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This Tuesday, Injustice: Gods Among Us was released.  Also this Tuesday, I dressed up as Alt Harley from the game and got to run around NetherRealm Studios in Chicago - yes, the studio that brought the game to life!  (They're also known for this one thing "Mortal Kombat".)  When I saw the concept for Alt Harley, her Michael Jackson jacket and goth boots spoke to me.  The artist asked if I would like to visit the studio to debut my costume.  I think I speak for many cosplayers (okay, I will go ahead and say ALL cosplayers) when I say DREAM. COME. TRUE.  What cosplayer *wouldn't* want to dress up and meet all the creators of the game, in the game studio, and get a tour and to run around and touch things!  That's right peeps, nanny-nanny-boo-boo.  NANNY BOO BOO TO YOU.  I'm jealous of myself, actually.  Here are possibly the 2 most joyous hours of my cosplay life:

JiaJem NetherRealm Studios Injustice

Not really posing here, just swinging my arms in glee being surrounded by Midway era nostalgia.  Growing up around Chicago, Midway (now NetherRealm) was a pretty big deal; not like out in California where you trip over game studios.  This is Chicago's nerd cred right here.  I'm standing in it.  They practically have a Mortal Kombat museum in the main hallway, featuring action figures, trading cards, comics, and movie props.  I can't believe they just keep them on the shelves, with no glass, some one might take them!  SOMEONE NOT ME.  *caresses mint condition Sindel figurine* OH HOW DID THAT GET IN HARLEY'S POCKET.  Wait, what pocket?  Don't you know cosplayers always sew hidden pockets?  (Mine has two.)

Cyrax Love

Pretending to kiss Cyrax, but I didn't want him to mess up my lipstick.  I hate when dudes do that.  BTW, I *did* take close up photos of these masks and other props, including the insides of them, for cosplay/general prop making reference.  (These are from the movies!)  But that's for a different blog post.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Concept Design Team
Okay, enough MK nostalgia.  Here's what I'm here for - the Injustice: Gods Among Us team!  These are all of the concept artists.  They drew all the new character designs and all the backgrounds for the game.  In case you can't tell, they're only artists by day, and are superheroes by night.  The guy to my right (your left) is Justin Murray, who designed the Alt Harley that I'm dressed up as.  (The guy to his right, Hunter, designed her default outfit.)  I should stop there, or else I'm going to be listing every character with every artist, so I'll just stick with the Harleys.

Jennifer and Jia

Here's Jennifer from the 3D modeling department, she's the gal that turned the concept into reality.  I was super psyched to meet her, after staring at her work while figuring Harley's costume out.  I'm sure she knows it inside out, better than me... she was polite not to point out any discrepancies.... to my face....  Haha kidding, she wouldn't do that!  She's too nice - no wait, THERE ARE NONE.  IT IS FLAWLESS.  (Actually there are a few cut corners but I'll let you figure it out.)

Harley Quinn, Injustice: Gods Among Us

Here I am playing with myself.  THREEWAY, AW YEAH.  Apparently this unoccupied desk belongs to a guy from QA who loves Harley, but left work earlier that day.  This will teach him to stay all day.  Also I should add I really liked his WWE controller skin.  We have something in common.  (CM Punk is from Chicago, but I'm glad Undertaker won 21-0.)

New Injustice Controller
Anyway, here's a cooler, bigger Injustice controller!  I'm modeling it poorly, and this guy agrees. :/

Harley in Goro's Lair

This is the break room at NetherRealm.  How do they even get games done?  Maybe a solid month of playing vintage Midway arcades would get old after awhile; I'm up for that scientific experiment though.

Yum Treats
GTFO Green Lantern, seriously. (Actually, I should probably be kicking him...)

And here, pictured below, are some super secret concepts for Mortal Kombat 10, specifically Raiden. *Please note this is not the actual concept,  because I had to sign an NDA.  But I did my best to replicate what I saw.

MK10 Raiden Concept as recalled by Jia


 After running around the studio for the last hour of the work day, I went out to take some awesome Gotham City pictures in downtown Chicago!  (Hullo, where The Dark Knight was filmed, yusssss!)  I'll get those up ASAP, but in the meantime here's a preview with a boring background.  Some days it RAWKS to be a cosplayer!

Harley from Injustice: Gods Among Us

Photo by Kyle Johnsen


So there's this popular runway show called Victoria Secret!  Were you aware of this tacky underwear show disguised as a high-fashion artistic display?  (If you are a cosplayer, by golly you are aware!) It's really an elaborate ploy for non-listed designers (please someone prove me wrong, cuz they deserve mad props) to create amazing cosplay WINGS AND MORE WINGS, as featured above from their 2011 show.   Don't get me wrong, I love the wings.  WINGS!  They are a cosplayer's dream come true. (Style Channel, why aren't you doing a big fat special on these wings.)  But for Victoria Secret's 2012's Runway Show, I saw a little something - in the background of a pic... WHAT IS THAT IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER---


It was Worth a Google, and I found it!  And what are my feelings!!  I don't know!!!



For those who don't know one of the top influential and top grossing anime's of all time  and the character Rei Ayanami, well now you know.  And now you know it was on the Victoria's Secret 2012 Hotties of the Hot Hotness Runways. (Oh yeah, I also worked on a Rei Ayanami plugsuit to match my own, 6 years ago!)

Feelings, fellow nerds?  I admit, I was pretty excited to see geekdom finally represented mainstream, at a Victoria's Secret Show, which pretty much reads mainstrieam as SOMETHING I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH. Which - let's admit it - is a foreign, awkward feeling for those on the fringe of mainstream.  Seeing this on the runway for me feels validating, weirdly.  I can't explain it.  Can you?  But at the same time... it's not like they did anything innovative with the original design at all.  It wasn't "influenced".  It was ripped off.  It was SEXY HALLOWEENIFIED.  They cut out the boobs and put it on a grown woman, like a "sexy bee" or a "sexy cop" or a "sexy whatever of your choice, just make sure there's boobs".  (Although, the fact that in the series Rei is 14 and many runway models are also 14 might be a subversive statement.)

Do you think they just threw it out there for the geeks, because COMIC CON IZ SO POPULAR NOW, OMGZ EXCLAMATION POINTS???? It makes me wonder.

Comments?  I don't really know what to think as a nerd that has loved this show since I was 14 myself.  On one hand, glad to see geekdom get more exposure.  But, how many people in the audience actually got it?  And does it matter?

And most importantly, when can I buy the Rei Support Angel Bra.  I mean come on, now. Haha get it, ANGEL.
punk'in carving
Art By :iconraggedy-annedroid:

So it is Halloween.  I am a cosplayer.  Here it is, the greatest of all dress up holidays!  And I am always disappointed.  Here are the top 5 reasons it sucks to be a cosplayer at Halloween.

1) Friends (including friends of friends) come out of nowhere to ask for costumes.  They just ask for a little help.  On their giant full body armor masterpiece.  The week before Halloween.  Because you know, you make costumes and it's easy for you.  And the price?  Well, it's "for a friend" price.  Which is always "free" or "I'll pay you $20 never" which boils down to "get you a shot of Jack sometime."  Sadface.

2) Costumes in my closet everywhere, but none for Halloween.  Yes, I have over 60 costumes.  No, none of them will ever be recognized at a Halloween party.  One year I dressed as Pris from Blade Runner out on the town, which I thought would be somewhat popular.  How wrong I was.  The only response all night:  "R U A SEXY RACCOON?"

3) Stains.  Yes, stains.  As in, I do not want to wear my precious costumes that I spent workweeks creating to a bar where some jackass is going to back into me and spill a beer/neon drink all over it and stain it for ever.  No, "sorry" doesn't pay the drycleaner.  (A free shot might pay the drycleaner, depending on how many people I can convince spilled their drink on me.)

4) A general ennui for Halloween costume parties.  Maybe it's like dudes who watch too much porn.  I have been to so many insane costume conventions and judged so many awesome costumes that the run-o-the-mill mass-market store bought costume do not excite me.  I have been overstimulated.

5)  Losing costume contests to Vaginas.  It didn't happen to me.  But it could have, had I not heeded the cautionary tale told by my friend.  Hours of construction slavery, an afternoon getting into an uncomfortable costume, wasted only to lose to a gag costume  for a $1000 prize.  Not me.  No thanks.

So what is the solution for a cosplayer on Halloween?  Dress head-to-toe in full character and give props to the one person who recognizes you all evening?  Or just mix-n-match pieces in your cosplay wardrobe to create something recognizable?  Let me know what you went as for Halloween and why!

I plan to go super casual tomorrow if I go anywhere, that is.  I might just stay home in my robot pajamas.  Kind of a costume, right?

And if you are wondering about this awesome piece of art, it is a collaboration with multi-talented artist Justin Murray who is currently working on Mortal Kombat as a main character designer, hullo!  And he has worked on God of War, Alien vs. Predator, and lots of other projects.  Check out his crap!  (It's not crap, btw.)

Hey, if you haven't checked out my full collections of costumes, it's at JiaJem.com!  CHACHACHECKIT.
Here I am on on this website, finally.  Looking forward to connecting with old and new friends! :)  Please say hello!