Lady Thor Corset Cosplay: How to Make Ming Doyle’s ‘Thorset’
Equipped with both a Mjolnir and her trusty art supplies, artist Ming Doyle successfully battled the masses at Boston Comic Con in true Norse God fashion. Known for her unique redesigns of superheroes (as featured on Project: Rooftop) and her contributions to Comic Book Tattoo, Jennifer's Body, PopGun, Girl Comics, and her webcomics series The Loneliest Astronauts (with Kevin Church), Doyle pulled together her own stylish take on Thor whilst taking up residence in Artist Alley.
When Doyle wasn't busy hammering out commission after commission for the Boston crowd, ComicsAlliance spoke with her about fashion, superhero makeovers, and the mechanics of her "Thorset."
ComicsAlliance: Ming, your Thor ensemble was a hit at Boston Comic Con! As a resident of Artist Alley, what made you decide to dress up for the convention, let alone as Thor?
Ming Doyle: I mainly decided to dress up because Alexa Rose, my good friend and co-host of the Make Believers podcast, decided to visit for the convention this year. Having a fellow crafty art major on the scene was the motivating push I needed, especially considering that Alexa and I have previously tried our hands at some amateur cosplay (Death and Delirium, then Batzarra and Bizarra at New York Comic Con, 2008).CA: How did you construct/assemble your Thor outfit?
MD: The entire costume came about because of a late night trip to Walmart. I stumbled into the toy section, as I am wont to do in any store, and found a child-sized Thor helmet and Mjolnir. After gleefully wielding them for a moment, I realized that a fairly faithful Classic Thor costume wouldn't be entirely impossible to cobble together out of items already lying around in my closet and art studio.
MD: First, I gave the helmet and hammer a custom paint job with some liquid metal to make them appear a bit more textural and battle-worn. Then, I cut the "Thorset's" circular armor elements out of foam and gave them a similar weathering before hand-stitching each into place. I faked a passably downsized belt by painting yellow ribbon with gold acrylic paint and affixing it to another bit of armor-foam. The "laces" are similarly painted strips of electrical tape I cut and wound around a pair of over the black knee-boots.
The cape was one of the hardest elements to pull off, since I don't own a sewing machine. I picked up a square yard of some beautiful, heroic red fabric at a local crafts store, then judiciously applied my 5th grade home economics hand-tailoring and glue-gunning skills to hem and gather it.
The only piece of clothing I had to purchase was the tights, which were by far the most expensive piece of the entire ensemble. It was surprisingly difficult to find hosiery in that Silver Age electric blue hue.
CA: You've created some really great reinterpretations of superhero costumes that have been featured on Project: Rooftop, and there has been a flurry of various reboots and new costumes given to classic characters in both comics and in their film/TV incarnations. How crucial do you think a character's costume or signature look is to the character itself?
MD: I wouldn't say a certain look is entirely essential to a character's core being or concept, especially considering the series of little redesigns even the most major of characters such as Batman undergo in the hands of varying artists. There have been much more drastic redesigns too that I think in some cases speak more to the spirit and practical underpinnings of a character than even their original incarnations managed to encapsulate, such as Nightwing. As long as you design around an identity, I don't think you can go too astray.
CA: Are there any characters in particular that you think are in dire need of a makeover?
MD: Oh my goodness, Gambit. I'm not saying it's the magenta, because magenta in and of itself isn't a red flag. Just maybe think out the placement a bit more. Does a thief really need a smothering magenta turtleneck dickie with diamond spiderweb patterns on it? And a trench coat? Both of those things, together? And a cowl that covers everything but his glorious hair and face? So many questions.
CA: Since you exhibit a strong eye for style in both your personal style and in your artwork, and since you've dabbled in cosplay before, do you think that comics (or any other works of fiction) have influenced your personal style?
MD: Probably, though not so consciously or awesomely as it's influenced your own style! Lois Lane's a huge inspiration, of course, and I am more attracted to simple, pulled-together looks, which I suppose pulls something from that general sense of the comic book iconic. If I thought I could pull off the Jimmy Olsen and wear the same green sweater vest and red bow tie for the rest of my life, I just might.
CA: One of the things that set you apart from almost all of the other artists in Artist Alley this weekend was the fact that you were participating in the fan enthusiasm and cosplaying while taking commissions and speaking on panels. Judging from the reception of your ensembles and having to juggle both cosplaying and artwork this weekend, will we see more super-Ming outfits at future conventions?
MD: This was the first show where I wore a costume and also sat behind a table, and it was definitely a challenge. I had to work on commissions the whole weekend, which is enough of a race against time without having to stand up every ten minutes for a photo-op. I loved doing both, but drawing and cosplaying are probably two pursuits best not attempted simultaneously. I wouldn't entirely rule the possibility out, though! It would just take a mighty amount of planning.
CA: The Thor film has been getting some really great reviews already. Are you excited for the movie? And more importantly, will you be rocking the Thorset if/when you go see it?
MD: I'm very excited for the movie, and I'm contemplating wearing my entire Thor getup to the midnight premiere. I'll let you know first if I do, of course!