This was a dream project in every sense of the word. As is true for many, Wonder Woman was a first for me – the first female superhero I was introduced to in the world of comics. She holds a really special place in my fandom, and while I love the stars, stripes, and satin tights of classic Wonder Woman, I’ve always been drawn to her Amazon origins. I pictured Diana as a warrior first and foremost, and wanted to bring my specific vision for her to life.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was my first, breathtaking step into the dark and dangerous world inhabited by the Belmont clan. I’d always been drawn to the series, much due to the haunting character art by Ayami Kojima. As a completionist, though, I’d struggled with a point of entry to the franchise. I wanted to start from the very beginning, and in a way Lords of Shadow afforded me this opportunity.
MercurySteam made one of the most beautiful games of this generation in Lords of Shadow, appealing immediately to the designer in me. That, coupled with the compelling array of weapons and accessories Gabriele wields, had me itching to recreate his ensemble. Easy enough – add an “LE” and enter Gabrielle Belmont.
This costume was a last-minute addition to my SDCC 2013 roster, but one I wanted to tackle for a couple of years now. I’ve been a fan of Camilla d’Errico’s art for quite some time, drawn to the anime roots, surreal styling, and juxtaposition of organic and mechanical elements. Her odd amalgamations captivated me – the “Helmet Girls” series in particular.
I loved the idea of cosplaying from a piece of art, as I’d never done it before and it seemed an extra challenge. The first and perhaps most difficult task was choosing which Helmet Girl I wanted to pay tribute. I browsed the full catalogue and returned continually to “The Heart.” The intricate yet industrial helmet, delicate butterfly, and quizzical expression sealed the deal.
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!”
Cosplay Feature: Steampunk Lara Croft
Inspired by my desire to realize an original design – and by my perpetual love for Lady Lara Croft – this costume has been gnawing at the back of my mind, attempting to manifest itself into reality, for years now. Most likely from the first time I heard the term “steampunk.”
I’ve been inexcusably slow to finish this write-up, as the task of putting this experience to paper has been daunting. Our Claymore build was the most complex costume I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on. It was also the most rewarding. Hang in there; you’re in for one long blog.
Although my childhood memories are primarily punctuated by cartoons like Batman: The Animated Series, DuckTales, and Disney’s Gargoyles, I was exposed to a handful of anime in my youth. One offering in particular – Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke – resonated with me for years to come. To some degree it retains a special place because it was one of my first forays into the world of Japanese animation, but it additionally warrants fond recollection for a powerful story and moving performances. When I was invited to Katsucon 2012 as a cosplay guest – a massive honor and an amazing experience – it only seemed natural to take on San’s deceptively simple garb from the Ghibli film.
This costume has taken on a life of its own, in a way I never could have anticipated.