San Francisco welcomed the Marvel crew with amazing weather this past weekend as we gathered for WonderCon 2011. With it being Marvel's first time at WonderCon in 10 years, the fans came out in droves. We packed the weekend with an exclusive limited edition UNCANNY X-MEN variant, panels, games, signings and costuming.
As I do at all our convention appearances, I rounded up the cosplayers and costumers in our Cosplay Photo Op and Costume Contest at the Marvel booth. We had about 20 costumers enter our Costume Contest, and for the judges--Tim Dillon, Mike D'lessio and yours truly--it was certainly a difficult choice to choose the winners!
First place went to the Warriors Three, 2nd to Stryfe & Cable, and an honorary prize to Marvel Girl
Before the convention began I reached out to the Super Hero Costuming Forum and the Hero Initiative and with their help we were able to organize a great group of spectacular Marvel costumers at the WonderCon photo area and the Marvel Booth.
I'm back from a fun-packed weekend in Chicago, where the Marvel crew and yours trully attended the second annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. It was a craze-packed weekend with tons of Marvel Comics news, panels, some Chris Hemsworth and, of course, cosplay & costuming.
Per the norm, we had both a Cosplay Photo Op and Costume Contest at the Marvel booth, which attracted a good group of costumes from the cute baby Iron Man to the in-character Kingpin. I also had the chance to wander the convention floor and grab shots of Marvel costumes throughout the weekend.
We had over 30 costumers enter our Costume Contest, and for the judges, Jo Milan, C.B. Cebulski and Frank Tieri, it was certainly a difficult choice to choose the winners!
First place went to Kingpin, 2nd to Daken, 3rd to Jean Grey and an honorary prize to the Age of X Dazzler.
This weekend I also had the opportunity to meet and grab some photos of the talented Kearstin Nicolson of 1womanshow.com and her FOUR costumes (Rogue, Jean Grey, Scarlet Witch & She-Hulk) throughtout the weekend. She was also joined by several cosplayers, including Mike Prost, for each of the Marvel groups.
The first Marvel convention of 2011 is upon us! The Chicago Comic & Entertaiment Expo, or c2e2, is the first of five conventions Marvel will officially be atteding this year. I'll be at each documenting the booth, events, artists, panels and of course costuming & cosplay.
With the con a little under a week away, here are the Marvel events planned:
Marvel Cosplay Photo Op Friday, March 18: 2:00 – 2:30 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, March 19: 4:30 – 5:30pm -Compete in the annual Marvel costume contest with the chance to win great prizes!
Both events will happen at the Marvel booth #411 Also, all contestants and costumers will be asked to sign a model release to appear on marvel.com.
I'll also be wandering the convention floor looking for fans in costume. If you're planning on attending, send me a PM or look for my purple hair!
Hope you’ve enjoyed the heavy dose of MvC3 cosplay these past few weeks! With the 2011 con season kicked off to a great start, I bring you Marvel.com’s next cosplayer profile.
You may remember this lovely lady from SDCC & Dragon*Con photos as both Pepper Potts and Rescue. A cosplayer of five years, I had the opportunity to meet Tally at Marvel’s first cosplay photo op at SDCC '09. Recently, her spectacular costumes and Marvel fan-ship has caught the attention of several online comic news sites with a few spotlight articles and even mentioned in an interview with INVINCIBLE IRON MAN writer Matt Fraction. It’s been with Tally’s help that I’ve reached out to the costuming community and organized gatherings and meet-ups at conventions. So with no further ado, Tally take it away!
Me: You’ve got the floor. Please introduce yourself!
Tally: My name is Tally, though I go by Lady S. on many online boards. I live in California, training to be a film trailer editor.
Me: How long have you been cosplaying? And how did you get fall into it?
Tally: While I've been into dressing up in costumes since as far back as I can remember, I didn't actually get into cosplay and con-going until 2006 when I went to Dragon*Con that year. I started off in the Star Wars fandom where I became a member of the Rebel Legion and met many wonderful people there. I also did many charity events with the Star Wars group. They're a blast. And from there, I branched off into exploring other types of costumes.
Me: What was your first costume, Marvel or otherwise?
Tally: My first costume ever was Princess Leia's metal bikini, but my first Marvel costume was Pepper Potts from the first "Iron Man" movie. I did that one right after it came out, because I was getting tons of messages everyday from people telling me that she reminded them of me. And I was falling in love with the character, too!
Me: You make most of your costumes, right? How did you learn how to sew?
Tally: I try to make what I can. I definitely get a kick out of showing off things I made rather than just wearing items I bought. There's a different vibe to it and sense of pride and you put hard work into it, but I'm still just an amateur seamstress. I still need help or have to just buy things at times. My mom can sew really well and used to make all my Halloween costumes since I was a baby. When I decided that I wanted to cosplay, we both made a Padme (Star Wars) costume together so that she could teach me. She's been really helpful, and now I also get tips here and there from friends who are good at. It's all really trial and error. Your first costume is never going to be spectacular, but it takes practice.
Me: How did the Marvel universe suck you in? Who are your favorite Marvel characters?
Tally: When I was younger, I was really into the Spider-Man cartoon. It was one of my favorites. When I got a little older, I started to read a few of his comics. It wasn't until the first Spider-Man movie came out, that I really got into comic book reading. From there, I dabbled with the Avengers, but I didn't become a true Marvel fan until much later when "Iron Man" came out in 2008.
He was actually the first hero that I knew zip about before the movie came out. But I fell in love with the movie so much, that, that weekend, I went and bought out my comic shop of everything Iron Man, and I haven't stopped since then. I still continue to read anything and everything Iron Man related. I love all of the Avengers, but Iron Man has to be my favorite. Either he or Pepper Potts (Rescue) are my favorite Marvel characters.
Me: What would be your dream Marvel costume?
Tally: My ultimate dream Marvel costume would be Rescue's new suit of armor. It's so gorgeous and while I liked my Mark 1616 suit built by Anthony Le, it didn't necessarily fit me right and fell apart over time. So now, my friend and I are actually making her new suit ourselves! We're getting help and tips from friends since we've never done this before, but it's coming along. I will be editing together a documentary on it that will be up after Comic-Con so that everyone can see how we did it.
Me: The 2011 convention season has just begun; what costumes do you have planned next?
Tally: I have a couple of costumes planned for the con season of 2011. The one I'm most excited about is Wasp from "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes." I'm also working on a Black Widow finally. I've been wanting to do her for a while, but with "Iron Man 2" last year, I didn't want to do it then when there would be a million of them. I didn't actually plan on her this year either, but it just worked out. I have two different versions in mind, but first up will be Adi Granov's version. I'm excited to finally get to show off my martial arts background while posing for a character!
Me: What would you say if your favorite part about cosplaying?
Tally: My favorite part about cosplaying is the community that comes with it. It's really fun to sew and create a costume that people take pictures of and love, but growing up, I'd never had a big group of friends, or even close friends. Once I started cosplaying and going to conventions, I've found so many friends that it would be ridiculous to name them all. They're a great, loyal, fun-loving group of people and I'm very lucky to have them in life.
A big thank you to Tally for helping me out! Check out Tally’s Deviantart for more costumes, news and event attendance. Look forward to seeing more on here from her throughout 2011.
Marvel’s next big event is c2e2, March 18-20, in Chicago, IL. Marvel.com will be there covering booth events, panels, signings and more. Plus we’re planning on a Cosplay Photo Op and Costume Contest at the Marvel booth. Stay tuned for more info!
Last weekend was the first big east coast anime convention of the year and Marvel.com was there! This year's Katsucon was my 5th year in attendance and by far the best yet. There were thousands of amazing costumes, plus the beautiful backdrop of the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.
On Friday night, and with the help of ACParadise.com, over 30 cosplayers joined us for the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 gathering. It was a healthy mix of both Capcom and Marvel costumes (plus some characters from previous games).
With all this snow and ice the last few weeks, I’ve got something hot to warm you all up.
About a month or so, via Twitter, I stumbled upon Jay Tablante, an exceptional cosplay photographer based out of the Philippines. Jay’s work is a mix of brilliant ideas, vibrant colors and phenomenal lighting. As a fellow photographer, I just love being blown away by new and killer styles, so naturally I jumped at the chance to feature Jay on my blog.
Take it away Jay!
Me:Please introduce yourself.
Jay: Name: Jason Tablante Location: Quezon City, Philippines
I'm your avid overall geek, collecting comics, manga and anime. I'm also a commercial photographer by profession, but dabbled in application development for web and graphic design previous to this job.
Me: How did you become interested in photography? Where did you learn your skills?
Jay: I'm a professional photographer by craft, though I've been shooting as a hobby for almost 15 years now.
I was the art director for our high school's publication, and got jealous as to why my photo editor had all the dibs in shooting the pretty muses during the opening of our school's intramurals. I studied in an exclusive all-boys school, so seeing girls on campus drove most of us crazy. Since I was technically a rank higher than him, I thought of joining him for "quality assurance" (yeah right).
But it was college, when I took it quite seriously. My cousin studied photography at the state university (University of the Philippines), and had her darkroom manuals lying around. One afternoon, I was curious enough to read them, and next thing you know I saved up enough money from my part-time job to buy myself an SLR. My bias for studying programming eventually gave way to photography. I took up an apprenticeship with a local professional, and the rest is history after I took the chance of having my own practice a couple of years after.
Me:You’ve taken some stunning cosplay photos. How did you fall into that? Did cosplay come first, or photography?
Jay: I'm a frustrated illustrator. Ever since I was a kid when I started my little collection, I've always wanted to draw like the artists in comic books. I enrolled myself in art classes over the summers (in grade school and high school) back then, invested in a drawing board, countless sketch pads, pencils and inks, and just tried to draw away. Although I think I did some decent classic work on charcoal, craypass and water color, however I just can't seem to get my hold on comics and the sketchy cross-hatch style--plus of course the exaggeration on human anatomy.
That frustration of mine laid dormant over the years (and decades?) until I eventually got trained in photography and have been shooting professionally for a couple of years for ad agencies. It was one of those crossroads during my so-called career when I started to doubt what I was doing (I think it was a bout of quarter life crisis). I love photography and everything about it, but somehow whenever I finished a personal shoot / concept, the satisfaction didn't last that long. Something was lacking. I was quite detached from the subjects I was shooting. It was that geekness approach to the shoot that simply wasn't there, so I sought the means to marry photography and the love for anime, comics, etc...
The local cosplay photography scene is mostly limited to shooting cosplayers during actual conventions, by hobbyists or amateurs. Some would go out of their way, and shoot in parks, but that was just it. It was either in convention halls or parks. Funny enough, it was that "what if" eureka moment that struck me while eating in some hole-in-a-wall dim sum place with our team's production designer, that got me thinking on how we could take cosplay photography to another level. Not to mention there was a rerun of the "X-Men: The Animated Series" being shown in the shop's TV. What if we take what we learned in our industry practices and applied it to a growing genre such as cosplay?
Most, it not all creative directors in ad agencies are bonafide comic book geeks. Getting them into the creative loop during their spare time was like preaching to the choir. It was that fascination of getting to see real-life versions of our favorite characters in photographs that made us push the possibilities of production value. Mixed with some industry help (make-up artists, stylists, production designers), the current body of work right now is nothing short of a collaboration between people obsessed with the genre. It's basically getting your typical cosplay shoot and subjecting them to the best efforts of what the local photography industry could do.
Cosplay photography provided a fresh challenge every time because each character is unique. The way they are lit up, dressed up, and made up are all different. Brainstorming for them was nothing short of fun. We ended up shooting cosplay in between the commercial jobs to stretch our imagination.
At the end of the day, cosplay photography was the perfect avenue for us to show our love for comics.
On a side note, how I wish I could make that "pilgrimage" to the SDCC and go crazy on the cosplayers there.
Me:What was the inspiration for the shots you’ve grabbed? Walk us through your process from idea to shoot to post production.
Jay: For example, the concept for Rogue was sparked by watching that particular rerun of "X-Men: The Animated Series," plus digging up my X-MEN #1 issue. Comics are mostly drawn, but what if we used photography instead of illustration? The particular episode I saw involved Sentinels, and so… What if Rogue was fighting Sentinels? I remembered an art director friend of mine had a huge Sentinel toy in his cubicle; went out on a limb and borrowed it from him.
We thought of the image as if a page was taken out of a comic and puts the viewer in the middle of the action so to speak. What happened before that page and what is going to happen after, we'd leave it to their interpretation.
As for the shoot proper, we shot our cosplayer on-location in an abandoned golf ball factory 30 minutes outside of the city. We had her pose and act out the panels as necessary while imagining the position of the sentinel she's supposed to be fighting. On a separate day, we shot the broken shards of cement that became the flying debris, and mocked up the broken floor and pillar with a to-scale cement model. Each "panel" was shot and edited separately, then finally combined to form the page.
In the Elektra shoot, we wanted to combine some elements from the movie and comics. Our cosplayer/model Nadine has some resemblance to Jennifer Garner, so we took it to our advantage. The costume design was inspired from one of Marvel's local artists Carlo Pagulayan. Elektra got his first penciling gig for Marvel, and the peg was one of his early design studies. As for the scene, I was transfixed on the last part of the movie, when she confronted Kirigi in her ancestral house. This was the part when the white furniture sheets were flying all over the place. I really wanted the furniture sheets in the shot... somehow.
We basically get our inspiration by combining workable elements already present in the media (e.g. comics, movies, animation, etc...).
Post-productions were inspired from photographers such as Dave Hill, Jim Fiscus and David La Chapelle for their surreal feel. Most of their work almost borders on digital painting, which I think could bring cosplay photography beyond just shooting somebody in a nice costume.
(The girls who cosplayed Rogue and Elektra are actually sisters.)
Me: Each cosplayer you photograph fits the characters to a T! How did you meet them?
Jay: Most are friends and some I've met in the industry, or who other cosplayers referred to me by word of mouth. I check out the cosplay events during conventions to find out if there's somebody out there with the right costume and matching face. Since the local scene here isn't that big as compared to the U.S., eventually people would know each other in less than 6 degrees... it's easy to ask about a particular cosplayer through friends of friends, etc...
The cosplayer who did the Gambit shot is a local actor in Manila (Paolo Paraiso). He's also an X-Men geek like me, and his room is plastered with X-Men posters. Paolo was hooked with Gambit and since a kid; he'd daydream of having his own mutant powers (hehehe). When I told him about my plans almost a year ago, it's like the child in him just resurfaced. He started bringing out his collection, and bugged me months on end when we could do the shoot. Using his modeling & acting background, plus his obsession with the character, he method-acted Gambit on-set (From what he knew of the animated series and the Wolverine movie). All that lacked were the actual mutant powers.
Me: I take it you are a Marvel fan. How did you get pulled into the Marvel Universe?
Jay: The first comic I ever bought was an issue of UNCANNY XMEN way back in grade school (Grade 4 I think, I was 10 years old). Ever since then I was hooked. But I'm a compilations kind of guy over the years, so I wait out on the books. They're easier to keep and read. I was also an avid collector of the trading cards.
My fascination all started with the X-Men and eventually into the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Spider-Man... But what probably got me immersed in the universe was THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (man this really tells of my age). Other story arcs that got me reading were "Days of Future Past," "X-Tinction Agenda," "Dark Phoenix Saga," and "X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong."
My collection stopped in college, but I picked it up again a couple of years back when I got CIVIL WAR. I'm currently reading X-23 (kudos to Marjorie Liu, she writes good stuff), and X-Force right now through the iPad app. I skipped out on the SECRET INVASION though... Skrulls scare me.
You could say I'm a sucker for massive story arcs involving a lot of the characters, so I can't wait for FEAR ITSELF.
Thanks, Jay! With more amazing Marvel photos in the making, plus a trip to New York Comic Con later this year, I'm quite sure you'll be hearing from him again soon!
There's a foot of snow outside, but as promised I’m back with the second part of Yaya Han’s Cosplay Profile.
Me: What is your favorite Marvel Costume? And if you can make a dream costume, which Marve character would it be?
Yaya: I have so many favorite Marvel designs; it would be difficult to pick one. Iron Man has very cool and semi-believable armor. I like many of the Thor character designs because of the Norse mythology influence, and the fashion-lover in me really digs a well-designed color-matching bodysuit/hair/skin combo. Black Cat is a cleverly well-designed character; you can't go wrong with black/white. Songbird and Polaris also come to mind and I'd love to make either of their costumes. I guess so far I don't have a dream costume yet because thankfully most of the characters I like have moderately easy to make designs? But I definitely have a list of future to-do costumes.
Me: How do you decide which characters you'd like to cosplay? And what's the process of creating and sewing a new costume?
Yaya: First of all, I have to feel a connection to the character. Whether hero or villain, all of the characters I've cosplayed had a spark that fascinated me. Secondly, I think about if the costume would be flattering on my body, and if I could "pull off" the look. With a growing costume wardrobe, I also consider the design when I choose a new project. I don't want to always make the same type of costume, using the same technique, because it doesn't challenge me or make me improve my craftsmanship. I also would get bored. So I try to choose costumes that will allow me to hone my skills and learn new ones. Like with Scarlet Witch, I learned how to pattern a boned bodysuit with very specific seams from scratch and got in some more practice in working with 4-way stretch PVC.
When it comes to creating the costume, having good reference images and collecting materials are vital. I spend many many hours looking for pictures of every angle of the design, and shopping for all the fabrics, notions, materials for accessories, shoes, wigs etc. The actual sewing is often the easiest part of the costuming process because once you start, you can lose yourself in the project and knock it out step by step. I tackle each component as its own little project and often I will work on two different costumes at the same time so if I get tired of doing one thing, I can move on to another piece. It makes the crafting process more fun and streamlined.
Me: What's the next costume (Marvel and other) that's planned for you?
Yaya:I wan to make Domino next! She is an awesome character with striking visuals and I'd like to combine elements from her different outfits into one costume (with an arsenal!) that will look like it can stand up to some serious action. I also have materials for an original costume based on Chinese Mythology, and I am working on Amber from "Sucker Punch" for the spring!
Me: After over 10 years within the Cosplay community, what would you say is your most favorite part of it all?
Yaya: After all these years, costumes and cons, I still love the creative aspect of cosplay the most. I love that I can still make things I've never made before, work with new materials and create new looks. If I didn't make my own costumes, cosplay would be much less fulfilling and I don't think I'd still be doing it. Also, it would be much more expensive [laughs].
I also appreciate the fact that I have been able to make a living out of cosplaying and making costume items for others. It makes me happy when someone can use one of my items to complete their costume!
Lastly, I've made some great friends all over the world through cosplay and am very grateful for them
Thanks again to Yaya for participating! You can check out more cosplay & costumes from Yaya, plus her online store, over at yayahan.com/
To celebrate the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, we're going to try to have a gathering of cosplayers from both the Marvel and Capcom side! Marvel employees will also be at hand to snap photos, so if you want to appear on Marvel's website, this is your ticket! (You'll all need to sign a model release to show up on Marvel.com)
Katsucon 17 will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD from February 18th-February 20th, 2011.
Current MvC3 roster as of 1/23/11 Marvel Spider-Man (Classic) X-23 (Default) Storm (Color Pending) Phoenix (Default) She-Hulk (Default)
Capcom: Dante (Default) Trish (Default) Morrigan (Default) Ryu (Evil) Amaterasu (Human) Chun Li (Default) Don't fret if your costume got claimed, duplicates are welcome, so please sign up!