There are many talented models and performers who bring their love & enthusiasm to dressing up as their favorite characters. Comic Book Critic will regularly showcase a performer who embodies this spirit of cosplaying.
Whether it’s creating the costume from scratch, altering the appearance of an existing one, or just getting into character, these performers spend a lot of time and effort on their craft. As much as we all enjoy seeing our favorite fictional characters represented in real life, let’s not forget the behind-the-scenes work that goes into that portrayal.
One thing is for certain though, their love of cosplaying shines through in their work.
The Comic Book Critic Featured Cosplayer Interview this week is:
Abby Dark-Star from San Francisco, CA
Abby Dark-Star has been creating costumes and cosplaying for over half a decade and she shows no signs of slowing down. She puts a lot of hard work and creativity into her costumes and it really shows when she wears them. Although Abby considers herself more of a costumer than a costume model, she does an amazing job in both roles.
Abby was kind enough to give us some insight into her work in this featured interview. Check out all of her hard work in links provided at the end of the interview.
How long have you been cosplaying and what made you decide that it was something you wanted to do?
I have been cosplaying since about 2007. I was in theater from middle school all the way through college (where I majored in Drama Education) after my freshman year I decided that I’d rather pursue my minor in History vs. Theater. I still desired a creative outlet. Around that time I attended my first comic book convention, (2006/07). I saw people dressed in costume of comics I had been reading for years, or sci-fi that meant so much to me. I loved it! The next year I put together my first costume, Anita Blake!
What was the first costume that you made for yourself?
It was an Anita Blake costume, mostly just assembled from my closet, but I did try to make an iron on transfer for the penguin shirt!
Out of all your costumes, which was the most satisfying to make?
That is a difficult question to answer because each costume has its own challenges. I don’t usually choose costumes that I think “oh hey that will be easy/quick to make”, though I try to tell myself that, it usually isn’t true. I like a challenge, and awesome designs/characters or getting the accurate pieces are the parts I love. I think most recently the most satisfying costume would be my Claudette from Queen’s Blade. That costume, with the exception of the sword (made by Dave C. as a wedding gift) was entirely made by Zen and I.
Have you ever modeled outside of the cosplay world, if not, is it something you’d consider doing?
I modeled for a wedding photographer when I was in college but other than that I haven’t done any modeling. I don’t consider myself a Cosplay model since I make costumes, and I’m pretty happy just making costumes wearing them and then getting awesome pics in them. I mean, why put in all the work if you don’t want to document it?
Who are some your favorite characters to portray?
Poison Ivy, Starbuck, Claudette…almost any character I pick to dedicate my time/money to. I like characters that have personality and probably more than a little bit of sass.
Did you grow up in a comic book/video game/geeky environment?
I did. I was blessed with having a stay at home dad who watched all the classic Sci-Fi Fantasy shows from TOS to the Classic BSG. I even remember arguing with him about timelines in Tom Baker’s Dr. Who! Dad always watched cartoons with me (ahhh the 80s/90s) and would take me the comic store or the library. I remember we’d read the Star Wars series together, swapping books and talking about the storyline.
Did you consider yourself a nerd or geek while growing up and do you now?
I did and I do. I’m fortunate to be friends with some of my middle to high school friends and that is one thing they always say “Abby was into it then, and she is now.”
You look like you’re having a lot of fun, what keeps you coming back to cosplaying and wanting to do more?
I like the creativity of the hobby, I like to share ideas and new techniques. When I see someone put up a post on therpf.com about a new way to create something, or a tutorial, it fuels me. I love the creative designs of characters and the challenge of making something not real, real.
What’s one of your most memorable moments while cosplaying?
I have several, so it is very hard to choose. Recently I had the pleasure of being a guest at Stan Lee’s Comikaze. I went to change into my Star Trek TOS dress (made by Anovos) and was having trouble zipping up the dress by myself. A mother and her daughter stopped and gave me a hand, which was very kind. The little girl began to ask questions about the costume, about my wig, how did it feel and etc. I ended up taking off my wig and showing her how it was made and talking to her about costumes. The mother thanked me and said that this was their first convention. They had seen a show about it on TV and the little girl was enamored with the idea of getting to be her favorite characters from TV. The little girl said that she wanted to dress up just like me, which warmed my heart.
Have you ever had any bad experiences with people at conventions or while cosplaying?
I generally try to not focus on any negativity while in costume. Bad stuff happens all the time, no matter what hobby you are in!
Do you have any cosplayers that you look up to?
I look up to the cosplayers that are creative, positive and joyful. I love seeing Kamui Cosplay’s work with worbla, Volpin and Punished prop’s work, Cathy at God Save the Queen Fashion is always knocking costumes just out of the park.
There have been plenty of changes, good and bad, in the cosplay community over the years, what are your thoughts on that and how do you see the hobby progressing?
Change is inevitable. The hobby is not what it used to be, which is primarily forum or LiveJournal based. It is now socially active and I think that it has grown the community exponentially, which can be hard for those that remember the way it “used to be”. I think it is important to remember why we are all here, because we love characters or topics from sci fi, fantasy, and comics. We all share that and it is a positive thing!
What advice do you have for a novice cosplayer?
This community is an awesome tightknit community. Many of us have known each other for years! There is a wealth of advice in this community. Take it slow, enjoy it, learn and grow. Be aware the first costume you make may not be what you hope it to be. That’s all right. My first costume for DragonCon fell apart in my luggage! Just remember what drew you in, make it your own and be positive!
If you could change anything since you started, what would it be?
I would’ve invested stock in Worbla and Smooth On, haha!
Do you have any new costumes that you’re working on, that you can tell
I’m finishing Crystal Fury for ComicConquest and I’m also working on the DC Online version of Poison Ivy!
What does the future hold for you?
The future holds a lot of creating, sewing, and crafting. It holds a lot of awesome memories with friends and getting to meet new people in the hobby! GO 2014!
Thanks for the interview and letting us showcase your hard work and talent, Abby. We look forward to seeing a lot more of you in the future!
Abby Dark-Star Links
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– The Comic Book Critic