Sunday 4 May 2014

Cool Cosplayers: An Interview with Retro Joad and Critical Miss

by Courtney Lockhart 

 Thea Nikolic and Jody Haucke are getting ready to be very busy very soon.  Over Comiccon weekend they will cosplay 2-3 different characters each, run 3 panels , take part in activities as members of the 501st legion and League of Superheroes and perform at the Wondergeeks Pan-galactic showcase Saturday night.   “Its tricky, especially for Ottawa Comiccon because its in our hometown.” Jody explained. “We want to work with each group while were here in town to showcase our town to other people who are coming in.”  But he knows in the end the stress will be worth it. “There are nights were sitting at that table, its the day before con and were going ‘Why did I do this? Im never doing this again.And then you go to con, and everyone  is taking pictures and youre having so much fun being the character and youre like ‘oh yeah, thats why.”

 The pair, known professionally as Critical Miss and Retro Joad, met when they were both cast in a summer production for Eddie May Murder Mysteries.   Soon after, at the Heroes and Villains party they debuted their  first and arguably favourite joint costume: Harley Quinn and Joker.  “I love my classic Harley, and I still wear her.” Thea commented “But Were kind of getting into elseworld stuff where we do our own thing,  like the rockabilly Harley.

“We want a Joker and Harley for anything we show up at” Jody added before they riffed on what it would be like to go to an event like an Ottawa Senators game in costume.   Because of their acting background, they believe characterization is a big part of a successful cosplay.  “The word means costume play.” said Thea. “We enjoy acting like idiots when were Joker and Harley.”  While their antics are usually well received, they dont sweat it when the reactions are less than hospitable.

“Lifes a lot easier when you dont <care> what anyone thinks.” Jody recounted one time  in Toronto where they were trying to get back into the convention centre at the same time a Blue Jays game was letting out and they encountered some judgemental sports fans.  “Everyone  has their own thing they are going to be a fan of. Youre going in to spend a lot of money to watch a baseball game very far away, eat a cold hot dog and drink a warm beer for $25.  Thats not what I want to do. If you want to go and do that, go and do that. If I want to go do this, Ill go do this.” 

Each cosplay experience offers something different. “At a movie premiere  you see people who dont necessarily go to comic conventions.” Thea explained.  The costumes are appreciated at a different level  and the reactions more varied at a Con.  Jody finds for example that when he wears his Lucius Malfoy cosplay, people get very quiet versus the explosive reactions some of the other outfits get.

While they definitely have  their dream ‘Money is no object’ cosplays, Worf and Jadzias wedding outfits from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine currently top that list,  Thea and Jody insist that anyone can cosplay at any budget.  “Most people are going to see you from three to five feet away for a minute and then move on. It doesnt have to be perfect.” Jody said.   Their Cosplay on a Budget panel  that ran last year inspired one attendee to go out that very night and put together a cosplay to wear for the remainder of the weekend.  “It made running the panel worth it.” 

You can follow their ongoing adventures in cosplay at their facebook page or on twitter @HarleyQuinnBabe and @crystalbasement They will also be working with Browncoats Burlesque on the May 17th show, Necronomikhann!

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.

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