I was poking around the web trying to find a good Batgirl cosplayer to profile and as soon as I came upon the Force-fully named Kessel Run, I called off the search immediately. Her outfit is that good but I don’t have to tell you that. You can see just by the photos and video below — in which she got new Batgirl co-writer Brenden Fletcher to sign her cape. A couple of emails later and here we are with this MIGHTY Q&A:
(Oh, and if you’re just joining BATGIRL WEEK, check out our interview with Fletcher, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart!)
Dan Greenfield: First off, what’s your Secret Origin, Kessel? Where are you based?
Kessel Runs: My mother claims I was never born, but that I spring fully grown from my father’s head like Athena. I was always 13 going on 30, and got my hands on art supplies as soon as I could hold them upright. I don’t know if the glue absorbed into my skin and gave me superpowers or if it’s that I ate enough sculpting paste but at some point I realized I could make nearly anything. And so began my quest to make the world a prettier place, one project at a time.
While I’ve lived in Ontario and British Columbia, I currently call Montreal home.
What was it that made you want to cosplay as Batgirl of Burnside?
Because her design kicks so much ass! I’ve been a big Batgirl fan for awhile — particularly Barbara Gordon and the whole Oracle arc. What really pushed me with the new look is that there seems to be a really fresh vision for her — like, she still has that part of her that’s Oracle, but it doesn’t seem like her tragedy defines her anymore. She’s a survivor. That and comfortable shoes. You really don’t get many excuses to wear them in cosplay (smiles).
Can you recall this much excitement over a character’s revamp before?
Not this positively. … I premiered this cosplay at Dragon Con 2014 and I had people literally running up to me in excitement talking to me about the Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr design. It was still over a month away until release! It’s insane and extremely gratifying to see a non-sexualized costume for a girl get such great feedback!
How did you put the outfit together and who took the pix? How much did the outfit cost?
I work with my good friend Samantha and we cosplay together. We have a webshow called Anatomy of Cosplay, where we do tutorials and film our process. She has an educational background in costume design and is a pattern wizard. So I took advantage of her background and had her make the pattern, then we assembled it from there. I designed and made the cowl/mask from Worbla, and constructed the belt from scratch. Everything was us. I even cut and styled the wig. The only thing purchased were the yellow Docs!
Cost is hard to measure if you start factoring in time and labor. I paid about $200 on supplies (fabric, Worbla, shoes, wig, etc.) and spent about a month putting it all together.
Describe some of the reactions you’ve gotten so far.
It’s been overwhelmingly positive. People rush over excited and animated. They ask a lot of questions and talk about how they can’t wait for the comic to come out. I’ve been invited to photoshoots, gotten compliments on the construction and speed at which Sam and I pulled this off. We’ve even sold patterns for the outfit on our store and have heard many plans of others doing the new design as well. People get so happy when they see Batgirl of Burnside. Women love her, men love her. It’s so fun and fresh. It’s so rewarding to share the joy that people feel about this character!
Obviously you’ve been at this awhile. Tell us some of your favorite cosplay characters and where people can find you.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m 50 percent of Anatomy of Cosplay. You can find our page on Facebook or watch us make things at YouTube.com/kesselruns. I have some other notable characters up there — I’ve done some really fun projects such as Maya the Siren from Borderlands 2, Liara and Shiala from the Mass Effect series. Sam and I are currently working on some characters from Borderlands the Pre-Sequel! We’re so excited to show that off at PAX South 2015.