I had the absolute pleasure of speaking to the fantastic Anthony Misiano about his iconic Joker cosplay! What started out as a quick chat evolved into a great insight into his creative mind. (He also issues us with a pretty great challenge that I’d love to help him out with, what do you guys think?) What an inspiration for us cosplayers. I hope you all enjoy reading it :3
Ivy: So, what drew you to cosplay to begin with?
Anthony: Well growing up Halloween was always my favorite holiday, and I got to where as a child I was the one doing my family’s makeup. I never really considered myself a “cosplayer”, but I guess that all changed with my dive into the Joker character.
Ivy: The famous Joker! We’ve all seen the recent photos of your Mister J, but it had to start somewhere. When did you first cosplay the Joker?
Anthony: San Diego Comic Con International, 2005. The initial inspiration actually came from my face in the mirror. I walked by a mirror Spring 2005, made THAT face, and I think exclaimed out loud, “Holy crap! I look like the Joker!” So I ran with it, lol.
(Wow. I actually used an “lol” in an interview.)
I only did it that once, and then six years later revived the character with a brand new costume for Halloween 2011. Which is the same one everyone saw via the internet from Wondercon 2012.
Ivy: So this is a long term love affair! I think a lot of cosplayers would agree that inspiration from within yourself always makes for the most impressive cosplays. Aussie cosplayers would associate that with people like Iron Mate and Cürt Ubank (pictured below) who look so much like the characters they portray even out of costume. The Wondercon costume certainly went viral quickly! How did you react to that?
Anthony: I accepted facebook friend requests left and right (yourself included), and it was a huge inspiration to really blow peoples socks off and do the costume again this July for San Diego Comic Con. But better. Far, far better.
Ivy: Exciting! Can you give us a glimpse into the kind of work you’ve done on the new and improved Joker?
Anthony: A glimpse? Sure. I have to fight the urges to go into tedious detail here, but I’ll give it a shot. Basically every element of the costume head to toe has either been improved upon or replaced. Upgraded. As well as a handfull of details added, all drawn from different points of inspiration.
Ivy: Please, we’re all nerds here. Tedious detail is what we do. Nerd out!
Anthony: You asked for it…
I’ll start at the bottom and work my way up.
The shoes have been replaced. I saw a great piece of concept art by Carlos D’Anda, and I loved where he went with the character, but the thing that really jumped out at me were the shoes. Pointed toed, heeled ankle boots actually. They had such a strong presence. I found an amazing pair of sixty year old cowboy boots at a vintage clothing store and they were SO close. A few cobblers handiwork later, and they were tweaked to my liking. I added a half inch to the heels, and shaved them in on the sides so they tapered a bit more, and had the tops cut off (turned into ankle boots), and some elastic put in to hold firmly.
The spats needed to be adjusted to compensate for the fit of the boot, so they were tailored a bit, and I painted small grey circles on the middle of each black button. Gave it character.
The socks are these dark green wool socks I found on ebay, used, lol, that had this great beige speckling over them (before I just had plain bright green socks, a little too cartoonish).
Ivy: Now that’s dedication, braving second hand ebay socks? I salute you.
Anthony: Thank you. I washed them. A couple times. The slacks have been fitted very closely to my legs. Before they were baggy, but the character needs this long and lanky, nimble look. A great improvement.
My underwear is the same. I love my calvins.
Ivy: Well that’s all we were really concerned about.
Anthony: The shirt has been replaced. Previously it was a plain green dress shirt. Now it has a striped texture to it. Texture is SO important for a costume, gives it an almost hyper real, lived in quality, and texture photographs well. If you notice in every modern super hero film made, the classic costumes now have detailed texture everywhere. Every inch. It just read better on camera. Anyway, that was done, and I had the cuffs turned into french cuffs, with a unique patterned fabric I found (and dyed slightly) as the shown side of the new cuffs.
My favorite artist to ever draw the Joker is Brian Bolland, and he single handedly always gave the character cufflinks. Very specific gold cufflinks with a joker face on them, wearing a clown collar and harlequin hat. I’ve recreated this design (but with my face characterized) and had them engraved onto a pair of (fake) gold cufflinks.
The vest has been adjusted to sit lower on my torso. It was too high waisted before and made me look oddly short in photos taken at Wondercon from the waist or mid leg up, as most photos are.
The jacket has been fitted better to my frame (let out in the shoulders, taken in at the waist).
The classic string tie has been replaced by a new one, wider, and made out of this black floral brocade fabric (black on black, but again, the texture is the key here, it really comes to life when you see it).
The cane top is the same, but the neck of the cane has been replaced. I spent a few days working on a pool cue actually to make it work as a cane. The nice thing is now it’s sectional and can come apart for easier transport.
The gloves are the same, the pocket square is the same, and my hair and makeup needed no changes in my opinion.
That’s it I think. There you have it. Exhausted yet?
Ivy: Your makeup job was certainly hard to find fault in. Personally I’m excited! I wish I could fly over to see it in person!
Anthony: Thank you, sincerely.
I love what you’ve done with your Ivy costume over the years. The leaved boots will be the envy of anyone else donning that character.
Ivy: Thank you! #fangirlsallovertheshop.
So we’ve talked about the past, the present, what do you see in the future of your cosplay career? Will we see more work on the Joker? Would you ever consider cosplaying a new character?
Anthony: I have no idea what the future holds. If there’s one thing I unfortunately lack it’s accurate foresight. As far as more work on the current Joker costume, I don’t know, it’s rare that I’m truly satisfied with creative work I’m doing, and this is one of those rare times where I really can’t think of a single thing I’m not happy with. Cosplaying a new character is something that actually frightens me a bit, haha. The reason I always kind of avoided cosplaying in the past is because I know myself, and that said I know that I would completely immerse myself in a project and end up spending all of my spare time (and money) on it. This is what happened with the Joker. It’s been a blast working on it, and it’s all been worth while, but at the same time I JUST finished it all in the last few days after months of work, and I’m exhausted, and broke, lol. So who knows? If I find another character I feel a strong connection to and feel I could legitimately pull off (I don’t exactly have the build for Superman for example), then I don’t see why not. In time.
Ivy: Well on behalf of cosplayers everywhere, (I’m totally entitled to speak for everyone, shut up) I know we’d all love to see more from you! Your Joker is incredible, and your dedication to costume and the character is really inspiring.
Anthony: Thank you so much.
I do have one wish.
Anthony: I would love to find some way to successfully get a photo of my costume, in particular showing off the cufflinks, to Brian Bolland. It was a detail unique to him, and I like to think he’d be amused, and maybe even a little impressed.
Just throwing that thought out there onto the old interweb.
Ivy: That sounds like a challenge to me, come on tumblr we got this!
If I believe in anything, it’s the power of geeks on the internet. Well Anthony, thanks so much for taking the time to give us a little insight into your brain and your amazing costume!
Anthony: Thank YOU. I’m honored.
Ivy: Aw, shucks.