The second I saw Infinite Crisis’ Atomic Wonder Woman, I knew I had to fit her in my costume roster. Her look struck me as a cross between Mad Max and Dead Rising with a dash of roller derby charm. I also loved the slightly obscure Wonder Woman iconography – the swath of yellow fabric on her top, the “WW” on her license plate bracers, the massive chain where her lasso would be, and the word “Aletheia” carved into her weapon, which loosely translates to “truth” in Greek. Her short hair and Rosie the Riveter-esq bandana had me saying “I can (and should) do this!”
I fully committed to the costume a week and a half prior to SDCC, so time was of the essence. I kicked the costume off with a trip to several thrift stores, managing to scrounge up the top, ties, belt, footballs, and boots in one go. There was no need to buy anything new since I was aiming for an apocalyptic look.
Securing the ties to the belt wasn’t too difficult; neither was adding the caution tape trim (spray painted elastic) to the tube top. The football cups were slightly more challenging. Firstly, I played surgeon and moved the laces from one side of the football to the other – the original placement was next to a slew of obnoxious NFL logos I didn’t want distracting from the design. In order to get the bisected balls to fit right, I added a dart down the center, which resulted in a rounder shape. I then secured them to the top with rivets to ensure they wouldn’t move.
The armor – stop sign pauldron, license plate bracers, kneepads, and belt buckle – are all made of Worbla. If you’ve never used a thermoplastic to make armor before, starting with a project like this is a great way to get your feet wet, as imperfections only add to the character of the final piece.
When making armor, I always start out patterning on paper to ensure I’m not wasting supplies. I drafted the stop sign to size and then folded and cut up the paper to approximate how WW would have constructed the piece. I sized the bracers to my arms, using Worbla on one side and EVA foam on the other. The belt buckle is entirely Worbla, which I heated up and rolled to use as trim around the edges.
I really enjoy distressing clothing and armor. When working with Worbla I use a soldering iron to simulate battle damage, bullet ricochets, and general wear and tear – wear a mask when you do so! After this initial pass, I start with a base coat of paint – whatever primary color the object calls for. After drying and blocking in any other colors necessary, I’ll add bright silver into recessed areas that look damaged (if the item is intended to look like metal). I’ll then polish off the armor by sponging on a layer of black, brown, and grey paint to simulate dirt, oil, and other unsavory substances. Lastly, I’ll sand down all of the paint – a dull finish looks more realistic in this instance. As a final touch I’ll fleck a bit of orange on a few of the raw edges to hint at rust.
After knocking out the armor I moved on to the smaller details. I had a hard time finding a pair of blue leggings and eventually ordered white ones and dyed them. The red leather gloves were also grabbed from online, and then accented with metal spikes made from Worbla. The massive metal chain came from a costume shop online, as well as the red hair kerchief, black wig, and colored tube sock on Atomic Wonder Woman’s right arm. I aged the leggings and the tube sock by soaking them in a pot of black and brown hairspray – the same thing I use to dirty up my body before going out on the show floor.
The chainsaw spear was the most fun to make and my favorite part of the outfit. I opted to keep it as genuine as possible, picking up a metal signpost from the hardware store. The bottom was made from two cans of expandable spray foam. Once dry, I used a knife to carve up the edges before coating it with textured spray paint to mimic concrete. I then padded the metal post with sponges before wrapping them in the orange duct tape, giving myself a comfortable grip.
I found the chainsaw online and painted/distressed it to match the source material. I then used the soldering iron again to burn “Aletheia” into the blade. I was able to secure a good six inches of the post inside the back of the chainsaw, and then tied it down with the yellow rope.
Overall I’m incredibly happy with how Atomic Wonder Woman came out out, especially considering the short time frame. I can’t wait to wear it out again. Not only do I feel like a BAMF running around with a chainsaw spear – the costume is extremely comfortable.
Also, be sure to keep an eye on Infinite Crisis – it looks like a blast! I hope to join the Beta soon and can’t wait to kick some butt in character.
SDCC 2013 Gallery