Where does Commander Comet come from? It all started at the 2001 DragonCon. One of the things DragonCon is rightly famous for is the variety and quality of the costumes worn by many of the attendees. This is not just in the costume contest (commonly known as a 'Masquerade' at sci-fi conventions) but through out the venue. You are just as likely to see an absolutely amazing costume in the hall, hotel lobby or dealers' room as you are in the Masquerade.
I've had a fondness for costuming since I was a kid making my own costumes for Halloween. Since then my costume making had been limited until the last few years, when I started attending Renaissance Faires. This has reawakened my interest. Fortunately, Liana shares an interest in costuming. One of the things that shared interest led to was our Renaissance Faire wedding, in 'garb' (as the ren folk call their costumes). Well, to get back to the story, we wore our ren faire garb at DragonCon this year, but there are so many people in medieval costumes that it's hardly noticed, and it did seem drab compared to a lot of the sci-fi themed costumes. I started thinking that I would like to make a sci-fi costume to wear to DragonCon next year. On the drive home from Atlanta that grew into an idea about doing a Rocketeer style costume. What sparked that exactly, I can't say. It just seemed like something I could do and that I would enjoy wearing. Liana had long been talking about wanting to be a blue alien with antenna, something like the Andorians from the original Star Trek. We combined the ideas to create a 1950's Saturday morning TV show scenario that included a jet-pack wearing hero, similar to Commando Cody, and his alien female companion, similar to Tonga in Space Patrol.
I started working on my costume right away. Some things, like the ray gun, I could make from model parts I had on hand. Other things, like the leather jacket and helmet, had to be found. I found both those items in thrift shops while on a business trip to Colorado Springs. Amazingly, both a vinyl bomber jacket and a hard plastic bicycle helmet were had for $2 each. The jacket was usable as purchased. The helmet took far more work than I anticipated to turn into the finned and goggled helmet of a jet-pack flyer. I decided it would be cool to have the costume finished in time to wear at our local science fiction convention, Con*Stellation, held the weekend before Halloween, so that became my deadline. I did finish it (and won 'Best Costume' in the Masquerade at the con). I also wore it for Halloween of course. It was complete enough for those events, but I was not entirely satisfied with the finish so I am reworking parts of it.
Liana was working on her costume at the same time. With her heavy school load, she didn't get hers done in time for Con*Stellation, but she did have it finished for Halloween and was the hit of the party.
Naturally, I couldn't leave it at that. My writer's instincts couldn't help but find a story for our characters, and my modeling side is building scale models of the Antares, which will appear on this site sometime in the future.
Well, that's the story, so far. It's been a lot of fun and it's not finished. We haven't even been back to DragonCon yet.
Back to the Commander Comet homepage.
All text, illustrations, photographs and design are © 2001-2002 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted.