I’m back with an overdue cosplay profile! With SDCC, Dragon*Con, NYCC and Costoberfest, my interview with Chris & Miracole got swept up in the insanity. But no worries, as the next few months will be packed with ever more great Cosplay & Costuming posts.
I met Chris & Miracole Burns earlier this year at SDCC, but we’ve been talking via Twitter for a while before. Plus we both have friends in the same circles but never had the opportunity to meet. I’m, as always, overwhelmed by the amazing craftsmanship and skill they put into their costumes. Read on to learn much more about the wonderful Chris & Miracole!
Me: Introduce Yourselves!
Miracole: Hi, my name is Miracole Burns. I am a professional Costumer in the Film and Television Industry. I am also a Cosplayer, a Comic reference model, and consider myself quite a geek. I love super heroes, comics and cosplay! Actually, our art and statue collection have kind of taken over the house.
Chris: And my name is Chris Burns. I'm an Actor, Director, Producer, as well as being a Costumer like Miracole. I do just about everything in the Film biz. Oh, did we mention that we're married? Some people have actually asked us if we're siblings, oddly enough.
Me: How long have the two of you been cosplaying? And how did you get fall into it?
Miracole: Super heroes are larger than life; they always defend what's right and look out for those who can't protect themselves. In 2004, my love of super heroes led me to become one of the founders of the Heroes Alliance, a super hero themed children's charity. Over the years, our costumed group has raised thousands of dollars for numerous children's charities. Our little group has grown and now has branches that span across the U.S. and the U.K. Working with the H.A. led me to eventually attend my first convention in costume.
Chris: My answer isn't nearly as elegant...Miracole made me do it! Actually, after we had been dating for a few months in early 2007, she was doing a photo shoot as Harley and asked me to join her as Joker. When she asked me to do this, I thought she was nuts. I completely supported her cosplaying; but being a person who doesn't like strangers in their personal space, the thought of doing this in a room with thousands of people with no respect for boundaries, I wasn't going for it. That is until the photo shoot. I figured, what the hell, let's give it a try. And I loved it! We've been doing it together ever since.
Me: What were your first costumes?
Miracole: I didn't have a 'first' Marvel costume, I had three! For my very first Dragon*Con (A huge comic, sci-fi convention that takes place in Atlanta every Labor Day weekend.) I brought EXTREME X-MEN Rogue, Black and White Spider-Woman, and Ultimate Rogue. I ran around as a Marvel heroine all weekend and had the time of my life!
Chris: Believe it or not, Miracole bought me a symbiote Spider-Man zentai suit as a tester just to see if I'd wear it. When she gave it to me, she had just arrived to Atlanta from Florida. I was so excited that I put it on right away. I guess I have to mention that I happened to be working at the time. I was the Technical Director at a Theatrical Playhouse, so while people were in the theatre watching a play, I was running around the lobby in a Spider-Man suit. My first real costume, though, was my Red Skull.
Me: You two make most of your costumes, right? How and where did you learn how to sew & craft?
Miracole: We design all of our costumes and make many of the elements to them; however, we don't sew most of the fabric portions. Being in the industry, we are blessed to have access to many different amazing vendors that we have a long-standing personal relationship with. Using our different vendors, we blend both our and their costume elements together to produce a one-of-a-kind costume. Although we meticulously labor over every aspect of the creation of every costume, I tend to take most pride in my custom leather and prop work.
Me: How did the Marvel universe suck you in? Who are your favorite Marvel characters?
Chris: Well I started reading comics as a kid, maybe around the age of 10. I grew up in a really rough city and comics at the time were a great escape and source of an excellent moral compass for a kid to learn about right and wrong, self-sacrifice, and doing the right thing.
Miracole: I've always been a fan of strong independent women and I am a huge X-Men fan. If it's X-Men, I'm there. Two of my favorite characters without a doubt are Rogue and Dark Phoenix; both incredibly strong women with terrible conflicts or powers keeping them from finding true love or happiness. There is such beautiful conflict in their stories and personalities how can you not fall in love with these women?
Chris: I forgot to mention my favorite characters, didn't I?
Miracole: Yes you did, love.
Chris: I seem to gravitate toward villains for some reason. They are a lot more fun to play; The Red Skull, Bullseye and my all-time favorite, Loki.
Miracole: Since I am partial to Ms. Marvel, I would LOVE to do a Binary (Ms. Marvel genetically manipulated by the Brood). But I have yet to find a way to sculpt hair (and hand) flames that look realistic, that are not too heavy, AND that I can light up. It's my dream I tell ya, DREAM!
Me: When you go to choose a new costume, do you aim for matching ones, or just choose a character that suits you best?
Miracole: Well, we really like doing couples characters, or costumes that complement one another, but it doesn't always work. There really isn't a good female counterpart to the Red Skull, so when Chris wears that, I usually act as his handler.
Chris: We also costume to our body types. I mean I can't do the Juggernaut, I mean I'm 5'11" and 170lbs. It's just going to look ridiculous if I try it. Likewise, Miracole would not make a good Kitty Pryde or Pixie because they are both around 4'9"-5'. Miracole is almost 6' tall and is built like a woman, not a girl. Physically, it just doesn't work.
Me: Cosplay actually helped you get jobs in the movie & film industry. How did that happen?
Chris: I had actually been working in the industry for eight years when I met Miracole. I was working on a TV show in 2008 when the AJC (The big newspaper in Atlanta.) did an article for Dragon*Con, about us being a cosplaying couple. Someone brought that article to set the next day and was showing it around. Agata Maszkiewicz, Wardrobe Designer for the show saw the article and asked for Miracole's number.
Miracole: I received a call from Agata, and I came in for an interview. She hired me that day and I have been working in wardrobe for Film & TV ever since. I've been fortunate to work on some really great shows. Funny enough, I just finished working on a set with Agata. I owe that wonderful woman SO much!
Me: What would you say is your favorite part about cosplaying?
Miracole: I really enjoy sharing my passion for comics, costuming and art with someone I love. It really makes a huge difference in my life to have someone who truly gets, understands and loves everything that makes me, me. It truly makes the life of insanity I live fun and worth living.
Miracole: Stop it, you. It's also very fulfilling when fans notice and appreciate all the attention to detail that go into each and every costume. It's an immense compliment when people who know and have loved these characters all their lives, geek out over your interpretation. I will always do it for me, but it is always nice to have your work appreciated.
Chris: My favorite part is interacting with fans. I love to interact with them as their favorite character and give them a little slice of what that person might be like in real life. Again, this is why villains are more fun, you get to be bad and can really give people interactions they won't soon forget.
Me: Let's say someone wants to jump into Cosplay, what would be some key basics for them to start with?
Miracole: Don't be afraid to ask for help from the more experienced people in the cosplay community. They are at their core, fans too. Most have been around for a while and have probably encountered and overcome the same problems you might be dealing with for a costume build. Never be afraid to reach out and ask. Also, Cosplay because you love it; [whether] you love the character, the art, the challenge of bringing 2D designs into reality, sharing your hobby with friends [and/or] you love creating. If you do it for those reasons, you will always be happy and fulfilled in all that you do.
Chris: I would just go back to what I said before about cosplay to your body type. I'll never be able to cosplay the Hulk or the Thing. I'm just too skinny. Know your body, and use it to your advantage to do the best costumes you can.
Earlier last month, photographer Jay Tablante and his crew, Raffy & Ara, flew in from the Philippines for NYCC and to do an epic shoot with cosplayers Yaya Han, Riki Lecotey, Megan Marie and Marie Claude Bourbonnais. During the nine hour shoot, Jay shot over 10 costumes, most of which were Marvel characters. I took some time to swing over to the set to see Jay in action! Here's a selection of images shot behind the scenes.
Our first Costoberfest went amazingly well! Thanks to all the cosplayers who submitted their costume photos for the chance to be spotlighted. With almost 200 entries, from around the world, it was a challenge choosing each day's cosplayer.
We had first time costumers to some who had been at this for over 20 years. From London to Russia to the Philippines and all across the US. Plus costumers of all ages, from children to adults. Not to mention the wide range of Marvel characters.
True fact: Anyone can be a cosplayer. All it requires is passion and admiration for a character. Obviously the actual costume is the slightly trickier part. Many cosplayers make their own costumes, including props and wigs, but not all do. There are many means to get one’s hands on costumes and the best way is to reach out to cosplayers in your area. Most will be willing to lend a helping hand to a new cosplayer to the community!
I’ve been photographing the cosplay community for over six years, and along the way I’ve met some phenomenal cosplayers! Every costumer has a unique background and reason for how they fell into cosplay, from their girlfriend got them into it to actually working with costumes for their job. Some spend months to even years making one costume, while others have multiple costumes for each con and they attend up to 10 conventions per year.
There are several costumers who become known for one costume, such as always being Captain America or Tony Stark, possibly because they look similar to the character or actor. But most are always looking forward to the next costume they plan to make.
As cosplay and costuming gained popularity, many began banding together to create groups to better organize meet-ups, matching costumes and other aspects of the community. There are hundreds of meet-ups all over the world, from the U.S. to Japan to the Philippines to Russia. These cosplay groups or teams can be made up of two to hundreds, like the Avengers Initiative, for example.
Along with the actual cosplayers, more roles have appeared for people to play within the community, especially photographers. I began cosplaying first, but as I was in school for photography at the time, I quickly realized they were always looking for a new photographer to shoot with. It was through my camera that I was accepted into the community and began traveling the world. In the beginning, cosplayers looked to photographers to capture a basic image of their cosplay, but as time went on cosplayers wanted more and more to recreate the character through the photo. Now certain photographers specialize in lighting, mood and location to grab that special shot.
Cosplayers never need an excuse to wear their costumes, but most tend to wear them at conventions and events. There is a convention or event happening every weekend, each year, on some part of the globe. A convention, or con for short, can be a one day event to a five day extravaganza--San Diego Comic-Con. If you’re looking for a local event, cosplay.com has a good list of U.S.-based cons. Plus Geek Calendar aims to list every anime, sci-fi and comic convention.
It’s through sites like cosplay.com and the SCF that cosplayers can organize groups and meet-ups and photo gatherings at cons. These meet-ups can be company-oriented, such as anything Marvel, or specific to a family or series, like the FF or Deadpool. At the gatherings, cosplayers can meet face to face, chat about interests and jump into the photo shoot. The largest gathering I’ve ever seen was this past year at Dragon*Con, where we had over 150 Marvel cosplayers on the stairs for the group shot; it was a surreal and amazing experience.
Hopefully learning more about the cosplay & costuming world has kicked off your interest into our passion. Even if you never wear a costume yourself, this community is filled with stellar friends and endless good times. To learn more, swing over to one of the forum sites: cosplay.com, ACParadise.com, thesuperherocostumingforum.com.
I’ll be back later this week with even more cosplay!
Plus stay tuned to next week for the conclusion of Costoberfest 2011!
New York Comic Con is over and this year we blew it out of the water! This year the Marvel.com team rocked NYCC with massive live video coverage throughout the weekend, plus over 300 photographs live in the New York Comic Con 2011 Gallery!
This year we had three cosplay and costuming events at the booth: the Marvel Cosplay Photo Op, the Marvel Costume Contest and the Children Costuming Photo op.
---Marvel Cospay Photo Op---
This year the Cosplay Photo Op was held on Friday and we had over 30 cosplayers jump up on stage for their turn in the spotlight.
-- Marvel Costume Contest ---
The contest was on Saturday, and as I was across the convention center covering the Avengers Panel, our booth team, Promo Guys, helped out in organizing and judging!
First place went to the original X-Men group. Second place went to Black Cat. Third to Storm, and an honorable mention to Wolverine.
---Marvel Children Costuming Photo Op---
Now that Sunday is kid's day at NYCC, we decided to ring it in with organizing a child gathering! So Cute!
--- Costumes on the Con Floor ---
Besides at the booth, there were tons more amazing costumers and cosplayers surfing the floor. Here's a few grabbed by myself, my fellow photographer, Nicole and other photographers!
-- Marvel.com photos from the Convention ---
Had enough? Well here are some more photos we shot throughout the weekend:
I want to give a big thanks to my Marvel NYCC Crew! I love you guys!
Thanks to all the cosplayers and costumers who stopped by the booth for our events or even to just say hi! I love meeting and seeing each one of you!
With New York Comic Con starting today, we here at Marvel.com are gearing up for a smashing convention, with a schedule packed full of events. Plus, of course, we have two of our annual cosplay & costuming events at the booth.
Stop by the Marvel booth (#645) for these two great events:
Marvel Cosplay Photo Op Friday, October 14: 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. -Stop by the Marvel booth in a Marvel costume, have your photo taken on the booth stage and appear on Marvel.com.
Marvel Costume Contest Saturday, Ocotober 15: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. -Compete in the annual Marvel costume contest with the chance to win great prizes!
All contestants and costumers will be asked to sign a model release to appear on marvel.com.
Plus, look for myself and other Marvel.com crew for your chance to be our day's choice for Costoberfest!
I’ve been in and around the cosplay & costuming community for about eight years, so it’s not unusual to see people dressed up in anime, video game and comic characters. But for many people, it’s a strange wonderment the first time they see a cosplayer all dressed up roaming the hallways at a convention. With October as Marvel.com’s first annual Costoberfest, I’ll be bringing you several articles explaining the how, what, who and why of cosplay. First up: what and why.
Put simply, cosplay is a fan dressing up as a character or idea from a TV show, game, comic, etc. You could even call it performance art. But at the core, it’s about fans of a community showing their appreciation and love in a unique way.
Cosplay, a Japanese play on words for “costume play,” was first coined by a Japanese studio head while in attendance of the Los Angeles Science Fiction convention in 1984. Even though it may seem as new culture, fans had been dressing up in their favorite characters since the 1939 Worldcon. Starting in the states 70 years ago, it had spread across the globe by the late 20th century. Nowadays, cosplay & costuming is an aspect of every fan culture, from comics to video games to anime to sci-fi to even vampires.
Currently there is an invisible line between cosplay and costuming, and even how each is seen in different countries across the world. In America, the cosplay community is made up of thousands of fans who are devoted to the creation process from sewing to the props to the hair & make-up of each costume. In Japan, stores in Tokyo and Kyoto sell pre-made costumes, which can even include the shoes and wigs. Though for most cosplayers, no matter their location, it’s being able to attend the next convention or event and debut their new costume that's their favorite aspect of cosplay.
There is a convention that features cosplay every weekend of each year from New York to Dallas to Singapore to Moscow to London. These conventions, or cons, can have 500 to 120,000 attendees and sometimes feature events and contests for the cosplayers to participate in. For example, New York Comic Con this weekend will have daily hall costume contests plus a large masquerade on Saturday night for cosplayers to perform a skit to win huge prizes. Some cosplayers can even have up to 10 costumes for one convention, wearing several each day. Once in costume, their activities can be anything from hanging around to a scheduled photo shoot to even meeting the creator of their character’s costume.
Outside of conventions, cosplayers have organized local events and even photo shoots with photographers to grab a good shot of their costume. Plus, several costuming groups, like the Avengers Initiative, get together for charity walks and hospital visits. Not to mention that many forums for cosplayers & costumers to chat online: cosplay.com, ACParadise.com, thesuperherocostumingforum.com.
Over the last few years this culture has just exploded into a worldwide web of communities. It’s through cosplay I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country again and again, plus crossing country lines to Canada, Europe and Asia. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to play dress up in amazing costumes, travel around the world, meet stellar people and be a part of something grand?
A couple weeks ago, we had Yaya Han stop by the office. I've become friends with Yaya over the last few years, so when she expressed interest in seeing Marvel HQ, I was able to work my magic. I gave her the usual tour around the office, all the while she had the most ecstatic look on her face. Look for more of Yaya and her amazing costumes in a few weeks at New York Comic Con. She'll be there debuting a new costume!
Look to a BIG BIG BIG post coming later this week!
Cosplayers & costumers, we here at Marvel.com are always super appreciative and constantly in awe of your costumes, time and time again. In honor of the time and effort you’ve put toward the Marvel fandom as well as the costuming & cosplay community, October will be in celebration of all of you. Our first annual Costoberfest will be 31 days of cosplayer profiles, news articles, events and more! And you all get your chance to participate; here’s how!
Every day, starting October 1st, we will pick a cosplayer or costumer to profile on Marvel’s Facebook and twitter. If you’re interested in possibly being spotlighted, send in the photographs* of yourself to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Besides profiles, I’ll post articles on my blog--marvel.com/cosplay—about the history of cosplay; some spotlights on community members; galleries from photographers from around the world; events you can attend; and a basic FAQ. We’ve also set up a Flickr group, Marvel Cosplay & Costuming, for all users to submit photos for your viewing pleasure!
Plus, all throughout the week of New York Comic Con, we’ll have tons more cool things for you!
So remember to stop by Marvel.com, plus Marvel’s Facebook and Twitter every day for the month of October to celebrate in everything cosplay & costuming!
*We will need approval by both the cosplayer & photographer of each photo.
With the amount of costumers throughout the weekend, I simply wasn't able to grab photos of all of them. But, thankfully I wasn't the only photographer snapping shots all weekend. I've compiled a collection of costumers on the convention floor or just hanging about. Plus even more photos from the Parade, Deadpool and Swimsuit gatherings!
Thanks to all the amazing photographers who sent me or allowed me to use their photos!
Phew! So thanks again to every Marvel costumer and cosplayer this weekend! The weekend was made because of all of you!