Ruby Nation

Ruby Nation
Ruby Nation: The Webcomic

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ruby's World Halloween Fan Art; A Thought Experiment in Cosplay

In the tradition of the trope Halloween Cosplay, I put together a sketch showing my own webcomic characters in Halloween garb. The purpose was as a thought experiment for better characterization, to determine what characters my cast would go as if they were dressing up for Halloween. This is impossible based on my story's internal continuity, since not only is it July 2008 in the timeline, but they're too busy being on the run on the other side of the US/Mexico border to thinking of cosplay.

I wanted to get a wide cross section of my favorite genres/mediums, so I assigned a different story universe to each character's pick. For example, Ruby is dressed as Ginny Weasleyof the Harry Potter books, another red-headed heroine in a fantastical universe. When I showed the art to her, my partner, who is a far more learned Harry Potter fan than I, thought that it's odd that Ruby, a freakishly large but gentle and shy young woman, would go as a character consistently described as small and energetic. My logic was that Ruby would want to go as a character with traits she envies; it's been established that Ruby is a Harry Potter fan, but also that she faces constant internal conflict over her actions and exercises caution over how best to use her power. To take on the guise the main love interest in a young fantasy series where the Big Bad is well-documented by all as " The Dark Lord " would be a fantasy she'd find appealing.

Jiro's interests come from shonen manga, as he is dressed as Naruto's mentorKakashi Hatake. The logic of a character dressing as who they'd want to be is also here, as Kakashi is the very definition of unflappable, his permanently masked face only showing emotion through his eye, which tends to look bored. Only in very extreme situations is Kakashi angry, and even then it's controlled; most of the time he's mellow to the point of apathy, and can even read his book the midst of a fight. Jiro would like people to think of him the same way, but in reality he's got a very short temper and has several sensitive points ( most of which involving Ruby ). Still, the two characters have quite a bit of similarity in terms of their competence levels; I actually write Jiro's dialogue sounding like Kakashi's American voice actor Dave Wittenberg, albeit with more emotional variation than Kakashi shows.

Jens' costume is the only one from a superhero universe; he's dressed as the Batman from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns series, the masterpiece of grim and grit starring a middle-aged, psychopathic Batman ( note the colors, the pronounced bat-symbol, and the baggy belt pockets ). Not only does it fit with Jens' personality that he'd pick something from that incredibly violent and angsty period of hero comics ( and probably missing the artistic message and focusing on the bloodshed in the process ), but that Batman represents the kind of hero Jens could actually aspire to be. The story involves Bruce having to become more vicious by necessity; he's an older man who can't do all the Batman stuff as easily as he used to, so he's got to compensate by being more of a bastard. Jens is young but a normal human in a world of powers; thinking in terms of brutal pragmatism is the only way he can adapt.

Finally, Alexis comes as Neil Gaiman's version of Death, the disturbingly cheery goth girl. It occured to me that Alexis has not smiled yet in the comic, which makes sense given her backstory-- a broken home, a mixed racial background, and a post-human level of awareness that not even she understands-- so her idol would be on someone who has peace with that kind of knowledge. Gaiman's Death is almost perpetually perky, in contrast with her Grim Reaper job. I hadn't though of Alexis' fictional tastes in as much detail as the others, but I thought I'd use her to bring in my love of the Vertigo line, the comics that got me into comics as an adult.

Hopefully I'll be able to do this again next year, based on whoever my characters develop into then.


  1. Adorable!

    Interesting character-development aspect of it, too.

    I love to costume as various characters from the X-Men universe; so far, I've been Nightcrawler and Mystique. There wasn't much rhyme or reason to my choice of those characters; just that I thought I could make their costumes fairly easily.

    I'm sort of like Ruby in that I am large and shy, and like to costume as characters who have traits I *wish* I had, but unlike her in that I like my size and would try to incorporate it in a costume (say, Sabretooth or Fenrir Greyback from "Harry Potter". In addition to being large, and muscular, I also have an insane amount of hair).

    I'd also like to do Rogue and Phoenix (or possibly Dark Phoenix --- red/gold is probably a better color scheme for me than green/gold) at some point, but that'd be an awfully ambitious sewing project!

  2. Thank you for commenting, Lindsay. I appreciate your comments and am impressed that you've been Kurt and Raven, and wish you luck with future costumes. Superhero costumes are incredibly difficult to translate into real life; I remember meeting a guy in a really meticulous homemade Spider-Man suit at a convention, who told me about all the hidden lines and zippers needed to make the skin-tight look actually work.

    I haven't been in costume in many years due to the amount of work required, so putting my characters in these looks is an attempt to compensate :)