Looking at a prolific cosplayer’s history has a few effects on me. Mostly, it leaves me feeling inspired to work harder and build more things, but there’s a teensy tiny part of me that feels intimidated. Detty Cosplay is one of those cosplayers that sparks such feelings. He’s created excellent costumes of Captain America, Gambit, Punisher, Ash, Magneto, and more. I asked him about his cosplay portfolio, how he decides which costumes to make, and what advice he has for those who want to get into cosplaying.
Adafruit: How long have you been cosplaying, and what inspired you to start?
Detty Cosplay: I have been building costumes my whole life for Halloween. It started when I was a child and my mom used black duct tape and red sweats to make me Spider-Man. However, I didn’t really get into cosplay beyond that until about a year ago. It started with my WWII Captain America (for New York Comic Con). From there, it snow balled into what is now Detty Cosplay.
Adafruit: It seems like most of your costumes are based on Marvel comics characters. How many costumes have you built, and what are some key factors in deciding who you’ll be next?
Detty Cosplay: I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity geek, but lately my costumes have trended a bit Marvel. However, I do have quite a few non-Marvel costume coming (I say that staring at my WIP Nightwing). To date, I think I’ve done around… 18-20 costumes, give or take. As for what comes next? It’s whatever inspires me. An upcoming movie, a book I just read, an idea my wonderful build partner/fiance has… anything can trigger what comes next. This year, I have several costumes planned, both Marvel and Non, including Nightwing, Subzero, a couple new Captain Americas, Green Lantern, and a couple really BIG ones I’m not allowed to announce just yet.
Adafruit: What new skills have you learned because of cosplaying?
Detty Cosplay: Sooooooo many new skills. I didn’t even know what a heat gun was before cosplaying. But more than anything, cosplay has really opened my eyes to re-purposing items, both for costumes and for life. Just because a box says an item is meant for a particular use doesn’t mean that’s ALL it can be used for. Cosplay has also introduced me to the glory of YouTube as a teacher. Apparently it has a use beyond cat videos! If there is a skill you want to improve, there are tons of instructional videos. It’s amazing.
Adafruit: Is there one material you can’t live without? What costumes or costume pieces have you used it for?
Detty Cosplay: EVA foam. Hands down. I make a lot of my stuff out of EVA foam. I’ve made armor, helmets, masks, props, you name it. You can cut it, shape it with heat, make it into almost anything! I love the stuff. Also, Plasti Dip – the best spray on rubber ever. I do a base of Plasti Dip on anything I’m going to be painting. It’s flexible, water resistant, and provides a great base.
Adafruit: Which costume has been the most challenging to build and what sort of problem solving did you have to employ to finish it?
Detty Cosplay: Fracture for Project:LEX had a slew of issues during the build due to an astonishing lack of source material. There was one 3 minute video and 4 pages in a comic. That was it. So we had to fill in a lot of gaps ourselves. Nobody could fully explain what his powers were, so how could the suit be functional if we didn’t know what the function was? In the end, we had to make executive decisions and map out who Fracture was for us. We decided on what his powers were, what purpose the different elements of the costume served, and how to go about making them. I think in the end he turned out pretty cool.
Adafruit: What advice would you offer to someone who wants to start cosplaying?
Detty Cosplay: Don’t be afraid. Just go for it. The cosplay community is SO loving and supportive. If you have questions or really like someone’s work, don’t hesitate to message them. I still do that (my friend’s Knightmage and Wade’s Widdle Workshop can attest to how often I come running to them for advice). And don’t let anybody tell you who you can and can’t cosplay. If you’re a 300lb dude who wants to be Sailor Moon, do it! If you’re a 90lb girl who wants to be the Hulk, GO FOR IT! The only person who is allowed to decide for you is you. There will be people that will be negative (there always are). But for me, cosplay is as much about attitude as it is the costume. You could have the best costume in the world, but if you’re a dick, I won’t like your look. So, in short, be positive and go for it!
See all of Detty’s work and get inspired at his Facebook page.