LFCC 2014: Creating Spiderman
When someone mentions the name Spiderman in conversation they are usually referring to Peter Parker; the character originally created by Stan Lee. I however am referring to a lesser known one in Miles Morales.
Miles Morales is a character of Black Hispanic descent who possesses powers similar to those of Peter Parker after a bite from a genetically engineered spider. He appeared in the Ultimate Marvel continuity after the death of Peter Parker. The introduction of a non-white Spiderman was inspired by President Barack Obama and actor Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) after his campaign to be The Amazing Spiderman.
I can clearly remember the fallout from his creation and I was actually shocked that people were so disgruntled at the idea. It's very much like what's been seen from the revelation of a female being the new Thor or the new Fantastic Four movie having a black Johnny Storm. In the years since people have accepted the idea of his existence more but I didn't see anyone in the UK cosplaying him so the decision to cosplay him was an easy one. However going about getting the costume I was going to find would be a long and expensive process.
So this post will detail what went into the creation of the suit and how you could make one yourself.
This was going to be my only costume (before I decided to also go about creating Mojo Jojo) so I had decided I was going to put my all into it.
From a previous halloween I had discovered that getting hold of a costume for a black superhero was more than a little hard as they aren't readily available as other heroes because they're not as popular but I hunted away anyway trying to find an elusive black superhero costume that just didn't exist. At this point I was torn between Black Panther, Miles Morales and even the Falcon but I had yet to find any black superhero.
Turning up nothing at first I turned to zentai suits which also didn't offer what I wanted. I was getting frustrated but I didn't give up. I varied my search terms to get new results in google until I stumbled across youtube videos of people building their own Spiderman costumes. Needless to say I was inspired so I watched a looked for better quality videos and instructions.
Finally I stumbled across a detailed post on how to create a spidey suit posted by MoonSpider.
These instructions and the resulting costume from it were what made me settle on getting a Miles Morales costume made. Now that I knew it was possible to create a suit of this quality I had to have one. But I still continued to research to find out about the Replica Pop Forum that MoonSpider mentions in his post. The url had changed since he posted it but the forum still existed...and there were Miles Morales cosplayers. Or rather there were a few who were a few steps ahead of me in creating their Miles Morales cosplays. I had yet to discover some of the Miles Morales cosplays out there.
One thing I wasn't sure of from MoonSpider's post was what the breakdown of costs for the costume were and where I could possibly cut costs. The only thing I knew was the ballpark figure give of $600. As his post was a year old I wasn't sure if he would still be keeping an eye on it so I posted on the latest thread on the forum from someone attempting a Miles Morales cosplay.
Looking back this was more or less pretty accurate. It also gave me a good idea for how to budget my money for the next few months. Also based on the plans outlined by both chaosprince and MoonSpider I was able to come up with my own rough plan of how to go about creating my own.
Printing and Sewing
The first thing I would need to do would be to get hold of a pattern from Taylor McManus so that it could be adjusted for my height and sent of to the printers.
I was lucky enough to order my pattern when Taylor was having a sale so I got it for a steal! Only $5 if memory serves.
Before I sent it off to print I correctly decided to sort out details regarding who would be sewing it together for me once printed. My lucky streak continued as I was able to secure the awesome and highly recommended costume seamstress that is Trophywife. After talking to her I found out I could get the printing company in the states I would be using (Fabric on Demand) to do the size alteration I would need as the costume is originally made for someone that is 5'10 and although it is made of lycra I thought it would be better to have a suit that fit perfectly than a stretched one.
Securing Trophywife as the seamstress meant I was able to make sure that the order went straight to her from Fabric on Demand instead of to me in the UK and then back to her. As she had handled countless costumes before I was very comfortable with letting her inspect whether the print was a good one or not.
It was a great print.
I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out and Trophywife kept me up to date with her progress as she did it. As I had ordered it a few months in advance of London Film and Comic Con I was confident it would be done in time but the progress pics definitely helped a lot.
As you can see she did a fantastic job and kept me fully updated on any delays to the work. I couldn't have asked for a better seamstress and better yet she is pretty hilarious to talk to. I definitely recommend trying to get her as your seamstress if you have a Spiderman costume or any costume like this sewn up.
When I finally got the costume in the mail from her I was more than a little excited but I had to go to work before trying it on. I made up for it when I got home by taking a lot of silly pictures in my brand new Miles Morales costume that fit me perfectly!
Not my room. My brother had a better mirror for these purposes. Unfortunately also a messier room (which is saying something).
The "coolest pose" I could pull off taking the picture myself.
Close up of the torso.
I had got hold of a mask at this point but we'll come back to that later.
I just had to do my version of Donald Glover's pose. Couldn't resist doing it.
The webbing on the costume looks great on it's own if I'm honest and didn't really need puff painting. However if you're going to do something do it right. Right?
Well I can say that puff painting accurately is not exactly my forte after this experience. I put it on a little to thick in some places a little thin in others. I smudged it. I ran out of puff paint and had a mini panic waiting for more to arrive. My hands shook everywhere and lines were anything but straight.
My plan to cut costs by doing it myself was both a success and a failure in that it wasn't as smooth as it could have been but I saved money!
Once I finished puff painting I couldn't resist doing one more impression...
Faceshell and Lenses
With the nightmare that was puff painting in progress I was also sorting out the faceshell for the mask that you can see in earlier pictures.
This was an unexpectedly expensive piece at £70 from ebay but I had already spent a bundle so what was a little more? Also I think it's risen in price on ebay since then so I saved money...I think (let me have this lie!).
The lenses were attached by magnets so I would be able to detach and reattach them which I thought would be quite useful as there was the issue of vision with the lenses. This is apparently a common problem with masks like this where the wearer can only really see basic shapes. The faceshell's edges needed some minor smoothing so they wouldn't damage the costume or my face but otherwise it was a perfect fit.
I replaced the magnets so that the lenses had a stronger attachment to the faceshell. I also repainted them from black and white to red and white to match Miles' costume even more.
The final piece of the costume were the shoes. Most people stuck soles of shoes to their costume or wore some that didn't really match their costume. I opted to buy some Korean swim shoes which I had to colour in but worked fantastically!
The weekend before the convention I also managed to make a web back pack after being inspired by one someone purchased.
My version while not as pretty cost me less than £5 to make from a garden basket, yarn, an old t-shirt, foam, draw strings, liquid latex and white spray paint. Functional, cheap and a great additional prop for my costume.
I chose not to wear my mask the majority of the day as the previous day was hot in a mask but also because it would have been troublesome to continuously get it out for people to take pictures. I think in the near future I will have a secondary mask made that isn't part of the suit to make that easier. Below are pictures of me on the day.
Hope you all enjoyed this post. Any questions about the costume feel free to ask.
As always I'll try to sum the post up.
I honestly didn't feel like this at all on the day. A surprising number of people recognised the costume and knew the characters name which made me very happy. Almost as happy as meeting Stan Lee wearing it.
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