The rise of the Houston cosplay scene has been fantastic to watch. Every year at the increasing number of geek conventions, you find more and more people pulling out all the stops to bring characters to wonderful life. Today we look at the ten most amazing examples of cosplay brilliance H-Town produces.
Titan As his name suggests, Titan is a mountain of a man. He got into cosplay in 2012 after he left the army. His first costume was Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. He made a splash at the Halloween party he was attending, but putting together so elaborate a setup for just one night didn't feel worth it. In 2013 he started taking his creations to Comicpalooza and has been an avid cosplayer ever since. His other works include Colossus and the armored version of Hulk seen in Planet Hulk. The latter involved an 800-piece handmade chain-mail armor and leather war kilt requiring hours of work.
Mikey Kruger Kruger started small at the Anime Matsuri convention when it was still at the Marriott Waterway in The Woodlands. A friend joked that he should wear a Yuna (Final Fantasy X) costume she had with her, and Kruger did so. No make-up or hair, just the outfit. Not the most auspicious beginning for a cosplayer, but he's become a rabid perfectionist ever since. His signature character is Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa, a fashion model that allows Kruger a chance to experiment with clothes he would never get to wear on a normal day.
Viverra Viverra was obsessed with anime in middle school, and begged her mom to take her to A-kon in Dallas. She took the chance to dress up as Kagome from InuYasha, and ten years later, she's just kept on doing it. These days her costumes are more video game-based. She enjoys being Commander Sheppard from Mass Effect, and an incredibly difficult Gaige from Borderlands 2 that took her three months to finish.
Vera Ikon Over the past few years, Ikon has made a name for herself as a body paint model. Last year at Comicpalooza, she worked with Vonetta Berry from ABC Bodyart to help debut a new character from Evangelion, Mari Makinami in her pink plug suit. The debut made television news, and she's passionately sought other characters that fulfill her love of purple hair and cute outfits. She's spent months of time and $400 crafting a costume for the title character in the Hyperdimension Neptunia games, and is always on the lookout for new projects. "These things weren't 'cool' when I was younger, but now I can portray who and whatever I wanted, embodying a powerful sense of presence," says Ikon. "I definitely love being the center of attention being asked to take pictures with, but as well as running alongside these others that grew up just like me, an 'anime geek.'"
DugFinn Shabranigdo When Shabranigdo was just six years old, she started dressing like Arial from The Little Mermaid. Not just for Halloween, but also to the grocery store and anywhere her parents would let her. She decided she wanted to be in costume at every opportunity. She not only crafts her own looks, but also for friends. For her the magic is in the transformation. "All the hard work, passion, time and dedication are completely worth it when I get to see people smile," she says. "Each time a little kid gasps and stares in awe when they get to meet Princess Celestia or when a peer immediately lights up and irresistibly grins asking the Merchant 'What're ya' sellin'?' Cosplay is a constant reminder that we can do anything and be anyone."
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Sake Kitty Sake Kitty (not her real name, which she doesn't want released) is another staple of the Houston cosplay scene, mostly focusing on Final Fantasy characters. Her Yuna and Aeris are both very well-known, and she always makes for a pleasant addition to the crowd whenever the Distant Worlds concerts come through town. She also makes a mean Ezio, and designs handbags in her spare time.
Hybrid Johnny and Yami are a cosplay team known collectively as Hybrid, usually complementing each other at events. As with a lot of cosplayers, Halloween was their gateway, but once they started attending conventions, they couldn't get enough. Johnny favors Gambit as a staple character, and Yami likes to experiment with different versions of Catwoman. Johnny recently dove into creating a Wild West Batman using saddle leather.
Simone Dejean Dejean is definitely a Jill of all trades. She moves across fandoms like lightning. Her first costume was Trinity from The Matrix, and she rapidly created looks related to Harry Potter, Firefly, Storm of the X-Men and G.I. Joe. In addition to the fun of dressing up, she values the friendships she's made in the various Houston fan groups.
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AfroQween It all started at the Texas Renaissance Festival for AfroQween, but once a year wasn't nearly enough dressing up. She used her skill with leatherwork to start with Star Wars costumes, but her current main character is the latest version of Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy comic. "I really love the ability to completely become someone or something new," says AfroQween. "I'm not the most confident normally, but the cosplays really help me shine."
James Bedward Bedward's uncanny resemblance to Stephen Amell of Arrow and his superb costume skills were so impressive that John Barrowman actually re-enacted scenes from the show with Bedward at Comicpalooza. The exposure helped make him a minor Houston star and one of the most prominent cosplayers in this city. He occasionally does charity work in costume for sick kids, playing the hero for those who could certainly use one. What better use of costuming skill could there be?