For as long as I have been going to comic conventions, unassimilated friends have asked: “Are you going to dress up?” (That’s their way of asking if I was going to Cosplay.) My answer was always the same: “Pssh, no!” That is, until now. Despite my mock derision, I’ve toyed with the idea of joining the Cosfray for years. Being an “ain’t no half-stepping” kinda guy, its taken me a while to gather all the pieces. But things finally came together for a Phoenix Comicon debut of my first Cosplay adventure.
First rule of Cosplay is, in my humble opinion: choose a character that works with your body type. I am a pretty skinny guy, so hulking, muscle bound heroes were out. I also felt like the zanier the costume, the better. I zeroed in on Plastic Man quickly. Slim, kooky, and most importantly, fun.
Of course, you don’t just go down to your local costume shop and pick up a Plastic Man costume. And I don’t know the first thing about sewing and clothes making. Enter the Galbraith family. Wendy, and her daughters Olivia and Madison, most certainly do know a thing or two about sewing and clothes making. They have created some amazing, professional quality costumes. And not just easy stuff: Padme’s lake dress, female Tusken Raider garb, and full Jedi gear. Superheroes like Katma Tui and (female) Nighwing. So once I felt ready to commit I contacted the Galbraiths and asked if they’d be willing to do a commission. Now, I say this with utmost respect and admiration – this family geeks out. No sooner had they agreed to make my costume than I was being pelted with questions like: “We noticed Plastic Man’s costume has the ‘V’ opening in the front AND back. Is that how you want it?” They have a serious eye for detail.
We met at a local fabric store early on to choose materials. Who knew there were so many choices when picking out red spandex? Thin, thick, shiny, matte… We also decided on which materials would work best for the belt. (Speaking of belts, Wendy tactfully mentioned at this point that I may want to visit the dance supply store and pick out a “dancer belt.” Ah.) After some insignificant input from me they said: “OK, we’ve got it from here.” I handed off my DC Direct Alex Ross Justice Plastic Man figure and let them to it!
It did not take long before I got the call that I was needed for a fitting. I was so excited and impressed with what they had constructed. I went into the bathroom, put it on, looked in the mirror, and was immediately aware of how much fortitude Cosplay requires. I couldn’t walk out of the bathroom. All that was running through my mind was: “What were you thinking?” After a couple minutes I collected myself, took a deep breath, and walked into their kitchen. I’m not sure if they were smirking at me or with me, but at that point there was no looking back!
As they were putting the finishing touches on Plas’s clothes, I began tracking down a wig. Unfortunately, CantinaDanny does not have enough up top to pull off Plastic Man’s full head of hair. I tried the costume shop first, but was not about to sully such a quality costume with a cheap wig. So I called the ladies at Classy Sisters Wigs, a full service wig salon that specializes in helping patients who are undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation. I asked if they were willing to help me with a wig for Cosplay. Toni and Karen were amazing and said “it is a nice change of pace to provide wigs for ‘fun’.” I sent them Plastic Man reference photos and they chose the wig they thought would work best. I went in, tried it on, and had them trim it up as much as possible.
Plastic Man shows a lot of leg and chest, both of which are devoid of hair. So my next order of business was choosing a salon and scheduling a waxing. Yes, you read that right. There is a European Waxing Center close to work so I popped in and asked a few questions. Before I knew it I was on the table in my underwear having hot purple wax spread on my body by a woman from Brooklyn named Lisa. Full chest, belly, and both legs is a lot of real estate to deforest. I’ll spare you the details but if I heard Lisa say it once, she said it 100 times: “You’re a trooper, Danny!”
A couple weeks before Comicon I was on a photoshoot for work. I was chatting with Jeff Noble, the photographer, about the costume. Jeff is a really fun guy and was getting a kick out of this story. To my surprise he says: “Before you go down to the con, come by the studio and we’ll do a shoot with you in costume.” I couldn’t believe it. Jeff is a nationally renown portrait photographer in no small part due to his insane ability to capture the absolute essence of his clients, no matter who they are. Saturday morning I woke up early and proceeded to get into costume. Once inside Jeff’s studio I ripped off my Adidas track suit and got into character. Between laughing and shooting Jeff got in quite a few: “That is scary dude” type reassurances.
After the shoot I threw my tracksuit back on and walked down to the Phoenix Convention Center with my good buddy, Matt. Once there I slipped into the restroom to disrobe and gather my moxie. It took all of my nerve to walk out that door. Now, its just not possible to take yourself too seriously when you are walking around in public dressed in a red spandex body suit and I think that helped to get into the slapstick role that is Plastic Man. I mean, being silly and hamming it up kinda fits with his comic book personality, no? There were lots of photos taken throughout the day and here is a montage of shots that just include other DC universe characters . . .
My first day of Cosplay turned out to be pretty darn fun. I want to seriously thank all my friends who helped me pull this off. Wendy, Olivia, and Madison – thank you for your willingness to take the commission, your excellent craftsmanship, and your excitement for the project. Jeff, really appreciate the photoshoot. And, Matt, thanks for walking around with me all day, taking pics and lugging my crap (’cause apparently superheroes don’t need to carry a wallet.)
Left: Olivia and Madison rocking their Jedi gear.
Right: Matt’s daughter, Bella (excited to meet Ariel), doing some Cosplay of her own.