“I…am not… Holland. I am…Swamp Thing.”
Costume: Swamp Thing
Comic: The Saga of the Swamp Thing (Vol 4)
Paired with: Constantine
Debuted at: Rose City Comic Con 2016, Day 1 (Saturday, September 10th)
Worn at: ECCC 2017
Off the Rails Factor: 4/10
Characters with no real solid reference are both fun and annoying. It’s fun to be able to pick and choose what you love about the character and go with what you think makes him, but it’s annoying that people will think you’ve done it “wrong” when it’s not exactly what they think makes the character (we had someone insist it was Man-Thing even after we told him it was Swamp Thing. Though he does bear a strong resemblance, if we’d made Man-Thing you’d know; he would have been 9 feet tall, crashing through doorways carrying Swampy’s severed head around, roaring and scaring small children.)
So anyway. That’s not Swamp Thing, that’s Man-Thing.
While I love Wes Craven, is also not my idea of Swamp Thing.
And this guy:
This is not my idea of Swamp Thing, either, this is…idk what the hell this is. He looks like a tamale and Groot had a deformed love child. Damn it, New 52, get your shit together.
This, this is Swamp Thing. He’s huge! He’s beefy! He’s made of plants! He’s like Bigfoot but better! He’s got creepy red eyes! He scares the shit out of you! And he’s a good guy at heart, which makes him even better.
(We also went to the old school Saga of the Swamp Thing because it is the first appearance of the character of Constantine, who became a thing after everyone wondered what Sting was doing hanging out in Swamp Thing comics. Seriously, look it up.)
Anyway, the essence of Swamp Thing (to me at least) is a really big dude with plants on him that is somewhat humanoid, which seems like it would be easy to accomplish until you’re a 5’6″ waif with a small budget. But we gave it a go, because I hate both my face and fitting properly through doors, and I love Swamp Thing. In a platonic sort of way, not an Abby Cable-Holland-Arcane sort of way. Read a comic, people!
The only way to get to the size we wanted and maintain decent proportions that didn’t have a weird stilt walk was to add height to both my head and my feet, so I found 3″ platform shoes, and then we made up the rest on the head. (Which is a scrapped part from Scruffy that is just two half circles glued to each other, so that I’m kind of wearing a Chiquita banana lady hat that holds Swampy’s head).
This all of course is after we tore the whole thing apart because I couldn’t stand that the head didn’t move in the original incarnation, and tore most of the whole thing apart one more time because the first attempt at the frame was crap and couldn’t hold the arm weight without sagging.
After all the carnage, he ended up over 6.5′ tall and weighed 20+ pounds, which doesn’t seem like much until you wear it in 80 degree weather for a couple of hours.
We put LED lights into the eye sockets with our usual combination of foam, hot glue, and Macgyver brilliance (the eyes are the bottom half of the vending machine capsules you see in lobbies, candy necklaces to be specific). I don’t have much to say on the voice parts because they were Constantine’s work, which you can learn a little more about on our Instagram feed. I also didn’t have much to say during the costume contest because someone (me) is a derp and wanted it off for the RCCC costume contest Saturday night due to feedback worries.
(Also, just to reiterate, that is Man Thing, not Swamp Thing, though I assume he’s not a very good conversationalist either.)
There were quite a few things I didn’t like about ol’ Swampy, most of them being a lack of finish work. His legs look a little hoofy, his arms are a little cannon-like if I’m not holding his salad-finger gloves right, his face needs work (I know the feels), and he needs a significant addition of ferns and vines to really look like he came straight from the swamp. As usual my straps are silly and terribly made, leading to annoying slipping issues.
But overall we got a lot of great reaction, including at least a couple “holy shit”s, which, along with causing rubberneckers to disrupt traffic, is really what I strive for in a cosplay nowadays. Little kids for some reason loved him instead of fearing him, which was strange but funny, and several people assumed some sort of familial relationship to Groot, who was also running around and who won an award at the costume contest that night.
There are probably a good many pictures of Swampy is doing some sort of “What, me worry?”Alfred E. Neuman shrug because it’s hard to find mirrors that are accessible to a Swamp Thing who needs to practice his moves. It’s either a shrug or a “Come at me, bro” sort of gesture. Or maybe it’s a “behold, we actually finished most of a costume for once!” We’ll go with that.
Which I have to say is pretty nice. We did take a break mid day after we got registered for the costume contest to go home and have some food and fix some problems that had developed, but it was a nice alternative to overpriced con food anyway.
Speaking of the costume contest, Swampy was a finalist in his category (they merged Beyond Human with Tinkerers since there were not enough people who were silly enough to make their costumes with the goal of having trouble fitting through doors), which was a surprise given I was expecting to be turned away at the prejudging. We weren’t the best ever, but we weren’t the worst. If you want that, check out our Meow costume. Ha!
This is probably my favorite costume to date because I get to be huge and have a Darth Vader voice while mostly retaining my ability to avoid walking into things or stumbling off curbs like certain other costumes. Damn it feels good to be a gangster. Which, coincidentally, was one of the songs programmed into his nifty sound box / voice changer. There were a few others in there too. We walked all the way from Lloyd Center, which feels like about 6 miles when you can’t see and you’re hot as hell but is more like .5 miles, playing the theme song from Curb Your Enthusiasm through the speakers, which was good for a laugh.
My mom got to experience a con with us, which is why there are actually some pictures of both of us, including the usually harried and cranky suit up/down process, but we neglected to get a picture of the group, as she was also cosplaying as Abby Holland (Swamp Thing’s wife).
If someone happens to have a picture with the three of us or even of just her, it would be great if you could send it to one of our social media pages!
We ended up retiring Swampy after ECCC 2017, partly because I was sick of wearing it, but mostly because at that point we didn’t want to try to cram the damn thing back into the car with the Iron Man and Shy Guy costumes. Constantine is still around and will probably be paired up with something new sometime in the future.