2018 Cosplay Plans!

It is that time again when cosplay plans are set into motion for 2018! If you have read my 2017 plans you would have seen that I wasn't necessarily over ambitious, however like any cosplayer, my list of cosplays 'to-dos' grows after watching movies or playing another game. Will we every finish those lists? Probably not! So for 2018, I'm really stripping it back focusing on two new cosplays, so I can enjoy making them and save time for my research, travel and hopefully some gaming!

Cosplays 2018


In 2018, I really want to finish Aloy. So far I have her wig completed and some materials to make the necklaces and skirt embroidery. The aim is to have a post fight Aloy (of course, the 'post battle' style I think is my personal touch to most costumes!) so will have a little bit of dirt and a little bit of blood; but not to the extent of my Laras. I also want to have a complete set of weapons and hopefully a few trinkets from the world. Lots of work, but combines everything I have learnt with cosplay so far so is a real challenge to put everything together. To be honest, if I just get Aloy done in 2018 , I would be very happy.   


In addition to Aloy, a kind of bonus cosplay is Rachel from Bladerunner. If I don't get time to make her, that is totally fine. However I feel I want a good sewing challenge, and not one I can cover with blood! Rachel is my sewing project. Bladerunner is one of my favourite films, one I had to write about in my media studies A-level! So to do a cosplay from the film is a bit of a personal achievement. 

As for Lara, as yet, I am not planning on making any Laras in 2018 unless some details come out for Shadow. Depending on which cons I go to,  I may bring Rise Lara (Syria and Siberia) back out again and improve it. Hopefully maybe do a shoot with it.

Conventions 2018 
  
Here is the awkward thing, as of yet no conventions are planned for 2018. Liverpool MCM has been cancelled and I am watching the Harry Potter stage show over the weekend that Manchester MCM is on. Only Play Expo is a certain, and that is one day. Because of this, I am hoping I'll get to go London MCM in October. It has been a long time since I have done a London con! Anyway, we'll see and I'll update plans on my social media as and when.

So what are your cosplay and convention plans for 2018? Let me know below or tweet me @lady_scion! 

2017 in Review: Cosplay, Gaming, Life and more!

Well 2017, you passed quickly! And while overall, it was a pretty shitty year, there were times that were good and most importantly times where I overcame difficulties.  I am going to break this down into four sections: Cosplay, Gaming, Life and 2018 plans for this blog so you can read all of these of just skip to what you are interested in!

Cosplay:


2017 wasn't the best year of cosplay for me, due to multiple life and career issues. However, what I did make and the cons that I went to were very enjoyable. The only cosplay I made was Ellie from The Last of Us: Part Two trailer. Overall, it is a pretty simple costume and is constructed from bought elements that I weathered; however it was such a comfy costume! 2017 was also the year of the tattoo! I finally worked out how to create realistic looking tattoos and let me tell you, I felt very badass with my Ellie half tattoo sleeve and the with my Chloe full sleeve! Chloe was my second cosplay of the year, and while the costume was on its second outing I improved it by sewing the patches onto the jeans, re-cutting the wig and creating the tattoo. I was also making Aloy from April, however the desire and time to make her fell away over the summer and into autumn. If everything goes okay, Aloy shall be debuted in 2018 :). There will be singular blogpost about 2018 cosplay plans coming soon and can be found HERE when it is posted. 

Gaming: 


While in one sense I feel as though I didn't get to do much gaming in 2017, and I know it is nowhere near as much as other people, I did complete some games and for most of the time I enjoyed what I played. Horizon: Zero Dawn was the stand out game for me in 2017, I have yet to finish it, but damn it is pretty with Aloy as a fantastic protagonist. I find it very easy to get lost into the world and have spent many hours just wandering, and then running away as I accidentally wandered into a thunderjaw location! I was so excited about this game and had it pre-ordered from 2015, so was very happy that it wasn't a let down. 

E3 2017 brought about Life is Strange: Before the Storm, returning to Arcadia Bay was a much needed sense of faux nostalgia and Daughter became one of my most played artists in 2017! While the first two episodes I thoroughly enjoyed; I felt the story unravelled in episode 3 and became less about building on normal, yet interesting events, and tried to go for shock factor that just didn't go dark enough if that was the angle Deck Nine were going for. I won't say anything else to avoid spoilers, but it is well worth the play for any LiS fans. 

Finally I played a little bit of Witcher 3, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Rise of the Tomb Raider (pretty sure I maybe dipped my toe in others, but can't remember for now!). Gaming in 2017 was very much as and when I could and became a means of escapism in the summer. However, very often I couldn't play for long and episodic or games I could dip in and out of became the ones I gravitated towards. In 2018, I can see this trend continuing, I'm looking forward to Vampyre, Detroit and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (if that comes out in 2018); however I am not actively buying new games in 2018; instead just looking back at what I already have or ones I have missed over the past few years. In particular, I want to dig my 3DS out again because I bloody love that system and yet I have barely touched it since Pokèmon: Sun annoyed me far too much with all the hand holding! To be honest, I could probably do with going back to that!

Life: 


Yeah, 2017 was a bit shitty. From global events that made you concerned to Twitter on a morning to atrocities that became local news. The bombing at the Ariana Grande concert became far too close to home, especially as I had planned to go the concert. I fell behind on my PhD with March/April/May becoming a time where I did the bare minimum just to move on to the next stage. I felt awful with my only solace being going to bed and dreaming up an alternative life. I nearly quit my PhD because I thought I couldn't do it, it was only the encouraging words from my family and friends and a fantastic meeting with my supervisor that convinced me that I could do it. I planned out the remainder of May/June and did what I needed to do. The end of year meal I had with my co-hort friends was such a memorable night because I had done it, we had done it. It is kind of bittersweet that in July my mum passed away after she had tried to push me on the months previous; despite being disabled and needing full time care. Summer and autumn became strange months, again I fell a bit behind where I wanted to be with my PhD and days just merged into one another and I returned to gaming as a way to cope with how I was feeling. With everything that happened in 2017, I wanted to give something to my dad, he always wanted to go to NASA, and my mum became too ill to go. He thought he'd never go and I was waiting until I graduated, but I checked my savings and thought. Fuck it. I booked a small break to Cape Canaveral with the intention to go to NASA for both of us. I gave it to him on his birthday and I feel as though it was the best thing we could have done during this time. I wanted to show that despite the dark times, there is always something to look forward to even if you don't know it yet. This is what I am taking forward into 2018.

Biggest shout out goes to Joe, my partner of now over nine years. I'm not even sure if he reads my blog (hi if you are here!) but he has truly been such an unconditional source of support, laughter and joy in 2017 that I could never pay him back. Thank you :)

Also to my best friend of 17 years, she definitely doesn't read this blog! However she has too been the friend I needed in 2017. Along with the con crew, I am honestly lucky to have these people and during bad times, I need to remember that I am not alone.

Films: 
 
Fact

Films have been pretty great in 2017, highlights include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Bladerunner: 2049, Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok and Atomic Blond. Thoroughly enjoyed the quality of female protagonists alongside pretty good stories all bathed in ultra violet. Love it. I didn't like Star Wars: The Last Jedi though, sorry!

Not a film, but honorable mention to Star Trek Discovery!

Books and comics: 
 
GOHD Books

I didn't get to read much in 2017, my heart just wasn't in it and it was hard enough to read academic stuff that I needed to read. So unless you wanted my favourite journal article of 2017 (fyi, it was Drake, 2002  "This place gives me space: place and creativity in the creative industries" - I'm sure you are thrilled to know that!). In total I read 7 books, most were just fluffy ones. However, the book I enjoyed the most in 2017 was actually a classic one, Venus in furs. I have meant to read this for a while and thoroughly enjoyed it one rainy November afternoon. If you are open to books involving sexuality, it is well worth a read and is fairly accessible for a classic novella. 

YouTube: 
 
Inthefrow

In 2017, YouTube continued to be my little space of niche programming and enjoyment. At times though, I did binge too much and I'm trying to not let that happen in 2018. What I watched in 2017 includes Inthefrow's vlog series, Fleur de Force's vlogs, Zonzonzombi's channel, Geography Now, Travellight, Where's Poppy, the ever brilliant Caddicarous, Cinza dubois, Pop Culture Detective and Kiera Rose. Shout out to Mango Sirene (now Fawnina) who moved on from being a content creator. I sure do miss her content but glad she is in a better place now :). 

Pateron:
 
Emily McGovern

The way I work Pateron is I funnel some of my Etsy earnings into supporting other creators. This means that I don't always have continued support for some people, I like to swap and change. However there are a few that I have stuck with all year, these are Kiera Rose, Emily's Cartoons and Sneaky Zebra. I did have Mango Sirene every month until she cancelled her Pateron early last year. Currently I also have Axcelleration cosplay for January onward.  

Blogging for 2018:
 
Pexels

As you can see, 2017 had fewer posts than 2016. This year I'm not going to set goals of one per week like I wanted. I'm not a full time blogger and I have plenty of other hobbies! So for 2018 I am aiming for 1-2 posts a month, I know, not a lot. But hopefully this should be achievable, hey here is the first one already!  

So that is 2017, pretty shit, but also lots of good moments too. Here is to 2018. I wish you the best of new years and hope that you too have something to look forward to, even if you don't know what that is yet. 

 
 
 

Keeping Up with the Geeks

Beamly
This weekend I have been to the cinema with the con crew to watch Thor: Ragnarok; a usual trip that happens a few times a year to watch the latest Marvel or DC offering. I have joked to my Dad (who has bought pretty much all the MCU films, but has yet to watch one) that keeping up with these films is a full time job in itself. I want to put this on my CV, I have kept up to date with the MCU.

But then there are all the TV series.

And the comics.

And then there is the new Netflix series that has just come out, the entire series released at once of course.

Oh and that new game is coming out next week.

You have two cosplays over there that need finishing.

And your favourite streamer is just about to start a stream.

I surely can't be the only person who feels overwhelmed by the sheer amount of geeky opportunities available to us in the modern day. Not a week goes by without something new coming out, or there is a recommendation for something. The problem with liking 'geeky' things, and I am using this term very loosely to describe items of interest, is that they often cross mediums and they often lead on to similar items of interest. Like many people, the Marvel films made me want to check out the comics and while I am certainly not what many would consider an avid reader, I do pick and choose volumes that I either buy or rent from my local library. I would have never have found out about Saga or Fables if I hadn't already been drawn to comics via the Thor films and Tomb Raider games.

However, as you can see here, one thing leads on to the next. As I am also interested in cosplay, sometimes I play a game and decide I want to make a costume from it. Therefore, I then need to balance the time between making a costume, playing the game and then keeping up with everything else. Lately, I have noticed that it is just so overwhelming keeping up with everything geeky that I end up not enjoying what is out there. It is hard to draw a line on interests and hobbies when they bleed and overlap into so many things. Geeky conversations have become those 'water cooler' moments and you don't want to see spoilers. So it becomes a rat race of consumption at an alarming rate.

This weekend I also realised that I have neglected other interests because I have been trying to keep up. I love reading, but I barely read these days unless it is for my PhD; so on Saturday I sat and read a full novella and it was wonderful. It wasn't a tie in book to a series and it is classified as classic literature exploring sexuality. Yet, even here I feel pressure when I go on YouTube and see all the booktubers and their rate of reading completing their Goodreads lists.

22 words
Everything just seems so competitive now. How many costumes you have made, how many series you have watched, how many episodes you can binge watch etc. I am slowly stepping away from it all. Of course, I will still do all that I enjoy, but I am trying not to put pressure on myself because it looks as though I am not keeping up with the rest of the geeky community. Those booktubers get through so many books because that is their main hobby; I can't even say what my main hobby is because I tend to dip my toe into multiple pools! So that Aloy cosplay that isn't finished yet? That's okay! I haven't even finished the game yet. And you know what, that is also okay.

So if you have reached this point of the mind vomit, well done! Perhaps you feel the same way I do! If you do, the best advice I can say is step back and take a break. It did me wonders. Right now I am trying to ration 'geeky' things and intermingle them with other things that I enjoy. I am trying to be more picky with things such as TV series so I get to spend the time with activities that I enjoy more such as watching films, YouTube and making costumes. I also have all these grandiose ideas that I want to start making YouTube videos, take up photography and try out burlesque from a performing side. I hardly have enough time as it is, so something has to give.

When I have tried a few things out, I'll probably write a more coherent article; until then I just wanted to project my feeling of trying to keep up with this community, hell multiple communities and fandoms, when really what we all should probably do is take a step back and take a long hard look at what we are spending our precious time on.

So if you have any tips, please post them below or tweet me @Lady_Scion

Until next time, look after yourselves and enjoy your hobbies. If something becomes an effort, just change it up. It is okay, in the grand scheme of things you are probably not missing much. 






Introduction to comics (when you are intimidated by them!) Part 1

feedingbyreading.org
Are you are intimidated by comics? Don't worry, so am I! Although I am much better now than I used to be, skirting around Forbidden Planet with eyes to the floor, I still get moments of 'imposter syndrome' where it just makes the experience more uncomfortable than it needs to be. So what should you do? This is part one of a two part blog post helping you to get started with comics. This week will be general tips on finding what you might like and how to combat that feeling of 'I shouldn't be doing this/I shouldn't be here'. Next week is a selection of comics that are perfect introductions. Justing putting it out there, I am by no means an expert and I have found my usual taste in comics; but hopefully the little things I have found helpful may be helpful to you too :).

Firstly, let's begin by becoming more familiar with some common terminology; knowing what you are asking or looking for can make all the difference!

Comics or comic books generally cover all genres and styles. The thinner styles are individual issues and are released most commonly as weekly, fortnightly or monthly publications. When the story is wrapped up in a standalone issue, this is a one shot. Multiple issues are called a series and often collected together in trade paperbacks as a cost and space effective option. These trade paperbacks are often in volumes and series may have multiple volumes. Think of these like your bonus DVD, they will often come with extras such as concept art, stories of development and a collection of cover art. It'll be easy to spot as they are all numbered with each volume following a story arc. The story arc is simple, it is the whole narrative tale that spans multiple individual issues. When multiple volumes are collected together, these are called a compendium. These weighty tomes are often quite expensive and sometimes includes pages printed in black and white when they were originally in colour. When a story is published in a book style first, this is a graphic novel (e.g. Scott Pilgrim) and can be stand alone or be part of a series. Many people now are turning to comics in a digital manner using sites such as comixology and humble bundle that can be read on e-reader devices. This is a great idea as a cost effective option, to collect a long running series or for when you are travelling. 
Comiconverse
Manga reflects the Asian style in art, publication and narrative style; often from Japan, Korea and China. The Golden Age of comics is the time between 1930/1940s. The Silver Age of comics are those published between 1950s/1960s. The Bronze Age are those from 1970-1985. Those from 1985 onward are called the Modern Age. These ages are good to know as they impact what kind of comics you are looking for and which bags and boards you need. Comic bags and boards are used to keep individual comics clean and protected. To further protect comics they can be placed in comic boxes.

Publishers:

The Big 6: Marvel, DC, Top Cow, Image, Dark Horse and MAD.

Those outside the big 6 are deemed independent titles.

If you need a further breakdown (especially with roles within comic production, see this post by Free Comic Book Day Website)

Finding Comics:

Geek and Sundry
So now you know a little bit of the lingo and how publishers are split, let's take a look how to find something you may enjoy.

1. Go to your local library

Yes, if you are not aware, in the UK libraries often now have a good selection of comics, especially main community libraries, and have a digital database for a larger selection of digital titles. I read the whole series of Fables like this and it is good to have a browse in an environment that may not feel as intimidating as a comic book shop or stall. It is perfect to find out what you might like without having to invest money.

2. Start with films, TV shows and games that you enjoy

Series that link with films, TV and games are a good way to feel like you are not a complete newbie. You will already be familiar with the world and characters so reading the story should be easier than trying to get to grips with a whole new world. Examples include Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Mass Effect and James Bond 007. Often, these are published by Dark Horse but can be with others. From here, you can find artists and writers that you like and find out what other publications they have contributed towards.

For the biggies of Marvel and DC, if you enjoy Thor or Wonder Woman, have a Google to see which series are recommended (and check that you are able to read them as a stand alone without feeling like you have missed out on too much) or take the latest complete series of that title. Especially for long running titles, there are often multi-verses and spinoffs and can be overwhelming. Sometimes the historical content can be a little hard to get into, so at the start stick to the latest ones unless a particular series is highly rated.
Polygon
3. Ask friends, YouTube and/or Twitter

If you have friends who are even mildly into comics, ask them what did they start with and any that they recommend. Also follow comic readers on twitter, they'll frequently tweet out what they are reading or recently bought and you can add them to your list. Very often for me, I'll get attracted by the cover art and want to know more about it. I found out about Monstress this way, a title I would have never seen unless I was just flicking though my wonderful twitter timeline of geekness! Another good source is YouTube with channel highlights such as comicstorian, comics explained and comicgirl19 who will do reviews and in regard to comicstorian, summarise whole series. So if you are struggling a story or not sure you'd like it, you can check it out first! If you are getting lost in a timeline, comics explained is your man.

4. Use your hobbies and interests as a starting point

Here comes almighty Google, just type in something you are interested in and 'comic' and see what comes up. Some might be hit or miss, but you'll get a feel for what is out there based upon themes and issues you are interested in.

5. Buck up the courage and ask.

If you are particularly nervous, go by the few tips mentioned previously. Once you have a feel of what comics are and what is available, you should find it easier to ask the person behind the counter what they'd recommend based on x,y,z that you have enjoyed or to have a browse in boxes at comic con. Sometimes, a personal recommendation is one of the best and at the end of the day, a good fan wants others to enjoy the same thing. Not to circle it off in an elitist manner.

So I hope this has been a good read for you, if you have any more tips or suggestions, please leave them below in the comments or tweet me @Lady_Scion. Coming up next is a selection of my favorite comics and suggestions on titles to start with.