Becoming The Man Of Steel
So it took me long enough (about ten years) of being a cosmaker for other people, to then converting my skills to do actual cosplays for myself, and I’m excited to do one of my favorite comic book characters as one of my firsts. I loved the newer Superman design that has been portrayed since the 2013 release of The Man of Steel with Henry Cavill as Superman. The colors, the chainmail texture, the metallic muscle shading undertone and the “no external underwear” appearance.
Now I know I just said applying my skills, but I’m here to tell you I was just introduced to the other side of cosplaying that doesn’t involve the armor building I’ve been accustomed to. The different techniques were in changing my appearance drastically with body building, growing my hair out, changing my hair color and removing the gray, shaving off my goatee, filling in my eyebrows, anti-wrinkle cream, and the list goes on…
Once I decided to make it happen, the research on the best suit that I liked was on the hunt. Since I have no experience with textiles and sewing, this would be a costume that I would have custom made to my size. And the best Super suit in my opinion is from YoungKnight Props Studio.
Receiving The Super-suit
After contacting the maker of the suit, they e-mailed me a list of instructions on what they needed from me (besides the money of course) before they would start the suit. One option was if I were to get a muscle suit to be underneath the super-suit. I opted out of this because the cost of adding a muscle suit was nearly doubling the cost for the whole job. It would have been worth it, but I couldn’t afford it at the time and I’ve seen some examples without the muscle suit that looked really good as well.
The most important thing I had to do was measure my body specifically according to a measuring chart they provided in the email. I was to give measurements in centimeters which gave me the clue this costume would be coming from overseas. I also had to provide how long the cape needed to be to end at my ankles from the base of the back of the neck.
The waiting time for arrival was promised at 6-8 weeks, but it took a little longer since I ordered the suit to arrive before Halloween. I understood the delay completely since this is the busiest time of year for any costume maker.
Christmas came early for me as I received the suit on a Monday the day before Halloween. So the suit did come right before Halloween, but I knew there was a lot of work to do before it can be worn complete. All the trim/armor pieces made of urethane were to be superglued to the suit and it had to be done as I was wearing the suit since I don’t have a mannequin of myself, yet. (I fully intend to make one for myself for future cosplays).
I recruited my friend Dave (Thanks Dave!) to glue down most of the trim pieces that I couldn’t reach. Since I didn’t get the muscle suit, the trim pieces were from a mold of a muscle suited costume and, therefore, were too big for my body so the pieces were strategically cut to fit. There was an important, specific process recommended to do when supergluing the urethane pieces on. The parts and suit where the piece would be laid had to be primed first with this and then glued down with this.
The suit did not come with a hard under sole for my feet, so I had to provide my own foot protection for walking around in wearing the costume. I chose a size 12 woman’s thin sandals to be cut apart for the sole. Since I wear a size 13, a woman’s 12 would stay hidden or undetected under my foot after painting it red. The red paint I used was Rustoleum Sunrise Red gloss spray paint. It’s important to note that the surface that was to be glued was masked off so as to not have the paint cover any of the area where the adhesive was applied.
The cape was probably the easiest thing to attach as all I did was locate the proper placement of the cape to the suit and added a Velcro system. The Velcro on the suit was superglued the same way as the urethane trim pieces and the corresponding Velcro piece was hot glued to the cape material.
Changing My Normal Appearance
As I am getting up there in age, and I’ve always kept my hair buzzed cut and maintained a goatee, just putting on the Man of Steel Super-suit wouldn’t pass as a recognizable Superman. So I made some drastic changes to pull off a successful, but far from perfect cosplay. This was a six month process as I had to grow my hair out and work out regularly to get in shape and lose some weight.
As it came time to don the suit and do a photoshoot I had planned with Vicarious Cosplay for my write up on her in the Featured Cosplayers section to this site, here’s a list of extra things I did for my appearance:
- coloring my hair to remove the aging gray evidence with product Just For Men dark brown.
- getting my hair styled similar to the film’s (my hair still wasn’t long enough, though)
- filling in empty (or bald) spots on my head with the product Toppik dark brown
- adding styling gel to hold my hair in place
- shaving off my goatee
- filling and coloring my eyebrows with Maybeline mascara
- temporarily eliminating my wrinkles with the product Plexaderm
- Sucking in my gut, raising my ears and swallowing as a photo was being taken to reduce any sign of the droopy aging process…lol
The Man of Steel Photoshoot with Photographer BriLan Imagery
Taking The Man of Steel to Holiday Matsuri 2018
Soon after the photoshoot with Vicarious Cosplay I got the chance to debut and test out my Super-suit at Holiday Matsuri 2018 at the Orlando World Marriot Center and I had an amazing time. This became one of my favorite cons I’ve ever been to because of the excitement of the people, the many terrific cosplays there and the Holiday atmosphere cause it’s no secret I love Christmas! The Hotel was decked out perfect for the season and parking was a breeze. Maybe parking was easy because I went early on the first day, Friday, but the line to receive an entry pass was incredibly long…even if one pre-paid.
I met so many incredible people and Cosplayers there and took several pictures to preserve the memories. I particularly tried to find DC Cosplayers to have my picture taken along side for a fun instant collaboration. My biggest highlight was meeting the great and sweet Alyson Tabbitha as she was a special guest invited to be there. In fact my primary reason for a Friday appearance was because Alyson was showing up that day in her epic Cosplay of Uma Thurman‘s Poison Ivy from Batman and Robin. I had a plan to have her help me re-create a theme from the Superman comics where Poison Ivy actually seduces Superman for awhile. She truly is a wonderful person to her fans and all those who want to meet her! I, of course, sounded and acted like a nervous goofball when it was my turn to get a picture with her. Perhaps one day I’ll get the opportunity to do an interview with her here for my Featured Cosplayers page.
One drawback to this costume, especially if I’m alone as I was at Holmat with no handler or friend, is that the zipper is in the back to get in and out of the suit, and it’s tight and form fitting, so if I need to use the restroom I would need help. I anticipated this as I stayed away from beverages until half way through the day and didn’t eat anything until I was ready to leave. I also preemptively took some immodium pills just incase (if you know what I mean…lol)
Soon I will be taking my suit to do an outdoor photoshoot to include action shots and recognizable poses from the comics and movies. As soon as this happens and I get the pictures back I’ll be posting a gallery of photos here, so stay tuned and thanks for reading.
The Man of Steel Outdoor Photoshoot by Photographer Melissa Blyth