In The Profile Files, I hope to bring you little glimpses into our gaming multiverse. I hope there will be splashes of clarity, moments of understanding, and fits of intrigue presented here from the geek and gaming world that surrounds you. Open your mind to our first series of profiles and “The Magic of Cosplay.”
Aranel – Facebook
What is the number-one misunderstood aspect of cosplaying and people who cosplay? I think it’s a misunderstanding that cosplay is a very attention-seeking hobby. It is meant to be a fun, enjoyable creative hobby that lets you show your love for your favorite characters. Sadly, there are many out there who use it as a way to seek Internet fame and attention, and it drowns out its true purpose.
What made you decide to cosplay Magic: The Gathering characters and cards? I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for nearly five years now and cosplaying for about seven! They were bound to cross paths eventually! I really love the MTG Multiverse—it is so beautiful, clever, and full of unique characters whom I really wanted to try to bring to life! The game means a great deal to me, and it’s just really amazing that I can express my love for it by cosplaying from it!
What has been your favorite cosplay play ever (MTG-related or not)? My female Jace Beleren is my favorite cosplay. It started off as a silly joke, but in the end, I put a lot of thought into its creation, even asking famous MTG artist, like Polish Tamales, for a design! Jace is by far my favorite character, and I wasn't going to let being a girl stop me from cosplaying him!
What have been your worst and best cosplay experiences? I think my best experience has been meeting some amazing people who have stayed with me in my life! The worst is finding out there are a lot of two-faced people around!
What keeps you cosplaying? I can’t really describe it! It is just something I love doing and can’t imagine not doing! Every year, new characters and costumes are released in games and comics that I want to recreate! My to-do list just grows longer.
What character whom you have not had a chance to cosplay would be your cosplay ultimate dream? I have two dream cosplays! Both are winged ladies! The first is Dizzy from Guilty Gear, and the second is Akroma, Angel of Wrath!
Christine Sprankle – @cspranklerun
What is the number-one misunderstood aspect of cosplaying and people who cosplay? As a female cosplayer, I’d say the number-one misunderstood aspect is that I cosplay for attention and usually don't know anything about the character I'm cosplaying. Oh! And that I didn't make the costume myself. This whole fake-geek-girl pandemic that swept through the geek community really hit the cosplay community hard. You simply couldn't cosplay something because you liked it or maybe just to fill in a role for your friends’ dream cosplay group. You have to know every last detail about this fictional character’s life. You have to know every line in every scene the character has appeared in. If not, you’re a fake. You don't know what you're talking about. You're an attention whore. I really think this whole persecution of fellow geeks was a huge blow to the very core of the geek community. We've been shunned our whole lives—don't become what bullied you in high school simply because you feel threatened.
What made you decide to cosplay Magic: The Gathering characters and cards? What made me decide to cosplay from Magic was when I pulled my first Elspeth Tirel in my very first Draft ever. She was simply stunning, and when I went home that night and read all about her and her backstory in the Magic online comics, I fell in love with her. She’s strong, but not perfect; I simply I had to cosplay her. Magic is filled with beautiful artwork done by some of the most talented artist I've ever seen. If something inspires you, make it happen! It doesn't matter if nobody else will know who you are—as long as you’re having fun and feel badass in your armor or beautiful in your dress or radiant in your wings. Let loose, and make it happen.
What has been your favorite cosplay play ever (MTG-related or not)? I would have to go with Elspeth. She literally started a new chapter in my life. I've met so many people all over the world because of he,r and that's something not many people can say.
What have been your worst and best cosplay experiences? One of the best cosplay experiences I've had, hands down, is Magic Worlds 2011. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am so thankful that I was able to experience it with so many awesome people.
My worst cosplay experiences really haven't been that bad—the good definitely outweighs the bad in cosplay for me. But the Internet can be a cruel place filled with cruel people, and no matter how much support you have, there is always going to be that one comment that strikes a chord in you and really hurts. Trust me: It will be okay. Just remember those good times, and like a Patronus Charm, it will chase away any bad comments from memory.
What keeps you cosplaying? I absolutely love crafting and making things. Cosplay, to me, is the ultimate form of self-expression that I know how to do. I can be whomever whenever and meet amazing people along the way. And I honestly believe cosplay forms a really different and special bond with other people in the same fandom. To see the faces light up of so many people who share the same interest as I do because of something I made is truly humbling and an honor.
What character whom you have not had a chance to cosplay would be your cosplay ultimate dream? It’s kind of random, but one of my favorite pieces of art done by one of my favorite artist in Magic is Ayumi, the Last Visitor. I absolutely love a lot the art and flavor of Kamigawa, and that one especially sticks in my mind. For non-Magic cosplay, the one I dream about most and have been wanting to do for year is Super Smash Brothers Melee Princess Peach. I can't describe how happy I would be to own such a beautiful dress of pink-mushroom-kingdom-princess-perfection.
Jessica M. Caamano – Facebook
What is the number-one misunderstood aspect of cosplaying and people who cosplay? Many people outside of the cosplay community—or even in the convention circuit—tend to think that we're cosplaying because we aren't secure in who we are. Those people don't understand that cosplay is a hobby, just like (to others) playing a sport is a hobby.
What made you decide to cosplay Magic: The Gathering characters and cards? I gravitate toward female characters who are strong and beautiful, and that's exactly what Akroma is to me. She was the powerhouse of my Soldier/Angel deck, and opponents would always shudder when she came out to play. As I grew older and started making money, I decided to make my dream of portraying Akroma come to life.
What has been your favorite cosplay play ever (MTG-related or not)? It's so hard to say since I love all my cosplays, but if I had to pick, I would say it's a tie between my Black Cat (Spider-Man) and Menace (Queen's Blade) cosplays.
What have been your worst and best cosplay experiences? My best was before I left NYCC (I was cosplaying Akroma), I met up with two other MTG cosplayers. You rarely see any other MTG cosplayers, let alone at a convention the size of NYCC. My other highlight was dancing with D Piddy!
My worst was when I brought Akroma to NYCC and the armor of the wings ripped off due to overcrowding. What's worse? I hadn't even entered the convention center, so people weren't even able to appreciate the full-blown costume.
What keeps you cosplaying? It’s the awesome people I meet who share the same interests, not only in cosplay, but in various fandoms.
What character whom you have not had a chance to cosplay would be your cosplay ultimate dream? That would be Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat (MK:9 version) and Annelotte from Queen's Blade. However, Sub Zero will become a reality for next year.
Lauren Dodge – @LaurenAblaze
What is the number-one misunderstood aspect of cosplaying and people who cosplay? I'm going to have to defer to my dad's mantra about my cosplaying: "You go around dressed up as superheroes." Superheroes aside, cosplay is so much more than just dressing up. It's an art form in itself, and your medium is the fabric, the foam, the wig, even your face! People make fun of it and belittle it, but knowing firsthand the work that goes into it, I have to say I have infinite respect for somebody who can make armor out of thirty-cent craft foam.
What made you decide to cosplay Magic: The Gathering characters and cards? After a few months of first playing Magic, I knew I wanted to dress up and represent this game that had kind of taken over my life. People in the Magic club at my college kept telling me to cosplay Chandra because I'm a redhead. I didn't even know what a Chandra was or what it did, so I looked it up and was enamored with the idea of being a girl on fire! I cosplay what I love, and I see an MTG cosplay the same way I'd see a videogame cosplay or an anime cosplay. I mean, you have thousands of cards to choose from, and with the influx of MTG cosplay out there, it's awesome to see which of those thousand people pick out.
What has been your favorite cosplay play ever (MTG-related or not)? That’d be my Chandra cosplay. It's very uncomfortable to wear, but at the same time, it feels amazing to be lumbering (and in that armor, you have to lumber) through a con clad in chainmail and plate. Plus, at this point, Chandra is a little piece of me that I'll never be able to lose.
What have been your worst and best cosplay experiences? The worst cosplay experience was walking around Anime Boston as Chandra in three-inch-heeled boots. After about five hours, I had to go back to my room because every step I took felt like walking on pins and needles.
The best cosplay experience was finishing my Fionna cosplay from Adventure Time. I had to hand-sew everything because I was at college, so it took hours of work, but in the end, that's what made it so dear to me.
What keeps you cosplaying? It's kind of funny because I actually tell myself that every cosplay will be my last. Then, I'll fall in love with a character or see a cheap pair of shoes or a shirt on eBay and figure, "Well, the cosplay gods have spoken . . . " It's horrible working on it, but the end result is priceless!
What character whom you have not had a chance to cosplay would be your cosplay ultimate dream? That’d be Lady Sylvanas Windrunner from World of Warcraft. It's almost all armor. I honestly don't think I'd be able to pull it off.
Sonja J. H. Boschman – @Rudjedet
What is the number-one misunderstood aspect of cosplaying and people who cosplay?
Oof, I couldn’t say if it’s the actual number one, but what I find particularly egregious is when people assume you are cosplaying for their pleasure rather than your own. I’m not talking about being ogled at, but rather, the hate, negative comments and insults about how they feel the cosplay is not “right” or “accurate,” whether because of the costume or the cosplayer. I have very little patience for that kind of people, as I cosplay for one person only, and that’s me.
What made you decide to cosplay Magic: The Gathering characters and cards?
It was a couple of things combined, actually. I’ve been making costumes for about a decade—my own design or historical costumes before I really got into cosplay. My first actual cosplay was Red Sonja, but I never really got into it enough to think about other cosplays. Then, a couple of years ago, I bought a red wig, which I had dubbed my Chandra wig, even though I hadn’t an actual Chandra costume at that point. Then, Innistrad happened, which got me—as a huge fan of gothic/supernatural horror—very excited . . . especially over Stalking Vampire. I’ve always loved Magic art, but Stalking Vampire was just the single most gorgeous piece I had ever seen. Innistrad’s Vampires’ sense of fashion helped, too; I love a good corset, and when you throw in fangs in the mix: yep, sold. I got some great reactions at my local game store, so I just kind of stuck with it.
What has been your favorite cosplay play ever (MTG-related or not)?
My favorite cosplay so far is also my most recent: a comic book character from my childhood, a Flemish series called Suske en Wiske—in English-speaking countries, it’s known as Willy and Wanda or Spike and Suzy. Recently, the series, which is primarily directed at children, had a sort of reboot for the adults who had read the comics in their childhood; the studio decided to do a short sequence of comics that were more adult, with the titular characters all grown up. I’ve always identified with Wiske, and since I had grown up, I figured now was the time—especially since I absolutely loved the first instalment in the new series, dubbed “Amoras.”
I consider it my most successful cosplay to date—and my most personal. The reactions on it were absolutely awesome. I sent photos of it to the creators of “Amoras,” and though it didn’t get me a sneak preview of the second issue, the scenarist and artist both loved it. Added bonus: It’s super-comfy! I love my high heels, but hiking shoes are a far better choice for conventions.
What have been your worst and best cosplay experiences? I don’t really have terribly awful experiences in cosplay, apart from maybe unsolicited comments from creepy guys, but I get those when I’m not in costume, too. The best experiences are when people recognize the cosplay and comment on it. When I was at a festival in my Wiske cosplay, I’d hear little kids say to their parents, “Look, mum, it’s Wiske!” or even come up to me and tell me about their favorite of “my” adventures.
What keeps you cosplaying? That’d be the challenge of costume creation. When I design my own costumes, I know exactly what I can and can’t do with the materials I have at my disposal, my current skill level, and so on. Of course, I can push myself, but cosplaying—because it’s usually an art-based endeavor—is far more challenging. I like that, and I love the creativity of costuming in general. The constant influx of games, characters, and movies with costumes that make me drool help, too.
What character whom you have not had a chance to cosplay would be your cosplay ultimate dream? Oh, pff. So many! There’s The Boss/The Joy from Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater and Meryl Silverburgh from other installments of the same series. My best friend and I have plans to create our own Daedric armor, and I have a buttload of other projects lined up, so it’s less of a one-dream cosplay and more of an endless list of things I really, really want to create.
The cosplay community surrounding Magic: The Gathering has really boomed since the epic debut of our Cosplay Queen Christine Sprankle as Elspeth at the 2011 Worlds. At gaming conventions across the nation and MTG events everywhere, you can spy planeswalkers, heroines, monsters, and angels popping forth from Magic cards and walking before you in real life. Make sure if you see of these Magic cosplay pioneers at a convention hall near your part of the galaxy that you stop and appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating such beautiful costumes.
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