DKN 2019 Toronto Comic-Con Retrospective And Interview With Toronto-Based Cosplayer

Article by Sharna Jahangir

FAN EXPO CANADA is about to have their 25th Anniversary, beginning August 22nd, and as a prelude, DKN is looking forward to the Toronto Cosplayers that light up the streets of the most diverse city in Canada. Held at the Toronto Metro Convention Center, at the heart of the downtown, these biggest and best creatives come out. Earlier this year, this great city hosted their annual 2019 Toronto Comic-Con, which works as a warm-up for their massive Fan Expo.

There were fun and campy performances throughout the days. The convention really lights up the Bat-community.

I was fortunate enough to attend the 2019 Toronto Comic-Con on behalf of Dark Knight News. Visiting this year was an incredibly prolific and talented cosplayer known as Mary Mordrake, who I’d seen around at previous cons. I decided to chat to her about her passion for cosplay.

DKN: Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Where you’re from, when and why did you start cosplaying, your hobbies?

MD: I’m a Toronto based cosplayer, and I do conventions locally and in the surrounding area (Niagara, Hamilton, London, etc). I started going to conventions in 2007, but I didn’t start cosplaying until two years later after The Dark Knight was released. I fell hard into the fandom, having been predominantly a Marvel fan before then, and started collecting everything Joker and Harley. I also joined a Harley Quinn cosplay forum online and met a ton of amazing people that inspired me to design my own Harley cosplays, eventually becoming confident enough in my skills to start cosplaying other fandoms as well!

DKN: I’ve seen you throughout the years at Toronto conventions as Catwoman and Harley, I’ve loved it! How do you create your designs?

MD: Thank you so much! My first Harley Quinn cosplays were inspired by Heath Ledger’s Joker, and the many Harley redesigns that other fans were creating in the forum I mentioned earlier. Since expanding into other characters and fandoms, I’ve followed pretty much the same process for every cosplay: collect a ton of reference images, decide on the elements that really define the character and also suit my own style, and create my design from there. The level of accuracy I aim for depends on how well I feel the character translates for my skills, preferred aesthetic, and budget.

DKN: What inspires you to play these characters?

MD: Other cosplayers and artists! The Hawkgirl cosplayer I saw at my first con with articulated wings, the Harley Quinn cosplayers I’ve met online, the artists who create their own character designs – this community is so huge and endlessly creative, and I just want to be a part of it! And the local cosplay community is so supportive and inclusive, they make me want to be better as well! As for the characters themselves, I tend to choose characters that I personally identify with, which is why I’ve cosplayed Harley so often over the years.

DKN: I’ve noticed that you’ve created a terrific Batwoman costume; it looks fantastic! Are you excited for the new franchise TV series? What are you expecting?

MD: Thank you! Batwoman is my favourite DC hero, and I’m so excited for her new series. I’m really looking forward to seeing her sister, Alice, on screen and (hopefully) eventually getting her full comic book costume. It would also be amazing if they brought Maggie Sawyer over from Supergirl since her and Kate were an item in the comics as well.

DKN: Could you tell Dark Knight News why you enjoy the Batman lore and universe?

MD: Much like Harley Quinn, I’m attracted to “extreme personalities” in fiction, so for me reading and watching Batman is mainly about the villains. I love origin stories of ordinary people spiralling into murder and madness because of some traumatic event, proving the Joker’s theory that “all it takes is one bad day” to create someone like him. And yet, you also see through origins of characters like the Riddler, Mr Freeze, Scarecrow, and even Harley and the Joker, that this “one bad day” is really just the breaking point–the exact moment when the levee breaks what Thomas Harris might refer to as the Becoming. The Joker faces off against Batman and falls into a vat of acid. Harley sees the Joker brought in, battered and broken, and something breaks inside her as well. Mr. Freeze runs out of options for treating his wife’s illness. What I love most about the Batman universe is really just understanding how and why these characters become who they are, and what drove them to their particular brand of madness.

She’s cosplayed as several DC characters including Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Livewire.

FAN EXPO CANADA, the third largest Comic Convention in North America, begins this week: August 22nd, runs four days, until August 25th. With an immense line-up, look forward to updates from DKN and our sister site, DC Comics News.

A major thank you to the staff of the 2019 Toronto Comic-Con and the passionate attendees. This convention is the perfect start to con season, and Fan Expo Canada will be a brilliant climax for the end of summer. See you soon!

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