Hasslein Blog: Getting Into Character, Part Five: Kit Quinn


Hasslein Blog

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Getting Into Character, Part Five: Kit Quinn

by Rich Handley

Earlier this year, while preparing an article for Bleeding Cool Magazine issue #6, I spoke with eight cosplayers who shared their insights into why they enjoy dressing up, how they craft their creations, the mainstreaming of comic books, and the sexism and negativity that some women face regarding their participation in a once male-dominated hobby. That issue recently hit stands, containing truncated versions of the interviews I conducted with each costumer, in a roundtable format. Now that the article is in print, I thought I'd highlight each cosplayer by presenting his or her unedited answers on this blog. You can read the other interviews here

Cosplayer: Kit Quinn

Kit as Watchmen's Silk Spectre
Photo courtesy Jim Blair

RICH HANDLEY: How long have you been cosplaying, and what first drew you to the hobby?

KIT QUINN: I've been cosplaying since 2007. I first joined in the hobby because my best friend (Tallest Silver) was doing it and it looked like a lot of fun.

And as a Starfleet Officer (thankfully, not a redshirt)
Photo courtesy Sunnyheadcase

HANDLEY: Do you create your own costumes or purchase them—and if you create them, what goes into making a typical getup?

QUINN: With the exception of my Leia metal bikini (by Dragonfyre Designs), I make all my own costumes. When I first started, that did mean finding pieces at thrift shops and altering them, or buying a body suit and altering that (heck I still do that sometimes) but increasingly, my costumes are made more and more from absolute scratch. I really hate shopping.

Ready to take on Jabba the Hutt

HANDLEY: Why does cosplaying appeal to you? What characters do you most enjoy portraying, and why?

QUINN: It appeals to me because it's many different artistic expressions wrapped in one fun package! I enjoy the mental math and problem-solving that goes into making a costume, translating it from the page to 3D. And I enjoy getting to run around acting like the character all day with my friends at a convention. The ones I most enjoy portraying would be ones with distinct personalities. If a character has a strong voice, they're the most fun to play; especially if you have a group and you can interact with each other.

Tron: Legacy's Siren
Photo courtesy Shutter Bun

HANDLEY: In years past, those who attended conventions in costume represented a smaller percentage of total attendees. These days, that percentage seems to have grown exponentially. Why do you think cosplaying has become so prevalent, and how has the media played a role in this growth?

QUINN: Everyone has caught on to how much fun this is! Of course, more folks will want to join in as everything gets bigger. There are also more conventions now, so more people have an opportunity to suit up! Media does play a part, because the more Web sites with cosplay features there are, the more cosplay makes it out into the world, and the more people who want to join in. I will, however, say cosplay is down at conventions like SDCC, but I blame that on how hard it is to get tickets, hotels, etc.

Cosplaying G.I. Joe
Photo courtesy Kevin Scanlon

HANDLEY: In 2012, the Internet was abuzz regarding the negativity being aimed at so-called "fake geek girls" by some male fans, and even some male comic book creators themselves. Have you encountered this bias—and if so, can you share an example or two, describing how you reacted to such negativity? In your opinion, why do female cosplayers have such a harder time than men in earning respect for what they do? And what can be done to improve the situation so that female fans are treated fairly?

QUINN: Oh, goodness, you've got me talking politics. To be honest, I haven't personally encountered much of this type of behavior. I think it's because I started doing this when I was but a wee teenager, so I think people seeing me and Tallest Silver sort of grow up doing this helps quell those comments. That being said, I will occasionally get the Thumblr troll saying something along those lines, but it's just a troll who wouldn't be saying that, if this controversy hadn't popped up. Until everyone started making a stink about who's a "real" nerd or not, I actually never had it questioned. I don't think that's because people were being nice; I think that's because honestly people didn't care. But the community is bigger and now it's a thing, so here we go.

Marvel Comics' Lady Sif

If you really want to get into the patriarchal society we live in and how that patriarchy has translated into a formally male-dominated subculture, we ca,n…but truly I'm not the best to be talking to about it. There are others with stronger, more articulate opinions than I. My sum-up is this was the boy's clubhouse and now it's full of girls. They never put up a "No girls allowed" sign, so here we are, ready to play. Some boys just can't adjust to this new level of awesome. Good thing the vast majority are more than happy to have our flavor around. I know my boyfriend is happy I'm a nerdy girl; otherwise, we would have never met. We met in costume back in 2009 at SDCC. So for the last 5 percent of guys who can't handle girls in the clubhouse, get with the program—the only thing to fear is finding out we have similar interests as you and enjoy the same things you do! Same goes for the 5 percent of girls who can't handle new girls in the clubhouse. Knock it off, we can all be friends here—and if you don't like the new girls, just ignore them, no reason to say mean things.

We can improve the situation by letting it go. Much like how they shouldn't care if that hot "fake" nerd girl is standing around doing nothing to actively impede their fun, we shouldn't let their bad attitude impede our fun. Let them be bitter little sour unhappy pants, they're always going to be butt-hurt, so ladies, don't let it bother you. You're doing nothing wrong. Unless their being actively rude and calling you out in public—then call them out on being as ass and move on. That's the time to not let it go.

A scene from Kit's Sweethearts of the Galaxy series

HANDLEY: Finally, how large a role do think cosplaying has played in the widespread acceptance of the comic book genre, encouraging many more fans to openly embrace their comic geekdom? And why is cosplaying ultimately a good thing for the comic book industry, as well as for Hollywood?

QUINN: Hmm, I'm honestly not sure they're directly related. I know more cosplayers mean more media for certain characters or series, but seems more a reactionary thing than a purely driving force behind Hollywood movie decisions. Cosplay will, however, always be a good thing, because it's always going to be a very bright and visible thank you to the people who make the characters/comics/cartoons/films we love.

Wonder Woman
Photo courtesy Steve Parsey

Stay tuned, as additional installments of the "Getting Into Character" series will be posted this and next week. As each new interview is uploaded, you'll find it listed here, along with the other articles in this series.

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