Conquering Cosplay: Umbrella Corp. Denver / Tactical Cosplay Gear

This article is dedicated to the coolest of the cool things you can collect. This month isn’t really about something you can collect but of someone you can become. I had the privilege  to speak with Robert Schumann, the founder and event coordinator, of a very special group of folks.

There’s people who wear costumes, there’s people who cosplay and then there’s the Umbrella Corp of Denver group. A couple times a year around Denver you will see a troupe  all dressed in black and tactical gear. All their gear goes together and they are all wearing the same Umbrella Corp insignia. Their presence is menacing but their attitude is awesome! They are some of the most friendly people you will meet at Denver Comic Con or the Denver Zombie crawl.

They were founded in 2011. They do charity events and make any happening into a seriously awesome event. A couple of events they do throughout the year are…

To invite the Umbrella Corp Denver car or team to your event please contact Robert Schuman via rschuman06@yahoo.com

Item:

Umbrella Corp tactical outfit

What it is:

One of the coolest cosplay outfits out there and if you are lucky enough and put in the effort, you might become part of the group!

How Much it Costs:

Costs vary depending on what gear you get but here’s an example of how much and where you can purchase such an outfit. (Read at the end of this article for Umbrella Corps of Denver Official list of gear). All prices are close estimates based on internet sites:

511 Black tactical pants: $50

Tactical knee pads $20

Tactical boots $75-130

Airsoft replica AR-15 $60-150

Tactical gloves with knuckle protection $40-60

Tactical elbow pads $20

511 tactical shirt $25

Tactical vest with MOLLE/loop platform $100-180

Sling for rifle: $20

Painters mask: $31

Tactical helmet: Replica $30/Real deal – $400-900

Insignia patches:$10

0-650-511-tactical-pants-black~1 7d6201ccc9d58b9b75db51e885d800b5 0-650-blackhawk-advanced-tactical-knee-pad-v2-black 20070822022518!Bi-3681 837582 41ShqUyrugL._SY300_

Is It Worth It?:

You can put together a similar outfit on a budget. Shop at Goodwill or Ross and you will find many bargains for this stuff:

Black shirt, long sleeve: $5

Black pants: $5

Find the best looking toy military style rifle at Target or goodwill(Might need some black paint): $10

Homemade insignia: Free

Cool sunglasses.: $5

Black surgical mask or bandana: $5-15

Goodwill black shoes or boots: $20

Prices are approximate but pretty close based on my own experience shopping at Goodwill. I shop at Goodwill a lot. 🙂

I can tell being in such an outfit would make you feel like a rockstar. So yeah it’s worth it.

Bottom Line:

What I though was really cool was how they are all treated like celebrities. Dozens of people coming up to get pictures. Every once and a while it’s exciting to feel important and like a celeb.

Info about the group:

https://www.facebook.com/umbrellacorp.denver

Gear and patches used by our members can be found on the links below.

Patches: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html_sacat=0&_nkw=Umbrella+Corporation+Patches

Centurion riot gloves:http://www.copsplus.com/prodnum4911.php

Centurion Riot Vest: http://www.opticsplanet.com/hatch-centurion-upper-body-shoulder-protection-cpx2500.html

Weapons: http://www.400fps.com/

We use S10 gas masks or North Safety 7700 Series Half-Face Mask Respirator with North+ P100 Filter Cartridge

All other gear and equipment can either be found on the websites listed above, online, or at your local Army Surplus stores.

Cosplay and Consent: AKA Common Sense and How Not to be a Creeper

Cosplay and consent is always a hot topic during con season. Most people say they totally get it but the sad reality is that they don’t. Cosplay and consent is more than just not grabbing a woman or man in costume inappropriately; it’s about discrimination and simply treating your fellow human beings with respect. The truth is, wearing a costume makes you a target for all sorts of unwelcome attention but in no way is wearing a costume an authorization for such treatment. It may be easy to forget, but behind those amazing costumes you see every year there are real people, just like you and their wearing of a costume does not necessarily mean that they want you to pay all of your attention to them. The likelihood of someone in costume wanting to just go about their day without being bothered is higher than you may realize. There are a lot of situations when Cosplay and consent comes in to play, many of which you may not be aware of. In hopes of having a smarter and more comfortable con season let’s break those down now.

NO Touching: For the love of god, DON’T FREAKING TOUCH COSPLAYERS. This should not need to be said, but year after year there are stories of Cosplayers being assaulted at cons. Think about it this way, if you were walking around the mall and saw a girl in jeans and a t-shirt would you just walk up to her and grab her by the waist? What about at the grocery store? If you see a guy in the produce section are you just going to walk up and start rubbing his stomach? You may be thinking to yourself, “What? No. That would be super weird.” Yeah it would be, and guess what? It still is totally weird even when someone is in costume. Now what if you’re thinking to yourself, “But that’s different. Girls at cons are always showing off their stomachs and cleavage. It’s all part of the fun.” First of all, don’t be a misogynistic dick. Second, many people might argue that part of the fun of going to the pool or the beach is wearing a swimsuit. I hear these days there are even such things as bikinis, which are two pieces and typically show a female’s stomach and tend to reveal more of their breasts than a sweatshirt. If you were at the pool would you just go fondle a girl in a bikini? Probably not, what with the whole societal standards things. So to simplify the whole thing I’ll put it this way: Conventions are a part of our society, therefore the implications of society still apply on the con floor. If you can’t do it to another human at the grocery store you can’t do it to another human at a convention. Do you want to just be grabbed and felt up by a stranger? No? Then knock that shit off and DON’T TOUCH THE COSPLAYERS.

No Touching

ASK to take a picture: This one is pretty important to me. Most cosplayers are very gracious and will pose for a picture with or for you happily. However, if you just start snapping pictures of them while they are walking around you are bound to make them uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy having my picture taken, but you know what I hate even more? Someone trying to take my photo without my consent. What’s even worse is when people just come up and pose next you so they can get their picture taken with you, without your permission. Don’t be a paparazzo, be a freaking person and ASK for a photo. Even more, don’t be an asshole if the cosplayer whose photo you seek declines your invitation. They have the right to say no, and you have to respect that. Don’t then start begging or call them a bitch, just move on.

Pictures Without Permission

Don’t hit on me: Oh you had a huge crush on Hermione growing up and you just LOVE my costume? Cool story bro, move along. Cosplay is NOTHING like fetish play in the bedroom, and regardless of how someone is dressed, it is 100% unacceptable for you to treat it that way. Girls dressed as Wonder Woman and guys dressed as Thor are not doing it for your sexual fantasies, so please do not confuse the people in those costumes for the versions of the characters you dream about. If you see a costume you like because it’s one of your favorite characters too and you want to introduce yourself, get to know the person throughout the day and then maybe see if they’re up for a drink or dinner after the con that is totally fine. But do not simply approach someone in costume, tell them how sexy they look and ask them out. You may be asking yourself why, and it’s as simple as this: Why do you want to go on a date with someone in a costume you think is way hot? Is it because you can tell how compatible you two are and because you always laugh at each other’s jokes? Probably not, since you don’t know each other. Chances are the attraction is 100% physical and the invitation will come with some sexual expectations that a cosplayer does not deserve to be subjected to. Even if your intentions are pure, it is likely to not come off that way without the whole getting to know a person first thing.

Don't Hit On Me

A costume is not an excuse to stare or follow: I don’t think one really needs an explanation. It’s plain and simple; you cannot follow someone around a convention because you like their costume. You can actually get kicked out and even banned for that because it’s a little thing called harassment. Also, you can look and you can respectfully complement someone, but don’t stare. You may just be fascinated and admiring a costume but no matter what, being stared at is super uncomfortable. If you want to look, at least make eye contact and smile, that’s polite. Staring is creepy.

Don't Follow

A costume is not an invitation for you to come and debate my accuracy or debate who I should have dressed as instead: True story – last year at DCC, I Cosplayed as Rogue from the X-Men cartoon in the 90’s. Towards the end of the day some guy (most likely drunk) started yelling “Hey Jean Grey!” at me. He walked over and told me how much he loved Jean Grey, and my costume. I thanked him, but let him know I was actually dressed as Rogue. I even dyed my hair and had stark white chunks in the front. He disagreed, and told me again that I was Jean Grey. I became slightly less polite when I corrected him again and told him I was pretty sure I knew who my costume was modeled after since I made it myself. He accepted, but then told me how much better Jean was and that I should have been her. THAT whole thing right there… yeah, don’t do that. If you see a costume you think could be more accurate or if you see a character you think was SO much better before the reboot, be a big kid and keep that shit to yourself. Cosplayers don’t want to hear your criticisms of their character choice; most people dress as someone because they love that character and criticizing them is just plain hurtful. When you see a costume that you don’t think is authentic enough just remind yourself that you have no idea what that person has gone through to get to that convention in costume. They might be new to cosplay and scared to make something all on their own, or they may have suffered something catastrophic with their well-planned out costume and they had to improvise at the last minute (i.e. when my handmade Star Trek costumes ripped two days before Starfest 2012 and I had to go mostly store bought – I was devastated and being called a “poser” was super hurtful and really unwelcome).

Keep Comments To Yourself

Shit talking – don’t be a hater: When I see the “Cosplay Fail” slideshows on BuzzFeed and similar sites, I just get sad. Laughing at someone’s efforts is cruel. There are not a whole lot of people who want to be made fun of when they are Cosplaying and the ones who are in it for the jokes are pretty obvious to spot. It is important to remember that we are all people in one place because we share a common love of awesome things; don’t be cold-hearted and put down your fellow conventioneers (like Musketeers, it’s a new phrase I’m trying). The same goes for body image shaming. Regardless of your body type and weight, if you feel good in a costume then I guarantee you are rocking it. Don’t be one of the bitches or douchebags that tries to make a plus-sized girl feel ashamed of herself for daring to Cosplay as someone in a revealing or form-fitting costume. And the very same goes for men because they don’t deserve to feel that shame either, you may think you’re super clever with your “Fat Thor” jokes but in reality you are a bully and an asshole. Finally, do not slut shame girls who are in revealing costumes. Guess what? Pop culture hasn’t really given women a whole lot of characters to look up to who aren’t sexualized in one way or another. Do you think Princess Leia is a slut? No? Then chances are the girl dressed in a Slave Leia costume isn’t either. She’s just a human female Cosplayer who doesn’t owe you shit.


 

And finally, I’m going to turn the tables for a minute and focus on manners for Cosplayers themselves.

Just because you are in costume is not an excuse for you to be a psychopath: Cosplaying is fun, and so is embodying some of the character you are dressed as, but there is a limit. If you are dressed as The Joker and therefore you think it would be fun to run around scaring kids and yelling weird things at people as you walk past them then I hate to break it to you, but you are being kind of a psychopath. If you are dressing up for an excuse to fuck with people anonymously then you are in the wrong place. You also still have to employ normal social graces. For example, last year at DCC a guy dressed as Quark came up to my husband and asked him if I was for sale. He then saw that I was pushing a stroller with my one year old in it and he asked my husband if he could buy both of us. Long story short, we ended up basically having to shove this guy out from in front of us because he refused to break character and accept that I was not going to play along. I kind of doubt whoever the hell that was would have dared ask my husband those questions if he wasn’t disguised by his costume. He may have thought he was being funny, but I did not and I made it very clear. When he refused to drop it and let us move past him he went from being annoying weirdo to psychopath. So just a friendly reminder, if you want to be treated like a normal person when you are in costume then you should still act like a normal person when you are in your costume.

Creepy Cosplayer


 

Well that about wraps it up. Please keep all of these things in mind as you go to conventions throughout the season and the rest of the year. The most important thing is to remember that we are all human beings who deserve and need to treat others with respect. Let’s set an example at Denver Comic Con this weekend. I want to get through the entire convention with no reports of assault or harassment showing up on the news, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

All images were carefully thought out and drawn by Keriann McNamara-McCauliffe and Adrian Puryear. And they are copyrighted, suckers.

Conquering Cosplay: Jurassic Park

Cosplaying for the first time can be scary. I remember my first time, even though I was going to a relatively big convention that I’d been to before and knew for a fact that a ton of people Cosplayed, I still had this fear that everyone would look at me like I was the weirdo. Either that or I was afraid that my costuming skills would be critiqued, judged, and mocked. As it turns out I was very wrong, and I met a lot of really cool and enthusiastic people, but I still remember the fear and self-consciousness. The sad truth is that that feeling kept me from Cosplaying in public and on non-Halloween days for far longer than it should have. If you find yourself feeling that way now, I have two bits of advice for you: do not ever doubt yourself! Whatever character you are dreaming of being, you do it and I promise you will rock it. Second, if you really feel a lot of anxiety over the situation I’d like to stress how great group Cosplay can be as an introduction to the costuming world.

When you Cosplay in a group you will most likely immediately feel more comfortable. You’ll be surrounded by friends; therefore, the spotlight won’t necessarily be on you which is a huge bonus for the exceptionally awkward, like myself. Not to mention there are a lot of really fun group Cosplay ideas that we don’t see a whole lot of at conventions, many of which don’t require an intimidating amount of skill, which could potentially scare away a first timer. For this month’s edition of Conquering Cosplay I’d like to walk all you lovelies out there through a really easy and fun group Cosplay idea that is sure to impress on minimal time and money.

The crew from the original Jurassic Park.

This is one of my absolute favorites and one I’ve been dying to do for a while now, especially with Jurassic World right around the corner. One great thing about this group Cosplay is it is very customizable depending on your group size. You can make it work with just two people or even eight or ten people. Another benefit is that any and all of these costumes can be made with nothing more than your own clothes and/or a quick trip to the thrift store. This is a really good one for first timers or pros who just love the movies.


 

JP-Alan

Dr. Alan Grant: All you need is a blue denim shirt, khaki pants, and a red bandana tied around your neck. For the extra details you should really try to find an awesome Indiana Jones-esque fedora like the one he had, a brown belt and watch, and some aviator sunglasses. A pair of brown hiking boots will complete the look.

JP-Ellie

Dr. Ellie Sattler: You’ll need khaki shorts, a purple tank top, and a salmon colored button down collared shirt on top. Just add a brown belt and brown hiking boots and you’re all set.

JP-Ian

Dr. Ian Malcolm: This is a really easy one: black pants, black shirt (preferably collared button down), black boots and a black leather coat. To really complete the look you must have sunglasses, to be worn inside and at all times, and a silver watch.

JP-Hammond

John Hammond: For this one you’ll need all white, a short sleeved white button down shirt, white pants and a straw fedora. The most important element of this costume is the cane, which I would recommend making yourself. You can sculpt the top amber piece out of translucent clay and you can actually buy bamboo poles from hardware stores.

JP-Lex

Lex Murphy: Light denim jeans, brown boots, and a purple paisley print tank top – this one is pretty easy except that shirt may be hard to find. Be sure to tie your hair back in a braid too. If you want you can include the doofy baseball cap she is wearing in the beginning of the movie.

JP-Tim

Tim Murphy: All you need is khaki shorts, a striped shirt (preferably white, orange and green), a short sleeved light blue or denim shirt and a blue bandana tied around your neck. Tim also has brown hiking boots and a brown belt.

JP-Arnold

Ray Arnold: Ray’s look kind of changes throughout the movie. At first he is put together with his Jurassic Park lab coat on top of a white with gray pinstripes collared shirt and a tie, with black dress pants and shoes. As time goes by he ditches the coat, undoes his tie and unbuttons hit shirt to reveal a white undershirt. You can really do any variation with this. Just be sure to include glasses if you can, and I’d recommend walking around with a FAKE cigarette to add a nice detail. You can even walk around with a severed arm if you want, as if yours has been ripped off. If it were me, I would totally do that.

JP-Nedry

Dennis Nedry: Ah yes, the man who ruined it all. Nedry wears a gray polo shirt, gray jacket and khaki pants when it all goes down at the park. This look can be easily substituted for the island garb he wears in the beginning if you prefer. All you need for that is an awesome Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants. Brown shoes and glasses will complete either look.


 

If you find yourself with a group larger than eight or if you just really want to go all out there are a few more characters you can include if you so desire. There’s Henry Wu (lab scientist in charge of breeding), Robert Muldoon (clever girl) and Donald Gennaro (the blood sucking lawyer).

There are numerous ways you can liven up this group Cosplay if you want to. The person being Lex can carry around a spoon with a fake piece of green jello on it, or a ladle to bang on the ground for distracting dinosaurs. Malcolm can walk around with his shirt unbuttoned as Jeff Goldblum did for a great part of the movie. Dennis Nedry can walk around with Dilophosaurus venom on his face. As I mentioned earlier Ray can walk around with his own severed arm. If you want you can even have a group member dress up as a dinosaur!

The Jurassic Park group is a great introduction to Cosplaying for first timers who are nervous or just not ready to make their own costume yet. All you need for any of these looks are khaki pants or shorts, brown boots and a lot of shirts with that super early 90’s flair. It’s a great way to get into Cosplaying without the anxiety because it is not hard look to pull off and people will love seeing you.

*Fun Fact: This article can easily be turned into a drinking game. Just drink every time you read the word “khaki”. Oh the 90’s…

Emerald City Comic Con 2015 … Cosplay Day Three

Sunday wrapped up the weekend at ECCC 2015 just the way it should have: with AMAZING Cosplay! Well done Seattle!

 

All images were taken by Hush Comics co-owner Adrian Puryear. Please ask permission before re-posting.

Emerald City Comic Con 2015 … Cosplay Day Two

Saturday at ECCC proved that Seattle really knows how to Cosplay. We were blown away at the creativity on display!

All images were taken by Hush Comics co-owner Adrian Puryear. Please ask permission before re-posting.

Emerald City Comic Con 2015 … Cosplay Day One

Emerald City Comic Con is upon us again! We spend most of our day in the Main Hall for some amazing panels, but we were also able to grab some great Cosplay pictures today! Way to nerd out, Seattle!

All images were taken by Hush Comics co-owner Adrian Puryear. Please ask permission before re-posting.

Conquering Cosplay: Troy and Abed from Community

I of all people know that conquering a costume for your beloved character can seem like a really daunting task. I’ve been making my own costumes for all occasions as long as I can remember and there are still some characters I aspire to recreate but I shudder in the face of intimidation. Because I’ve sometimes been too afraid to overtake the big ones I’ve learned a whole lot about the subtle nuances of more basic costume choices and let me tell you: it’s all about the details.

The details of a cosplay can truly make or break the entire look. A lot of people overlook the small things and focus on the overall “look” and at times it can cause them to miss the character mark. This month I’ve chosen male and female characters that don’t have costumes or trademark armor, but they can be easily recreated if you focus on the details.

Troy and Abed (Community)

It’s no secret that Community is the underappreciated cult hit that everyone (who matters) loves but apparently didn’t watch on network TV. The most popular characters are arguably Troy and Abed who are con going sci-fi loving geeks themselves. In honor of Community staying alive against all odds and premiering this month on Yahoo! Screen, I’ve decided there’s no better detail oriented look to break down for the guys this month.

First things first, and I hate to even address this, but just to be on the safe side I will. Troy is black and Abed is Pakistani, even if you are neither of those races you can still do this cosplay. But you know what you can’t do? Put on makeup to try and look like you are black or Pakistani. That my friends, will most likely come off as super racist (because it is) and you really just shouldn’t do it. True story, my husband had a friend in college who cosplayed as Turk from Scrubs, but as he was a white guy he felt it was only necessary to put himself in blackface and sport that. People apparently still do those things so for the last time, JUST DON’T DO IT. Disclaimer over.

Moving on, Troy and Abed are you’re not so normal but completely average college students, so once again without costumes your cosplay is reliant on your knowledge of the character and attention to detail. The lucky thing about them is that they have a handful of well-known looks that are easy to recreate and will absolutely scream Troy and Abed. The first look I recommend is Troy and Abed in the Morning.

Troy and Abed in the Morning

 

I’m not sure if you ever noticed, but for every fake episode of Troy and Abed in the Morning they did they wore the same outfits. That’s right, there is your trademark, and all you have to do is go to a thrift store to get what you need and add it to stuff you probably already have. The Troy in your duo will need a purple collared button up shirt, jeans, and a gray blazer. That’s easy enough, right? The Abed will need jeans, a light blue collared button down shirt, a gray bowtie, and a striped (preferably white with blue and gray stripes) cardigan, buttoned up over the shirt. Super easy. There is one key detail that makes this costume what it is, and without it you’re just dudes in duds. You must each have a Troy and Abed in the Morning mug. You can buy these online, or you can make your own. Craft stores have make/paint your own mug kits for like $5, and you can just cut out a picture of each guy’s head and Mod Podge it to the mug. Done and done and AMAZING.

Troy and Abed Paintball

If you want to do something a little different but still iconic you could be Troy and Abed from the first paintball episode, “Modern Warfare”. Once again this is just regular clothes with a few tasty details. For Troy’s look you will need jeans, a blue t-shirt, a blue bandana tied around your head and a pair of science class goggles. For Abed you’ll just need jeans, a brown or green t-shirt, a camouflage jacket or over shirt, and some goggles, preferably circular. *Note: I’ve been told by Steam Punk friends that these can be hard to find. I recommend welder’s goggles or going to a motorcycle shop to find them.

Now for what makes your outfit a costume and not just clothes. Troy is wearing football shoulder pads and an athletic cup. These could be hard to come by without actually going to a sporting goods store and shelling out a good amount of dough. I recommend doing so for the cup, but the shoulder pads would be kind of pricey and they are easy enough to make yourself with foam or even cardboard if you want. The final touch is Troy’s yellow paintball gun. If you want to invest in one you can find those at sporting goods stores as well, but if you’re not an enthusiast of the sport(?) you can pick up a toy gun from a party supply store, a toy store, or online really easily and then just modify it to what you want and make sure you paint it yellow.

Abed has much less armor and a lot more ammo. He has a leg holster for his gun, which once again is easily purchased or made. He has a belt of ammo strapped across his chest, and it is filled with plastic tubes that are filled with paintballs of various colors. I advise making this yourself with either a thick piece of black fabric or a strap of leather and some black elastic. Attach the elastic to the fabric strip or leather so that there are numerous loops that a plastic tube could be pushed into and held in place. This is a really easy one to make with a hot glue gun. For the best look you may want to bite the bullet and actually just by a bunch of paintballs and fill tubes with them. I’m not sure how you could make paintballs, but I suppose you could use marbles if you want to. And finally, Abed’s paintball gun is orange. You can basically just follow the instructions for Troy’s gun on this one.

And there you have it. A couple of low-key but still awesome costumes to try out now that con season is officially upon us. Remember, you don’t have to go above and beyond to look amazing. It is the little specifics of your look that can take you the extra mile. Not every character that deserves tribute has an all identifying look, but everyone has the little things that make them unique. And cosplaying isn’t about being recognized and having your photo taken, it’s about dressing up as someone you love and want to honor. Good luck and costume on my friends!