I have been a huge fan of the Hellblazer comics since its start back in 1988. In fact I was a Vertrigo fanboy long before I got into more mainstream stuff like Marvel and DC. I always seemed to gravitate towards smaller imprints like Vertigo and Dark Horse. I was also a huge fan of things like Sandman/Death and the associated titles by Neil Gaiman. Anyway John Constantine was always my guy. I loved the fact that he rarely did anything with actual powers and relied on quick wits and cunning and had a huge attitude and was known for being snarky, cynical and having a very dark sense of humour.
This was a thrift store cosplay at its finest. I think the whole thing cost about 25 bucks total. The most time consuming thing was having my wife paint the symbols on my arms. Now the alchemical symbol “The Red King” is completely an affectation of the Keanu Reeves movie but I thought that I would add it in as it makes the character distinguishable and it really was the one cool parts about that movie interpretation.
The reaction was amazing from people who recognized what I was doing and there weren’t a ton of them. A lot of people thought I was cosplaying Castiel from Supernatural but those people who knew what it was actually the response was fantastic. I did have fun telling people that I was cosplaying as Castiels character inspiration as the look they went with for him was based on Constantine. I also found a Morpheus (Sandman) and a Death from the Neil Gaiman series at that con so that made me super happy. I did get quite a few people running up and going nuts because someone was actually doing Constantine. The photo above was done years before the TV show came along so there were a fair number of people who were really happy to see John get some cosplay love
Actually my wife got me into cosplay. She had been doing conventions for years and when we got together we starting doing conventions together and cosplaying together. It’s great and we have spent quite a lot of time together working on costumes and going crazy trying to get stuff done on time. I had also been involved in the Camarilla for a bunch of years previous to that so the concept of dressing up as a character wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to me.
Well me being weird is no surprise to anyone who’s known me for longer than a few weeks and I tend to be very outspoken about things that I like and in turn very open about mine and Brooke’s cosplaying. I’m always showing people pictures of stuff we have done because I’m proud of the things we have created. As for explaining cosplay I just kind of let the pictures do the talking. It’s kind of like “this is what we do, take it or leave it.” I guess we are lucky because we haven’t ever had someone say “oh….you do this? That’s lame.” Everyone has been super interested in it and wants to see the stuff we have made or hear some stories about it.
I keep cosplaying because I enjoy it. And ask my wife, I have no short list of odd ideas of things we should cosplay. I’ll be sitting on the couch and just perk up and say “Hey we should totally cosplay X.” And she will be like “add it to the list.” Also when we are building stuff we get to spend a bunch of time together creating together and that’s really nice because we get caught up in work and life and when we build it’s really quality time together.
What have I learned about myself? Mostly that I’m a bit of a ham when I get in front of a camera. I don’t like just standing there, I like doing something silly or action shots or something of the like. Cosplay is special to me because its really a creation of my relationship with my wife as she is the one that got me into it and was a huge part of our early relationship so whenever we do a convention it takes me back to the beginning of our time together and is one of the reasons that we will both be cosplaying into our 50s and 60s because we love it.
Cosplay to me personally is just an awesome way to express your fandom, whatever it is. It’s something that is intensely personal that we choose to display publically. IT’s a little piece of ourselves that we put out there for everyone to see and it doesn’t matter what gender, race, shape or anything else you are what matters is your fandom and how you choose to express it. I love the fact that we have the ability to come together as a community and express something that’s important to use and not be judged based on how you look or the color of your skin or anything but the character you are portraying.
With all of our little eccentricities and foibles it’s ok to be a nerd or geek or fan or whatever and to be fiercely proud of it. Also that this isn’t just a kid thing. I mean I didn’t start cosplaying until well into my 30’s and here I am in my early 40’s and still going strong. Cosplay makes me happy, the feeling you get when you finally finish a great costume and trot it out at a convention is fantastic and if people like it that’s a bonus. The best lesson you can take from this is really to just be yourself and be honest to yourself. Do stuff that makes you happy and have fun with it because really, that’s what it’s all about.