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Comic Book Divas Publishing reached out to North Texas cosplayer Evelyn Fernandez aka Evie Grey. we spoke to her about her start in cosplay, her thoughts on comics, gaming and of course being an artist and a cosplayer. Fans can also find Evie Grey in the upcoming coming comic book “8 Page Action: Featuring: BlackBird” where she plays “Jolly The Candy Clown”, in addition Evie will be drawing “8 Page Action Featuring Marvelous”
Q: For those us that are just know finding out who you are, give us a glimpse of who Evie Grey is.
EG: I guess I classify myself as an Artist. I’m a painter, illustrator, and love all things geeky. I was born in Argentina and came to the states when I was about five years old. I always had a very supportive mother, who has let me embrace my weirdness and continue exploring with my artwork, in which I now find myself Cosplaying (because aside from what some people might think, it IS a form of art and expression.)
Q: You are still pretty new to the cosplay scene but already making quite the impression; how did you get started in cosplay?
EG: Ever since I was little I have loved making costumes. One of my first costumes when I was little was of a closet created Supergirl. As I got older I started learning how to sew from my mother, then I got into making costumes for Halloween which is what really got me into costume making. Then I found the wonderful world of cosplay and now I am hooked.
Q: What was the first cosplay costume you created, what was the greatest challenge you faced creating the costume?
EG: I guess the first cosplay costume I created was Corpse Bride, even though I had no idea what cosplay was at the time. I had a friend that wanted to get rid of her old wedding dress so I thought what better use for it! I made all the parts to that costume, but the most challenging part had to be the wig. I decided to make my own so I bought a wig cap and some synthetic weft and attacked it with a hot glue gun, and then I painted it with acrylic to give it that dead matted look.
Q: When we spoke not to long ago, you were doing prosthetics for a project, that is a very intense and complicated material to work with, what made you want to work with this medium?
EG: love sculpting, but I have never worked with latex before and have always had a fascination with prosthetic makeup. I’ve always wanted to learn, and what better way to do it than on a friend and for Comic Con!
Q: Do you create all the elements to your cosplay costumes or do you also by certain parts or props?
EG: I tend to be super frugal so I try to make my own costumes and props as much as possible. Thrift stores and hot glue and two of my friends whenever I’m making costumes, I also like to have control over the finished product so it’s easier to just do it myself.
Q: What is the most challenging cosplay costume you have created and/or are you working on?
EG: I’m still fairly new to this cosplay thing so I don’t have many costumes I’ve created yet, but one of the most challenging costumes so far I think was my Injustice Wonder Woman. It was the first time I had made armor and I was experimenting with craft foam. I made her breast plate, tiara, and the appliques on the boots all out of craft foam, and the gauntlets I made with sheet aluminum.
Q: All cosplayers have their list of cosplay costumes they want to create what are some of the costumes you would like to create and why?
EG: I’ve always LOVED Tomb Raider so Lara Croft is definitely in my list. Witchblade is also one that I have been thinking about because her costumes are so intricately detailed it would be a great challenge to make it. Plus it will be challenging to get my body into shape for it. Goblin Queen, Female Thor, so many others…
Q: Why do you enjoy creating cosplay costumes, what gives you the most enjoyment?
EG: I just enjoy creating basically. It takes me far away from the real world.
Q: When selecting a cosplay costumes, do you select the costume because of the design of the costume or is it because of the character?
EG: Both. When you cosplay, you somewhat become that character, so knowing you character is a plus. Some characters just have awesome costumes that would be fun to make.
Q: If you could re-design any costume in comics, gaming, cartoons..etc which costume would you change and why?
EG: Probably most of the female costumes out there. Something about fighting in a thong and high heels just isn’t practical to me. ( Kitana, from Mortal Kombat)
Q: You are probably a really big fan of comics, gaming, cartoons; what costume or part of a costume drives you crazy and why?
EG: Going back to the female characters in thongs, Practicality just wasn’t something men thought of whenever they were creating costumes back then. That’s why I was so happy to cosplay Jim Lee’s version of Wonder Woman when she had pants. Sadly, that didn’t last very long, but I love Wonder Woman no matter what, pants or no pants.
Q: When you were younger, what comics did you read and what characters did you follow, what in the comic and characters did you enjoy?
EG: I used to read a lot of X-Men comics and loved everything about mutant powers. I wanted to have a power of my own, but what I was REALLY into when I was younger was Sailor Moon! It was just cool to watch teenage heroines from different planets kick some ass.
Q: What comic book, gaming, or cartoon character do you relate to more and why?
EG: I didn’t really know until I cosplayed Wonder Woman. I began to study up on her and realized I had a lot of the same qualities. I like to think of myself as strong and independent and able to kick some booty when I need to.
Q: We are guessing you are a video gamer, what games did you enjoy playing in the past and what games do you play currently, and what do you enjoy about the games?
EG: I love gaming! They are just fun and I love seeing the new graphics that come out every time. I’m not a hardcore gamer because that requires you to have almost no contact with the outside world, but I do play any time I get the chance to. I love the classics like Super Mario Bros., Sonic, and Toe jam and Earl. I’m also a super Tomb Raider and Halo fan.
Q: If you could assemble your top three female characters into a comic book, video game or movie; who would you select and why would they be your top three?
EG: To select just three is difficult, but I guess I would choose Wonder Woman for strength and fortitude, Jean Grey for her telepathic powers and because she’s just awesome, and Mystique because you always need a villain and she’s a bad ass who can transform herself into anyone.
Q: When I was a comic book dealer and even now as a publisher there are some women that women are depicted as being too sexy in pop culture and in cosplay, what are your thoughts?
EG: I don’t think it’s wrong to have sexy characters in comics. Women are sexy, so why not show it off. On the other hand I do like seeing female characters that aren’t just wearing pasties because there is a growing audience of young girl comic readers that are very impressionable. So I would see a problem with really young girls wanting to cosplay a really sexy character like Starfire for example.
Q: There are many girls that want to cosplay but they may feel that they need to be a certain “body type” what would you tell them?
EG: I think that as long as you feel comfortable in your own skin and are having fun with your cosplay, that is all that matters.
Q: What female comic book or gaming character deserves to have their own comic book or have their own game and why?
EG: I’ve always wanted to see a well done Sailor Moon game. It would be really fun and bright, and full of Moon Power!
Q: How or what have been the most major changes you have seen in comics and in video games both good and bad?
EG: As an artist I look at the quality of art that has drastically changed. Comics are getting more and more detailed and games are becoming highly realistic with their graphics.
Q: We know you have only been doing cosplaying for a short time but where you see cosplaying going in the future?
EG: I would like to keep Cosplaying for as long as possible, but I would also like to make costumes and props for others to enjoy at conventions.
Q: This is one of the standard questions we like to ask in our interviews. Women have come to the forefront of the pop culture community in the past several years, but there still seems to be a lack of female comic book artists, writers and gaming designers, why do you feel this is occurring?
EG: There is a growing number of female artists in the comic world, but this industry is very much male dominated, that’s a given. Comics have always been directed towards mainly teenage boys and their issues, so the female demographic just isn’t as large as the male. It doesn’t mean that women don’t want to be in the comic industry or read comic books, just that most women are not interested in comics and gaming. There is something empowering about seeing a woman’s name on the cover of a comic. That is something I am striving for.
Q: That question was a bit heavy, so let’s ask something a bit lighter. You are portraying the villain “Jolly The Clown” in the upcoming comic “8 Page Action: Featuring BlackBird”. Who do you think has more fun in comics the heroes or villains?
EG: I believe the villains have more fun. They always have a dark, traumatic past the builds their character and it’s interesting to see that character progress as the stories take place.
Q: Where can your fans follow you and your cosplay?
Q: What conventions will you be attending this year?
EG: Dallas Comic Con 2014, Fan Days, Sci-fi Expo, And if time and money permits, many more.
Let’s just call them the power couple of the Dallas Cosplay scene! Everyone that attends Dallas area cons knows them…..Scotty and Courtney. Knows them so well that their last names are not even needed. But if you are one of the few that don’t know Courtney Varnado and Scotty Bleck, by name, you certainly are familiar with their work. They recently sat with Comic Book Divas Publishing to discuss their recent builds and cosplay.
They met in November of 2010 and started dating in January of 2011 but they have always collaborated and consider themselves a team. Helping and motivating each other.
So what is The Team? Comic readers? Gamers? Cosplayer only?
Scotty does not really “consider myself just one thing. I love Comics. I really love videos games and I can’t live without movies. Cosplaying is new to me compared to most but I’m learning really fast. I’m also a car guy. I enjoy being under the hood turning wrenches.”
Courtney was “none of the above” when she first met Scotty! Adding, “Now I consider myself a Gamer for sure. I read some comics but sometimes it’s just so hard to get out to the comic book store and keep up with the series that interest me. Out of everything I would categorize myself as a SERIOUS MOVIE BUFF! We go to the theater at least once every other week. If we are at home and not working on our suits, even during, there is always a movie popped into the XBOX.”
Scotty’s first build was a Lich King from World of Warcraft for a Halloween party followed by General Grievous costume built for Comic Con. Courtney adds,” After Scotty had built his General Grievous for Comic Con. I wanted to cosplay/dress up as something that would coincide with the General. So my first cosplays were Asajj Ventress and Janga Fett. But, my first build was actually Ironmaiden. It was very tough considering its head to toe armor and I’ve never built anything before.”
Scotty’s past creations have also included, an Ironman MK6 and MK42, a Jurassic Park Raptor, the “self-aware” robot Johnny 5, and an Alien Queen. Courtney has either created or been seen as Asajj Ventress, Thor, JangA Fett, Ironmaiden, Sexy Robert Muldoon, Magnaguard, Ironmaiden 2.0, Medusa and a Wolf Predator.
Does The Team break into The Creative One and The Tech One? Or do your skills overlap? Scotty says, “I’ve taken a couple art classes in high school but never really built any costumes. Building my first was an inspiration to me to continue building and to learn new techniques. After each build I look back on what could have been better or improved. Things such as material weights and durability, ventilation and vision. I don’t really consider myself the Tech or the Creative one but more of the student.”
Courtney admits, “I had little to no background with anything involving Cosplay. I was just good at coloring! Seeing Scotty make his General Grievous really got me interested in seeing what talents I could discover and improve upon. I still consider myself the apprentice and Scotty the master. I am still learning.”
Scotty talks about favorite builds from a vast selection. “As for a favorite that’s a tough one. I love and hate them all!” He confesses with a laugh. “All of them have their own story…. but my most popular is my General Grievous. My Johnny 5 was my favorite to cosplay. So many people recognized the character and were very infatuated with it.” Not only did he look like Johnny 5….He sounded like the robot. Imitating the robot by altering his voice and not with electronic assistance.
Courtney absolutely loved her Medusa. “She’s my most unique Character and I fell in love with her because of it. The only tough thing about her was being half naked. But other than Medusa I absolutely loved rocking my Wolf Predator. He’s kind of my Pride and Joy right now.”
So where does this skill, idea and completion blend come from? How do you go from idea to walking around in a unique suit? Scotty tells us that “a lot of my inspiration comes from my family, friends and fans. I watch all the Sci-Fi movies and am a big fan of building unique characters. I like to build big to challenge myself. With all my projects I encounter bugs….some easier to work out than others. My suit that had the most was my Alien Queen. I almost threw in the towel a few times! Sometimes I would watch the movie again or simply take a break and hit the issue on another day. Courtney gets frustrated very easily so to help and motivate her, I tell her to take a break and that if I can do it she can to. She has never given up and has always made things work. For this I’m proud.”
From Courtney, “My ideas usually coincide with Scotty’s. If we pick a theme I pick something that would go good with that. But mostly we try to think outside of the box and be unique. Movies play a big role in what we want to be! The Technical difficulties are where Scotty prevails. Whenever I’m having trouble with a build I always go to him for a second approach.”
This Team can easily be considered Con Fan Favorites. Fans look forward to your builds and are excited to see what you come up with next. Considering their fans and supporters Scotty adds, “To me the fans are everything! I couldn’t have made it this far without their input and support. After each build I make many new friends and fans. I know I can always count on them to help motivate me through each build. Words really can’t express my gratitude towards them.”
“The fans are amazing and are always there to motivate us when we can’t motivate ourselves. We are still fairly new to Cosplaying and Cons and the fact they are so open and welcoming makes us feel at home whenever we go to cons” says Courtney.
Logistical issues….how do you drive in the car on the way to a con? For Scotty, “ The ride to each event is always nerve-wracking. I’ve done it many times and I still get butterflies in my stomach that makes me sick. I believe all cosplayers can relate. You question yourself, if you have everything, what you can do in case of a costume malfunction, what if you fall or trip, what if you have to use the restroom!” But for Courtney “That is pretty much always the exciting part…. to see if the suits will fit in the car. With most of our suits my SUV does the trick. With the Alien Queen, we had to rent a Trailer from Uhaul. Scotty’s suit was too big. The most insane ride to a con was AllCon 2013. We brought General Grievous and I had made a Magnaguard (Grievous’ Bodyguard) to go along with him. Well the morning of the con we tried to start the SUV and it wouldn’t start…. so we did what we had to….broke them down and put them in the hatch of my Integra. It was definitely not a comfortable ride to Dallas!”
Scotty has “always been very open with my next build. Cosplaying is about having fun but it can get very competitive. At each Con you make friends but also rivals! We are always creeping online to see what the others are building and how we can improve our own. Some photographers are the same. I have built a reputation for building big and insane projects. Yes it will be big! Courtney warns,”If you know our reputation then we always go BIGGER!”
Article and Photos by Comic Book Divas Publisher Bob Sanders