So you want to be a part of the Venture-Verse? You’re a fan of the Venture Bros., but not just any fan. Your passion for what we modestly feel is the best adult-themed animated show on television, has led you down the path of pursing costumed aggression.
Do you long to embody one of the characters you admire and be a hero for the day? Or perhaps one you loathe just so you can blame all your bad behavior on being ‘in character’? However devious your intentions, we are here to assist in your transformation. You’re about to enter the realm of cosplay, but now you are faced with the first dilemma in what will be a series of choices you’ll have to make. Who should you be from The Venture Bros.?
For those new to the realm of costuming, we have set up a breakdown of the process of picking your new skin (we don’t mean that in a creepy Silence of the Lambs way, unless you want us to). So welcome, and let the corruption begin! You can’t see it, but we’re wringing our hands menacingly.
Top 7 questions to ask yourself before you go on a shopping spree that would make Imelda Marcos blush:
1-Which character am I partial to on the show?
Whom in Venture-Verse do you relate to, find hilarious, or fantasize about being? There’s an amazing array at your disposal, but this can be daunting too. If you need help narrowing it down to one, then try writing out a few names and using steps 2-7 to decide. It’s better to have one outstanding, A+ costume, than three C- ones. Biting off too much to begin with is like Hank firing randomly in Sgt. Hatred’s vicinity, you might merely leave a flesh wound. It’s better to aim like Shore Leave, with one stunning well placed shot, and you’ll knock ‘em dead every time!
2-Does my body type suit the character?
This depends on personal preferences; you may or may not want to be highly accurate in your cosplay. The amazing thing is, anything goes in this arena. We are here to facilitate your dreams of costumed aggression, and to also consider obstacles along the way. If you’re bald, 5’7”, with a slim build & red facial hair-then a Rusty Venture could be an easy first cosplay. You shouldn’t have to shore your golden locks like Brock did to kill the assassin Go-Fish, we know the mullet you have going is a good look for you. If that mullet comes with a 6’3” rippled muscle frame & square-jawed good looks, Brock would be your costume. You can always weight lift hardcore for a year, or sew a padded ‘muscle suit’ too, but the idea here is easy beginnings. Also, many ladies find they want to rock a male character & vice versa. Have at it, but try to start with what you feel you can handle, and aligns with your personal comfort.
3-What is the breakdown of my character’s costume?
Once again kids, you’ll need paper & pen handy. We’ve found a great way to know what kind of rabbit hole you’re crawling into is to make a list. You may be thinking Molotov Cocktease and that one black cat-suit & you are on your way, but you will need to take a closer look. The first step here is to grab a screen capture from the show, or search the web for pictures of the character. List all the items your character is wearing. Suddenly you see that you’ll need many pieces to complete a Molotov: red gloves, red boots, red holster for the leg with an attachment below the waist, plus another holster under the arm, two prop guns, a knife & holster for the arm, a bright red long wig, a heart-shaped eye patch-you get the picture.
4-What is my fabrication/creative skill level?
Have you ever made costumes before? What kind of artistic and materials experience do you have? If the last time you played with paint was akin to Dean doing Sgt. Hatred’s camo-face up like a flower garden, then you may want to consider starting with a costume that doesn’t require much of it. If you’re an expert on repurposing household items & have a workshop that would make H.E.L.P.eR. swoon, then go forth and fabricate!
For the clothing aspect, are there things in your closet you can sacrifice on the cosplay altar? Or, can you find the items in stores or online? Will you have to sew it? Can you sew? It also becomes vital during this step to consider not only the clothing, but the accessories of your outfit. You may choose to omit a dart gun for a Monarch Henchman, but you wouldn’t want to leave out the wings. If you love Orpheus but are at a loss as to how to make his pendant, you can use a Halloween vampire broach until you reach a higher skill level to make your own. Try creative repurposing if you’re not artistically inclined or have limited resources. Ordinary objects are often repurposed into things they were never intended for in costuming, so look around and think of how they could suit your needs. When you get to the bottom of that Slurpee, don’t toss that cup. It could become a gauntlet! A small cardboard box could be cut and painted like a Venture Gargantua 1 space helmet, various convenient materials also factor in. Perfect if you want to be Anna Baldavich, because Brock prefers you with the helmet on. Regardless of your skill-set, we recommend planning, for there will be a fair amount of trail & error to the creative process.
5-Has anyone cosplayed this character before?
The internet is your friend, and so is every cosplayer that has come before you. Finding out who has made the costume before, and seeing if they have any posts on how they created it, is an excellent resource. Pictures alone can help you see how it all pulls together in reality. The Venture Bros. community is a friendly one, and many are willing to answer your questions. Our Facebook page is a haven for posing such inquiries as well. The people who have already cosplayed can help you learn from their mistakes, and recover from any you may encounter along the way.
6-What is my budget?
You know that list we had you make for step 3? You’re going to need that by the end of this paragraph. It’ll help you by pricing out all the items on your list., plus crafting supplies to make them. Yet, budget encompasses both money and time. Things may not be as simple as they seem once you get going. You thought you’d spray paint a plastic gun in five minutes, and suddenly you realize you have to do layers over hours so they can dry properly. Or maybe you bought the wrong paint instead of the kind made for plastic, and it won’t dry properly & is now in this trash. This is also why step 5 is so vital, finding out what others have done & the products they have used. If the convention is days away, don’t expect to whip together epic wings, fabricate a crown & armor, plus Guinness-world-record eyebrows in that span. Grab a calendar and set down time windows to work on each item. You also need to ask yourself how much you are willing to spend to see this costume through, and leave a little padding for surprises. The starter version can always be revisited and improvements made. You probably don’t have minions to do your bidding and a trust fund for your every whim, so plan before you blow your whole cocoon sideways.
7-How sturdy, comfortable, or lightweight does my costume (and props) need to be?
Sure an actual deactivated machine gun is a head-turner with its incredible detail, but do you want to lug 20+ pounds of prop all day just for looks? The decision maker will be between wanting to look as accurate as possible, what kind of abuse it can withstand in convention/party crowds, and how comfortable it is to wear. If you plan on donning the costume only once, then your materials can be more disposable and geared towards the occasion. If you find yourself so enamored with the character you will want to keep it and adjust it, then you will want the best materials you can manage. The weather also becomes a factor if you choose a heavy fabric in the middle of summer, then wandering in thick crowds at events will only add to your suffering. You may be looking to shed a few pounds, but not through perspiration. You may choose a skimpy outfit in a cold climate and find your unmentionables at risk of frostbite. It’s all your own balance to find.
So, Venturoo, you are armed to the teeth with all the weapons you’ll need to conquer your cosplay character dilemma. Get to choosing your character, gathering references, planning and budgeting. List items and sketch things out, no matter what your artistic level. Find what you have that can be repurposed, bought in store, or crafted from scratch. Plot out your time on a calendar up to the event if necessary. Time is not just for creating, but also recovering from unforeseen errors. Take breaks when you are frustrated, and reach out to the Venture community if you need help. We have one of the tightest fan groups out there, so don’t feel shy asking for insight or assistance! Get going on your costume (we can’t wait to see it), and welcome to the Venture-Verse!
Written by Susan Blix and John McDonald[Venture Bros. Blog]