Is everyone ready for Halloween? Costumes chosen, wigs purchased, ready to begin the revelry? We here at the Ladies have already participated in the best annual celebration around – the Comicazi Halloweeniversary! Since once again it falls to me to write the Halloweek post, I thought I’d share the group costume I was part of this year in case you’re in need of some last-minute comics related ideas. But rather than go into elaborate detail on how the costumes were created, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of who the characters are, since they’re a bit less well-known. I’ll give a scale of 1-10 on costume-making ease though, 1 being that you could make it with all things you have lying around the house, 10 being that it requires special equipment and a license to operate heavy machinery.
We decided to go the spooky route this Halloween, so our theme was DC comics characters who are either dead or have death-related powers. I’m calling it Dead DC, but really only half the team counts as officially having shuffled off this mortal coil.
We’ll tackle this group of ghouls from left to right. A note to sticklers – some of these characters date back to the Golden Age, which means they’ve been changed and retconned – the back stories I’ll give are the ones we were specifically going for with our interpretations of the characters.
On the far left we’ve got Gary as The Spectre.
Who is he? Jim Corrigan was a hard-boiled detective who was murdered by gangsters. However, when his soul tries to get into the afterlife, a mysterious voice tells him that rest is not his fate – he’s to go back among the living and eliminate the evil in the world. He promptly finds the gangsters who killed him and gets some gruesome vengeance. He’s become the spirit of God’s wrath, punishing evil with single-minded purpose.
Dead or not? Dead, or at least a spirit, but needs to be bonded to a human host to properly channel his wrathful energies.
Powers: God-like. Basically, The Spectre wills something to happen and it does. He’s punished evildoers in a variety of creative ways, largely in the “poetic justice” vein – for example, killing a bank robber with a tornado of dollar bills.
Costume difficulty: 3 While this requires some make-up and a cape, neither is terribly complicated. The Spectre is typically shirtless, but as Gary demonstrates, a white shirt or body suit is easier than 20 tubs of greasepaint.
Next up is Bill as Mister Bones.
Who is he? A gynecologist named Dr. Love decided to experiment with six of his pregnant patients, injecting them with a mutagen, in order to create a team of meta-humans, then kidnapping the babies to raise as his own. One of those children was Mister Bones, whose skin, muscles and organs were rendered transparent by the mutagen – he looks like a living skeleton. When the kids learn about the doctor’s treachery, they decide to become a supervillain team. Eventually they are rehabilitated, and Bones becomes the regional director of the Department of Extranormal Operations, the government agency dealing with metahumans in the DC universe.
Dead or not? Totally not dead. He just happens to look that way.
Powers: Besides the see-through skin, which pretty useless as a power, Mister Bones has superhuman strength, which is pretty great. Unfortunately, he also produces cyanide in his sweat, resulting in the death of anyone he touches, which is pretty terrible. All in all it’s kind of a wash.
Costume difficulty: 2. You just need a suit, which you may already have, and a skull mask, skeleton gloves, and bald cap. Or you can do what Bill did and wear a hat, making this costume even easier.
In the red is me as Deadman.
Who is he? Boston Brand was a trapeze artist in the circus who performed under the moniker of Deadman. One night during his act, he’s shot and killed by a mysterious assassin known only as The Hook. Like Jim Corrigan, however, death is not the end for Boston – a Hindu goddess named Rama-Kushna sends his spirit (though not his body) back to earth with the power to possess any other living being, with the task to find his murderer and obtain justice. (Also, as a fun trivia fact, Boston had a twin brother named Cleveland. This is not particularly relevant, but I thought you should know.)
Dead or not? Deadman is most definitely, really, truly dead. It’s right there in the name, really. He’s a ghost and that’s that.
Powers: All of the basic spook powers – flight, invisibility, intangibility (so he can walk through walls), and of course, possession, which allows him to interact with the living world.
Costume difficulty: 7. Most of this costume is pretty easy, but you probably don’t have it lying around – the red spandex suit, the face make up. My shoes are just sneakers duct-taped in red, and the D is duct tape also. The really tricky bit is the collar, though naturally it was the entire reason I wanted to do this costume. It’s magnificent. Mr. Menace made it out of cardboard and velour fabric, with the addition of a white “chest” that attached to my real one. It’s a thing of beauty, and wore well. Don’t expect to have even a little bit of peripheral vision, however. It’s no wonder Boston Brand was killed – he was pretty much the easiest person to sneak up on ever.
Bonus: DC Nation has put out shorts of the cutest Deadman ever, and here he is:
Last up we have my own dear Mr. Menace as Ragman.
Who is he? Rory Regan is the son of a junkman in Gotham City – his dad owns a shop called Rags ‘n Tatters. But he also has a secret – he’s also a mystical Jewish vigilante known as the Ragman – in possession of a mystical suit of rags, each of which is the soul of someone the Ragman has brought to justice. Rory’s dad passes on the mantle, and Rory begins to fight corruption and occult forces in Gotham.
Dead or not? Rory himself is alive, but he’s running around in a suit made out of the souls of dead people. I’d call that about 50/50.
Powers: Ragman can tap into the powers and abilities of the folks whose souls make up his suit, allowing him to increase his stamina and endurance. The suit also has teleportation powers, and can take on other forms if needed. His primary power, however, is sucking the souls of out of terrible people and adding them to his suit. Are you seeing a theme with these heroes? A light touch they are not.
Costume difficulty: 4. Once again, you’ll need to get a spandex suit for this costume, and the cape is a bit more elaborate than The Spectre’s. Rather than sewing patches onto the suit, however, we took the easy way out and just made them out of duct tape in a variety of colors and patterns. It looked great and was pretty simple.
Bonus trivia: Ragman is known as “The Tatterdemalion of Justice.” Make of that what you will.
So that was my Halloween – what will you be this year? What character would you most like to be if you had the chance?