Monday, November 15, 2010

Behind the Mask: My Interview with a Costumed Comic Con Character

A Comic Con just would not be the same without those charismatic costumed characters that bravely parade through the shows, patiently posing for fan photos. As a creative type, I've often thought of making my own costume, and going out at Halloween or a comic con, and not let anyone see behind the mask. I think it takes a special kind of person to do so, though... someone brave, outgoing... perhaps an Actor or Actress? What motivates these people? Where do they find the courage?

So many questions piling up, that I just had to go out and ask somebody!

And that somebody was Jen Baker, the woman in my Mid Ohio Con post dressed as Felicia Hardy, The Black Cat.  When Jen posed for the above photo, I took a moment to talk with her, and found her to be pretty cool about everything.  I guess if you're the one in the costume, shyness is not an issue!

I'm honestly amazed at how patient most costumed folk can be at these shows, and how professional they are, and at how much fun they seem to be having!  So, curious as a Cat myself, I asked Jen if she was willing to answer a few questions.  And she did. :0)

John: "First off, Jen. Why do you do it? Why the costume?"

Jen:  "It's every comic book enthusiasts dream to be like the heroes (or villains) that you see on the pages. Dressing like them brings you a bit closer to living out that dream."

John:  "And what do you get out of this?"

Jen: "Dressing in costume really added to the comic convention experience! It's great when everyone recognizes you as one of your favorite characters. You almost feel like a movie star with so many people asking for pictures. It's also a great way to meet people because a costume is definitely a conversation starter."

John: "Do you make your own costumes?"

Jen: "This was actually my first attempt at making a costume. I bought the basic black bodysuit and just modified it with the white fur trim. The hardest part was the mask. I took about 3 or 4 days to make it, and it didn't turn out too shabby."

John: "Nice work... the mask is great!  So when was your first time appearing in public in costume?"

Jen: "I wore the costume for Halloween this year. A few people thought I was supposed to be Lady Gaga! But a surprisingly large amount of people actually identified me as the Black Cat or Felicia Hardy."

John: "How did that come about, and were you more nervous or excited?"

Jen: "I felt a bit nervous at first stepping out in a skin tight costume. The initial jitters quickly faded though, and then it was all fun and excitement!"

John: "Are you into comics yourself? If so, reading or making them, or both?"

Jen: "I've been a comic book collector since I was about ten years old. Comics are one of my great passions in life..they just make me happy! I always thought it would be cool to be a comic book artist, and maybe one day I'll pursue that.

John: "What kind of comics do you enjoy the most? Are you Marvel, DC, Manga... ?"

Jen: "Marvel comics were certainly my first true love, and I still collect quite a bit from Marvel to this day. As I matured my tastes became more diverse. Some of my favorite titles throughout the years include The Walking Dead, Dawn, League of Extraordinary Gentelmen, Watchmen, and 30 Days of Night. I could really go on and on. I tend to follow certain artists too, so whatever they're working on, I buy it. Joseph Michael Linsner, Frank Cho, and J.H. Williams III, just to name a few, will always grab my attention!"

John: "And how do you stand on the issue that some claim that comics are aimed at young males only, and don't address female readers?"

Jen: "That may have been true years ago when women in comic books were mainly used for the 'cheesecake' factor. Currently, however, there are many strong female characters that girls can easily relate to and admire. Sure, there might not be as many girls as there are boys that like to read about superheroes in spandex costumes, but you can honestly find something for everybody in comic books. Vampires, history, religion, aliens...whatever your interest may be, there is comic book that caters to that interest! "
John: "Where do you go from here? A new costume, a new show?  Anything else you'd like to add?"

Jen: "I'm already brewing up ideas for a costume or two for next year. I think I may have found a new hobby in costume making."

John: "Excellent!  Another reason to look forward to next year's Mid Ohio Con.  Thank you so much, Jen. It's been a real pleasure!"

Jen: "Sure thing!"


artwork337 said...

bravery isn't necessary once the costume goes on. you just assume the persona and let it do the talking!

John said...

I'm sure, for some people, but you'd have to get me into the costume firat! From my point of view, bravery is the key word. :0)

Brian Hughes said...


Sorry...that was just me tripping over my tongue.

John said...

Try to ignore the photo, Brian, and read the interview. She's got a brain as well. :0)