I’ve started updating the site, mostly with pictures and commentary around my cosplaying under the name Tango Mike Cosplay. There was already a tag for it on the navigation bar at the top of the page, but I’m in the process of making sub-pages to that, each with a gallery of images to peruse.
If you follow me on any other social media, or know me in real life, you might have noticed that I’m drawing and doodling and sketching and painting, and generally being an expressive soul all over the place. I have work colleagues who are reassured to see my doodles all over scraps of paper as they know I’m based out of that location for a while, and others who in the past have zealously gathered up those scraps before I can throw them in the bin to keep hold of them.
I mention this because I’m starting to return to writing and drawing in my journals, especially as I’ve been gifted with, and also acquired for myself, a number of different sets of brush pens and other lineart tools. It has prompted me to develop new refinements of my artwork. It has also meant that I’ve returned to drawing around odds and ends that I’ve written in the books as I can’t stand having wasted space in them.
Sometimes these are fiction fragments or bits of a story that I’m working on, and sometimes they are more thoughtful pieces that I’ve written – often while the black dog is barking and worrying at my heels.
I write these pieces to ground myself and force myself to acknowledge the positives and available options around me. Sometimes they are light and fluffy, and sometimes they are from a lower and more stubborn place, plodding along like a donkey pulling a cart through the mud.
Many of these pieces end up on Instagram to break up the flow of selfies, cosplay pictures, book covers I’ve enjoyed encountering, or other random facets that I highlight in any given day. I present them “as is” without comment, simply because I want to preserve them somewhere, and I like some aspect of technique or design and want to show it off. I certainly don’t expect to enter into long conversations about them as they’re usually just dashed off while watching tv or something.
This piece however got a response from someone who read the text and found it spoke to them – that it was what they needed to hear at that point – and that even though they often use writing for similar purposes they don’t feel the confidence to post them online. This spoke to me – partially in recognition of the power of similar moments as I’ve encountered them, partially being glad to have been able to give someone a lift in that moment, and partially a disbelief that I have been able to affect someone in that way. Its humbling and more than a little cool to receive that kind of feedback, and I hope I managed to not sound completely awkward in responding to that person.
We’re just back and recovering from our first Con of the year. We’re not doing many this year as we’re also saving up to buy our place, so I’ve been looking at the Cons earlier in the season with longing. We’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest draw to conventions for us is meeting our friends, whether in cosplay or not, and enjoying catching up with them.
As usual we stayed at the Crowne Plaza, so that we could nip back and forth during the day if needed. The weather forecast was for hot weather, and we knew from last year that the area outside the ExCel is a formidable heat trap. It was a good decision – even with reasonably simple cosplays it was a huge relief to be able to step back into air conditioned coolness over the course of the weekend. This was especially useful when Lady M overheated with heatstroke from the fierce sun on her first day.
I had three costumes lined up: Friday saw me wandering around as Obadiah Stane – the villain from the first Iron Man film, as depicted by Jeff Bridges. I have a bit of an obvious headstart on that costume, already having a beard and having my head shaved – and I hadn’t really expected much of a response to this one as he’s relatively unknown and not particularly flashy.
I made two props: a massive cigar, and his patented paralysing device, which combined with my suit and a suitably expansive and expressive way of approaching Tony Stark cosplayers. A quick spray of white dye over the beard and I was ready to stride the convention floor with gusto. It was great fun. Within moments of getting into the queue I heard people asking each other if I was Obadiah Stane, and from there on out I had nothing but praise and enthusiasm from everyone I met. It also helped focus attention when talking to security and to convention staff.
Saturday had me wandering round as a very casual version of Booster Gold: time-traveller and self publicist extraordinaire. (And protector of the time-stream, but not many people know about that.) This was fun for so many reasons, partly because he’s such a relatively unknown character – except for people like myself who have an avid appreciation for him and his hidden history.
So many people are used to my normal appearance that the wig and dyed beard completely threw them. People who know me and my cosplays well, were still shocked to hear my voice – a few actually flinched a little when they worked out who I was. Essentially though this was a jeans, tshirt and leather jacket ensemble so it was easy enough to moderate my temperature. Mid afternoon I still gave in and removed the wig so I could take advantage of cooling breezes off the water.
Sunday was a return of my Captain Boomerang – an old favourite for messing about as one of the Suicide Squad and one of the Flash’s Rogues.
As might be expected of such an inveterate thief, I also included props from the previous two cosplays – Obadiah’s cigar, and the Legion Flight Ring worn by Booster – I’m starting to accumulate items from various costumes and characters to wear as trophies for this one, which is fun as a form of refinement.
This was definitely the hottest costume to wear, with multiple layers – and by mid afternoon I decided I’d had enough, so swapped out into a Squad UK vest to cool down.
Was the Con perfect? No, there were a few inconsistencies with how a couple of security people interacted with us – and we made a complaint on that front – but broadly there were no hitches. There weren’t so many large displays from the main comics companies, but the Comics Village was well represented, and we enjoyed ourselves hugely, and bought a lot of merchandise.
Thank goodness I’ve booked all this week off to recover, I’m exhausted