TW talk to Lady Bane herself, Suzie Swann

10585084_10152797473983704_1251374948_nBy Owen Quinn

Can you tell us about yourself? 

My name is Suzie, I’m 24 and I work in a lovely bar called Horatio Todds in East Belfast! I’m from Mallusk and I still live there. Outside of cosplaying I’m training to do competitive long distance running and I secretly love playing PS2 games ;)

 

Have you always been a scifi/comic book fan? 

I guess I always was and just never really realised! When I was little I really loved Sci-fi stuff and then gradually moved onto the comics and the TV shows that came with it.

 

What did you watch growing up? 

When I was little my Dad and I used to watch Stargate SG-1, Farscape and Doctor Who together (to this day I’m still afraid of The Daleks!), then when I got a little older at about 11 or 12 I used to love watching the animated series of Batman, Spiderman, X-Men, Teen Titans and also a bit of basic anime like Gundam Wing and Dragon Ball Z. Although anime really isn’t my forte, I can see why people really like it!

 

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When did you decide to get into costuming?

 

I actually only decided to get into costuming maybe about two months before the MCM comic con came to Belfast in June. A friend of mine said he was going and that he was dressing up and I gave it a think. I’d never been to a comic con before but it was definitely something I wanted to check out.

 

You have a very unique view in making your characters female versions of what we are used to. Does that limit you in what characters you can do? 

At the moment I’d like to focus on making female versions of male villains, I like the idea that I can turn a bad guy into something feminine. Although in the future I definitely wouldn’t rule out doing good guys in the future! I was thinking about maybe Thor or a version of The Man Of Steel.

 

10749418_10152797474218704_1336034141_nWhy Bane first. What was it about him that made you create the female version? 

I chose the movie Bane instead of the comic one because I really enjoyed the movie. I liked the fact that he was shown as an intelligent, dangerous villain, instead of a grunting hulk of muscle in the previous movie years back.  I seen a really awesome female cosplay of Bane as well online and decided I wanted to do my version of him as well.

 

 

Was the mask bought complete or hand made?  

The mask was bought online unpainted and without details. Which was easy enough for me to paint black and silver, You can buy the masks painted though or even just partially painted and you can do the rest!

 

What about the rest of the costume eg the contact lenses? 

The contact lenses where a last minute decision, I bought them from Fresh Garbage maybe two days before. I wanted to try and add a little bit of the comic book Bane into my idea, hence the Black, Red and White colours in them.

 

10743350_10152797473958704_1872696499_nWe first saw you at MCM Belfast earlier this year. Was that your first appearance in public as Lady Bane? 

Yep! That was my first appearance as Lady Bane, apart from walking around my house in the costume. I managed to get it just about finished a week before the MCM comic con!

 

Were you surprized at how well it was received?  

Definitely, I never imagined how well that was going to go down. Even walking up the huge line to get in and people screaming “BAAAAAANNNNEEE” at me was pretty funny. As soon as we stepped through the door it was non stop photos. I’m pleased it went down well. As the costume itself wasn’t really the way I planned it to look and didn’t think people would of liked it as much considering its not really like the movie one.  It was a good all rounder, the kids loved it as well and the comic book crowd did as well, which is great!

 

I’ve only done two comic cons and twice I’ve managed to get myself into the papers complete with photos and interviews. Which is also really flattering that I’ve managed to get noticed. Especially for my first ever comic con and cosplay!

 

You came to BFCC as Loki. How much harder was that costume compared to Bane? 

It was so much more difficult compared to the Bane costume. I pretty much had everything planned out from early on as soon as I heard that BFCC was coming. But there was a lot more creating to do, such as the skirts and layers to the dress, cape, armbands, helmet, and legs.

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How much of the costume do you make yourself eg how did the horned helmet come about? 

I bought the corset, boots and contact lenses as they were and then added to them. So I bought reams of fabric in black and green and got to work as soon as the corset arrived. The horned helmet was actually made by my dad! I was going to get a commissioned helmet, until I realised it would of taken too long to make and send out. So in the last 10 days before BFCC we started rushing around trying to build this thing! Its very heavy and not really practical to wear because of it. So I probably wont be wearing it out again if I go as Loki. But I am going to keep it! It’s custom fitted to my head anyway so I couldn’t even give it to anyone else!

 

Is it important to be movie accurate with these or does being the female counterpart give you the freedom to make your own adjustments? 

I’m definitely not movie accurate with my costumes, which is why I chose to do the female variants of the males. It gives me lots more freedom to play around with what I want to do. While keeping the important parts true to the movies, such as the Bane mask, and Loki’s Helmet and green, black and gold colour scheme. As long as you get the key items that are going to make people realise who you are then the rest is easy enough to change about to suit you.

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How aware were you of the cosplay scene here before you began?

 

I knew what cosplaying was before I actually started cosplaying comic book characters. I’m big into Japanese music and used to cosplay a few band members when I was younger. I never really realised how big it was in Belfast until I went to MCM and there were some mind blowing costumes. You could really see that people work very hard on their costumes.

 

Does costuming give people a confidence they otherwise may not have? 

 

I think in some cases it probably does, you get to be someone or something you really admire and people respond to that because they also like the characters and what you’ve done to create that. In the job I work in you generally have to have a level of self confidence anyway. But its great to dress up as characters you love, it’s almost like giving you a little break from the actual realities of life etc, and you just get to enjoy the moment!

 

IS this a costly hobby? 

It’s as costly as you want it to be! I made the Bane costume fairly cheap, and the Loki one would have been a lot more expensive if I would of got a commissioned helmet made, or if I bought any armour and sceptre.  It’s not all about the more money you spend on it the better its going to be! I actually feel that Lady Bane went down better than Loki and I spent a lot less on that costume. Although I do understand in certain cases why spending the little extra always helps to make the costume more comfortable to wear etc. 

 

What defines cosplay for you? How does it benefit you personally?  

It gives me something to look forward to each time a comic con event pops up, it keeps me busy and keeps me thinking about what I’m going to do for it and how I’m going to do it. My best friend (Hawk Girl) and I spend a lot of time bonding over comic book and comic con talk and what we’re going to do next and what ways we can do it. I’m going to be cheesy as well and say I love it when the kids at the events are excited and want their photo with you. I’m a sucker for happy kids, even though I’m always the bad guy ;)

 

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting out on a costume? 

Pick your favourite character, and do a little research on the different cosplays already done by others. It gives you a few ideas on what you could actually do. Then you can either go and buy commissioned pieces by very talented people (If I ever buy something from one I’ll definitely be using Etsy.com) or you can look into making you own things. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Less is more sometimes! If you don’t get it completely right the first time then you can always just add to it and show up at the next comic con even better than you did before! 

 

Where can people find out about your Facebook page? 

I actually only just made this page a few days ago! I had a number of people asking me when I was going to do it and I bit the bullet and got it done! Don’t be a stranger and if any of you have any photos from the cons or want to know anything about the costumes drop me a message whenever :)   You can find me on:

www.facebook.com/ladybanebelfast

or if you like instagram you can also find me on:

www.instagram.com/lady.bane

 

Suzie, thank you very much! 

 

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