Red Guardian II - Marvel Comics


First prize, Bristol Comics Expo masquerade




I decided to take an obscure superhero to Bristol Expo, because her costume’s so striking, and because the author’s always meant a lot to me.

Red Guardian, in her striking full-body red and white costume, was a communist superhero who popped up for a few issues of The Defenders in the 1970s. She was an urban warrior, a brain surgeon, and what’s even more fun is that she totally knew she was awesome.

I made almost everything from scratch, barring the shoes underneath those covers and the red suit I started off with. (Did you know it is a total dick to make a wig do what it’s doing here?) Even the belt buckle was made from scratch on the kitchen table, with a lot of swearing and angst. It wasn’t perfect at all, but I was happy to be fairly close to looking like Tania. It would have made my day if even a single person had recognised me at that little con. Instead, I had at least three, one of whom was a comic seller who asked for a photo together.

I thought I’d go in for the masquerade, as whether anybody appreciated the character or not, her costume’s still a lot of fun. But thanks to the disorganised nature of the venue, the MC simply asked me if I could explain a little bit about why I chose to cosplay Red Guardian, and passed me a microphone.

To paraphrase, I think I came out with something like: “Red Guardian is a pretty obscure hero who cropped up in a few Defenders comics in the 1970s. I don’t really expect anybody to recognise me, but she’s a really great character! She’s a communist brain surgeon who has no powers but enjoys kicking bad guys in the head in her down time. She’s heavily critical of her government, because in the comics the Russian government have made it illegal to wear masks in public - she’s like Pussy Riot, forty years early! As far as I know, she may have been the first female character to take up a male character’s role and just wear exactly the same costume. It was really progressive and they didn’t make a big deal out of it at all. It’s so weird - I mean, Captain Marvel - Carol Danvers - god love her, she’s a great character, but it took until 2012 for her to get a costume which covered her arse! Anyway, it’s been a lot of fun to cosplay her - and the comics she’s from are a lot of fun. I think it’s Defenders thrity-six onwards - you should have a look in the Dealer’s Room, because they’re really cheap, because nobody reads them! But you should, because they’re so fun! Thanks everyone!”

Bless them, they didn’t just listen to me, they gave me first prize.


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