Update! Aphrodite IX 2.0 costume description and gallery added. Be sure to check it out below.
Aphrodite IX has been a favorite character of mine for a long time. What isn’t there to love? She is a hot android-assassin who forgets who she is after every mission. See? No baggage! Jokes aside, Aphrodite is one of many Top Cow babes who won my heart after I first set eyes on her. The fact that she doesn’t wear much was a plus, as it meant the costume wouldn’t be hard to make.
And putting together Aphrodite IX’s garb wasn’t that difficult, but it required a large amount of time and effort in order to scrounge up all the right pieces. The torn shirt is a simple men’s tank, and the skirt I found at Goodwill. The bullet belt was ordered from eBay, and I already had the boots and holsters from my Lara Croft costume (which I still to this day have not shot). I used knee and elbow pads to simulate Aphrodite’s body armor, and topped the look off with custom sleeves made from striped socks and some aviator goggles. Being that Aphrodite IX is a sci-fi comic, the guns are always a bit out of the ordinary. I found a perfect Nerf gun to use as Aphrodite’s main firearm, and spray painted it black to look a bit more realistic. All in all the costume took me a month or two to finally piece together.
The wig was by far the hardest element. One of the biggest problems was that no two artists draw it the same color. After scouring the internet for weeks trying to find the perfect color and cut wig, I decided on a white wig and colored it myself. I had several options as far as dyeing was concerned, but somehow I ultimately chose to do it the hardest way possible – by hand with Sharpie markers. While it took weeks to finish, the color was close to what I imagined and was worth the effort. That is until I wore the entire ensemble for the first time.
I debuted the costume at SDCC in 2007, and was unbelievably stoked to show to the Top Cow crew. All and all the costume was a success, but by the end of the day my armpits and forehead were green from where the wig touched my skin. I guess some things you only learn by doing. Needless to say I won’t try that again.
I got some fantastic images by my friend Michael of Blanklogo Photography at the convention, but still wanted to get some studio shots when I got back to Minnesota. Shooting the costume after I got back from SDCC is a bit of an interesting story. A few months after my costume was finished I was standing in front of The Source Comics and Games – my personal one-stop comic-shop – helping to promote Free Comic Book Day in my Wonder Woman costume. All the costumed folk caught the attention of Chris Polydoroff, a videographer for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. He became interested in learning more about cosplay, and thought it would be a good variety piece for the website and newspaper.
In order to get the full scope of what cosplay entailed, I set up a photoshoot for Chris to capture on film. He recorded the entire process, from hair and makeup to the photoshoot. I hooked up with photographer Vincent Van Nguyen of VVN Photography for the event – who I was very excited to work with. My number one makeup artist Masha Chebotayeva helped with the look to make sure everything was perfect for print and film.
We decided to shoot up at The Source, which the guys kindly let us use. My friend Ashley shot one of her costumes – a stunning gothic Lolita dress – at the same time. Strength in numbers right? I think we turned the place upside down for a few hours, but it was fun.
The video was edited and posted on the Pioneer Press website, in addition to being featured in the newspaper. The fantastic thing is that the small piece helped promote The Source as well as an upcoming local convention I attend every year. You can check out the video below.
All and all I am very happy with how the costume turned out, especially considering that it was one of my first official attempts at cosplay. Still, I think I am going to revisit Aphrodite in the near future. I want to get a brighter wig and fix up some of the smaller details on the costume. I also feel a bit bad that I wasn’t exactly true to Aphrodite’s top, opting for a full shirt instead of a cutoff one. The goal is to hit the gym and gain the confidence to crop it. Also, I need to figure out a way to make a Gatling gun she can lug around…
The long and short is, you haven’t seen the end of Aphrodite IX! Now that Top Cow is bringing her back in some of the recent Witchblade and Darkness events, I have even more material to draw from.
Aphrodite IX 2.0
This update has been a long time coming. As in over a year. Top Cow’s android assassin AIX was one of my first cosplay costumes I ever attempted, meaning that while I was proud of my work, looking back I wasn’t satisfied. Like Wonder Woman and Witchblade, I decided to whip up a 2.0 version of the costume to due it justice.
Revamping the costume wasn’t too much work, but the small details are what helped bring it together. I found a better skirt and shredded it appropriately. A pair of leather leggings was sacrificed to make better boot covers, and I remade the suspenders and the ammo belt to be more in line with the original art. I also picked up two Maverick Nerf guns, pulled them apart, and painted them for my sci-fi weapons of choice. I also was a bit braver with the length of the shirt, making it slightly sorter than my first attempt at the costume. Lastly, I swapped out my old wig (which as you read above, I colored in with a marker) for a better one with varying green highlights. It looked significantly more natural, at least for a neon green wig.
The bulk of the work went into the shoot itself. Scott Miron, one of my favorite photographers, whipped up an amazing gatling gun out of PVC pipes and the giant Nerf chain gun, something that took the shoot to a whole new level. I also talked my dad into stopping by with his sporty motorcycle so I could get some shots inspired by AIX’s hoverbike.
As with my Witchblade shoot, makeup was done by Katie Ballard. I’m extremely happy I took the time to pull together a second shoot for Aphrodite, as some of the pictures below are favorites in my entire cosplay portfolio. Scott also took the time to do some significant post-production work on three of the photos, as indicated by his watermark. One is our tribute to an AIX David Finch cover, which had me perched on the very edge of a stool for a good twenty minutes. I think the effort was worth it, however. Enjoy the photos!