New York Comic Con 2015: Cosplay Roundup

Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop Cosplay

Y’all are probably sick of seeing my femme Spike cosplay, but I’m not sick of wearing it. Any chance I get to pretend to be as cool as Spike Spiegel I’m going to take it. This cosplay was made by the very talented Stefánia Ágoston of Ticci Rockabilly. I wore this to the Fanbros: Crossplay Cosplay Contest and Party where I was one of the judges. Fanbros are the homies; I love their podcast and they are some of my favorite geek peeps. Check them out!

Neon Genesis Evangelion… Sweatshirt

I needed a day of rest from cosplaying so I wore my Neon Genesis Evangelion sweater from Apparel K on Thursday. I love how cute Sachiel looks on the sleeves of the sweater.

Sailor Goon Cosplay

For Friday, I went with a remixed version of my Sailor Goon cosplay. I traded my denim vest and shorts for a leather-ish vest and black shorts. I left the wig at home because I couldn’t be bothered… but also because I’m in love with my new hair color.

Sailor Moon from Earth 23 Cosplay

The Story

I’ll be honest, I had a lot of concerns about my Earth 23 Sailor Moon cosplay. Being a PoC I’m extra sensitive to appropriation. Nowadays everyone is being called out for it, both justly and unjustly. I was nervous that what I was doing could be considered the same thing. Race and culture bends in cosplay are nothing new, but I wondered if those cosplayers experienced that same trepidation.

I approached this cosplay with the utmost respect to Sailor Moon and Japanese culture; which helped subside my appropriation concerns. To me, this was more than a simple culture bend cosplay. I wanted to show the strong connection that black women have to Sailor Moon. Yes, women of all backgrounds grew up watching the Sailor Senshi. However, there’s a special connection many of women of color made with the Sailor Scouts. Here was this group of strong, but also flawed, teenagers kicking ass… and they were women of color. Something we could only really find in anime. My cosplay was my way of honoring that connection and hopefully uplifting women of color as well.

The Construction

I bought the fabric from Jabbie Kunda at the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn this summer. If you live in NYC and want to buy some beautiful African wax and kente fabrics, his permanent shop is located at the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market (aka the African Market).

Stefánia of Ticci Rockabilly made my Kente Sailor Fuku and did an amazing job. To add a little poof I wore my petticoat from Bodyline and my friend Shanté made my beautiful ankh headpiece.

@girl_gone_geek stealin my heart at #NewYorkComicCon. booth 2238 – come say hey

A photo posted by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on Oct 10, 2015 at 11:30am PDT

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The Compliments

The compliments were overwhelming. Instead of a magical girl transformation, I turned into a shy shoujo character like Rinko Yamato or Sawako Kuronuma. I felt not only extremely adorable, but strong as well. I believe people got the message I was trying to convey and I’m happy about that.

I met Amandla Stenberg (Hunger Games) and she loved my cosplay so much that she posted a photo on her Instagram! She was at NYCC to promote the comic she’s writing, Niobe: She Is Life, along with the artist Ashley Woods. The comic comes out November 4th. Preorder it now at your local comic book shop!

Steven Universe Cosplay

I wanted to do a Steven Universe cosplay but since I waited last-minute I ended up with just the shirt, gem and cheeseburger clutch (instead of a backpack). Still cute, though!

NYCC 2015 Cosplay

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NYCC 2014: Cosplay Roundup

Every year I attend New York Comic Con more and more fans cosplay. It’s tough picking favorites but the ones that made me squee the most were Death from East of West and Steven Universe and his mom as Garnet. Oh and here’s my post about my Sailor Moon (aka Sailor Goon), Space Dandy and Spike Spiegel cosplay.

Anime/Manga

Comics

Movies & TV & Video Games & Podcasts

 

NYCC 2014 Cosplay & Coords: Sailor Moon, Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop & More

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It was only a year ago when I posted “Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer” and look how far I’ve come! Now I know I’m not building Tali armor from scratch like my friend and cosplay sensei @DarthRachel, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless.

Sailor Goon

I introduce to you, Sailor Goon; my gangsta take on Sailor Moon. I was Sailor Moon and my friend Roshi was Black Lady. People at the con said we were cute and creepy so mission accomplished basically.

I was inspired by Asiey Barbie’s Sailor Gang art on tumblr. I tagged her on Instagram and Twitter and her reaction was, “O.M.G. yasss, this is EXCELLENT!” and “I am SLAYED. absolute perfection.” She reblogged my post on Tumblr which is probably why it’s getting so many notes and said “YOU GUYS LOOK AT THIS FLAWLESSNESS”. So of course that made my day!

Artist Babs Tarr was also a big influence on this cosplay design. Her Bōsōzoku Sailor Scouts helped us come up with accessories like the denim jacket, patches and ripped nylon stockings. Babs was at NYCC this weekend so I was lucky enough to meet her and get a gorgeous Bōsōzoku Sailor Moon print and my Batgirl #1 signed. She is super sweet and LOVED our cosplay. She took a photo of us and gave us some of her stickers I actually planned on buying anyway!

As you can probably tell, Sailor Goon was my favorite cosplay of the weekend. The fun part was coming up with ways I could change Usagi’s regular costume from Moon to Goon. And my friend Roshi was giving some Black Moon realness with her Black Lady cosplay. Surprisingly, Sailor Goon was the first woman I’ve cosplayed. Up until now I’ve Rule 63’ed my favorite male characters like the Eleventh Doctor, Spike Spiegel and Space Dandy.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is amazing… and weird. But that WTFness of Dandy is why I love it so much. I remember how excited I was hearing that the GAWD Shinichirō Watanabe of (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo) was going to be the chief director of a new anime called Space Dandy. I admit, I had to adjust to the randomness of the show. Although Dandy is a bounty hunter in space, it’s nothing like Cowboy Bebop. Once I got that through my head, I fully enjoyed each episode. The finale was mind-blowing. Maybe I’ll blog about it at some point.

I’m not a crafty person at all, but I managed to make some Dandy accessories and I’m really proud myself, even though these are nothing compared to other stuff people make. It’s my first time “crafting” so give me a break! I made the necklace out of poster paper and paint marker, but it doesn’t look that bad as it sounds. It’s kind of like a Monet and looks better the further away you are. I hope my kanji isn’t too embarrassing; it was my first time writing that as well. The jacket is from Csddlink and I made Dandy’s belt buckle out of foam which I painted gold. Since I decided to go with high-waisted leggings, I turned the buckle into a pin. The items that are missing are his hair, bracelet and shoes. So this is kinda a half-assed cosplay. But now that I have most of his costume, I’ll give the rest my best effort next year.

I made a Space Dandy playlist because the music is so good. Shake your booty while reading this blog post, baby. It’s the Dandy way!

 

Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop 

If this looks familiar it’s because I did this female Spike last year. I loved it so much I had to do it again! Nothing new added to this except I’m channelling Faye Valentine with my purple hair. It’s been a year and I still haven’t gotten a good Spike wig. I’m the worst you guys I’m so sorry.

Kawaii Street Style

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I wasn’t always dressing up as someone else at NYCC. These last two additions aren’t cosplay but some pretty cute coords if I do say so myself.

On Friday I wore my new favorite sweater from Omo-Cat called ‘Toast Girl’. I was going for kawaii street style and did cult party kei makeup which is hard to notice because… you know… I’m black.

Subtle Princess Serenity 

*Queue magical girl transformation* I went from Sailor Goon by day, to Subtle Princess Serenity by night (with an emphasis on “subtle”). I wore this to the Fan Girls’ Night Out Party hosted by Geek Girl Brunch (that org I co-founded). There are tons of galaxy prints out there but the Shadowplay NYC shop on Etsy has some of the best I’ve seen. Better than Black Milk (yeah I said it!). I ordered two dresses from them and wore the Mystic Mountain Jersey Dress to FGNO. It features a Hubble Print of the Mystic Mountain, a Pillar in the Carina Nebula. I kept the space theme going and paired my Nebula dress with Princess Serenity and Sailor Moon accessories. I got so many compliments!

Well, that’s a wrap for my New York Comic Con cosplay and coords! Stay tuned to see if I get better at cosplay crafting next year. Spoiler: I probably won’t. I already have my eyes set on Leatherface Joker, Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolian and a a young Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Arise (all featured in my Cosplay Bucket List post).

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.

Geek Girl Brunch Judges the Wasabassco Burlesque Costume Contest

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Ma’at, Techno Babble & Bella Blackheart [Photo by Hyuk E Kim]

The Geek Girl Brunch co-founders we’re asked to judge the Wasabassco Burlesque SUPER! Heroes vs Villains costume contest back in May. After we were done freaking out about how excited we were, we started freaking out about what we were going to wear. 

To enter the contest the contestants had to create original characters. So you know what that meant, as judges we just HAD to create our own original characters. We had a very long email thread going between the three of us full of Etsy links and partial back stories. In the end, Bella Blackheart, Techno Babble and Ma’at, The Scribe were born… and cosplayed. 

Bella Blackheart 

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Origin Story: Bella is the daughter of a human woman and Shango, the African god of fire, lightning and thunder. Her mother died giving birth to her and she was raised by her father in the realm of the gods. Her father’s three wives, the goddesses Oshun, Oya and Oba, loathed Bella. She was a living reminder that their husband fell in love with a human woman.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThroughout her childhood, the wives tried to have dangerous “accidents” befall Bella, but her father, Shango, always protected her. After 16 years of living with Bella, the wives could not stand it anymore. One night they tried to kill Bella in her sleep. But, as they discovered, killing the daughter of a god isn’t easy. So instead of losing her life, she lost an eye. 

Bella escaped to the mortal world and took up residence in a small ghost town in the American West called Blackheart. Bella lived alone in the town for years, only venturing out to neighboring towns to get supplies and food. One day, a roaming group of assassins came to Blackheart and attempted to take over the town for themselves, but Bella wouldn’t have that. After a fierce battle Bella came out victorious. Impressed with her skills, the surviving assassins asked her to join them. Bella, being tired of the solitary life, accepted their offer. Over time, she became their leader and they became known as The Blackhearts, the most infamous band of assassins in the Americas.

Character Design: It all started with the eyepatch. I knew, whoever my character would eventually become, she would have an eyepatch. Because just like bow ties, eye patches are cool. I wanted her to look badass, mysterious and someone you wouldn’t want to fuck with. 

Bella’s overall costume design was inspired by Elle from Kill Bill, Ginny from Pretty Deadly and Death from East of West. I’ve never really been a fan of Westerns, but the comics Pretty Deadly and East of West sparked a love for the genre and the aesthetic.

Rachel as Techno Babble

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She’s a doomsprite that works for the super villain The Viral Menace. She travels via viral thought, loves meme culture and has the ability to screw with your tech just enough that it doesn’t work but not enough to look like it is broken.

Yissel as Ma’at, The Scribe

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Formerly Egypt’s personification of truth and justice, with scribes of her own. She’s been living among us for centuries in search of her stolen wings. All that she has of them is a single plume with which she writes events into existence, prepared to suffer the cost of her powers.

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.

Confessions of a First Time Cosplayer

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I’ve cosplayed as the Eleventh Doctor, but for whatever reason, I feel like my femme Spike Spiegel was my first legitimate cosplay. I can now proudly call myself a cosplayer, albeit, with only one cosplay in my bank.

girlgonegeek_TicciRockabilly_sketchSit down, grab a cup of tea and I’ll tell you my cosplay story… It starts off with a major dilemma. I can’t sew for sh*t. Which is what always held me back. I felt like I wouldn’t be a “real” cosplayer because I can’t make my costume from scratch. But after a few months of deliberation I said “Eff it!”. I decided to be Spike Spiegel from my favorite anime series, Cowboy Bebop. With my Femme Eleven and now Spike, I find that I really enjoy crossplay and I might just make it my thing.

Since this would made from scratch (by someone else), why not femme it up and make it my own? I looked up a few rockabilly pin-up designers on Etsy and discovered TicciRockabilly. I loved her designs and contacted her about making my custom femme Spike cosplay. The sketch she came up with was better than I imagined!

The outfit wouldn’t be complete with a few accessories of course! I bought fake cigarettes and fake gun at Halloween Adventure. I also ordered some cute revolver earrings from Girl Props for only $2. It’s the little things. I tried two different green hair sprays to give my black hair the green highlights Spike has but it didn’t look good, so I went with a sleek and classic look instead. Femme Spike wouldn’t have messy hair in my mind, especially wearing a dress! Also not sure how she’d be able to Jeet Kune Do, but that’s besides the point.

It was down to the wire (literally the first day of New York Comic Con) but my outfit was finally complete and ready to make its début. People seemed to love it and I had a blast posing for photos! I now know why people love cosplaying so much. It made me so happy and I can’t wait for my next cosplay!

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