At some point in the wee hours of Friday morning, I dreamt that I was a King who was soundly defeated in some epic, Game of Thrones-style battle. Disgraced, I felt there was nothing else I could do but hurl myself off of the highest cliff in the realm. As the craggy ground and certain death rushed up to meet me, I was jolted into reality by the decidedly un-epic sounds of Train’s “Calling All Angels” blaring out of my clock radio. Outside my window the sky was black as pitch, the only light emanating from the oversized LCD numbers of the alarm clock which read 4:21. Their eerie green radiance mocked me as I dragged myself, zombie-like, out of bed and into the shower. As the hot water splashed on my face, I had to put all thoughts of royal suicide and lack of decent sleep behind me, because today was no ordinary sit-in-a-cublicle day. Today I was going to my first “major” Con, and my first Con as a member of the Geek Press. Today was New York Comic Con 2011 day.
A report/essay on the NYCC is forthcoming. Until then, enjoy these cosplay photos I snapped on Friday:
Welcome to LaserCola’s Cosplay Hottie of the Month! Each month, we sit down and interview a gorgeous geek girl who enjoys hand-crafting sexy and awesome costumes from the world of comics, sci-fi, fantasy, video games, anime, and more! Our September Cosplay hottie is the smokin’ AkaneSaotome, one of the most talented and prolific cosplayers on the Eastern Seaboard. She’s also one of the most recognizable, as her elaborate homemade costumes and colorful wigs have wowed photographers at conventions nationwide. AkaneSaotome even helps other cosplayers look their best with her own online cosplay wig and accessory business, BlackMoon Cosplay.
Name: AkaneSaotome (aka Emily)
Location: Western Massachusetts
LC: Thanks for the interview! So, you’ve cosplayed dozens of characters, do you have a favorite or a character that you consider to be your “signature?”
AS: My favorite characters to cosplay is anything Sailor Moon related since it’s what started me on anime and cosplay. But a lot of people remember me from wearing my plugsuit version of Asuka Langley. People approach me and ask if I’m AkaneSaotome from cosplay.com. It’s a bit weird to be recognized in such a large community.
AS: I wouldn’t say it’s my preferred but rather it just ended up that way. I watch more anime than I do Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I think it’s the fact that I like to create costumes from sketches too see what it’d be like in real life, rather than copying something that was already made with the fabrics and pre-made patterns. When most people hear the term cosplay they automatically think of costumes from Japanese animation, but really it depends on the environment. I mean if you go to an anime convention, there will be more anime cosplays. Same goes for Sci-fi or comic book conventions. The number of anime conventions just seem to outweigh other genres.
AS: I love the Venture Brothers. I was drawn to the design of Dr. Mrs. the Monarch when it was first revealed. The V in the front was the most interesting. I wanted to be accurate with the plunge, so there’s actually a piece of fishing line across my chest holding my “dirty pillows” in. All in all I’m pretty happy with how it came out, especially seeing as how I had to make the gloves and boots myself too. I plan to still remake it someday, though. Recently I made a Queen Etheria cosplay too, but that won’t debut until later in the year.
LC: What are some of your favorite geek movies, comic books, TV shows, video games, etc.?
AS: Well I love all the Harry Potter books and movies, and the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies. But I’m in love with the movie Galaxy Quest, I must have watched it over 50 times. Strange I haven’t cosplayed from it yet. For TV, I watch cartoons, like Chowder, and Spongebob because they make me smile, but I also watch things like NCIS and Warehouse 13. When it comes to games, I’m definitely more of a hand-held gamer. I love Kingdom Hearts, and really any RPG along with puzzle games and fighting games.
AS: I’ve never had a rude photographer, but I have had some creepy ones. There’s actually a lot more out there than you think (laughs). But as for inconvenient, it never fails. Every time I sit down, try to eat, or take off a piece of my costume, someone just has to ask for a picture. And what makes it worse is they normally don’t wait for you to pose or get ready before snapping it. There’s probably a lot of candid pictures out there of me.
LC: What is the most challenging cosplay you have ever attempted?
AS: I really pushed my skills with my Margaret Moonlight cosplay from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. I drafted over 90% of the patterns which made for a lot of trial and error. Also, Cage Skirt was my own design using boning and copper wire with a bias tape cover that was handmade out of suede. On top of that, everything is lined and serged, and the make-up was all done in airbrush and regular make-up. The boots were the most killer part; they make me weak in the ankles so I have to wear braces. I can’t wear it for more than a couple hours, max. The props were made by my friend Lionel. It actually received the “Best of Weekend” award recently at AnimeNext 2011 for craftsmanship.
LC: You’ve got a small Internet business selling custom-made wigs for cosplayers, tell us about that, and how it’s going for you.
AS: My business is named BlackMoon Cosplay, (yes it’s one word). I do wig commissions as you mentioned before, but I also can do -depending on the difficulty – small accessories. I also sell some pre-made merchandise on my site, too. Business has been booming, its tripled in the last year. Which is strange in this day because new cosplayers just want cheap cosplays from eBay, cosplaymagic, etc. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, especially in wig commissions. I’ve had customers coming to me in a frenzy in need of a quick commission just because they went with another cheaper commissioner, but hated the end result.
LC: Have you ever experienced any catastrophes or “wardrobe malfunctions” while cosplaying? Broken props, ripped tights, busted zippers, etc.? Any funny stories?
AS: The most recent issue I had was with my Juri cosplay. The spike bracelets that I painted became all sticky and the paint decided to rub off on everything. It was all over my gloves, pants, and even my stomach. I wanted to cry at the time. I had to remake the pieces before wearing it again. I also solved the problem with the spikes, thankfully. I’ve never had a “wardrobe malfunction,” though many of my other friends have. I have spilled food on myself plenty of times, so I make sure I change before going to eat now. As for funny stories, I can’t think of one. I’ve been going to cons for almost 10 years, and every one of them have their own stories.
LC: We like to ask this every month…what’s your opinion of “Poseur” Geek girls? Individuals who cosplay perhaps only because their boyfriends are into it, or actresses that go on talk shows and try to attract the nerd market by falsifying some interest in Star Wars or comic books, etc.?
AS: Honestly, I don’t really have an opinion on it. It doesn’t bother me personally so I just ignore it. For the most part geek girls can tell their own kind just by talking to them, or by actions. I’ll admit, I’ve done cosplays just because my boyfriend liked them, but I refuse to do it if I don’t like the character or outfit myself.
LC: Lastly, What do you have in mind for future con visits and cosplays?
Well, you can expect to see me at AnimeUSA later this year and then at Katsucon starting of my con season for next year. Plus many others throughout the year. Cosplays include many Sailor Moon related ones, of course. Also favorites from Super Street Fighter, Fushigi Yuugi, Neon Genisis Evangelion, Venture Bros, and more. You can follow me on my cosplay facebook if you wanted to keep up with my shenanigans.
For more of AkaneSaotome’s absolutely stunning cosplay photography, be sure to check out her out at the following links:
The D23 Expo, “Disney’s Ultimate Fan Event,” was held this past weekend in Anaheim, California. This year’s event made a huge blip on nerd radar, as it featured news, exhibits and footage from Marvel for the first time since they were acquired by Disney. The biggest news to come out of the Expo was the four minutes of Avengers footage that was screened for attendees, which by all accounts was mind-blowingly awesome. Here are some links to the major stories about D23, since I wasn’t able to attend, or I was just too lazy to write an extensive piece. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Blastr has a full rundown of The Avengers footage.
Collider has a nice piece on several live-action projects including The Muppets, Oz: The Great & Powerful, John Carter of Mars, and more.
FirstShowing.net has a great description of the footage screened of Wreck It Ralph, a new animated film that is set in the world of 8-bit video game characters.
Hitfix addresses Ten Unanswered Questions from Disney and Marvel’s D23 Preview.
Finally, here’s Entertainment Weekly’s recap of Pixar’s presentations.
Welcome to LaserCola’s newest feature, Cosplay Hottie of the Month! Each month, we’ll sit down and interview a gorgeous geek girl who enjoys hand-crafting sexy and awesome costumes from the world of comics, sci-fi, fantasy, video games, anime, and more! Our first Cosplay hottie is the absolutely stunning Nicole Jean, who we discovered cosplaying Baby Doll from Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch at the recent ConnectiCon in Hartford, CT. Nicole is a beautiful young lady with enormous brown eyes that will melt your icy Hoth-like nerd heart, and is a true geek girl through and through!
Name: Nicole Jean
Location: Derry, New Hampshire
LC: Thanks for sitting down with us, Nicole. How long have you been cosplaying and what (or who) drew you into it?
NJ: My first cosplaying experience was at Granite State Comic Con in Manchester, New Hampshire in May of this year. I had gone the previous year and had met several cosplayers and became completely enthralled by them. I was taken back by their talent and craftsmanship and I felt like my favorite characters had come to life and were standing there in front of me. The cosplayers I had met inspired me to create my own costume this year.
NJ: I created my first cosplay, Baby Doll from Sucker Punch, a week or so before attending Granite Con and debuted it there.
LC: How did you decide on Baby Doll for a cosplay? How did you make the costume? How much of the costume was hand-crafted, and how much was purchased?
NJ: I saw the movie Sucker Punch in March of this year and became intrigued by the character Baby Doll. She’s a strong, young woman who finds herself battling one hardship and tragedy after another but never gives up on her hopes. Since I had given myself such little time to create the cosplay, I found myself raiding store after store looking for items to complete the costume. The most interesting piece was the top that happened to be a tiny Baby Gap denim jacket purchased at Good Will. I modified it to take on the look of Baby Doll’s top in the movie and also did the same for the other pieces of the costume. Since that convention the outfit has been redone two other times. The cosplay is now in its final stages and thanks to a good friend, Pat, and friends of his, my cosplay costume and props have been created to look as exact replica as they can be.
LC: Do you consider yourself a true “Geek Girl”? If so, what are your favorite Movies, Comics, Video Games, TV shows, etc.?
NJ:I have been a geek since the day I was born. I never really fit in with other girls as I wasn’t the typical Barbie doll loving kind of girl. Sure, I liked some things considered “girly”, like My Little Ponies, but only when they were carrying my action figures into battle. When it comes to movies I can easily and proudly say that I am obsessed with the original Star Wars trilogy. I had more Star Wars toys than I knew what to do with and I currently own several Star Wars shirts and carry my lunch in a metal Star Wars lunchbox. I can also do a mean TIE fighter imitation. I have always been a gamer girl, starting with Atari and Nintendo. If I had to choose some of my favorite games I would have to say World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy VII and X, A Link to the Past, Duke Nukem 64, Super Smash Brothers and Halo 2. There isn’t a video game I won’t play.
LC: What’s your opinion on “Poseur” Geek Girls – women that cosplay just because their boyfriends asked them to, or actresses that try to gain “Geek Cred” by going on talk shows and saying they are into Star Wars or comics, etc.?
NJ: It’s easy to point out the girls that aren’t really what one would consider a geek. It has nothing to do with appearance, but the lack of knowledge of the geek world. You can tell within five minutes of a conversation. It’s too bad that there are female cosplayers that are only doing it to please their boyfriends. I started cosplaying and continue to cosplay without a boyfriend to influence any of it. I started this as my own passion and my own interest.
LC: How do you deal with “unwanted” attention at Cons when you’re cosplaying as Baby Doll or another “sexy” character from sketchy dudes? Is it a problem for you?
NJ: I have come across unwanted attention, but I actually find it to be more mild than, say, heading out to a club on Saturday night. I have found people to be rather respectful at conventions. A lot of guys do ask for pictures, but it’s never anything perverse.
LC: When you cosplay, do you ever feel like you are that particular character? Do you act like them or pose dramatically as they would?
NJ: I have an outgoing, bubbly personality which is almost impossible for me to hide so, in that sense, I am never fully in character. However, when I pose for pictures I take on the role of Baby Doll. People have made comments as to why I don’t necessarily smile and I have to explain to them that someone who had a terrible childhood, experienced the deaths of loved ones, has been thrown into a mental hospital, and is only days away from getting a lobotomy doesn’t have much to smile about.
LC: Do your friends and family ever give you crap about the hobby?
NJ: Surprisingly, people are very intrigued and curious about this hobby. I thought that perhaps my co-workers or family would pass some sort of judgment, but everyone I know instead asks for stories and pictures after each convention.
NJ: I plan on going to as many conventions as I can afford or get time off for. Each convention is an amazing experience and cosplaying has become some what of an addiction or thrill. My next cosplay I am working on is an Emma Frost cosplay. I have seen this cosplay done many times before and they often look simply like a blond in lingerie. I’ve decided to do a creative twist on it and incorporate Emma Frost’s diamond form, so stay tuned for that next cosplay!
Nicole loves to hear from people who admire her cosplay skills and welcomes new friends to her Facebook Page.
Check out more killer pics of Nicole HERE.