Once upon a time, I was not a Child of the Enlightened. Yes, there was a period in my life where I didnae understand cosplay or cosplayers. I didn’t even know it was called cosplay. I refer to my ignorance as The Dark Times.
Then in the fall of 2015 at the tender age of 45, I would attend my first con, Ottawa Pop Expo. My friends wanted to dress up as a group, in Doctor Who cosplay. I inwardly groaned and barked, “I refuse to go unless I can be a Fashionista Dalek!” Everyone said, “Okay!” So then I was like, Crap, I need to figure out how to become a fashionista dalek.
I own a craft biz where I make jewellery and handmade cards. I love working with my hands and being artistically creative. When I sat down to work on my dalek costume, I had an epiphany—cosplay was crafting! Once I realised that, I couldn’t get enough of it!
I raided dollar stores and bought paint, styrofoam balls, a plunger, some black silk gloves, and rhinestones. I grabbed a red dress I never wear. I bought a red construction helmet and hacked an old flashlight. I glue-gunned to my heart’s delight. I used my Cricut mini, too.
It took several days, but for me it was a craft project, and I got really excited over it!
When I was done, I felt proud and had a blast at Ottawa PopExpo. People took my photo and paid me many compliments. Everyone laughed and seemed happy to see me pass by them. I think I might have had a flirtation with an actual dalek. My husband unit didn’t seem to mind. And my friends were glad that I finally got why this is so majorly fun!
The thing is, you never know who you’re going to meet at these cons. As I was leaving, Caro Fréchette, author and director of Renaissance Press, shouted at me, “Hey, I like your custome!” Next thing, we’re talking about my book and you all know by now that Renaissance is my publisher!
Since then, I’ve loved every opportunity to dress up (and Caro is my cosplay buddy, which is awesome). This is us at our book launch in October 2016! Party on, Wayne!
I also loved cosplaying as Joy from Inside Out. Author Amy M. Young thinks Joy is my natural personality. Welp, I guess she’s not wrong. I wore my Joy cosplay when I was selling my crafts at the Creative Ottawa Nerds (CON) holiday craft fair last November. That was a total blast.
Being an extrovert and having people come up to me to chat is like heaven for me. I adore meeting new people and if cosplaying makes people comfortable enough to approach me, then so be it.
AND NOW, THE THING THAT’S HAPPENED. In these last couple of months, I took on a new challenge. Caro loves the comic, Rat Queens, and really wanted someone to cosplay with them. I’d never heard of the comic before but was immediately drawn to Hannah, who I call the magical sweary elf. I said, “I wanna be Hannah!”
Well, I had no idea what a challenge making that costume would be. I’m just grateful to the creators of Rat Queens that they draw women with realistic bodies. At 47, my body is more realistic than it’s ever been.
But wow, so much actual swearing went into this project. I needed to make those hair buns, which was not as easy as I thought they’d be. (No joke, I wrapped the wig’s hair around black fuzzy socks that were rolled into a ball. This was the only way I could figure it out.) Then there was the bra. OH, THAT BRA! I couldnae find a pink bra to save my life. Also, my boobs cannot go strapless. Them girls need straps. I ended up totally life-hacking a white and grey sports bra and stretched pink underpants fabric over it. I ironed on the ribbon and used dimensional fabric paint for all the swirly designs on it (and the rest of the costume).
I fretted over this cosplay but thankfully Caro talked me off the ledge and a kind Twitter word from an actual artist and the creator of the comic didn’t hurt either! When Kurtis Wiebe tweeted me (tweet not shown), I didn’t even know who he was. How majorly embarrassing. Caro squeed for me and then I was like, “OMIGOSH!”
I did take out the first volume of the comic from the library and laughed my butt off. So well written. The characters are truly sassy and badass. Now I want to be Hannah more than ever. And I’m buying the series.
I plan to wear my Hannah costume at the Ottawa Geek Market (Apr 1) and for Comiccon. I also really want to get my Drunk Cersei cosplay going for Comiccon. Will let you know how that turns out.
So, am I too old to cosplay? I will be the moment I’ve died. Until then, I’m gluing, sewing, painting, maybe swearing, and creating costumes to my heart’s content.
I am, as I said, a Child of the Enlightened now.
Cait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.
Ottawa Geek Market
Saturday April 1, 1-6 pm
Sunday April 2, 2017, 1-4 pm
Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue
I’ll be cosplaying as Hannah from Rat Queens on Saturday April 1, and will be at the Renaissance table selling and signing books!
On Sunday I’ll be cosplaying as a Vulcan and sitting at the Ladies Who Trek table. Why not buy Life in the ‘Cosm at the Renaissance table and bring it to me to sign? Or you can bring a copy you’ve already bought and I’ll gladly sign it.
Hope to see you there!
I am still reeling from all the super-crazy fun I had at my very first con this past weekend. Yes, at the ripe middle-age of 46, I popped my con virginity at Ottawa PopExpo.
I’ve always been labelled “the cool chick” by my proud-to-be-geek friends, and they would smirk at my complete lack of knowledge of their comicon culture. (I’m a rock musician. I don’t mean to be cool, I swear! Rockers gots feelings, too, you know!)
These days I am a writer of comic sci-fi, so I wanted to explore the realm that my targeted audience enjoys. I also wanted to know what all the hype was about with going to cons. This is what I learned:
Cons are craft fairs! Whoot!
OH MY WORD! Why didn’t someone tell me how incredibly creative these people are? It was a feast for my wee crafty Cait eyes to see all the craft booths out there. I wanted to buy everything I saw.
There were vendors there, too, with great wares. My hubster bought me this jersey, because my hair is turning Targaryen, and my favourite CFL team is the RedBlacks. (On the car ride home, we caught the last few minutes of the final quarter of the game. ELLINGSON!!!)
So, yeah, was mind-blown by all the artisans and vendors at the fair. I especially love when people put their heart and soul into crafts. That impressed me.
Cosplayers are freaking awesomesauce!
I attended each day of PopExpo. On the Saturday, I dressed as a Redshirt, who didn’t want to die. It was a very simple outfit, and I made the sign using my Cricut Mini. Well, slap me to a pig and drag me through the mud, because so many people laughed. They got the joke. They asked to take my picture. How friendly and warm are these cosplayers?
What was so funny was how excited I was getting over their costumes. In the 80s I was a teen, and I loved Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits. This past month, I’ve been binge-watching them on Netflix.
On the Saturday, I met these ladies. OK, what really happened is that I became a completely star-struck 16-year old from 1986 and screamed at the top of my lungs: OHMIGOSH, ARE YOU JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS??? CAN I TAKE YOUR PICTURE???
Then I noticed there were Misfits, too, and I just lost it. Only after I snapped their photos did I realize I was old enough to be their mother. But they were fantastic to me in all my fan-girlieness. Thanks, rockers, for making this woman happy and in the 80s again!
Oh yeah, and many thanks to these people, for another great 80s reference from the movies Spaceballs.
On the Sunday, I really got into the act with my friends and the hubster. We all decided to go as Doctor Who characters. Being originally from Montreal, I chose to be the Fashionista Dalek. (Exterminate those shoes ’cause they’re so two-years ago.)
Again, people we never met asked to take our photos. So many smiling faces and compliments on our creativity.
I’m telling you, my fibromyalgia was half-cured from all the endorphins my body was generating! I cannot remember the last time I had such a blast.
My day was made when the compliments came from actual daleks. Thanks, boys. You flirts.
The atmosphere of inclusion
I am not a tall and lithe 21-year-old. I’m a happily chubby lady, who likes to have fun. It didn’t matter about my age or body size. My enthusiasm is what counted. I saw people of all ages and every body type, simply enjoying themselves. There were gender diversity and sexual orientation diversity and insert diversity here. One big bowl of mad fun was going on. What we as a society can learn from fandoms, let me tell you.
There be book people there!
The end of our visit on Sunday was even better. I was walking with the hubster when someone said they liked my costume. When I turned to see who it was, I noticed a familiar name: Renaissance Book Press.
I walked over to the table and met the most delightful people: Caroline Frechette (author and publisher) and Madona Skaff-Koren (author). They told me about the press and answered any questions I had. Renaissance is a small press in the Ottawa area, and by the personalities of the people I spoke to, a press that I’d love to take me on. Madona told me the advantages of being with a smaller publisher, the main one being a more personal relationship and feeling involved all along the process. That sounds great to me! I bought Madona’s book and asked if she would sign it. She was more than happy to, and I was moved by her words:
To a fellow writer.
Enjoy the journey.
I will have to remember that. Enjoy the journey. A good lesson for a not-yet published author. Those of you who are published, calling someone like me a writer is worth a thousand points of validation. Imma make a note to respect all authors of words, wherever they are on their journey.
Go to cons. They’re cool. Even cooler than rockers. Now I know why the geeks shall inherit the earth. I’m proud to be one of them. BECAUSE FUN, YO!
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer for high tech and government organizations. Her first novel is being sent to the universe. She hopes the universe likes it. (The second book has begun and a third will happen, too!)