First Cosplay: Mr. Vader

Ok, let me tell you a little story about geeky hardship and rewards.

After we moved to Houston, and I saw how many cons they have here, I got excited. I had a little money and I wanted to cosplay as something, but I did not want to spend a lot of time on it because I wanted to keep writing and so I picked something I thought would be cool, not too difficult, and I could even wear parts of the costume casually later on. I chose Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell: Conviction.

Skip ahead four months. Way over budget, way in over my head, no idea how to sew leather, sewing machine breaks, can't find the seam ripper, ye GODS what was I thinking?? So Comicpalooza is long past and Space City Con is about to go down and still no costume! I even put the job up on Elance to see if I could outsource it to India or something. All my cosplayer friends out here were already up to their necks in prep for Space City Con. If I was going to cosplay as something, it would have to be using stuff I already had and I would have to bang it out FAST.

I started coming up with ideas. I had a SWAT outfit. I had pieces of an old Jedi outfit. A Jedi SWAT guy? Meh. I had enough things to dress up like someone from the upcoming game "The Division" which was exciting but I knew that no one would know who I was, and the crucial pieces, an electronic thingy with a glowing orange circle, I would have to cobble together and it would not glow. My third idea came from seeing Leisure Suit Darth and Boba at Comic Con 2010. I was asking myself, what do I have that not everyone has? Some nice suits, a tuxedo? But I didn't want to do James Bond - I wanted to try something with a mask. Well, I could just get a Boba or Darth mask and put on the suit...

And so Monday last week I found a great Vader helmet on Ebay, ordered it, told the seller I would pay extra for expedited shipping. I plan to have a little speaker hooked up to my smartphone, a Darth Vader soundboard on there to do the breathing and say some famous lines and I download some awesome Darth Vader dubstep songs to play while I walk around, maybe even so I can dance to it. Annnnd... Wednesday night he replies saying sorry, he would be shipping it Thursday. I volunteered to pay extra for fast shipping again but no response.

Ugh. So now what?

I went to the con Friday and had fun seeing friends and acquaintances and complete strangers dressed up and geeking out; amazing costumes! Saturday I sat in on some cool panels (including one by the Lone Star Jedi - Austin group) saw some celebs (Jewel Stait, Robert Picardo, Alexis Cruz, the list goes on), and the Masquerade was hilarious, especially those two Klingons (you know who you are).

I get a text from my wife mid-day: "Your helmet is here!"

And the excitement was BACK! But now I'm intimidated because I've seen all the truly awesome costumes that have taken people months, if not years to put together and perfect. Eesh. Well, what the heck; I bought the helmet, I am going to wear it at least once in public and maybe I'll get some positive reactions.

So I put everything together and get to the con on Sunday. I get a great parking spot up close! I change, I
put on my Darth Vader ring, touch up the MR VADER I spelled out on my knuckles, connect the smart phone to the speaker, put on the mask and helmet, and walk in.

And I don't think I want to walk into another convention WITHOUT a helmet and mask on again EVER!

The reactions to the outfit were awesome! Young, old, male, female, everyone was loving it! Let me tell you: Darth Vader mask + black suit = RESPECT. When I held up my hands and showed people MR VADER spelled out on my knuckles it got a lot of laughs! Little kids were pointing and tugging on their parents, guys and girls were taking pictures (my personal favorite - I got someone's cigarette and pretended to light it on someone's lightsaber)... and I had a blast. I wore it three times for about an hour, hour and a half each time. One five-year old boy pointed me out, his dad asked if he wanted a picture, but I'm kind of tall and with the mask... well, his courage failed him. It was kind of gratifying to get positive reactions mixed with a little fear here and there. I remember another little girl staring while I walked by with wide eyes and I was tempted to look at her, but decided not to, remembering that little boy... heh heh.

The lovely Krystle Starr as Tinkerbelle
Notes for next time:
1) Get an in with the 501st or some group so that I can change IN the hotel, and not out in my car.

2) Figure out how to make better finger and hand tattoos.

3) Get a chin strap for the helmet and make the helmet part velcro onto the mask part. The thing would almost fall off my head if I bent over and the helmet was on crooked for part of the time without my realizing it.

4) Figure out something better to do with the speaker or lose it altogether - my soundboard and tunes got little reaction from anyone. Simplifying is always a good move.

5) I want to get a different shirt and tie so I look less corporate and more... nightlife.

6) Mr. Vader will be on the dance floor.

7) Winners push on despite the stupid obstacles and hardships. And winning is delicious. Even inside a hot mask.

P.S. - After posting, I made THIS:


Man of Steel Sequel: Meet Lex Luthor

UPDATE: I saw Man of Steel at midnight and I don't regret one minute of missed sleep. I've updated this post after some thinking since seeing the movie.

The Man of Steel is coming out next week and I am on pins and needles. I am really, really excited to see Superman re-imagined and EPIC.

I have had a Superman story in the back of my mind for a long time and I have some ideas that I hope David Goyer will use. Man of Steel will be controversial, but it will be awesome. So we need an awesome, awesome sequel to follow it up. Think of the great trilogies. So often, the second installment is darker, tragic, and has an awesome villain. Examples? Luke and Vader. Kirk and Khan. Batman and Joker.

We must have Superman vs. Lex Luthor in the next film. But not the Luthor from the Donner series. Not a comedic criminal mastermind/would-be real estate mogul, but a very intelligent and grounded villain. The best villain is a guy who thinks he is doing something good, perhaps even noble, and who, ultimately, might be redeemed. But this must be a human who could actually be a match for Superman's might.

Lex Luthor must be frighteningly brilliant, with tremendous resources at his disposal. Someone who you would never want to cross, but who, when someone/something stands in his way, can almost always find a way around them/it, rather than having to confront them. LexCorp should be a multi-national conglomerate, a corporation that rivals the size and achievements of Lex's intellect. Lex would only think of running for political office as a means to an end. Politics takes far too long to get anything done in general, and the American government is the best government money can buy; and Lex has bought quite a lot of government, for he has quite a lot of money to buy it with. I think it would be a mistake to make him as arrogant as he has been in the cartoons and comics; he considers his intellect a gift and he is trying to use it to better mankind. He does consider himself to be a great man, but it is actually true, because of his intelligence and the ways he is already helping humanity. And here's the kicker:

If Superman hadn't shown up, you realize that Luthor may have become the savior to the world that Superman becomes. Make Luthor's character like Tony Stark, but more ambitious. Like Steve Jobs, but with an even bigger vision. A gifted man that just might have united the people of the world, but now that Superman has shown up, he feels... cheated. Superman's existence changes everything for his dreams and plans; his existence makes Luthor feel like he is less, because now he is inferior to someone. Superman is his match.

This... alien, despite all the good he may do, cannot be trusted, and cannot be allowed to interfere, and Luthor would have many power-hungry cohorts who would agree. Superman is someone Luthor cannot find a way around, because Superman is a freaking force of nature. Luthor would wage a war for the hearts and minds of the people, painting Superman in a dark light. Clark Kent would be hopelessly outgunned, but actions speak louder than words and Superman can act like the fist of God, so not everyone would believe the propaganda being peddled.

But Luthor would frame Superman somehow. In a way where even Lois Lane, the first person to believe in him, would be affected. Luthor would have to frame him in a way where, if Superman attacked him, many would turn against Superman; and if Superman does nothing, his reputation would be irreparably damaged.

Kryptonite may figure into the story, but I think it would be better to save it for the third movie. So how would the story resolve? I'm not sure yet, but in a way where Lex would get angry because Superman would actually outsmart him somehow. Since Luthor would lose any type of physical challenge with Superman, this fight will not be in the physical arena.

In Man of Steel, Superman takes a leap of faith and trusts in humans, ultimately giving up the only foreseeable chance he might have of rejoining or recreating his people. In this story, that faith must be tested. What do you do when the people don't want you to protect them anymore?

If you haven't read it already, I HIGHLY recommend reading "Superman: Red Son." The premise is "What if
Superman's pod had crashed in Soviet Russia instead of the American farmlands?" The characters are still the same, both Superman and Lex Luthor think they are doing good, and in the end, they are BOTH right, but in the end Superman turns out to be the greater hero once again (but be sure to check out the twist ending!).

Thank you, thank you to Nolan, Goyer, Snyder and EVERYONE who made Man of Steel a great story. Please follow-up and please make it great again. You have brought our hero back.

MISSING: Jareth Dakk

CmNt PA-019 05/22/2013 12:05

MISSING: Jareth Dakk - Approx. 16 year-old standardkin male, short dark brown hair, hazel eyes, approx. 60 kg.,

Danvilis, Noriklifas, Arcticas - A 16 year-old standardkin male was reported missing by his adopted family approximately 48 hours ago. Subject was involved in an altercation with a 17 year-old arctickin male in same day he went missing, in which altercation subject's left arm was broken (wrist and clavicle). Subject may still be wearing a cast and sling. Asan Franokis Skyport security clearly shows Jareth Dakk disembarking a busbot and entering the skyport terminal, but after several searches for subject, it has been assumed that he has stowed away on an EG shuttle to an interstellar flight. Subject may have deactivated personal comlink prior to entering skyport, as no calls, texts, or GLS data have been recorded in past 48 hours, but prior to disappearance subject issued several emotional messages. Possible destinations include Toralden, Marinas, Forsonis, Auldoras, or subject may still be on board an in-transit flight.

Strong possibility subject stowed away on ISC "Blue Majestic" (luxury cruiser) but CmNt is still awaiting report from Blue Majestic staff. Blue Majestic may be experiencing com delays due to scheduled proximity to Feneesha (TDF013)("Forgotten World").

Further updates as events warrant.