As the avid comic book reader that I am I have my preferences in both heroines and villainesses. One of my favorites among the lady villains is Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley better known as Poison Ivy, a villain who is equally tragic, deadly and seductive. My first encounter in the world of comics with this character it was in the 36th issue of the series Secret Origins published by DC Comics in the 80’s. Later her appearances in Batman: The Animated Series made me admire her even more, but I would have to wait almost two decades to finally meet her in the flesh (or is that sheath and chlorophyll?).
The year was 2011, the place was the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the time was when I was walking through the front gardens of that building on my way to my car in the parking lot. I noticed a mysterious figure standing among the plants and stopped to look better. It was at that moment I had a vision with color and name of its own, the color was green and prominent among all the tropical flora was the most beautiful flower of them all, the young Elizabeth Castro Rivera, a name to remember.
The least I remembered at that moment was that I had met this particular cosplayer four years ago in the DCC Collectors Convention of June 3, 2007. At that time she was doing the cosplay of a character called Nana (from a Japanese manga) and I went as a moron and thought she was a rabid Metal Girl looking to buy musical memorabilia. I took a picture of her and all.
Elizabeth is a versatile young lady in Puerto Rico’s cosplay scene. She represents wonderfully both hero and villain in her cosplays while at the same time taking us on a visit to the worlds of comics, manga and anime alike.
Next we have an interview with this young cosplayer.
INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH RIVERA CASTRO
When did you discover the hobby of cosplay?
In 2007, when a friend invited me to the Pop Culture Expo event. I went with a group of Baka United, we went as Naruto. The girls dressed the version of Sexy No Jutsu and the boys as the regular characters. My cosplay was Gaara Sexy No Jutsu.
What was it that motivated you to practice this hobby? Why did you do it?
Since childhood I liked the anime genre. The cosplay for me represents another facet of being Otaku. I found interesting the idea of bringing to life fictional characters. Seeing the people welcoming me, the clean and healthy environment, all that prompted me to become a Cosplayer. For me, cosplay is nothing other than “fan service”. I do it because besides liking and living the character, the reception of the fans is the greatest motivation. The mere fact of listening to people telling me “WOW I love, is one of my favorite characters.” it fills me with great satisfaction.
Are you a fan of any particular area of entertainment (comics, anime, video games)?
I like them all! Heh, heh. I started with the anime, dragonballz watching on channel 12 with Chevy. From there I discovered the wonderful world of manga and then the comics. I love the world of DC and Marvel, but I’m partial to DC. Batman! Heh, heh. With regard to video games as a child I always had consoles, whether Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega, Game Boy, Play Station, etc.. I’ve always loved video games, I’m partial to the Mortal Kombat fighting and RPG’s, especially the action as Kingdom Hearts. Now with shooters, I suuuckk!! XD.
Do you remember the first time that you heard about Poison Ivy?
Hmm, if I remember correctly it was in the tv series of Batman: The Animated Series. Since her first appearance she captivated me. I liked how she was ladylike yet had its rough side. That combination of sensuality and lethality fascinates me.
Do you build your costumes alone or with help?
The vast majority of my costumes are constructed via teamwork, usually I do the design and someone else sews.
How did you feel the first time you put your cosplay of Poison Ivy?
The first time the first time I used it was at the Puerto Rico Comic Con 2011, for me it was an unusual feeling, because I was quite exposed. But to see the reception it had, it took away my nerves and I enjoyed it! To embody Poison Ivy was an adventure that I want to repeat!
When did you make your first appearance in cosplay? At a private activity (e.g. birthday party) or an official event (e.g. the Free Comic Book Day or convention)? In what conventions have you made cosplay appearances?
As I mentioned earlier was my first cosplay Sexy No Jutsu Gaara and it debuted on the Pop Culture Expo 2007, it was something that we made up overnight. All my costume was assembled with clothing and accessories from my closet and from a friend. I have not yet had the opportunity to attend to private activities, but if I still consider the possibility of doing so. As for the conventions that I have attended there’s the Pop Culture Expo, Puerto Rico Comic Con, Kaisen (twice), the DCC Collector’s Convention (once) and the Assemble Comix Convention 2012.
Do you use services of professional photographers?
Apart from the photographers at conventions, no. But I do have photographs that have been taken by Ernesto Javier Photography, ParLit Photography, Photography Flamethrower and any other photographer who attends conventions.
Do you have experience attending professional photo-shoot sessions?
In cosplay no, recently yes but as a civilian.
What has been the response of the public towards your cosplays?
The main answer is that I do not recognize. They say I do not look at any of them. But if you have been praised in various ways.
Have you been subject to criticism, ridicule or discrimination for being cosplayer?
No, apart from people who think this to be something childish, no.
Do you feel that your life has changed, that you’ve changed since you started doing cosplay?
I think that every event of our life is of great importance to our development. Cosplay has given me great opportunities for personal growth. I’ve met great people through it, including my current partner and great friends. Answering your question, yes, the cosplay has strengthened and helped to develop aspects of me that I didn’t know I had.