic place in my heart. I loved his design, and even though Angemon rarely appeared in the show, when he did, it was always beyond epic, so he stood out to me. Plus, who wouldn’t wanna be a dude with six wings?
How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to costuming? Using the terms “skills” in a liberal sense here. I have no technique, I have no patterns, and generally no clue what I am doing. Its tons of trial and error, looking up what other people do, and comparing what each person did with what I am capable of doing. When all else fails, trusty Google and YouTube always come to the rescue. What do you want to be known for within the cosplay community? I don’t like to take cosplay too seriously. You can see it especially on Heroes of Cosplay. I never really compete, and I like to be the social guy. I am more of a “let’s have fun and get hammered with friends” type of guy, than a “let’s be super serious about cosplay” guy. I wanna be known someone who always brings the party, but in a good way. That is why I created the hashtag ‘cosfamous.’ I don’t take the notoriety aspect seriously and so I like to poke fun at those who do. It’s
Photo by Alexa Karii
all part of being able to take a step back and just enjoy what I have in life at the moment. Comic culture has gone mainstream. Is that a good or a bad thing? Why? It has pros and cons. Society can now openly accept “nerds.” With the advent of all the comic movies, the new “in thing” is being a nerd. It’s lost its negative stigma it’s held for so many years, and have let people indulge in it, from all the new merchandise down to the comics themselves. The negative aspect though, is that for those who grew up liking all things comics, are becoming jaded to the new wave of geek culture consumers. What’s next for you? My real life job. Most people know I am an EMT. I am striving to improve my life, for any promotions, etc. I’m looking to expand my career now that I am working with the hair dye company, Manic Panic, and I am getting to travel the world representing them. I am always focused first on my real job and relationships before cosplay. For more on his work, head over to www.facebook.com/MiggyJaeger and www.twitter.com/MiggyJagger BLEEP 59
Where are you from? I’m in Houston, Texas at the moment, but I’ve lived in Zacatecas, Mexico for a good part of my life. How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? My friends always thought I resembled Johnny Deppso I wore a Jack Sparrow costume to a convention one day for fun and didn’t think anything of it until I was swarmed by photographers.
Photo by Legion Fotos
What was the first character you decided to inhabit? Inhabit is definitely the word I’d use to describe what I feel when I put on some of these costumes. My first was Gambit. He’s my favorite character and a tough costume to pull off. The movie studio couldn’t get it right on screen so I decided to take the matters into my own hands and make this character real. I’ve gone as far as actually throwing cards several feet and getting the Cajun accent down. What do you want to be known for within the cosplay community? My attention to detail. I love and have always prided myself on making as much as possible from scratch. Also that I make my partner’s costumes as well. Sizing women and designing for them has been a fun challenge, but the results from all her costumes have made me proud. I also want to be known for my willingness to teach and help others. For instance, Cosability, which is cosplay for those with disabilities. I don’t think anyone with a disability should be left out the fun and the creative ideas some of these kids put into their costumes is amazing. Comic culture is growing in size and acceptance. The fact that people aren’t afraid to express themselves has shown how much things have changed. The comic community is such an accepting one that it’s rare to be ridiculed for being different. If anything, we encourage others to show us something we’ve never seen before. The positive vibes coming from everyone always makes the whole experience worth all the blood, sweat, and glue gun burns. What’s next for you? I have some short film projects in the works and I’m making costumes for those. I’m also making some props/costume accessories. I want to mix a bit of the nerdy things I like with some fashionable clothing accessories, so hopefully I get to work on some of that soon. Also looking forward to continue competing and show people what I can do. Check him out at www.Facebook.com/HybridEmblem and at www.Instagram.com/Yami_Hybrid
Photo by Mineral Blu Photography
Photo by Mineral Blu Photography
BLEEP CREATIVITY. UNCENSORED.
Photo by Brent Allen Thale from Winged Mammal Photography
Photo by Aubry Canales
Where are you from? Currently Charleston, SC. How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? Right around 1996. Back then it wasnâ€™t called Cosplay. People dressed up as part of Dragoncon. How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to costuming? There are so many great craftsman demonstrating techniques on Youtube. You can learn to do anything. In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? Getting to step out of your own skin for a little while and be someone else is very appealing to me. Whatâ€™s next for you? My next projects involve building more armor! To find out more about Chad and to see more of his work, head over to www.twitter.com/wickley.
RIKI LeCOTE You’ve worked on films like “Big Momma’s House: Like Father, Like Son” and “X-Men: First Class” as a SFX PA. What did being a part of a huge comic book film like “X-Men: First Class” teach you? Interestingly enough, when I worked on “Big Mommas House 3,” I learned more technically, than when I was on “Xmen: First Class.” On Xmen, I was more on set with the actor, so my familiarity with costumes and the understanding what it’s like being in costume helped me take care of the actor in his suit, being able to take care of any minor repairs that would happen on set, and leaving the big repairs to the amazing talented people in the trailer.
challenge and satisfaction of creating a costume yourself, meeting people who are also fans of the same characters.
Did being a part of a film like that affect your cosplay? If so, how? I was humbled by the skill of my more experienced coworkers who do this full time. They were generous enough with their information and techniques whenever I had questions, which reinforced my feelings about sharing information. I also learned that even if you have people who are at the top of their game, they are working on such a level of quality that it doesn’t just happen overnight.
Tell me about Cosplay for a Cause. The idea for Cosplay for a Cause came about when the Tsunami/earthquake struck Japan. I have just been so inspired and influences by so many things from Japan, when I saw the devastation that ravaged the country, it really hit home for me. So I contacted 18 cosplayers from around the world and asked them to shoot a new photo that I then I created a calendar of Japanese anime and video game characters accompanied by artwork by well-known comic book artists that work for companies like Marvel & DC. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, CFAC was able to donate $30,000 to the Japanese Red Cross. Originally I didn’t know if I was going to continue with other charity projects, but since then I have organized other projects to raise money for both American Red Cross & Philippine Red Cross. I’m currently finalizing a project; which I am really excited about. Those who know me know I’m a big advocate of animal rescue. It’s another calendar, featuring 18 cosplayers (3 men, 16 woman) dressed as superheroes with animals. We are donating 100% of the profits to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
You’re a mainstay in the cosplay community. How did you first become involved? When I started cosplay, I didn’t know it was cosplay. It was just me being like “Whoa these anime characters are cool I want to be like them!” So I dressed up with a friend of mine for Halloween. It wasn’t until a year and a half later that I went to my first convention and saw other people doing it. I just kept plugging away and trying to push and challenge myself. It’s nice that it is pretty widely accept now, because it means access to more and better materials than when I first started. How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to costuming? It’s my hobby and, with any person who works on their hobby for over 10 years, you grow in skills and change and try new things and fail a lot. I also sought out people with different skill sets than my own and tried to learn from them. In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? Bringing your favorite characters to life, the 66 BLEEP
OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, COSPLAY HAS BECOME BIGGER AND BIGGER. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF IT AND AN INNOVATOR? I just try to make the best costumes I can. What I feel got me noticed was not relying only on comic, or anime to interpret a costume, such as doing a direct translation. Look at real world clothes or objects to try and make a believable costume. I just do my own take on the character.
What’s next for you? Just keep pushing myself to do better costumes. I always look back at my older costumes and feel I could have done that differently. That mindset helps me with moving forward with bigger projects that I want to do like Strike Witches or Bubble Gum Crisis. Follow Riki at www.twitter.com/Ridd1e
Photo by Martin Wong
Photo by Benny Lee
Photo by Dru Phillips
JAYSON ‘PANZER’ Where are you from? I am from a combination of the great states of Michigan and Florida. I moved back and forth between them when I was a kid so it wouldn’t be fair of me to say I was wholly from one or the other. Best of both worlds type of deal. How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? I became involved in the cosplay community back in 2006. I had started going to conventions a few years earlier and loved it, but hadn’t really gotten involved with the costuming community as I was afraid of rejection. I think it took every ounce of courage I had to cosplay for this first time. The reception and acceptance I was received from everyone was so great however that I’ve never looked back. In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? The appeal of cosplay I think varies from person-toperson. For me, cosplay is a hobby that lets me be me and like what I like without any feeling of shame. Whether I am feeling like a comic book hero and wish to dress as Nightwing or am on the opposite end of the spectrum and feel like Loki, with cosplay the imagination, and sometimes the wallet is the limit. What’s next for you? Next up for me is Dragoncon in Atlanta. To that end my girlfriend and I have been working to bring a genderbend concept of Disney’s Cruella De Vil from the artist Sakimi Chan to life. I have to say I am really excited about it. For more on Panzer, head over to Facebook page at www.facebook.com/panzercosplay or on Tumblr at www.panzer-cosplay.tumblr.com 72 BLEEP
Photo by N/A Studio
Photo by Raymond Madamba
Photo by MarkyMakeup.com
DAELEN CORY How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? It was an obsession with The X-Men’s Rogue & Gambit story arc. It also helped being Southern and Cajun myself. How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to costuming? I love integrating technology into wearable pieces. My friend Sylvia Heisel of HEISEL Fashion uses new technology to create accessories and clothes that embody creativity, technology, sustainability and style which is great for cosplay. In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? With desiring to be a character you’re not so badly that you actually become them, the pretending swiftly becomes your reality. What’s next for you? I want to projection map onto my body so suits and details can change instantly along with the backdrop. Where can we find out more about you/your work? I have an Interior Design firm called L’Esperance Design. We do projection mapping for clients along with interiors, Wallcoverings and furnishings. For more info, head over to www.lesperancedesign. com. 74 BLEEP
For more on Daelen, head over to www.facebook.com/daelencory
Where are you from? into traditional cosplay. I’ve done a few screen accurate I’m originally from New York, but I am currently living costumes - but I went back to making dresses because in Florida. I love the freedom and the creativity that it allows me. I start with a traditional male costume for a character that How did you first become involved in the cosplay I identify with, then I design dresses based on a time community? period or a particular style. For example I am currently I’ve always been interested in fashion and costumes. working on a Captain America dress which is loosely When I was young I made a lot of my own clothing. They based on a riding habit. Instead of a helmet, the dress were always costumes, Renaissance style or something will have a hat with his insignia - and instead of plain space-aged. In addition to that, I’ve been a huge Nine white sleeves, it is going to have flared lace sleeves. Inch Nails fan since 1994. Back in 1999, myself and the other fans were really looking forward to the release of In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? a long awaited record and tour. A few of us were lucky What I love most about cosplay is that it is a shared enough to attend the VMAs that year to watch the experience. Much like going to rock shows - you are band perform - for that show I made a dress based on given an opportunity to meet other fans who share your album cover Pretty Hate Machine. We all loved the dress love of comics, characters and costuming. I’ve met many so much that I decided to make more for the tour. I’ve of my friends at cons and we now cosplay as groups made over 20 different dresses since then - I wear them and that to me is the best part of making these dresses. to shows all the time and have become known as “The My best friend and I always dress up as a pair and that Dress Girl” to many people in the fandom. When the means the world to me. band “broke up” for a few years - I started getting more BLEEP 75
Why “Ghostbusters?” Mostly because I grew up loving “Ghostbusters!” I grew up in the 80’s, and I loved the movie, I watched the cartoon on the TV, I played with the toys, I read the books and comics, I listened to the music, I lived and breathed the franchise since its beginning. At the end of February of 2014, I heard the news of the death of my childhood hero, Harold Ramis. I do get saddened by the death of some celebrities who have touched my life and inspired me, but Harold’s death was different. It hit me hard. I was devastated. I looked at the articles, saddened by the news, and I turned to my wife and looked at her, and the first thing I said was “Honey, I’m going to make me a Ghostbusters uniform and a Proton Pack...” She looked at me and said, “...only on one condition... you make me one too!” After some research and some time with an amazing fan community, I am now part of the Ghostbusters, Virginia Franchise and have done several events as a Ghostbuster, along with my wife and two little girls, and seeing the smiles that people get on their faces when they see us is absolutely priceless. This is by far the best hobby ever! In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? The appeal of Cosplay, to me, is being able to be something different for a day or two... to show off some creativity and have fun with it, and maybe even to allow some personality to bleed out of something familiar. Plus, it also allows us to feel exceptionally special. While it is important for everybody to feel that they are important throughout each day of their lives, there is just something cool, exciting and awesome about walking into a place or venue, or even charity event, all dressed up, and seeing smile upon smile on everybody’s faces, and have everybody compliment you on what an awesome job you did with putting everything together. I tell you, just being able to spread some happiness in the world, for even just a small moment in yours or somebody else’s life, is just an amazing feeling! 76 BLEEP
PHIL YEE HASANON
How did you first become involved in cosplay? I first got into Cosplay because I thought it would be something interesting to do with my wife. We could be creative and have fun with it at the same time. Our first cosplay together was at Otakon 2010 in Baltimore, MD, where we Cosplayed Ichigo and Rukia from the anime “Bleach.”
Where are you from? I am originally from central Penn. area, just outside of a town called Hershey Penn. I now live in Los Angeles. How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? I have been really into comics since I was very young. I worked in entertainment here in LA, made a bunch of awesome friends who happened to throw some pretty epic costume themed parties, and that’s how it all began. How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to costuming? I would love to keep learning more about costuming and cosplay and, as an artist, learn how to flesh out sketches I’ve made into final products. Perhaps I can use those abilities to then make not just costume, but wearable everyday-inspired apparel. How do you feel about comic culture going mainstream? At first I was not happy with it, but to be honest, the more it goes “mainstream,” the more I realize that means more companies are going to make things I love and open up realms that were not as possible before. It gives us the opportunity to see characters I love come to life on the big screen as well as offering us all a chance at sharing the things we love with people who might not have normally gotten into it. What’s next for you? Ultimately I came to Cali for creating and art. I was a fashion model in NYC for a few years and I wanted to be in Cali to make the move into more acting and voiceover work. I love to make people laugh. I started going on auditions again and who knows, maybe I’ll get more chances at doing more of that aspect of entertainment. For more on Michael, check out his Instagram at www. instagram.com/onexpunchxmickey and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/onexpunchxmickey
Where are you from? Where am I from, or where do I live? I only ask because “where I’m from” is kind of a touchy subject that involves my planet being blown up and my dad literally shooting me into the nothingness of space. “Where I live” is Halifax, Nova Scotia. How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? Throughout high school, I always felt ashamed of my interest in geek culture. I looked forward to every Halloween because it was the one time a year I could make a costume and wear it around my friends without any feelings of shame. I attended my first convention and for the first time experienced ‘Cosplay.’ It was at that point I realized the only thing I had to be ashamed of was the fact that I spend so many years denying who I was and what I loved doing. How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to costuming? For me, Cosplay isn’t about skill, it’s about attitude. My costumes are built with passion and with trial and error. I can’t sew, I can’t create foam patterns, I can’t paint, and I sure as hell can’t go 30 seconds without burning my flesh with a glue gun. I don’t just Cosplay what’s popular at the moment, I Cosplay characters that I love and connect with. Then what I do is channel that love and passion into hard work because I refuse to let these characters and myself down. I may not have the skill, but I’ll always find a way. In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? I always find it hard to put into words how I feel about Cosplay. The reason for this is that I’m a closeted introvert, and unfortunately this means there are times where being in a costume makes me extremely uncomfortable. But at the same time, it’s been Cosplay that has pushed me to become more social and face the dreaded boss battle we call “Life.” In the end, it boils down to the fact that I’ve just always been a geek at heart and Cosplay gives me a medium to express my passion for comic and video game culture amongst other geeks who like doing that same geeky junk. Follow Michael at www.facebook.com/michaelhamm and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/hammy73. You can also check out his modeling work at www.facebook.com/shaunsimpsonphotographer
Photos by Shaun Simpson
JONES HOW DID YOU FIRST BECOME INVOLVED IN THE COSPLAY COMMUNITY? I was always an avid comic book fan, but when I first saw photos of Cosplayers on the internet, it was mind-blowing for me. I just had to give it a try. Before I saw these people bringing some of my favourite characters to life, I didn’t even think it would be possible. These pictures were my main inspiration to learn to sew and give costuming a try. WHAT WAS THE FIRST CHARACTER YOU DECIDED TO INHABIT? I’ve done a few costumes in the past, but I like to call Batgirl my first serious costume project. Barbara Gordon has been my biggest childhood hero from the first moment I saw her in the ‘66 Batman series and later in the Animated series. There is a big range of characters I really like, but I am usually very drawn to strong and determined females. I’m not into naive characters, but also not into characters who’re able to do anything. I think characters need their flaws as much as their strengths to be really interesting. It’s what makes them relatable for us. YOU HAVEN’T BEEN SEWING FOR VERY LONG. HOW DO YOU CONTINUE TO FURTHER YOUR SKILLS WHEN IT COMES TO COSTUMING? The amazing thing about costuming is that there are no limits. Every skill is helpful and the learning process never stops. I recently started sculpting and would like to fabricate my own masks, cowls and props in the future. I even started to make my own face prosthetics for costuming and that’s something I never imagined I’d be able to make. In the future I would love to focus a little bit on historical costumes and big embroidery projects, as well as developing my sculpting skills. It is an exciting journey. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR WITHIN THE COSPLAY COMMUNITY? I think people spend too much time to worry about what other people think of them and what could make them “known” or “special.” To be honest, I simply want to enjoy what Photos by Janet Drake
Photos by Janet Drake
I do. I’m not making costumes to get well known, I’m simply following my passion for crafts & comics and that’s probably what most of us do. We’re just a bunch of fans who want to show our love for our favourite characters in a very special way. I, like all the other fans, simply enjoy how diverse costuming is. There are so many artforms like costume design, photography, sculpting and painting combined in one. How amazing is that? We should embrace the fact that we all are one big family of very passionate people.
also amazing how easy it is to make friends and how people from all over the world connect through this little hobby. I’ve found friends in almost all countries of the world and I don’t want to ever miss them. Costuming is definitely a big gain to my life.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I’ve decided that I’ll focus the rest of my year on Batgirl. Well, several Batgirl costumes. I just started the new Batgirl of Burnside costume and will continue to work on my Yvonne Craig Batgirl costume and also IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF COSPLAY? my first New 52 costume. I’m going to be a costuming We get to experience with photography, make guest for the first time in my life next year at the first costumes through sewing, embroidery, sculpting, Dutch Comic Con and that’s something I am very painting, woodwork, even acting is a big part of this excited about. hobby. There is no limit for a creative person. Every creative skill you’ve got, you can integrate into a FOR MORE ON NATASCHA, FOLLOW HER AT costume and bring a character to life. No costume is WWW.TWITTER.COM/KNIGHTESSROUGE OR ON alike. Every costume is so special and different. It’s the DEVIANTART AT person’s own vision and that’s what makes all these WWW.KNIGHTESS-ROUGE.DEVIANTART.COM costumes so interesting. Beside the creative aspect, it’s BLEEP 85
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Cosplay is big business these days. With Comic Convention attendence growing all over the world, more and more fans are creating costumes and making a splash as their favorite character. Share My Cosplay has become a site that not only celebrates cosplay, but allows readers to catch a glimpse of the process other cosplayers go through to create such amazing characters to embody. We talked with the mind behind the blog about sharing the stories of some truly incredible artists. Manda Cowled & Ashe Rogue 88 BLEEP Angela Lau Photography
As they put it, Andrea and Matteo Pieri were born and raised in “the land of pasta and pizza, twinning since 1991.” After graduating from university, they joined forces to create a men’s fashion and fitness blog, Those Pieri Twins, and have been helping men all over the world look their best ever since.
MAP Cosplay WMD Photography Tender Cosplayer AS Photography
Tender Cosplayer Photo by Corey Graham
WHEN DID YOU GET INTO COSPLAY? A self-proclaimed geek, I’ve always been aware of cosplay. However, the last few years my interest in it has really taken off. Being big into comics & video games, I can remember watching coverage of Comic Con and other events like E3 and always thinking how amazing the cosplayers were and how talented they are to come up with such elaborate costumes & props. It’s beyond cool when you actually see one of your favorite characters, or one that you really identify with, come to life in a cosplay. WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR STARTING SHARE MY COSPLAY? The idea behind the site started as a simple hobby and to fill a niche market that I felt was missing something. As it turns out, our web presence has grown immensely in the last while and the cosplay scene has embraced our site. SMC is a great way for up-and-coming cosplayers to get their face out there with fans and to quickly get recognized for what they do. We really love what we do, and right now we are trying our best to constantly improve our daily feed and come up with 90 BLEEP
new and exciting content for our readers. WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU’RE CONTRIBUTING TO THE COSPLAY COMMUNITY THROUGH SHARE MY COSPLAY? We really feel that SMC has turned into one of the premiere places on the internet to have your cosplay shared for the world to enjoy. Our number of followers on Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook is growing daily and the more it grows, so does the audience for the cosplay we share. We try and provide a safe community where people can share their works in progress, ask questions and display finished cosplays. Tagging us on twitter always leads to a retweet, allowing us to share even more with our readers. Between all of our social media sites, we follow thousands of cosplayers and we actually take the time and try to read all of the content that provides. We love seeing what everyone else in the community is working on or what they have just completed to share. SMC has allowed us to chat and meet people from all over the world, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next.
MAP Cosplay WMD Photography
Betty Nukem Photo by Richard Dufault
WHEN YOU’RE FEATURING PEOPLE’S STORIES, WHAT ARE THE STAPLE THINGS YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYONE? We interview a wide range of cosplayers, everyone from the super popular to those who have just caught our eye and are starting out. We normally stick to the same base questions, as we make an assumption that our readers could be someone totally new to the scene, and we want to give them background on that particular individual. We normally start with the basics like: Why did you start? What has been your favorite creation you’ve done and what conventions will you be attending? We also always make sure to provide the proper social media links for all of the cosplayers we features so fans can further connect with their favorites. ShareMyCosplay is great starting site to explore the cosplay hobby. SMC is constantly adding new interviews & changing it up with new content. We try our best to keep the readers interested.
Shows like “Heroes of Cosplay” also give people who have just thought about joining the hobby insight into the process giving them the confidence boost to move forward. They see their idols and realize if they can do it maybe I can too. To be inspired like that and join such a vibrant community, I truly believe is very positive. We hope shows like “Heroes of Cosplay” continue as I do believe there is a place for them in the cosplay community.
WHERE DO YOU THINK COSPLAY IS HEADED? WHAT’S NEXT? As techniques and people’s level of skill grows, cosplay just keeps on getting better and better. We are always amazed when people build armor from games like “World of WarCraft.” The level of detail and the number of hours people put into their costumes only seems to be going up, which in turn leads to truly stunning costumes. We’ve also noticed a rise in accent lighting being added to a lot of cosplay, which once again only enhances the already outstanding work someone HOW HAVE YOU SEEN COMIC-CULTURE GROW has done. Adding effects such as this only helps draw OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS? people further into the fantasy world of cosplay. It’s From my own personal experience I’ve seen comic- the finer details that make it all come together, and culture explode in the last few years. We are based cosplayers are always pushing the limits. in Ottawa, Ontario and in the last few years the city has started to host a local Comic Con during the WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE TAKE AWAY FROM spring. Attendance for the convention has almost SHARE MY COSPLAY? tripled since first starting, and now there is even a Upon visiting either ShareMyCosplay.com or one second convention in the late fall. People are just into of our social media sites, I hope visitors can take everything to do with pop culture these days, it is away that we offer a safe place on the internet where amazing. people can openly share their amazing creations. Comic Culture is no longer just for the “geeks” locked People put a lot of hard work into their cosplay, and if away in a basement. It has really change and these I was a cosplayer, I’d want as many people as possible days everyone gets to enjoy it. to have a chance to see it. Besides, everyone loves getting positive feedback on their hard work. COSPLAY HAS BECOME MORE MAINSTREAM. If people are new to our site, we actually have COMIC CONVENTIONS ARE BECOMING MORE instructions up on our website explaining the ACCESSIBLE AND SHOWS LIKE “HEROES OF process of sending us your pictures. Besides COSPLAY” ON SYFY ARE SHINING LIGHT ON sending us pictures directly, you can also tag us on SOME PEOPLE’S PROCESS IN CREATING THEIR Twitter (@ShareMyCosplay), this normally leads to a COSTUMES. retweet to our followers and a barrage of comments I believe this is hugely positive. Shows like “Heroes complimenting the cosplayers’ work. of Cosplay” are very interesting to watch as it gives life We do our best to be a positive part of the to the cosplayers behind the costumes and you get community, and hope to continue doing it for years to understand their whole creation process and what to come. goes on behind the scenes to bring a cosplay to life. BLEEP 93
MARKY “MAKE UP” ANDREWS Jennifer Hudson, Danny Devito, Pink and Janet Jackson all have one thing in common. They’ve all called upon the talents of Marky Andrews. This Boston native is taking Hollywood by storm with his body art.
How did you first become involved in the cosplay community? I was body painting in night clubs and had this Superman stencil that was really popular. What really solidified my presence was when I painted Chris Riley as half Spider Man, half Venom for the Epic Cosplayers Panel at Comikaze 2013. That’s been one of my most trafficked works on the internet. Chris is an epic cosplayer and we’ve had some great collaborations. The application was Half body paint and Half Black latex. It also included airbrush contour and bloody battle damage. I tried to include every discipline I could think of to really make a complete make up. We started at 6am because the panel he was hosting started at 11. Recently at San Diego Comic Con, he and I did a gender bent Emma Frost Diamond Form. It was in a lot of “Top Ten Cosplays of SDCC” including The Mary Sue and Entertainment Weekly lists. How do you continue to further your skills when it comes to the art of body painting? I’m always attending trade shows and keeping track of the new products and tools. A lot of people see me as just a body painter, but I am a professional makeup artist, that includes prosthetics and on camera FX. It’s a large world to keep track of and there’s never a dull moment. There’s always someone for a movie or photoshoot that says “Marky we need this…” and then I kinda invent how to do it! In your opinion, what is the appeal of cosplay? It’s the peak of fandom. Sports lovers wear a jersey with a name on it, cosplayers get a much broader spectrum to work with. The drawn image is an art and it’s exciting to interpret that image as a living work of art. People feel empowered as their favorite character. Find out more at www.facebook.com/MarkyMarkUp, at www.instagram.com/MarkyMarkUpDotCom, and www.twitter.com/MarkyMakeUp BLEEP 97
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
AN EXCERPT FROM “MARLIN AND PERCY” BY CALEB BOLLENBACHER & TYLER ELLIS This comic has been a long time coming. Ever since I discovered comic books as a freshman in high school I have been absolutely hooked. I love so much about the medium that is comics, and that love really took hold of me with a collection of reprints. I remember visiting a friend after school once and finding a paperback collection of black and white X-Men comics from the early 60’s. Decades after their original publication, these comics still felt fresh to me. I loved the team dynamic, the zany humor, and the constant revolving door of fantastic villains and their mad plots. When Matt (our editor for Marlin & Percy) first approached me about doing a comic, I had done a few projects already. Tyler and I have worked together since we were both at Baylor University (long-time BLEEP readers may remember we had our first story featured way back in 2011) and had come up with a couple pitches and even gotten some paid work, which never ceases to blow my mind. The vision Matt had, however, was something that felt unique in the current climate. He wanted adventure, something that would keep people turning the pages, but something that had accessible value as well. As we talked, those early X-Men comics came back into my memory. Here was an opportunity to do something that felt like it belonged in that same tradition of work. I love today’s comics; there seems to be no end to the number of books vying for my spare dollars and cents lately. But they’re not always accessible. A lot of superhero books have decades worth of backstory, and a lot are definitely geared towards a more mature audience. I like that Matt wanted to do something that isn’t so shoehorned, something that anyone can read and enjoy. To me that’s such a trademark of the Silver Age (the industry term for the era of comics that 98 BLEEP
spawned the X-Men, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and numerous other favorites). The Silver Age still had that wide-eyed sense of wonder that accompanied these fantastic heroes with superhuman abilities, but as opposed to The “Golden” Age that came before it, the heroes now had some connection to the rest of humanity. I want to do that in my stories. Even though Marlin and Percy are primates, I want kids (and any readers, for that matter) to be able to look at them and see something relevant, something they have experienced, something they can aspire to. I want the fantastic, and I want the familiar. Hand in hand like the Silver Age. It might not be a concept that is very status quo with the majority of comics that are on the shelves today, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel, I just want to make sure it keeps spinning so we can go to new places. I think what worked before can work again. After all, Silver is shiny, no matter the time. It’s currency, isn’t it? Thank you all for reading this first issue. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear people enjoy the final product of an idea that started blossoming when I was barely a teenager. I love seeing people get as excited about Tyler’s wonderful artwork as I do with each page he sends me and I love hearing people talk about the characters that are real to me. Here at BLEEP I like to talk about intersections in art, and I can’t quite articulate how neat it is that art is starting to intersect with life for me. Thank you for reading, because it means that intersection holds and I have the opportunity to keep telling stories, and that’s worth more than gold to me. Let’s be shiny as silver! -Caleb Bollenbacher
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