Hub City Public Works
Morgan Wessler's Question costume
- Morgan Wessler's
If you should happen to glance over your shoulder at a comic book convention and see a faceless man in a fedora, don't jump to the conclusion that your comics have come to life: it's probably just Morgan Wessler.
Wessler, a member of Gotham Public Works, was kind enough to let us mirror his work-in-progress log with pictures here on the site.
...I've finally got around to working on my Question costume (as created by Steve Ditko). In the latest bout of insomnia I was up last night/this morning toying with the mask design and managed to get a few quickcam pics. Note that this is a work in progress. I need to have the entire costume ready by the beginning of March for a Sandman LARP I've been invited to so expect photos of the finished suit by around mid-March.
...It's dyed cheesecloth glued down to my face with an adhesive. I got the idea from an original Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Comic strip. As it turns out this was the exact method The Blank was descried as using in the comics. Considering how well it works in real life I can't help but wonder whether Gould actually tried it himself or met someone who used the technique already.... back in 1937! I originally tried this out for a Blank costume when I was like 14, but had only tied the fabric on instead of gluing it. Glueing really seems to have improved the effect.
...And yes, I can see, speak and breath perfectly through this mask! Heck, I was even able to run up and down the flight of stairs leading to my apartment when I tried it again last night. I wouldn't try to read a newspaper at arms length or go driving wearing it, but it's a lot easier to see wearing this mask at night than it is wearing a pair of sunglasses.
As a base this is working well. The weave of the fabric is still noticeable but the features underneath are well hidden. Looking at this I know I'll have to precut the fabric rather than try to to fine tune it as I glue it down. Removing my sideburns may help things along. I'll also need to dye the fabric a few shades darker to better match my skin tone.
Going to try to find a natural fabric that has a finer weave than the cheesecloth but not so fine that it obscures vision (the main problem I had when trying to use a nylon). Making certain that the fabric is natural and not a synthetic is going to be critical when I start fine tuning the color of the fabric. Hmm. Might have to trim my eyelashes as well. Damn long dark eyelashes.
Up close and in bright light the faceless illusion breaks down since the weave of the cheesecloth is more obvious. However, at any distance beyond six feet and in low lighting the illusion becomes flawless. When I match the skin tone and improve the edge of the mask, the overall appearance will improve dramatically.
Another reason the cheesecloth is vastly preferable to a nylon or stretch synthetic is that it will easily conform to my features rather than mash them down. Note the rough edges. Again this points out the necessity of precutting the fabric before applying with adhesives. At this stage of the design I'm running with three layers of cheescloth glued down, my eyebrows flattened with spirit gum and a flat fleshtone makeup over my entire face, including the eyebrows. Improvements to the makeup under the mask may also aid in disguising any features underneath. For example, using a lighter color in the eye sockets may help hide their presence altogether.
Once again the edge is visible due to the rough cut. I'm considering cutting the edge in a controlled uneven pattern (unlike the quick job here) to prevent any hard lines between skin and fabric. Further tests will reveal if this is a good idea or not. Gonna have to work fast because this has to be finished by March 2005.
On the right is the original test of my Question mask. On the left is the finished piece complete with glued edges and cut to the exact size of my face. Also I dyed it darker than the test piece to more closely resemble my skin tone. I can see, speak and breath perfectly through both masks. The entire costume will be done Saturday.
Amazing that the mask looks as good as it does here when you take into consideration that the fedora and my facial stubble are all thats holding it in place! I'll use spirit gum to apply it tomorrow. Which reminds me, I need to shave....
Hmm. Maybe I should actually get into the whole vigilante business after all....
Well, I won't have the mythical Prussian Blue suit and fedora in time for the LARP tomorrow night but overall I'm pleased with the results. The image is just another quickcam pic. I'll have the good stuff after the game tomorrow.
Although The Endless were the stars of the game, a few costumed heroes decided to make an appearance. From left to right, Dr. Fate, The Fury, The Question and the Golden-Age Sandman.
Bleh. I'd like the pic more if the flash wasn't bouncing off the mask and ruining the illusion. And I could kick myself for forgetting to make up my ears. Knew there was *something* I'd forgotten...
Just a masked hero and a few of the Endless relaxing between scenes.
Those who have questions and wish to contact Mr. Wessler may do so by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with GPW, QUESTION or TWO-FACE (all caps) in the subject line.