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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Breaking Hearts And Busting Heads! The Bay Area's Own The Birds of Prey Cosplay Team

Harley Quinn, Blackhawk, The Huntress Birds of Prey Costume Team
While other parts of the country seems to have a more bustling and more well-known cosplay culture, the Bay Area remains relatively quiet for some mysterious reason. So, after discovering a team of dedicated and awesome cosplayers called "The Birds of Prey" in my neck of the woods, I just had to do a feature on this local cosplay team and am truly honored to have been fortunate to do so!

On a gorgeous Saturday, I met with Raven and Blackhawk at the Heroes And Villains comic shop in downtown Pleasanton, which happens to be the cosplay team's home base. A comic shop as a cosplay team's home base, what's cooler than that? I felt very at home myself, and among the shelves of comic books and action figures, the two Birds of Prey Costume Team members generously took their time and told me more about their amazing team and dedication to cosplay.

What started out as an idea of a friend who donned the name Oracle, a group of highschool friends embarked on a mission to create a fan film long ago to honor and bring to life their favorite DC Comic characters. Making these characters leap off the pages of the comics to film never happened, but what emerged was an entirely different beast! The Bay Area's The Birds of Prey Costume Team was spawned!

Harley Quinn cosplay
Since their extraordinary origin story, the Birds of Prey Costume Team has been costuming and cosplaying at local comic conventions such as The Wondercon and comic shop events. They have become local favorites. Throughout the four years they have been together, the team has managed to have had members such as Spoiler, The Huntress, Harley Quinn, Gypsy, Robin, Power Girl, Supergirl, Black Canary, and Batgirl join their roster at one time or another.

That's pretty impressive, but what's even more more impressive is their costuming. They are major fans of the DC Comics characters they bring to life, and bring to life are the key words to their costuming mantra!

Spoiler cosplay picture - Birds of Prey Costume Team The Birds of Prey Team aspires to craft costumes that often goes beyond mere spandex. Their dedication to crafting accurate costumes also incorporates a practical, realistic and sensible approach determined by each character they aspire to realistically recreate.

After all, their website does state: We are trying to produce comic accurate costumes as if they were really fighting crime on the streets (to a point of course).

When we discussed a bit about the team's costuming style and preferences, Blackhawk added, "Bruce Wayne is a billionaire. You wouldn't see him go into a shop and buy $30 spandex to fight crime with." 

But that's not to say spandex is never used...

"It all depends on the practicality of the character," Raven added, "but we try not to use it." 

Both Raven and Blackhawk went on to mention that it would make sense for a teenage character, who would naturally be on a lower budget, to don a spandex inspired costume.

The Huntress Birds of Prey Costume Team picture
Photo by crackerjack
I happen to agree as well, and it did make sense. I understood and admired their take on cosplay, which adhered to the questions of what if these characters did leap out of the panels of comic books into reality? What would their costumes look like and what are some sensible materials would those costumes be crafted out of

The team collaborates together and collectively works on the costume crafting, and the love they have for their favorite DC Comic characters more than shows from the amazing costumes they create. Both Blackhawk and Raven pointed out that the costumes are always a work in progress and are always being modified and altered. They not only want to capture the look of the character, but the essence as well. 

Raven had been cosplaying the Teen Titans character for Halloween before the team's conception. In fact, the creator of the comic character, Marv Wolfman, actually sent someone from his booth at a comic convention to grab The Birds of Prey Costume Team member Raven to take a picture with him. If that isn't huge kudos for a cosplayer and fan, I don't know what is!

I couldn't help but be smitten by their enthusiasm and love towards comic books and the craft and art of cosplay. As Blackhawk and Raven both agreed and acknowledged, "It's taking a two dimensional art off the page and making the character three dimensional."

Gypsy cosplay picture - Birds of Prey
Photo by crackerjack
I couldn't have explained it any better, and I can't say just how immensely grateful I am that Blackhawk and Raven both took time away from their Saturday to tell me more about The Birds of Prey Costume Team and their dedication to the visual 3-D art. More than that, Raven and Blackhawk were both class acts, very accommodating, and extremely fun to be around. 

I'd also like to give a huge thank you to the mysterious Oracle for taking the time to set up the meeting between myself, Blackhawk and Raven. 

As it turns out, the team is on a sort of hiatus and actively seeking other dedicated and local cosplayers to join their super team. So, if you're in the Bay Area, love DC characters, a skilled or novice costumer interested in cosplay, don't be shy. Please visit the Birds of Prey Costume Team recruitment page and shoot them an email.

Batgirl cosplayer from Birds of Prey TeamYou too can look absolutely amazing and start Breaking Hearts And Bustin' Heads as your favorite DC Comic Character with this extraordinarily fun, eclectic, diverse, and superb team of cosplayers!

The team does have plans to attend The Big Wow Comic Fest this year on the weekend of May 18th through the 19th in San Jose. They will also be suited up this year to make an appearance at the Heroes And Villains comic shop before Big Wow on Saturday, May 4rth. Be sure to stop by and say hi at both events if you're in the Bay Area.

Oh, yes, and be sure to take pictures with this class act cosplay team. I most definitely will be. As always, I'm wholeheartedly appreciative of the dedication, effort, and funds that cosplayers undertake to bring our favorite superheroes to life and make comic conventions and collecting comics just that much more special!

For more information and pictures of the amazing Birds of Prey Costume Team, be sure to click the link above as well as check out their Facebook Fanpage.

Picture of The Birds of Prey Costume Team
Photo by crackerjack

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