Tuesday, June 12, 2012

HeroesCon Cos Play Inteview: Suzann Knudsen

As part as HeroesCon month here on Exile, we're spotlighting some of our favorite things about the con.  Charlotte has some awesome and dedicated cos players, including Suzann Knudsen, also known as DJ Spider.  Suzann was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk about her cosplaying experiences.  Thanks Suzann! We can't wait to see you at HeroesCon. 

How long have you been doing cosplay? Halloween has always been my favorite time of year, so can I just say forever?  :) But I seriously started doing it about 10 years ago or so, after my first DragonCon when I discovered that were TONS of people who were like me - geeky, nerdy and wanted to play dress up!

What was your first costume? I did Jem from Jem and the Holograms.  It was terrible!  But every year I challenged myself to make more costumes and learn new skills, and now I average 4-6 costumes per year (I have a wishlist of roughly 100 more characters I'd like to do, so I think I'll be at this for a while longer!)

How did you become interested in cosplay? That first day at DragonCon, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who were completely comfortable doing what I thought was just a "me" thing.  I looked at my boyfriend and said, "I am sooo coming back here and doing this right next year!"  Since then I have met some of the most amazing people through cosplay, and I can't imagine not doing it.

What's been your favorite con experience while in costume?  I tend to do more obscure characters and costumes, so it's always awesome when you see someone's face light up when they recognize who you're dressed as.  But more than anything, I've loved being a part of the big photo shoots that the Superhero Costuming Forum organizes each year in Atlanta. We did a Teen Titans shoot a few years ago and George Perez officiated, and he was like a little kid seeing his creations come to life.  He even threatened to erase us if we didn't pay attention to the photographer!  And kids in general - they get so excited when they see a favorite!

Is there anything you wish people wouldn't do while you're in costume? It's going to sound silly, but always ask a costumer if you can touch a part of a costume before you do.  It's not because we're protective (well, we are a little) but sometimes a prop is covered in glitter and you'll get covered in it, or you might be wearing a fabric that will snag and get tangled in what we're wearing.  I am always happy to talk about my costumes with people, though, so please come say hi and ask questions!

How many characters are in your current con rotation? Wow, I almost want to say zero because I try to do a new batch every year, but I'm trying to be better about re-wearing characters. I work anywhere from 1-3 months of a costume, I should probably wear it longer than 2-3 hours! Some costumes  have been retired, either because the costume has become damaged or it was a character I really didn't feel as much of a connection to anymore.  Currently, though, my closet holds a Silvestri/Adams-era Rogue, a classic silver Dazzler, a blue Dazzler, Big Barda, Alpha Flight enemy Dream Queen, Sensor Girl, an 80s Black Canary, the George Perez blue sorceress Zatanna, a classic Wonder Woman,the 90's bike-shorts/blue jacket Wonder Woman,  Artemis, Silver Banshee, Black Orchid, Amethyst Princess of Gemworld, Betsy Braddock's Captain Britain, Hela, Looker, Sue Storm's alter ego Malice, Rachel Summer's Excalibur-era Phoenix, and Disney villain Yzma. (whew!)

Who is your favorite character to play? They are all close to me in one way or another, but I love Dazzler.  She's my first love when it comes to comics, so wearing her makes me feel very connected.

From my twitter request for questions: Where do you put your keys while in costume?
My boyfriend's pocket!  Though I've been tempted to make a costume from the Bat Family just so I can have a functional utility belt!

What's your favorite con to attend? DragonCon is a massive beastie that I've dubbed our dysfunctional family reunion, because all of us pretty much pick up right where we left off the year before.  But it's definitely in a class by itself, and as much a sci-fi con and pop culture con as a comic con.  I've been lucky to hit a few other conventions (ConVergence in MN and New York Comic Con) but nothing beats HeroesCon when it comes to the pure comics stuff - everyone is just super friendly and welcoming, and it's one of the highlights of my year!

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