Cosplay Feature: Bearers Of The Blade

I’m somehow playing catch-up again, still archiving costumes from SDCC 2009. But better later than never! This costume/project was as much fun as it was work – heaps of both. Considering I had already figured out the mechanics of crafting a Witchblade gauntlet from my prior two costumes, the execution itself wasn’t overly strenuous. It was the organization that got a tad overwhelming.

Being a bit of a detail-oriented nutcase, I went out of my way to chronologically map (complete with written descriptions, illustrations and character-specific cosplay references) every bearer in the Witchblade universe before finally beginning to invite cosplayers to join the group. That on its own took a few weeks of long nights. I had it in my mind that we would secure 15-20 cosplayers for the group, and  we did at several points in time. But as SDCC drew closer the number participating waxed and waned, leaving us with seven dedicated Bearers of the Blade when July rolled around.

IBearersBanner decided to go as Una for the group, the very first Witchblade bearer. I’ve always thought dressing as a cavewoman would be a fun excuse to go wild with hair and makeup, so went with it. Considering that Una is literally from a land before time, I opted not to sew anything. Instead I tied together all pieces of the outfit with thick leather cording, hoping to make it look that much more realistic. Same went with the earrings, necklace and other accessories. Everything was pieced together by hand with as little man-made material as possible. The spear was easy enough. I used a curtain rod for the base and made the spearhead out of Wonderflex. The shoes, however, were most definitely manufactured – I found awesome leopard print wedges and couldn’t resist! As for the gauntlet, I followed the same procedure as last time. Una’s variation features three giant red stones which I sprayed with paint and secured onto the glove with Wonderflex. The processes was much easier this time around and the craftsmanship obviously better, although my original gauntlet is still my favorite.

Working on our costumes from different areas of the country was tough, primarily because I opted to help make the gauntlets for the girls who didn’t have access to supplies. They shipped me any extraneous things I needed and I went to work. Jessica – dressed as Enola – used my original gauntlet from last year so not to let it go to waste. I made the awesome Takeru glove with the same method as my own, adding rubber snakes and lizard tails to the end to look like the tentacles. It’s hard finding things that look like tentacles. After finishing three gauntlets, Maria’s dainty wristband was easy enough to polish off in an hour.

Months and months of preparation culminated at SDCC, with all of us stoked to meet up at the convention. Funny enough, Yaya Han actually joined the group only two days before the con. I had originally asked if she wanted to participate but she wasn’t able because of time constraints. When our Sara Pezzini fell through at the last minute I went on a hunt for a replacement, knowing that they could hop into my red dress variant from last year. Yaya responded with enthusiasm, using my gloves, shoes and wig paired with a red dress she already owned. Then she whipped up her own gauntlet in less than 48 hours. That’s dedication.

Before leaving for the convention floor on “Bearers Day,” I had my lovely San Diego makeup artist Hydred do my hair and makeup. She did an awesome job with the hair – tying in feathers, randomly braiding portions and adding a thick, kinky textured weave in certain places. The makeup was even more fun, with dark eyes and red smears across my face to look like paint.

Meeting up in costume for the first time was awesome. The Top Cow guys even had us pose at the booth for an hour, advertising the time and everything. We were able to snap photos with all the top artists and the fans really seemed to like what we came up with. The effort was well worth it in the end.

For reference sake, I’ve got the full list of Witchblade bearers below (sans historical figures), along with links to personal pages for each of the cosplayers involved.

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Bearers of the Blade
American Comic

Una – Prehistoric (Me!)
Nissa – Second Century B.C.
Lysandra – 7th Century B.C.
Princess Raquel – 1000 B.C.
Samantha McRenald – 229 A.D.
Zara, Queen of Bones – 359 A.D.
Leung Lin Yao – 722 A.D.
Katarina – 1175 A.D.
Annabella Altavista – 1213 A.D.
Maitea – 1288 A.D.
Joan of Arc – 1429-1431 A.D.
Queen Kijani – 1510 A.D.
Shiori-sama – 1632 A.D.
Yuka-chan – 1635 A.D.
Roxanne Laroque – 17th Century A.D.
Anne Bonny – 1718 A.D. (Ashley Hay)
Enola – 1876 A.D. (Jessika Malic)
Bernadette – 1888 A.D
Josephine Valmont – 1898 A.D.
Tasya Federova – 1942 A.D.
Colin X – First Male Wielder
Kimberly Tossovova – Alternate Reality
Sara Pezzini – Present (Yaya Han)
Yancy Butler – Present
Kenneth Irons – Present
Ian Nottingham – Present
Lara Croft – Present
Danielle Baptiste – Present (Randi Lee Ann)
Gerard Irons – Present
Ivy Pezzini – Near future
Selina Alice Lauren – 2100 A.D.
Debbie Santalesa – Near Future
Akane Nakiko – Future
Persephani – Far Future

Bearers of the Blade
(Anime)

Masane Amaha – Far Future
Reina Soho – Far Future
Maria – Far Future (Mandy Decker)

Bearers of the Blade
(Manga)

Takeru Ibaraki – Undisclosed (Melissa Kay)

(Special thanks to Kevin Green and Dan Glitch for the photos!)

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4 thoughts on “Cosplay Feature: Bearers Of The Blade

  1. First off, this is just awesome. Beautiful work. Second, I dont know the chronology of the series that well and I dont mean to be overly critical, but your dates seem to be a bit off if you’re listing them chronologically. 2nd century BC would be 199-100 BC and seventh century would be 699- 600. Since BC works in reverse of AD, counting down instead of up (the lower the number the more recent the date), Nissa, Lysandra, and Princess Raquel should be reversed.
    Once again, awesome!

  2. Pretty awesome getting in on the photo cosplay fun with Yaya Han. I love her work. You all look fantastic.

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