Diamond: A Girl’s Best Form
It is no surprise that Sideshow Collectibles came out with an Emma Frost figure, especially after the success of the 2011 film, X-Men: First Class. This figure stands twenty inches tall, and every inch showcases Emma’s attitude and provocative nature.
Speaking of provocative, Emma’s all white ensemble simply cannot be ignored. She is dressed in the attire she wore when she was first introduced to X-Men fans in 1979. The corset, panties, boots, and fur-lined cape leaves little to the imagination, but I do have to admit, Emma sure knows how to pull it off; though, I am not sure how easy it would be battling a foe in platform boots, or with so little skin protection.
I guess I should remind myself that this mutant has built-in armor, something she likes to call her “diamond form.” Ms. Frost’s skin produces an organic diamond material, making her almost invulnerable to physical attacks and mental attacks, so that would surely compensate for the lack of fabric donned by this powerful mutant… and then some.
As gorgeous as this figure is, I do have one complaint. Emma comes with an additional portrait that has Frost sporting a shorter hairstyle, and while that is great and all, what I really want is a portrait that shows off her diamond form! I mean, she is the epitome of stunning when transformed, and I always love when a figure can showcase the powers of the character.
Crafting Foam: Versatile and Inexpensive
Crafting foam has to be one of the most versatile materials around, which is especially good to hear if you are a fan of cosplay. Even as a beginning cosplayer, I have learned that you should never be low on crafting foam. Available in various sizes and colors, foam can be used to create endless costume pieces, including armor.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Because it is easy to mold, foam can be shaped into kick-butt armor without breaking a sweat or the bank. You can find numerous brands of crafting foam at art supply stores, and even Wal-Mart for cents per sheet, or in bundles like I have shown here. One of the most popular brands is Eva Foam, and it can come in rolls as large as twenty-four square feet! Well-know cosplayer, Detty Cosplay, uses Eva foam for most of his armor costumes, and he even shows the building process!
Since foam is so user-friendly, it means that even a less experienced cosplayer like myself can handle the challenge without much heartache. That means, no, you do not have to learn how to work with plastic, nor do you have to be a master clay sculptor and molder. All you need are some scissors, hot glue, and maybe a heat gun (or hair dryer), and you are set! So say goodbye to poorly made, and designed, armor you find at the Halloween stores. You can make something much more interesting, and it will cost you less in the end.
Of Royal Blood
Storm has been one of the most beloved female members of the X-Men team ever since she made her debut in 1975 . She is a power-house mutant that I personally cannot get enough of within the comics, but when it comes to Storm on the big screen, she goes from intriguing to yawn-worthy.
Before becoming Storm, the white-haired beauty was known only as Ororo Munroe. She was born to N’Dare, a the princess of a tribe in Kenya that descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses, and American photojournalist, David Munroe of Harlem, New York.
Only six months after Storm’s birth, her parents relocated to Egypt. The family lived there for six years without much heartache; however, a devastating accident changed that quickly. N’Dare and David were killed during the Suez Crisis, leaving the then six-year-old Ororo an orphan. With no family to support her, Ororo lived in the streets of Cairo, becoming a very accomplished thief in order to sustain herself.
Mother Nature Herself
By twelve years of age, Ororo began to develop her mutant abilities. Ororo found that she could create rain, snow, sleet, fog, hail, and, what would become one of her signature sources of power, lightning. The young girl could also manipulate wind to the point of creating hurricane-like forces and increase or decrease temperatures to extreme lengths, with the added ability to change her own body temperature accordingly.
After discovering her mutant abilities, she met the witch-priestess, Ainet, who took her in and became her surrogate mother. The village the two resided in began experiencing a drought, which prompted Ororo to use her powers to create rain; however, by doing this, she threw off the weather of the surrounding areas, and a drought began, killing hundreds of animals in the process. This is how Ororo learned that, while she could create rain, she did so by using the resources around her. The moisture she needed was pulled from the surrounding lands, and she was not able to create this herself.
Because of the incident, Ororo began traveling Africa, helping several tribes suffering from the drought she created. It was because of her assistance that one of the tribes began to worship her and treat her as a goddess of rain, and it was during her stay with this tribe that Professor X came to encourage her to become one of the X-Men.
Though Storm is a very intelligent, articulate, and powerful mutant, she has not been portrayed in a way that showcases those attributes, at least not in film adaptations. I am sad to admit that I was not impressed by Halle Berry’s rendition of Storm in the X-Men film of 2000, nor X2, or the final film of the trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand. Storm took a back seat to most of the other characters when, in reality, she and Charles Xavier were very close, and she served as a pivotal member of the mutant team; in fact, Storm was one of his most trusted members of the X-Men. The films did not highlight her leadership capabilities, which she had many leadership roles in the comics, even beating Cyclops for the commander position for the X-Men at one point. Essentially, the films only used her to show a handful of impressive storm-rendering scenes, and she certainly deserves more than that. It is no secret that tons of fans are hoping that, because of the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Storm’s true character will be revealed in future films, and I am certainly on board for that.
I mentioned in my Mystique cosplay post that I attended C2E2 just this last April in Chicago, but what I did not mention was that I had a fellow mutant with me. My boyfriend, Jeb, was by my side as Azazel, one of Mystique’s love interests and father to her son, Nightcrawler.
In some traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Azazel is used as a term for a “scapegoat” or the name for a fallen angel or demon, and the latter would explain why Marvel creators decided to use the name for their red, demon-like mutant back in 2003.
Azazel claims that he is one of the oldest mutants alive and originated from an ancient horde of demonic-looking mutants from biblical times called the Neyaphem. The Neyaphem were involved in a holy war with a group of angelic, xenophobic mutants named the Cheyarafim over opposing views regarding morality.
The Cheyarafim were victorious in the war and banished the “demons” to an alternate dimension for all eternity; however the Neyaphem’s leader, Azazel, was the only one who was able to breach the dimensional void for brief periods of time due to teleportation abilities. His only hope to return to Earth for substantial time periods was by impregnating women; his children would serve as a link from Earth to his own dimension, allowing him and his people the opportunity to live, and rule, upon the Earth once more.
I have to say, this makeup was much easier to execute in comparison to Mystique’s, minus the slight blunder we had with the spray paint shown in the picture to the left (ha). It took just a quick stop to Party City for his supplies which consisted of: two tubes of red face makeup, black eyeliner, three cans of black spray paint, rubber ear tips, and a small bottle of flesh latex for scars (keep in mind is was for three days of wear).
Now, in regards to the face makeup, I was surprised that it worked so well since the blue paint I tried from Party City did not cover at all; however, it may have worked a little too well. With the Mehron makeup I ended up using, as soon as I hit the shower, it washed away by water pressure alone. Jeb’s makeup, on the other hand, was very difficult to wash off, so keep in mind that this makeup is inexpensive and offers great coverage, it does come at a slight price.
Over all, we happily took that trade-off. Our costumes were a great success, and I am very proud of how well we were able to capture the characters’ likeness, especially considering it was our first time heavily relying on makeup to complete our costumes. There were certainly plenty of double takes when we walked into a room, and I cannot even attempt to guess how many photos we took in the three days we attended the convention and even just on the street.
One of the best moments for us was meeting photographer, Corey M. Trotter. We ended up posing for him on the last day of C2E2, and boy did he surprise us with a stunning digital image a few weeks later. We were completely blown away by his skill, and Jeb and I were extremely grateful for such a great way to remember our time at C2E2 2014.
Jubilation Lee is an X-Men character that has not been included in film adaptations, unless you count the brief cameo appearances in X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last stand. It was an interesting decision on the film-makers’ part to have Jubilee take a back seat in the films given her close relationships to other mutants, particularly with Wolverine.
Her “Mall Rat” Beginnings
Ms. Lee was introduced to X-Men fans in 1989. The girl belonged to a wealthy Asian-American family in Beverly Hills and became a very talent gymnast at a young age. She seemed to have an ideal life, but that would change drastically. In her early teen years, tragedy stuck and both her mother and father were murdered by a pair of hit men, Reno and Molokai.
The teenaged girl was then placed in an orphanage after her parent’s deaths, but it was not long before she ran away and hid in the Hollywood Mall, where she stole food to survive.
Throughout her stay at the shopping complex, Jubilee had to constantly evade mall security, and it was during one of her run-ins with the officers that she discovered her powers for the first time.
While running from the two security officers, she emitted a large, energy blast that temporally blinded and disoriented the men. It was after this occurrence that Jubilee began using her powers to entertain mall-goers for money, but mall security soon tried to apprehend the girl, one again, but this time for her unauthorized performances.
Instead of having to escape the officers on her own, Jubilee received assistance from a few female members of the X-Men team, and she ended up secretly following her saviors back to one of their bases. This is also during this time that Jubilee witnessed Wolverine getting kidnapped by the Reavers, a team of criminal cyborgs dedicated to the destruction of the X-Men.
The teen eventually helps save Wolverine from his captors, and the start of their very close relationship begins as well. The two mutants would go on several missions after the rescue, and these missions helped Jubilee and Wolverine develop a father-daughter relationship, which is why it was so strange to see the X-Men films follow Wolverine so closely without the young mutant that many fans consider to be his “unofficial sidekick.”
Like a Firework
It seemed like a missed opportunity to not show off a mutant with powers that were very underrated in the X-Men cartoon. Jubilee has the power to generate bright bursts of multicolored energy plasmoids from her fingertips, or what she likes to call “fireworks”. These light energies are under her complete mental control, and the strength of the energy varies and can range from a multitude of brief flashes of light capable of temporarily blinding a person, to light with the same capabilities as explosives.
A Chance to Sparkle?
Perhaps she can get her chance to display some of those powers with the upcoming film X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. As I have mentioned in a previous post, Gambit will have his redemption time in the film, and Jubilee may be another character who gets some of the spotlight. She is a part of a team led by Gambit called X-Ternals during the time of this story arc. Jubilee displays a greater level of control over her power in this plot line; in fact, she shows the full extent of her powers by destroying a Shi’ar ship single-handedly. Now that is the Jubilee fans want to see! As details of the film slowly come to light, maybe we will find Jubilee at the forefront of the story, rather than just the background.
One of my favorite male X-Men characters has to be Gambit, otherwise known as Remy Etienne LeBeau. The New Orleans native did not have an ideal upbringing, which is putting it mildly, but it only adds to the depth of his character and his attraction to X-Men followers.
A Nontraditional Upbringing
Abandoned at birth due to his strange, red eyes, Remy was kidnapped by members of the New Orleans Thieves’ Guild. The infant was then given to theAntiquary, a power in the New Orleans Underground who dealt in the stealing and selling of children. The Guild Prophecies, with which the Antiquary was obsessed, mentioned that a red-eyed man referred to as Le Diable Blanc, or the white devil, was prophesied to unite the rival Thieves’ Guild and Assassins’ Guild of New Orleans.
Believing Remy was the man the prophecies described, the Antiquary soon placed Remy in the care of Fagan’s Mob. This was a gang of street thieves who would raise the child, teach him the ways of thievery, and also keep a close eye on the child.
After a decade of living on the streets, Remy attempted to pick the pocket of Jean-Luc LeBeau at the mob’s encouragement. Jean-Luc LeBeau happened to be the patriarch of the Thieves’ Guild at the time, and it was not a coincidence that the mob wanted Remy to cross LeBeau’s path. Jean-Luc took Remy off the streets and adopted him into his own family, just as the mob had hoped… Unknown to the child, his encounter with Jean-Luc LeBeau was carefully orchestrated by the mob in order help the prophecy of peace move forward.
A Lack of Media Exposure
Though Gambit’s story is filled with plenty of interesting, dark subject matter, the mutant has not had much screen time. Gambit did not enter the Marvel universe until 1990, and with the help of the cartoon that also came out in that year, he quickly became a fan favorite; however, aside from the years he appeared in the X-Men cartoon, he has only stepped out of the pages of comic books once with the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Gambit did not have a large role in the film, and his character was not portrayed as seamlessly as I had hoped. He was an underutilized character, and his abilities were not shown to their full potential. In fact, Gambit was depicted as a less threatening mutant in comparison to Wolverine, which is an unfair representation of the red-eyed mutant, considering he did kill omega-level mutant the Dark Phoenix.
Though Gambit was not shown as the fierce fighter comic-book readers know him as, the bio-kinetic mutant will have a second shot at impressing movie-goers with the upcoming film X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016. Not many details have been revealed regarding plot, but there are a few story arcs that the writers could be using for production (something we will certainly discuss soon).
Regardless of the storyline, this is certainly exciting news! Gambit will finally have the chance to show off who he really is on the silver screen, and maybe fans will get that solo film soon after? Time will tell!
I cosplayed as comic book Mystique just this last April for the C2E2 convention (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo), and as I have mentioned before, I have only recently entered the cosplaying world.
I thought that I would not have the skill needed to pull off a costume worthy of the characters I wished to emulate, but I proved otherwise to myself. The only thing that held me back from pursuing my dream was me, and the same holds true for you. It does not matter if you can sew, paint, or apply make-up, you can still participate in cosplay and have a great time!
There were plenty of things I learned while doing this cosplay, especially since it was based heavily on make-up, and I want to share my experience with you. Hopefully, with some tips and tricks regarding body make-up, you will decide to join me in the cosplaying world!
Picking Body Paint
My first thought was heading to Party City and using their face and body paint. Now, for my boyfriend, who was playing Azazel, the paint worked perfectly in red; however, the blue paint I needed was not the best consistency; it was runny and would leave patches of skin showing when I tried to apply more.
I did some research and I found Mehron Paradise Face Paint in Dark Blue. I highly recommend this makeup. It was a perfect consistency, and, as a beginner, it was very easy to work with the make-up. The coverage was excellent, and it did not appear cakey. I had smooth, blue skin just like Mystique!
Painting the Body
To paint my face, ears, and complete upper body, it took close to five hours the first day. By the second day of the convention, we got it down to four hours. By the third day, we had mastered the painting to under three hours!
What made the two-hour difference? Baby Powder. Though the paint did layer well, areas such as the forearm crease, neck, and armpit were difficult to paint without cracking. This is where the baby powder came in to save the day. I thought I needed many layers of paint before “setting” the make-up (applying power to keep the make-up from fading). What I learned is that it is actually best to alternate between make-up and powder. It allows the make-up to build much more easily, and the powder gives the make-up something to hold on to. Let’s just say that with this method, my make-up still looked fresh, even after six hours of wear!
Adding Depth to the Make-Up
I knew that I wanted more than just blue paint, and I had to do something more for Mystique’s sake, because let’s face it; Mystique is gorgeous and some blue body paint would not be doing her justice. I had to glam up the look. I needed some sparkle.
Yes, it sounds silly, but a sparkle element would catch light and add some depth to the flat, dark blue paint. A sparkle element could easy help me highlight areas of my face and give the make-up a more realistic feel.
So how did I get my sparkle? Eye shadow was the answer. I found NYC Color Sparkle Eye Dust in Brilliant Sapphire. The shadow was more of a thick powder (hence the “dust” term in its name), and it did just the trick. Not only was I ensuring the makeup was safe to place around my eyes, but it also helped conceal any areas where the paint job was less than par and contained brush strokes.
Finishing the Look
There was one aspect of the Mystique costume that did concern me and that was her skull headpiece.I had created my own out of foam, and then I painted the piece, but I had no idea how I was going to attach it.
All I could think of was glue, glue, glue. What could be my glue? I then had the best realization: False eyelash glue. I happened to have some because of a Halloween costume I did the previous year and it worked like a charm, even with the face paint and eye dust! The best finishing touch were my yellow contacts, completing the whole make-up.
I hope this has helped you realize that cosplaying is something anyone can do, and I hope even more so that I see you at future conventions!
Sideshow Collectibles has been making original collectibles since 1994, and last spring, the company unveiled yet another breath-taking figure. During the past several months, it has been a leading lady of the X-Men universe that is the figure to snatch up. This time fans have the pleasure of adding the powerful telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey to their shopping cart.
Let’s just take a moment to soak in the excellence. Donning her yellow and blue 1990’s attire, Jean stands eighteen inches tall, posing in one of her signature stances. I have to admit, as soon as I learned this figure was on the market, I was excited. The artists really captured the likeness of the Jean Grey portrayed in both the comics and the X-Men cartoon. In fact, for those that purchase the Exclusive edition, an additional portrait will be included, allowing collectors to choose from having a Jean Grey with flowing hair and a Jean Grey with the ponytail hair style of the 90’s cartoon.
Excuse me while I wipe away a tear of happiness and gratitude. I absolutely love when a figure comes with customizable options such as this, and it is not the first time Sideshow has given the buyer options. They did the same with their Rogue figure back in 2011; though, in that instance, I was not necessary happy with one of portrait options being a more modern take on the 80’s Rogue, but that is for another post.
In regards to the Grey figure, I have to say that I would have my Jean sport her long flowing hair like in the comics. As much as the ponytail look reminds me of Saturday mornings as a kid, I still cannot separate the image of Jean Grey and wild, red hair.
Now, I am sure some of you must have been disappointed when I mentioned the figure made its debut last spring… but no worries; this figure is still available for pre-order! Yes. You still have a chance to be one of the 750 collectors to have the 90’s Jean Grey on your shelves in April of 2015…. if you can afford $359.99 (Something I am desperately debating).
You are welcome.
The X-Men are a team of superheroes who have been beloved by comic fans for decades now. To think of the comic book world without them is unthinkable, and so, on behalf of the X-Men fandom, thank you, thank you to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for creating the powerhouse team in 1963. Being reminded of the team’s beginnings, one does have to wonder, how did these well-known superheroes come to be? What is it that makes the X-Men the incredible humans that they are?
In this fantasy realm, it is the X-Gene, otherwise known as the “X-Factor” or the mutant gene, that triggers unbelievable power in those that carry the extra chromosome. The men and women who possess this gene are commonly referred to as mutants or Homo Superiors and are considered to be the next step in human evolution.
To clarify, the X-Gene could very well lie dormant throughout one’s life, but those that are fortunate enough to have the gene triggered typically find that the gene does so at puberty; however it can be awoken during periods of heightened emotional or physical stress as well, or even mechanically.
Once triggered, the gene can manifest in a multitude of ways.The mutations that arise can be physical such as abnormal body coloring, textured skin, excessive hair or fur, disproportionate or additional limbs, extra appendages such as wings, or even animal-like features.
At other times, the mutation will have no affect on its subject’s appearance at all and may only result in extra abilities. Powers vary in nature and can include control over particular elements and energies, energy blasts, flight, shape shifting, superhuman agility and senses, superhuman speed, superhuman strength, telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation among many others.
It is with the vast combinations and variations of mutations possible that the X-Men are conceived, and are even given their name. That’s right. The “x” in X-Men is not homage to Professor X, or Charles Xavier, but a reference to that unique gene that birthed them into their reality and into our own.