Journalists

September 9, 2010

Cosplayer Spotlight: Panda Valentine

California girl, Panda Valentine is our latest featured Cosplayer! She has a bunch of sexy costumes to show off, and in the interview she talks about her cosplay experiences- like when she met Rob Liefeld. So read on for a unique journey into the world of cosplay!

Panda as Vampirella at this years San Diego Comic Con.

COMICATTACK: What got you into cosplay?

PANDA VALENTINE: I can’t really pinpoint any one thing that was the defining moment in time. I remember being 14, going to a very, very tiny Anime convention in Australia with my friend Ken. He had just downloaded Dragonball GT and we were about 1/3rd of the way through it and randomly I said “Hey, I’m going to dress up as Pan!” I have always been into wearing costumes. Drama was my favorite subject in High School, cosplay just seemed a very natural thing for me to fall into.

CA: Do you make all of your costumes? If you do, what’s the process like and how long does it take? If you don’t, how do you obtain them?

PV: I both make and buy costumes for myself. I can sew but I’m not the worlds best pattern drafter; in fact when I do sew from scratch I tend to just grab fabric and start cutting and pinning until it looks right and then sew it all together. My Scarlet Witch skirt and cape were made that exact way, same with the dress I’m making for Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans. When I can, I prefer to buy base components for my costumes and adapt them to fit what I need, rather than attempting to make from scratch. Making from scratch is satisfying but slow; if I made everything from scratch I’d probably manage 1 costume a year, when I want to be assembling 3 if not 4 in a year. Ebay and Etsy are my main hunting grounds, although Fredricks of Hollywood and Thrift Shops have turned up some surprisingly useful pieces in the past, to my eternal delight.

Panda poses as Scarlet Witch at a past SDCC.


CA: Tell us all the characters you’ve cosplayed as in the past. Who do you plan on taking on in the future?

PV: Well, I supposed I should list Pan as the very first but it was so quickly thrown together and so long ago and in another country. To date I’ve cosplayed: Emma Frost, The Scarlet Witch, The Goblyn Queen, Vampirella, and Star Sapphire Carol Ferris. I have a completed costume for Sharon Carter from the Captain America comics, the white version which she’s wearing in the current Cap book, but it has yet to see floor time at a convention. As for who I plan to cosplay in the future, goodness, do you have an hour? Hehe. I have a convention coming up in September in which I’ll be debuting my Medusa costume and borrowing a friends Zatanna costume to make up for an unfortunate incident with an extremely shady seamstress who stole my money.

My plans for 2011 are Psylocke, Savage Land Rogue and that Sharon Carter I mentioned earlier, as well as Polaris’ red and gold costume from the X-Force days. As for what I’d like to do in the future, well, a little bit of everything! Phoenix Emma Frost has always been on my to-do list. Arachne and the Ultimates Universe Spider Woman too. Lyssa Drax of the Sinestro Corp, and maybe some day fem!Larfleeze. Mainly I just want to run around yelling “mine mine mine mine” and humping things.

 

CA: What Comic Cons and conventions have you attended in character?

PV: Novacon – in Australia and San Diego ComicCon for the past 4 years. I’ll be attending Dragon Con for the first time this year. Not yet sure how I’m going to like it but I’ll try anything once.

Panda sells it as Star Sapphire Carol Ferris!

Consider Hal owned!

CA: In your experience, how do you feel cosplay is received by comic book fans?

PV: For the most part it’s received really well. Photos are taken continuously, you get a little flash blind by the end of the day but it’s so much fun. You do get some snarky comments, there is always that small percentage of fans that consider their idols sacred, and that in some way cosplayers are demeaning them by dressing up as them. I don’t personally understand that mentality, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all but live and let live. To each their own. Besides, you can barely hear the very faint “oh my god, what is wrong with those people?!” over all the “hey picture? You look great, can I take your picture!” requests.

CA: What’s your favorite part about cosplaying?

PV: When you’re out on the convention floor and someone comes up to you and says “That costume is my favorite character/ my favorite costume and you’ve brought her/it to life perfectly.” I tend to try and pick characters that are just a bit to the left of the mainstream, ones that aren’t A-listers but tend to be fan favorites. For example when I did Emma Frost she was only just beginning to transition from a Hellfire Club/ Gen X character into the flagship Uncanny X-Men book. The first year I did her a lot of people asked if I was Storm. When I planned to do Star Sapphire it was actually almost 8 months before Blackest Night hit, when Carol was still a sometime villain from the Green Lantern books. By the time she blew up as a character I was too committed to the costume to back out and make something else. I retired the costume after San Diego Comic Con, however. Maybe one day, after Blackest Night/ Brightest Day calms down I’ll remake the costume, or pull it out of my cupboard.

CA: What do you do in “real life” and what are the reactions of your friends, family, and co-workers when they see your cosplay photos?

PV: I work retail, nothing glamorous but it pays my bills most of the time. My friends all think that I am a cosplayer is cool and are always down for helping me look for costume pieces at the mall or such. From the co-workers and family I get a pretty equal spread of reactions. Some think it’s interesting, but were never into comics so they don’t much care. Others think it’s hilarious and ask me if I have any new costume pictures everytime they see me.

Emma Frost

The Goblyn Queen

CA: Have you ever had any awkward encounters while in costume; Like crazy fanboys or something else?

PV: I think the most awkward one I had was with a fellow cosplayer. I saw her from a distance when I was in costume and ran over to her to ask for a photo. I’m a cosplayer, yes, but I’m a fan first and foremost. I go to the conventions to see the fun costumes as much as to be seen in my fun costumes, so I went over there all excited, telling her she looked awesome and could I please take her photo. And got an exasperated “fine” and an eye roll as a reply and a very, very sullen looking photograph. I didn’t know if I had bothered her, or somehow offended her by asking. I wanted to just flee but then people kept asking for pictures of the two of us, so I smiled and posed, and was very, very happy to hightail it out of there at the first opportunity. I still don’t know why I got the eye roll but it was the single most awkward thing that ever happened to me at a convention.

CA: On the flip side, have you had any cool encounters with comic book creators you could tell us about while in costume?

PV: I have a terrible confession to make, I don’t sight recognize any comic book writers other than Mark Brooks. I know their names. If you said Terry Dodson, or Warren Ellis or Alan Davis I could probably rattle off what they are famous for and what they’re currently working on, but they could walk past me on the street and I wouldn’t have the faintest clue. A touch oblivious, I am. So I may have interacted with comic book creators and not known it. I’m a terrible fan girl, I know, I know.

The coolest encounter with a comic book writer and someone in costume I ever saw, however, was at this year’s [San Diego] ComicCon. My friend Eddie was dressed as Deadpool and we went to the Rob Liefeld panel, myself and another friend, Sean, were in plain clothes acting as handlers for Eddie. Rob had Eddie come right up on the stage and chill out up there as he was giving the panel. No one knew this but Eddie’s mask has been having a bit of a malfunction right before the panel and we had glued it back on with extremely strong, very potent glue. All of a sudden I see Eddie, as Deadpool, start kind of swaying a little and dancing in his seat. Which was perfectly in character, so no one noticed or commented if they did, but I couldn’t resist sending Eddie a text that said “Are you drunk on glue fumes up there?” He didn’t think it was funny, but I did. After Rob asked me to email him the photos, which I tried to do but I’m not sure I had the right email address, so if anyone happens to know Rob Liefeld’s email, could you let me know? I owe him a couple photographs.

You should try the ’67 Blood Merlot. It’s to die for.

CA: What are your favorite comics and who are your top comic book characters?

PV: I’m a Marvel girl at heart, X-Men with a side of the Avengers are poison of choice when it comes to comic books. Nightcrawler will always have my heart as my favorite comic book character. I love da fuzzy elf! I’m a sucker for bad guys/ girls gone good, or at least trying to go good too, though. Quicksilver, Magneto, Emma Frost. Or those that are at least trying but occasionally failing at walking on the side of angels, Iron Man, Polaris. All the characters I like to cosplay as, they are all characters who have been both a villain and a hero. Someone who so often ends up in that grey area.

CA: What’s your best cosplay memory?

PV: Stepping out of the car that very first time, dressed as Emma Frost. I had this total panic moment, thinking “what the hell am I doing? Everyone is going to laugh at me, a grown woman playing dress ups. I just want to go home and put on some normal clothing.” Then I stepped out on to the curb, took two steps towards the San Diego Convention Center and someone said “Hey! Emma! You look amazing, can I take your picture?!” I don’t know who that guy was, but I will always remember him because his simple, throw away compliment and request quelled every single nervousness I had, and made me fall in love with costuming 100 times over.

Panda as a no-nonsense Sharon Carter.

Hey look, a super hot elf!

CA: Do you have a fan page or website?

PV: Just my Facebook for now.

CA: Any parting words you’d like to say about cosplay or comics in general?

PV: Come on in, the water is fine!

Panda was also one of our 3 winners of the Top 13 Cosplayers of SDCC 2010 contest!

If you’re a Cosplayer who would like to be spotlighted, send an e-mail to andy@comicattack.net. For previous installments of the Cosplayer Spotlight, and for more cosplay, just click the links!

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

 

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5 Comments


  1. Aron

    Wow, she sure is pretty!



  2. I actually never thought about a cosplayer being nervous. Everyone I’ve always come across just seems so into their character and having a good time. Glad she had a great moment for her first cosplay experience!


  3. Billy

    Little white panties +1000000000000000000000000000



  4. Thanks for the credit on the The Goblyn Queen Picture!


  5. Michael

    Panda, your costumes are incredible! You REALLY look the part in every one of them. I think the most amazing thing is that you look so much like the character that I would never guess it is the same person inside each costume.



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