Cosplay Week wraps up here for us on Batman Arkham with a bit of Double Trouble via Birds of Play. We first met this duo at Comic Con during the Cape Cowl Create event and have kept them in mind since. Like many fans in this community, they started as fans of the Animated Series, and found a natural progression into the expanded Batman world. While we have been focused this week on Arkham related designs, we wanted to give a shout out to those who do the wide ranging universe of Batman to celebrate all that is fandom for the Dark Knight. Their links are below, but check out their associated design line Castle Corsetry where you could get some unique ideas to start your own cosplay: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CastleCorsetry
Who are you and could you give us a general intro?
Hi! We are Amanda Lynne and Lauren, and together we're the cosplay duo Birds of 'Play! We love making and wearing costumes, going to conventions and events, and literally wearing our fandoms on our sleeves. We both live in Los Angeles so there's always a fun event to check out and make a costume for! We're both really passionate about our love for sci-fi, fantasy, and great stories, especially in comic books.
How long have you been a cosplayer?
Amanda: I grew up in San Diego, so I've been wearing costumes to San Diego Comic Con since high school! Even before conventions I've always loved making costumes for Halloween, theme parties, or any other excuse, really. Lauren and I both ramped up our cosplay game when the Birds of 'Play group was officially formed in 2011.
Lauren: I've been sewing since my mom taught me as a child, and I think I've always especially liked to make costumes. Before I attended conventions I made costumes for myself and friends for Renaissance Faires, theatre productions, and just for fun. I graduated from FIDM and I've been working as a professional designer ever since. I have my own costume and corset business, Castle Corsetry, where I make costumes for TV, film, and other cosplayers!
(Pictured with Adrianne Curry as Catwoman)
What interested you in the Batman Arkham/Animated Series?
Amanda: I'm a huge fan of Bruce Timm's art style, so I really love his character designs for Batman: The Animated Series. Plus, it's basically one of the best comic adaptations ever! I also really like playing the Arkham games because it's just so cool to be able to fully immerse yourself in Gotham and that universe.
Lauren: Batman: The Animated Series was a huge part of my childhood! It definitely sparked my love of all things Batman and especially Harley Quinn. Harley was very innovative in her character design in both personality and voice, and I have always been drawn to her. As for the games, I always like seeing the new costume designs for each character.
What interested you in the character?
Amanda: Poison Ivy is pretty much my inner nerd girl fantasy! As Pamela Isley, she's a mousey, awkward scientist. But then, once she becomes Poison Ivy, she's powerful, charismatic, passionate and able to do anything and get anything she wants. She's not even really evil -- she's definitely a bad girl, but that's just because the rest of the world doesn't see eye to eye with her about what's really important and worth fighting for.
Lauren: I love all the Batman villains, but Harley Quinn has always been one of my favorites. Cosplaying as Harley lets me have a great time, because she's so crazy and exciting! Plus, her character design has always appealed to me, and making the costume gave some interesting challenges that I had a lot of fun solving. Harley was part of my childhood so it was important to me to get the costume as perfect as possible.
Is there an upcoming Batman Arkham Character you would want to Cosplay as?
Amanda: I've only really seen Harley from Arkham Knight. Are there even any other girl characters to choose from? I'd love to see an Arkham Batgirl design. I don't really see myself cosplaying Catwoman or Harley, but I want to do Arkham Asylum Ivy soon! Her green skin and the ivy designs would be cool to experiment with. As for other DC characters, I've had Ravager from Teen Titans on my list for a while, and I absolutely love the new Batgirl look in the comics.
Lauren: I want to be all the Harleys! I've made Arkham Asylum Harley costumes for clients before and I really want to do one for myself, and her Arkham City costume is so badass too. I'm currently working on a PVC version of the classic Harley suit based on a statue, and Amanda and I have a pretty fabulous Harley and Ivy original design duo that we'll hopefully debut this Spring.
What was the first cosplay you did? What other characters do you like to cosplay as?
Amanda: I'm not sure I even remember my first cosplay! I started with easier outfits that I could put together or alter, like Typhoid Mary from Daredevil. I think the first costume that I really tried to make as accurate as possible was one of Amber Sweet's outfits from Repo! The Genetic Opera.
I have a pretty large cosplay closet at this point! Some of my favorites to wear are Supergirl, Dark Phoenix (and a few other X-Men costumes), and Frankie Stein from Monster High. Lauren and I have a couple Disney costumes in the works this year that I'm really excited to wear, too!
Lauren: Amanda and I actually met performing in a shadowcast of Repo here in LA. I was obsessed with all of Blind Mag's costumes, and pretty soon I started making costumes for the entire cast. That was my first super involved cosplay, too.
Harley might be my all time favorite, but I also love to wear my Winnifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus (with Amanda as Sarah!), Emma Frost, Powergirl, and my Vulcan Star Trek Bunny. I have a huge secret Star Wars project that I'm working on now too that hopefully you'll see soon!
How do you create your own costumes?
Amanda: It depends! Film and TV costumes usually involve a lot of hunting for the right piece. Now that fans collaborate so much online, it's sometimes possible to find the exact coat or dress or whatever used, and then the challenge is to find one! With comic book costumes it's definitely tougher, since most superhero costumes only exist in the minds of artists. In those cases the tricky part can be bringing it to life in a way that actually works on a real human body. Luckily I have a professional designer to help me out!
Lauren: Comic costumes can really be insane! Unfortunately not all artists seem to understand how real life fabrics and seam lines work, so it becomes my job to translate. I start by creating a pattern. I can often modify one of my existing patterns, but sometimes I have to create one from scratch, which involves a lot of measurements and and a lot of math. Finding the right fabrics and materials can be tough too, but once that's taken care of all that's left is the actual sewing -- and by that point, the sewing is usually the easy part!
How long does it take you to create your costumes?
Amanda: Again, it depends on a few different factors, namely how much time I have to work with. I have a couple different day jobs, so I'll often work on a costume in spurts over the course of weeks or months. I honestly try not to count the hours.
Lauren: Every costume is different! At this point I can bang out a spandex bodysuit in one night, but more complicated costumes obviously take longer. I think my Winnifred Sanderson costume has taken the longest, because it's so incredibly intricate and detailed. That one took me several weeks of non-stop work.
How often do you go to shows, where do you show your work?
We both go to shows as often as we can! During "con season" (Spring and Summer) that can often mean a con almost every weekend. There are so many great local conventions in SoCal, like Comikaze Expo, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic Con. We've also attended DragonCon, Big Wow!, and Amazing Arizona. This year we're hoping to make it out for Emerald City Comic Con, Atlantic City Boardwalk Con, and Phoenix Comic Con.
So I am pretty new to the Arkham forums (to my knowledge I thought they were closed) but they were hiding in the shadows, I have searched and haven't found any Arkham Knight wishlists so I thought I would start a wishlist and over-time we can all contribute to things we would like to see in Arkham Knight
I will start of simply
- No shock gloves, they made the game easy and took the fun out of the games combat.
- An option to disable the HUD completely for a cinematic effect
- The option to change the right analog stick sensitivity
- Loads of easter eggs (like Arkham City but x1000000000000000)
- Dynamic crimes in progress, in BAO they would just appear in front of you and it was always a gang fight or someone getting beaten up. This gets boring fast. In BAK it would be great if I could be gliding and see a group of people robbing a band/store and I have to stop them or if I'm late to arrive at the crime scene I have to track them down and regain the stolen money (this would work great for Batmobile car chases) or if they were completely gone I would have to analyse the area and find certain clues to where they have taken the money or hostage etc...
- The old upgrade system, like the ones in Arkham Asylum and City. The WayneTech in BAO was awful, it was so linear and boring. I hated the fact that I had to wait until the Shiva boss fight to unlock Critical Strikes, that is and should always be the first thing you unlock and I should be able to customize my Batman to how I play, unlocking stuff to get access to other upgrades can be a huge pain
- Colour filters, when you beat the game filters would be nice. You could replay the game in Black and White, Sepia, Noire etc...
- I would love, it would make my year if we could use the Batwing....
I will add more as time goes on but please add your own and tell me what you think of my points, are they amazing or bad, keep in mind I'll serve justice if you dislike my points.
At least, I sure do...