Have I ever mentioned how much I despise painting? Anyone visiting my house will immediately notice the stark white walls with white trim. That’s not on purpose, that’s how it came. They could’ve painted that shit purple and green and those walls would still be purple and green to this day. I. Hate. Painting. Hate it. We have one painted room in the house—the TV room—which was doused in a bright, Disney teal. Despite the festive color, know that every brush stroke in that room was wiped with unbridled hatred. We also have two gray-ish test spots in our bedroom with color cards taped next to them. They’ve been on that wall for two years.
With this deep-seated hatred of painting, I embarked on the last phase of my Cobra Commander Cosplay Journey. And this phase did not disappoint. I added the final coat of blue that morning and let the helmet dry all day. After an insanely fun evening of fantasy football drafting and chugging beers at Hooters, I got home and quickly set to work on clear coating.
Although Tuesday mornings are always shitty, I was having an exceptionally shittier than shitty Tuesday morning when I walked into work yesterday. Todd hit me up the moment I settled into my desk. He beamed a grin that could only mean one thing: the Cobra Commander Staff was complete.
Todd rushed me and a small entourage of curious onlookers out to his car to make the big reveal. The staff was carefully packed into his car, wrapped in a protective blanket. I couldn’t make out any details other than the general size of the staff. This was better than Christmas morning.
So, I never realized I had any OCD tendencies until I reached the Bondo and Sanding phase of creating a Cobra Commander helmet. I had nearly moved on to the painting stage. I was *this* close. That was until I sprayed on a coat of primer and realized that my helmet looked like a hyperactive kindergartener’s paper mache project. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I still couldn’t let the bumpiness slide. My entire Sunday was spent adding a sixth full coat of Bondo and sanding some sexy curves into the helmet.
And to think I brushed aside warnings that the Bondo/sanding portion was the most difficult part of this process. After the first week in this stage, I could almost hear Terry Silver from Karate Kid III saying, “Now the real pain begins, Danny-boy.”
You know, I spent years proselytizing Karate Kid III’s greatness to a chorus of jeers and snickers. Now, through the jaded eyes of a middle-ager, I guess I can understand why the movie is so reviled.
For most of my life I’ve had an unnatural fear of fiberglass. It’s actually more of a tick than a phobia and I blame my parents on this one. As a young kid, probably around 6 or 7 years old, my dad gave me a dire warning to never go into the attic. He did, however, allow me a peek when we were taking down Christmas decorations that year.
This attic was one of those old school ones where the builders sprayed loose, off-white, fiberglass fuzzballs all over the floor. The randomly stacked mounds and valleys of fiberglass looked the pictures of Antarctica I had seen in the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia. We had rats the year before; you could make out their little trails through wilderness of fluff. As I gazed into the dark abyss of the attic, I began to sweat from the damp, imposing heat. Some fiberglass latched on to my arm. It itched like a motherfucker. Then I caught a slight scent of death hanging in the air. The attic was a house of horrors.
I was terrified of that attic ever since. Whenever a hurricane came nearby, I wasn’t afraid of the howling winds, the torrential downpours, or the flooding. No, I was scared shitless that the storm would collapse the ceiling and rain down Satan’s death flurries like a blizzard of needles.
Hunting down grab bags in the dank, musky bowels of the dealer room is one of my time-honored convention rituals. The allure of a grab bag lies in the opening. For a mere $10-$20, you can damn near replicate your childhood Christmas mornings. Sure, some of the grab bag loot is like getting socks from an aunt you never met. But there’s always that one item in the haul—the "Castle Grayskull" of the set—that makes the entire journey a success.
You can’t just blast open a grab bag right there in the dealer room. It demands your undivided attention. You need to make an event out of the opening. Typically, I’ll wander the con floor for hours clutching the grab bag and contemplating its innards, but never surrendering to the urge to sneak a peek. Once I get back home or to the hotel room, I clear a space, open the bag and remove each item one at a time. Then, I carefully examine each item to determine its ultimate fate, like the Quintesson judge from Transformers the Movie: “Guil-ty or Inn-o-cent?” You win 1,000 bonus points if you get that reference. If the item is lame, then it’s forever banished to the ceremonial death mounds of the junk room. However, if it’s awesome, then it earns a place of distinction on my shelves.
I’m not entirely sure why I decided on a Cobra Commander costume for Dragon*Con. While I liked G.I. Joe and owned a bunch of the toys, the show didn’t even rank among my Top 5 favorite childhood cartoons. That would be, in order: Mysterious Cities of Gold, Transformers, M.A.S.K., TMNT, and He-Man. A few others such as Tranzor Z (a.k.a. Mazinger Z), Robotech, and both flavors of the Ghostbusters also rank ahead of the Joes.
Cobra Commander is probably the most common G.I. Joe costume at conventions. So, it's not like I'm aiming for obscurity. I guess it’s simply that he looks cool and serves as a great introduction to aspects of cosplay that I have wanted to attempt for over a year now.
Now I have this bizarre fear of being exposed. I’m invading territory that I’m not fanatically nostalgic about. If I run into a gang of Cobras or Joes, I won’t know anybody outside of Destro, Duke, or Storm Shadow. My plan is to use mysterious silence as a cover for my ignorance. Or I’ll yell out a slithering “COBRAAAAA!” and run determinedly in the opposite direction.
I figured I’d bust my 19-month blogging hiatus to document the process of putting together my Dragon*Con 2013 costume. For my fourth Dragon*Con I’m going all out: my goal is to create an O.G. Cobra Commander costume, from the 80’s cartoon, G.I. Joe.
For the record, I’m not at all an advanced cosplayer. This will be my first time messing around with advanced shit like Pepakura files, fiberglass resin, bondo, and vacuum-forming. So, you’ll be learning right along with me. Only you’ll have the advantage of not scalding your fingers with heat guns, whiffing toxic fumes, or stuffing your pores with fiberglass shards. Cosplay is a dangerous game, kids.
Until Saturday I didn't have any good links to mashup a worthy post. I figured it might be a good time to move this feature to Friday mornings as I originally intended. However, on Friday and Saturday morning, I found a mother lode of cool shit that I couldn't possibly wait five more days to post.
So, Friday Morning Mashup will have to wait at least another week. This week I cover the Wii U, Elephants funerals, Terminator cosplay, Twitter censorship, and USF fans reinforcing their reputation as College Football's Biggest Goobers.
I am a passionate fan of 80's kids’ movies. Goonies, Stand By Me, Explorers, Space Camp, Monster Squad, Cloak and Dagger, Labyrinth, and several others occupy coveted slots on my all-time list. While I enjoyed recent kids’ movies such as Harry Potter, Super 8, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, they never captured the magic of those older films.
Is it just me? There's a certain hollowness in the modern kid flick. Something missing. The movies follow all the formulas. However, like recreating your grandparents' heirloom recipes, an intangible quality is always missing. Is it the uber slickness that comes with an astronomical major motion picture budget? The high def, count-the-zits image quality? The computer generated effects? I really don’t know the cause. But the result is the notably absent charm that once oozed from the movies of my childhood.
"They just don't make movies like they used to.” Nooooooo! Am I becoming Granddad? If for nothing else, I search for the illusive, magical, modern kid flick to stave off my inevitable transformation into a jaded, grumpy old man. Netflix's insidious AI is well aware of my quest. And it is always happy to guide me through the harrowing wilderness of its immense catalog towards possible holy grails.
This morning I was distracted by a little, 2005 independent film called Twelve and Holding. Yep, fucking Netflix debo'd my free-time once again. Curses. Twelve and Holding, however, was just good enough—just awkward and quirky enough—to compel me to throw it out there: Is this the Great White Buffalo?