Fangirl on a Budget: Cosplay Hair

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As I mentioned in the comic book edition of Fangirl on a Budget, being a geek girl can be pretty expensive, but being a cosplayer is even more expensive. Sometimes one cosplay can cost hundreds of dollars. Although it isn’t always easy to cut the costs of fabric and building materials for your costume, one way you could save some cash is with cosplay hair.

Wigs can be expensive and at times unavoidable. But, if your hair is similar in length to your cosplay character, but not color, try using hair chalk or comb-in hair color. I’ve been playing around with hair chalk since I’ve had my Rouge-inspired blonde streak. It’s a cute and non-permanent way to play around with hair colors. They wash out in about 1 to 2 washes and don’t damage your hair like bleaching and dying.

The products I tried in the video below are Creative Comb-In Hair Color (neon pink) and Hair Artist Hair Chalk (blue-green). The comb-in hair color pigment is vibrant, but keep in mind it can get a little messy since it is the like consistency of pudding and needs about 15 minutes to dry. The hair chalk isn’t messy at all and can be applied in less than 5 minutes. It’s like drawing on your hair which is kinda fun. In my experience hair chalk comes out bolder and brighter on light colored hair and is great if you want to do streaks or allover color. For dark brown and black hair I think hair chalk is best for streaks and highlights. The best thing is they both under 10 bucks.

I’ve been working with some fine folks from FYE on the reopening of their geeky pop culture store. If you’re in the NY tri-state area, check out the new FYE store in Woodbrigde Center Mall in New Jersey. They have lots of geeky pop culture clothes, toys and accessories. They’re even selling Her Universe! They have a beauty section where they sell hair chalk and other beauty products that are all under $10.

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My Cosplay Bucket List

As you may remember from my post “Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer” I really like cosplaying. Who doesn’t?! But I have to admit, even after my numerous Doctor Who cosplays and my pretty killer femme Spike Spiegel, I still feel like a newb since I didn’t actually make anything from scratch myself. The designs and concepts were my own, but the crafting was not. But after some drinks with Cosplay Queen Darth Rachel and a little pep talk from her, I feel less newby.

I let my lack of craftiness limit me, but I will not let it hold me back any longer! I will try my damndest to create most of these clothes and items by hand. I will probably fail many times, but that’s part of the fun… right?

Either way, here’s my cosplay queue, the characters I want to cosplay badly because they are my faves and they look super freaking cool. Shout out to the homie Leslie IRL for the blog post idea!

 

Space Dandy 

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Space Dandy is ridiculous anime and I love it so much. I’ll genderbend this up with a ’50s style dress or skirt and top to match Dandy’s Greaser look. But this cosplay is actually happening irl at NYCC this year! I have the jacket already, I just need to make shoes. >_<

 

Delirium from Sandman

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Sandman is one of my favorite comic book series of all time. Delirium was definitely one of my favorite of the Endless. I was always excited when she would pop up in the comic. Making the wig for her cosplay will be fun!

 

Gwendolyn from Saga

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I freaked out when I first saw Gwendolyn. Being a black girl who reads comics, I don’t see lots of characters that look like me, so when BVK created bomb-ass Gwendolyn I was beside myself. Just look at her looking all magnificent!

 

Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell 

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The Major is one of my favorite characters ever! She’s a shining example of a strong female character. The Ghost in the Shell series is one of my all time faves as well. I even wrote a 20 page paper in grad school about GITS and post-humanism (see: Cyborgs Exist and Humanity is Doomed for a shorter version). There are so many looks I could go with; but I already know I’m not going to do the one where she doesn’t wear pants.

 

Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan

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Spider is one of my favorite comic book characters. He’s such a lovable bastard! I’m doing a genderbent Spider. I really like genderbending.

 

Leatherface Joker

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I want to cosplay Leatherface Joker so badly. He’s so gorgeously gruesome! I’ll probably genderbend this one too because I just like to do that and it’s fun. I have no idea how I will even do the mask but if there’s a will, there’ s a way!

 

Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time

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Oh my glob! How can you not love LSP?! With this cosplay I’ll probably go the non-lumpy route and wear a over-the-top dress instead, with a big purple wig and of course, the star.

 

Berg Katze from Gatchaman Crowds

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So I actually haven’t finished this anime yet… whoops. BUT I immediately fell in love with Berg Katze and his character design. I MEAN LOOK AT THAT HAIR! He’s fun villain and reminds me of the Joker because you don’t really hate him as much as you probably should.

Fangirl on a Budget: Comic Book Edition

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Let’s be honest, being a fangirl is pretty expensive. Don’t see how? Just add up how much you spend on comics, books, toys, clothes, cons, games, etc. But this made me wonder, can you be a geek and be on a budget at the same time? Well of course you can! But since our love runs deep for these fandoms, saving money isn’t that easy. I spend the most money on comics since I pick them up every Wednesday. I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat so I figured that’s the best place to start.

Here are a few simple ways you can save money when it comes to comic books:

I’m Just Not That into You

You should probably trim the fat at least once a year. Look at your pull list or the titles you buy each month and ask yourself, “Do I really care about this series?” You may realize that you’re reading them out of habit. The ones you no longer care about can go in a box to the left.

Go Digital

Now take a look at your pull list again. Are there any titles that you don’t need to physically collect? I know when it comes to being a fan, our wants camouflage as needs. But really ask yourself if you need every single issue of each series. Maybe you can switch to buying only milestone issues or covers that you really like. If so, read those series on Comixology. They can be cheaper than the print version (but not always) and they always have sales, so in the end you’ll save money and space. Also, their guided view is pretty cool!

Used TPB

Switching to digital is the hardest one in my opinion. So I totally understand if you’re not down for it. I’m a big fan of print books and comics and rarely read digital comics unless it’s manga. When I want to read an older series or catch up on an ongoing one, I buy used trade paperbacks on Amazon (or read the digital volumes on Comixology). The used TPBs are a lot cheaper and often look just as good.

Volumes over Single Issues

Volumes can be a substitute if you’re not down with digital. If there’s a series you like, but don’t need to read the single issues every month, wait a few months and buy the volumes instead. They are usually cheaper than individual issues when you add them up.

Libraries- Submitted by Kia

This is the best option if you don’t want/need to own the trades that you want to read. I used to do this a lot when reading older series. If your library doesn’t have that volume, sometimes they can ship it from another library so don’t forget to ask!

NetGalley– Submitted by Kia

If you’re a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, NetGalley is a great place to read digital comics for free.

Local Comic Shop Sales- Submitted by B of You Fancy Me Mad

Most comic book stores have big sales monthly. Sign up for their newsletter to hear about their latest discounts and sales. Like B said, “It’s a great time to pick up trades or that variant cover you’ve had your eye on.”

Have more tips on saving money when it comes to comics? Share them in the comments section!

Where I Freak Out About ‘Sandman Overture #2’

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OMFG YOU GUYS! I cannot even deal with how friggin’ gorgeous Sandman Over #2 is! J.H. Williams III is a GOD. I will build an alter in his honor and put food there every Wednesday (because that’s the sacred comic book day). Next door to the JHW3 alter I will build a shrine in honor the letterer, Todd Klein. I will pray to The Endless there and all my dreams will come true.

Williams’ panels in Overture #2 are some of the most creative I’ve ever seen. But he’s been stuntin’ on these pages since Overture #1. Remember that “OMG IT’S A MOUTH! Panel”? Genius!

Well back to #2. I open the first page and there is Daniel Dream looking gorg in all white (Oh hey, boo. *wink*). But peep the panels! I mean can you even call them panels at this point? Well, the pentagon goes all Inception on us because it’s a panel within a panel. The pentagon shape itself probably has some Gaimanesque 4-layer literary meaning. But I can’t figure out because I’m lost in Dream’s beautiful black eyes.

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Neil Gaiman’s story is too magnificent to be confined to regular box panels. The rest of the issue is all like, “Panels? WTF is a panel?”

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Then you skip a few pages and you feel like you’ve taken some hallucinogen. But don’t worry, it’s just what happens when you combine the awesome power of Klein’s lettering, JHW3’s art and Gaiman’s words. You start trippin’!

Then there’s a freakin’ Dream convention which is both brilliant and hilarious. We meet the very first Dream (holy crap!) and all of the creatures he was/is Dream for (holy crap!). Then all of the different Dreams basically realize that they can be, “self-satisfied, irritating and self-possessed”. I love him, but come on; Dream can be such a dick. If you’re like me, you probably spent like 10 minutes on this page because there is so much going on. It’s so overwhelming! But it makes you happy because it’s so epic. I took the time to marvel at every single Dream.

This page is also where Todd Klein shows why he’s an OG. The thing with lettering in comics is you don’t really notice it most of the time because most speech bubbles are “regular”. But Klein’s lettering in Sandman is legend. My favorites are Dream’s black bubble with white text (and sometimes the opposite) and Delirum’s rainbow bubbles and irregular text size.

On the page below, he goes ham and each Dream gets their own unique speech bubble. This was my favorite part of the entire comic. I had so much a fun coming up with the voices for Dream to match the different types of bubbles.

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Then some really cool things happen in the story. Like we find out Dream is going to see his DAD with the Dream of Cats. OMFGWUT?!

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East of West #9: The Black Experience Done Right

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Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Dragotta
Colors: Frank Martin
Publisher: Image Comics

People of color are underrepresented and misrepresented in comics (we should all know that by now). However, there are some creators who do diversity right. (Quick shout-out to the creators of ChewSaga and Nowhere Men, to name a few.) This issue of East of West took it a step further and not only had an issue full of black folk, but it gave them depth and realism.

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East of West is a crock-pot that’s brewing an oncoming apocalypse and each issue is an ingredient. Because of this, there isn’t much progression in the story, just more world expansion and history lessons. The newest ingredient is the black Kingdom of New Orleans. This is where Jonathan Hickman does the black experience justice.

Too many black characters in comics are what I like to call “happenstance black”. Their blackness has little or nothing to do with the character’s personality. They are the token black character. Don’t get me wrong, just because a character is black doesn’t mean everything about that character should do with race and racism. But it cannot be ignored either.

The King of New Orleans mentions that the other nations call blacks “oilmen, like it was a slur”. This was a smart way to add an aspect of racial realism. Even the last name of Jonathan Freeman gives the reader more insight into this family and their core values. But these are not simply race-related plot devices just for the sake of it, they blend effortlessly with the story.

East of West shows us that it’s possible to incorporate the black experience into a comic in a genuine way… if you give a damn.

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Manga & Millennials: How I Found Comfort in “Solanin”

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Solanin, by Inio Asano, is about Meiko Inoue, a recent college grad working a 9-5 that she hates. Sound like anyone you know? She fears she’ll end up a faceless employee, so she quits. Her boyfriend, Taneda Naruo is a freelance illustrator and doesn’t make enough to support himself so he permanently crashes at her apartment.

Meiko, like many of us twentysomethings, is in that transitory stage where she’ll have to make critical decisions that may affect the rest of her life. She struggles with figuring out her place in society, which causes her to question if she’s even cut out for the real world.

With our thirties tapping us Millennials on the shoulder, we are left with this nagging feeling to search for purpose before we get trapped in a passionless routine. (Queue existential crisis.) Like a remixed version of Joan Didion’s essays, a lot of us are “Slouching Towards Adulthood”. It’s a splinter we try to ignore. We hope it goes away, or that we’ll get used to the pain. But there will come a day when we’ll have to either do something about it, or decide to live with that splinter. To quote my favorite anime Cowboy Bebop, “You’re gonna carry that weight.”solanin_meiko

Meiko’s first step was quitting a job that wasn’t fulfilling. But what’s next? What do you do, when you don’t know what to do?

You live. You make mistakes. You get to know yourself. Find out what you like and what you don’t like. You cling to your passions like Teneda clung to music and his band. You do what you want to do.

I know I’m dangerously flirting with the age where I have to start acting like a self-sustaining adult. These are the years where I’m sculpting my future and I wasn’t happy with the shape it was taking. So I did something about it. Just like Meiko, I don’t want to end up spending 9+ hours of my day feeling empty.

I know nothing good can come by waiting for good to come. You have to take risks. It’s scary, but also exhilarating. If you’re a recent grad, or feeling lost about life and your place in it, I suggest reading Solanin.

Life’s too short to be anything but happy.

Always follow your happy.

Girl Gone Geek’s Best of 2013

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Let’s just dive right in, shall we?

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Game of the Year- Pokemon XY

I’m 2 badges away from beating the game because I keep getting distracted by Pokemon-Amie (but like, how can you not?!).

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Comic Book Series of the Year- Saga

What praise is left to say about Saga that hasn’t already been said? Saga is damn near perfect.

Runner up: Nowhere Men

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Comic Book Issue of the Year- Batman #17, Death of the Family Conclusion

The entire Death of the Family arc had me stressed. I was so concerned about Alfred’s wellbeing that I would think about him throughout the day and hope he was okay. Scott Snyder sure can come up with some twisted shit, but I love it!

Runner up: East of West #3

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Comeback of the Year- Sandman Overture          

I really just made this category to gush about Neil Gaiman. Sandman is one of my favorite comic book series of all time, so when I heard that he was making a prequel I practically had to call out of work because of the feels. Then! Then! They said that the J.H. Williams III was going to be the artist and I just about fell out of my seat. JH3 deserves an award alone for his imaginative panels in the first issue.

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Author of the Year- Matt Fraction

This guy! Hawkeye is pure brilliance and I was practically buzzing when I read the debut of Sex Criminals. It’s smart, funny, provocative and included a Lolita reference. What’s not to love?!

Runner up: Scott Snyder

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Artist of the Year- Fiona Staples

The characters in the Saga universe are pretty diverse to put it mildly, so it takes someone pretty amazing to make them all blend together. Fiona Staples does just that in a breathtaking way… Even that giant ogre with the dirty private parts.

Runner up: Nate Bellegarde

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Colorist of the Year- Jordie Bellaire

I am a super fan of Jordie Bellaire. From the clean lines of Nowhere Men to the expressive and painterly art of Pretty Deadly and American Vampire Anthology, Bellaire is a master of color.

Runner up: Fco Plascencia

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Show of the Year- Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad was flawless. I have never been this fully satisfied with a show since The Wire. Every episode, scene and line was carefully calculated and is easily one of the best shows. Ever.

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Film of the Year- Gravity

I don’t know what scared me more, The Conjuring or Gravity. It was intense, beautiful and emotional.

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Episode of the Year- Game of Thrones, The Red Wedding

:(

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Anime Series of the Year- Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

I saw someone on tumblr describe Attack on Titan as the anime that uses blood like most anime use cherry blossoms. Its first season was fully equipped with enough “holy shit” moments to probably last you the whole series. It’s a lot of fun.

Runner up: Another

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Anime Film of the Year- Wolf Children

I may, or may not have cried.

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Fandom of the Year- Welcome to Night Vale

Brilliant, eerie and funny! It’s basically Lovecraft without the stick up his ass.

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TV Special of the Year- Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor

Clearly, I just added this category so I could add Doctor Who to my list. The 50th anniversary episode was everything I needed it to be.