On 22 and 23 October 2011, Mumbai was witness to its very first comic book convention, Comic Con Express, at the World Trade Center at Cuffe Parade. Graphic novel artists, veteran cartoonists, comic books we Indian kids had grown up reading, characters from the latest television cartoons, quirky game/rock/comic merchandisers, offbeat film actors and COSPLAYERS galore were in attendance, all mingling with each other, asking/answering questions, adding colour and making those two days memorable in every way possible.
Wikipedia defines Cosplay or costume play as ‘a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea’.
I did it for kicks. And to also see if I could carry off a comic character that’s widely loved and admired – Death of the Endless from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series of graphic novels.
From all the personifications of Death in fiction, Gaiman’s cheerful creation is my second favoured one; the first being Pratchett’s rather dry-witted character. But of course, it takes a certain physical stature and possession of glowing blue eyes to play the Death of Discworld (an accompanying skeletal rat with a scythe wouldn’t hurt).
After eliminating Turanga Leela (disadvantaged by – purple hair, one-eyed vision), Ramona Flowers (disadvantaged by – blue/pink hair, Subspace bag) and a host of other super heroines who were too aah… bombastic and scantily clad for my liking, I settled on Death of the Endless.
While an unusual interpretation of the idea, Death is also depicted as anything other than overtly sexual in her manner and dress in the graphic novels. Apart from her affable and friendly exchanges with the souls she is to carry to the next realm, she is regular and normal and this appeals to me.
Having access to an enthusiastic and exceptionally talented makeup artist did help. Rosalyn Manuel, who also occasionally dabbles in fantasy makeup used theater-quality makeup products on my face.
Makeup like that takes a while to wipe off as well, and I had to wash my face repeatedly (4 times) to get all the gunk off, with a lot of help from Rosalyn may I add. Plans of a night on the town had to be cancelled as I had to go home and get whatever had seeped into my hair and really black clothes out.
But it was worth it, and enough to make me enthusiastic about cosplaying some other interesting character in the future.
Here are some other interpretations of Death’s look by cosplayers I came across on the internet:
In addition, Comics Alliance has a pretty neat tutorial on replicating Death’s look. For more Death of the Endless fan-art and goodness, head to The Fuck Yeah Lady Death Tumblr – one of my absolute favourite places on the interwebs.