Katie again, as promised, with details on the making of the boots and shirt for Kelson’s Comic-Con Golden Age Flash costume. This shouldn’t be nearly as long as the helmet post, I promise. My aim here is to show the entire process from design to display, as an aid to anyone else who might want to try something similar.
Our original intention with the boots was to get cheap boots and make boot covers. I’d picked up a pair of costume boots for myself at Payless at a huge discount a few years ago, which was surprising given that anything in a size 10 or over is hard to find in women’s shoes. However, men’s fashion boots are even harder to find, let alone with a price restriction, and in the sale room of DSW we reformulated our plan. We thought about permanently attaching semi-rigid covers to an old pair of sneakers, but realized that tying laces would prove impossible inside a boot. So it came down to slip-ons, and we located a pair at (surprise!) Payless that fit pretty well. The only question was whether to make them permanent or removable, and the material made the decision for us.
I tend to be a cheapskate when it comes to crafts that I’m going to keep for myself. For gifts, sales, or commissions, I spare little expense; but for my own use it’s Red Heart Super Saver and Westrim beads, because I’m willing to undertake for myself the maintenance that will make the piece look like more than it is. We went to Jo-Ann with no idea what we wanted beyond “shiny bright red.” Luckily, this was during a huge fabric clearance and we found some less-than-half-price red vinyl, which settled the question of what to make the boots from. I also picked up some E-6000 cement, which claimed it would bond vinyl, and some muslin for making patterns and test covers. I didn’t intend to sew the final covers, as it would punch holes in the vinyl. But something else happened then that I did not intend: the E-6000 not only wouldn’t hold up to much pulling (even when I roughed up the shiny vinyl lightly with sandpaper), but flat-out refused to bond to the back side of the vinyl. It didn’t matter that the suggested temperature range meant I’d waited until nearly sunset to be able to use it at all. It just beaded up, dried, and fell off. So, since I didn’t want to mess with mass quantities of hot glue that I’d need to shepherd along definite “seam” lines, it was going to have to be sewing.
Hi! This is Katie, the wife Kelson’s mentioned a few times. I’m not nearly as involved with comics as he is, but I appreciate a good convention costume and have made a point of wearing at least one a year for a while now. My interests in effects makeup, jewelrymaking, and general arts and crafts really come in handy for this, though it had been a long time since I’d been able to persuade Kelson to dress up for a con. When he mentioned that he’d wear a Jay Garrick Flash costume if he could get all the pieces, my ears pricked up. When he said something about how a really determined person would make a paper-mache hat, I said, “I could do that.” In the end, I did quite a bit more.
The helmet is made from paper mache, Crayola Model Magic, glue, felt, cardboard, a few gap-filling pastes of varying efficacy, and both brush-on and spray-on paint and clear-coat spray acrylic. The boots are vinyl covers glued (again, with a sort of tiered success) to a pair of $20 Payless slip-on shoes, with stuffed plush wings made from felt and sewn on. And the shirt, which we originally thought would be taken care of by Graphitti Designs, involved some last-minute Amazon ordering, masking tape, and several applications of fabric paint. I was heat-setting the thing at midnight the Tuesday before the con; we have yet to see what washing will do to it.
I started with the helmet, figuring it would take a while to dry at the thicknesses I’d be creating, even in dry heat. (One thing California summer weather is good for!) Continue reading
It took the TV series Heroes three seasons to introduce a speedster. Daphne Millbrook was a major character during the “Villains” arc (Volume 3), playing against both Hiro Nakamura and Matt Parkman, and had a smaller role in “Fugitives” (Volume 4). I won’t spoil “Fugitives” for the two people out there who haven’t seen it and want to, but she’s not coming back this season.
This year’s Heroes panel at Comic-Con introduced a new group of players for the upcoming arc, “Redemption” (Volume 5): a traveling carnival made up of people who have super-powers, hiding in plain sight. (Everyone’s making comparisons to Carnivale, but I can’t help but think of Payne’s carnival in Girl Genius.) Among them is Edgar, a knife-thrower played by Ray Park, best known as Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He also appears as Snake Eyes in the live-action G.I. Joe movie opening this weekend.
Edgar is described as “a speedster with a mission.” Footage played at the panel showed him using his power not for running, but for combat agility as he fought power-magnet Peter Petrelli.
Appropriately enough, the actor kept moving throughout the panel, making it hard for Katie to snap a photo of him that was in focus.
If the number of Flash costumes at Comic-Con International last week is any indication, the fan base is energized. Most years I only see one or two Flashes, if any. This year there were at least three Jay Garricks including myself, two women who made variations on the costume, one man in a Black Flash costume, a Kid Flash, and a Captain Cold.
Here’s a gallery of photos from Flickr.
I don’t think I’d ever seen a Golden Age Flash costume at a convention until I saw some photos from HeroesCon and Wizard World Philadelphia in June. There seemed to be one Jay Garrick at each. So I figured I’d probably be the only one at San Diego. Imagine my surprise when I ran into not one other, but two!
The photo on the left shows me and a cosplayer who was part of a Justice Society of America group I spotted in line for the DC Nation panel on Friday. I asked the person behind me to save my place in line, walked along the line to where they were, and we did the obligatory “Nice costume!” exchange, then ended up posing for a bunch of photos. We did at least two poss, this one and one just standing and crossing our arms like the Alex Ross poster. Someone got an interesting shot with a blur effect, also.
I ran into the guy on the right on Saturday, when I wasn’t in costume. He actually used an original World War I helmet, polished it up, and made wings for it…then the first day in town the wings broke, so he needed to come up with a substitute fast. He ended up gluing popsicle sticks together and spray painting them gold.
I didn’t manage to see any of these three in person during the con. But they’re really cool variations.
The two things that usually impress me the most with character costumes are:
- Authenticity – costumes that match the source very well, especially if the person wearing it is a good fit for the character. (That especially helps with costumes from movies and TV shows. If you resemble an actor, seriously look at their roles for ideas!)
- Creative variation – costumes that take a concept and put a deliberate spin on them. The Steampunk Flash from the League of Justice-Minded Citizens, for instance. Or either of the female Flash costumes here.
The Flash is well-suited for variations, because there have been so many of them in canon. You’ve got the basics: Jay Garrick’s Golden Age costume, the Barry Allen/Wally West Flash costume, and the Kid Flash costume (each with its own variations). Then you’ve got Professor Zoom, Johnny Quick, a half-dozen Jesse Quick costumes, Impulse, Max Mercury, Walter West, Iris West II, John Fox’s three costumes…and that’s not counting all the possible future Flashes from “Chain Lightning.”
So it’s not a problem to take the basic red-and-yellow lightning motif and build on it. People will still know who you are, especially if you keep the white circle around the lightning bolt.
Well, except for the dimwits who mistake you for Flash Gordon. 🙁
Update August 28: The woman on the left appears to be wearing an off-the-rack costume rather than a custom variation.
Cold and the Kid
I almost missed Captain Cold here. It was late Saturday afternoon, and I was on the phone with my wife trying to work out dinner plans. I saw him through the window, said, “Hang on, I need to get a picture of Captain Cold” and ducked outside into Sails Pavilion.
Kid Flash was there on Sunday. Sterling Gates, who had been announced the day before as the writer of an upcoming Kid Flash series, posted, “I just met Kid Flash! He’s here!” I kept looking for him the rest of the day, but had no luck. Fortunately, Comic Con has a lot of people with cameras!
She may not be a Flash character, but here are two women dressed as Cheetara from Thundercats. Hey, she is a speedster, after all!
I saw at least one, possibly two guys in off-the-rack Flash Halloween costumes during the weekend, and one kid who was probably about 6 or 7.
So…did you see any of these people at the con? Did you see another Flash that I’ve missed?