Darth Malgus

Darth Malgus, 2012 Comic-Con

Darth Malgus was my first real attempt at cosplay. I'm not counting Halloween costumes and various attempts at theater.

I've attended Comic-Con since 2006, which was a 50th birthday gift to myself (you do the math). Right from the start I've admired the cosplayers and considered giving it a try. I spent a couple of years tracking down cosplayers' blogs and videos, trying to get a feel for the culture. About the same time, a new MMORPG was being marketed, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Featured in the promotional animations was one bad-ass Sith named Darth Malgus. Older guy, bald, lots of armor...PERFECT!

So, in 2012 I took the plunge and started working on my Darth Malgus costume. It was beyond my skill level, but those kinds of projects are like crack to me (or meth for you Heisenberg fans).

The build took me months, and I'm fairly pleased with the results for a first costume. In future posts, I'll describe parts of the build in detail, based on whether I've got photos or something interesting to say. Also, there are several things that I'd like to change and I'll document those changes as I make them.

However, in this post I'm just going to display various photos and note some of my experiences playing the part of Darth Malgus.

These are the runners in my group for the Course of the Force

My segment consisted of a freeway underpass, so thank goodness for the bicycle cops escorting us!

My first time out as Malgus was participating in a charity run called Course of the Force. It's a benefit for the Make a Wish Foundation. Each of the participants ran (walked, really) 1/4 mile and we were encouraged to do it in costume. It took place as a pre-event  for San Diego Comic-Con 2012. I had a great time, and it really reduced my anxiety around being in a costume. Of course, everyone in the event was in a costume, which helped. But folks were very complimentary and we were all interested in each other's characters. After all, we were all pre-screened Star Wars geeks!

Next up, Comic-Con. I was still nervous about stepping out of the hotel room and waiting at the shuttle bus stop in full costume. But right from the start, I discovered that I wasn't really prepared for people's reaction. Near my hotel, there are just regular tourists, and it seemed like all of them were excited to see me, take pictures, and ask me about the character. They posed with me, had their kids pose with me, and were generally happy to see me. It was unexpected celebrity status from non Comic-Con tourists.

At the con it was even more extreme. Folks wanted to take pictures, they wanted to be in the pictures with me, and they wanted friends or family to be in pictures with me. And so all of my performer's ego came to the fore, and I became Darth Malgus, a Dark Lord of the Sith. I would fight Jedi, be defeated by younglings, pose with other Sith, and participate in cross genre encounters. I was only in costume for a few hours since I couldn't stay in the costume a whole lot more than that, but it was an amazing experience for a first time cosplayer.

I have never been able to adequately express how I felt at the Con as Malgus. It wasn't just being in character and performing; it was the feeling that people wanted me to be Malgus. That I was doing them some sort of favor. Damn, that's still not it. Suffice it to say, I wasn't just pleased with the cosplay, I was touched by the reactions, and I knew I wanted to do it again.

On the Course of the Force 2013 route

Posing for the photographer

Handing off the light saber baton to the next runner in the relay

It was a year before I brought Malgus out again, and that was for the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. I again ran in the Course of the Force just before the Con, and a couple of days later I walked the convention floor for several hours as Darth Malgus. It was another fantastic experience.

I realize that I don't have many photos of me in character. I've learned from other cosplayers that they often arrange photo shoots with photographers at the cons. Or they'll attend with friends and take photos of each other. I travel solo, and there isn't a lot of opportunity for taking "selfies" while in costume. So far, I've been happy enough with the ad-hoc photo opportunities (which is almost everything you see here), so I don't think I'll do anything different for awhile.