A Letter to My Dog, Half Pint

This last year may have been the worst one of my life, but at least I've got the world's two greatest dogs by my side to help me stagger into 2018. Today's post features a letter to Half Pint. Benjamin will be getting a letter later this week--he'd never let me hear the end of it, otherwise. Also, this posts features a lot of short video clips of Half Pint being silly. Since I apparently can't do anything right these days, they are exclusively shot in vertical mode. Please accept my apologies (and cut me some friggin' slack).

Internet Celeb of the Month: Freddie Nova

Ever since I started reading comics back in middle school, one of my all-time favorite characters has been Venom. While many old school Spider-Man fans may have scoffed at his ridiculous origin story and power set, I was a child of the 90's, which meant that when it came to Spider-Man's rogues gallery (which is the best in all of comics), the alien symbiote was #1 in my book.

Venom has had many hosts over the years, which comes with the territory when you're a parasitic interstellar life form that also has severe emotional issues. So when I heard that "some really hot blond chick" had done the most amazing Venom cosplay photo shoot imaginable, I was a bit skeptical.

Now don't get me wrong; like most male comic book fans (or most males in general), I have no problem with attractive women dressing up as comic book characters. But when it we're talking about serious cosplay (the art of really dressing up like fictional characters in the most accurate way possible) like Adam Jay of Super Hero Photography does, this set up just didn't seem right.

Except for a few one-off stories (and some of my own terrifying fever dreams), the Venom symbiote was not bonded with a female host...so how could a female do a photo shoot of this character that so many people were raving about...and not just because it was a "sexy" version of it, but a truly great one?

One look at the amazing that work Adam Jay did with model Freddie Nova easily answered that question.

...the heck? I though the bottle said "no scrubbing needed!"


Still wanna ask for my phone number now, Nancy Boy?

You can check out the rest of the photo shoot (including poor Fred trying to break free of the symbiote) here. Go ahead...I'll wait...

Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. But someone on Facebook didn't think so; they continually reported the images from the shoot as being obscene, which caused Adam Jay's photography Facebook page to almost get shut down entirely.

Now if you've ever been on Facebook for any length of time outside of your circle of friends (or maybe inside of it if you run with a particularly raunchy crowd), you know that these photos fall far short of anything that Mr. Zuckerberg's company would consider "obscene"...except for maybe being obscenely awesome.

This was clearly being done by someone that had a problem with Freddie, Adam Jay, or Venom.

"BLEH! Carnage is the best you glory hogging has-been!"

Fortunately for everyone that loves freedom and justice, the act of one spiteful person (or symbiote) set off a massive Streisand Effect, which catapulted the already popular photos to new heights.

Like many people, I became a fan of Freddie's work after the Venom shoot, so I decided to ask her about doing an interview. Because she's awesome, Freddie agreed.

RBC: How long have you been doing cosplay and what got you into it?

Fred: Well, technically before the word cosplay existed.

But initially, I was just a fangirl dressing up for the fun of it. When I was 14 & dyed my hair black/wore black, I would paint a swirl under my eye like Neil Gaimen's Death, (with red hair and 3 tear drops for Dawn).

Then at age 17, I spent 10 months frying my hair white & made my first full costume: My forever favorite, Brian Pulido's Lady Death

I only went comic-con crazy in the last half decade, though.

 The cold embrace of death...is actually kind of hot.

RBC: You make almost all of your own costumes, correct? 

Fred: I do make most of them, but my methods are pretty unconventional. 

I recycle & repurpose found objects and tailor & hem, but don't care to sew every inch from scratch. I also sculpt, but don't do much molding. 

I wield more power tools than a needle and I own more adhesives than most humans know exist. Inexpensive foam is my best friend. 

2013, however, will be the first year I wear some commissions to show love to some of the artists I respect.

RBC: Was there a guide or mentor who helped you learn how to do make them, or do you teach yourself through trial and error? 

Fred: Definitely trial & error.

But I do learn about products & methods a lot by just talking to other cosplayers at cons. Viewing their progress on Facebook & online tutorials have been a GARGANTUAN learning tool.

RBC: When you heard about the Venom photo shoot, what made you travel all the way to Miami do it? (Which obviously turned out to be a good decision)

Fred: Funny thing about that; I didn't actually fly to Miami specifically for the Venom shoot. 

I was in between Comic Cons (I attended 11 of them in 2012). I had only just met Adam Jay at Wizard Philly in June & we became Facebook friends. 

I saw him post a shout out about his last week in the states when he asked if any costumers wanted to shoot. I had been having a rough week & thought it would be a fun, spontaneous thing to do. 

I only had 4 days til I got on the plane; we had already planned to shoot my Witchblade & Cyborg Supergirl. 

Then Carlos of Rage Custom Creations heard I was in town & surprised me with the Venom idea. A few days later my world was a very different place.

RBC: What was your reaction to the huge response that the Venom photo shoot received? 

Fred: I curled up in the fetal position & sucked my thumb ;) 

Ummm, I really did not come programmed to handle all that. We were all mind-blown by the rapid & overwhelming reaction. 

I don't believe in the whole "fan page" shenanigans, so my personal page got swarmed & cut me off socially for a while. 

But then I finally gave in to the symbiote takeover & really love & appreciate all the positives it's brought into my life.

RBC: What was the deal with Facebook taking down one of the images repeatedly? 

Fred: Good 'ol fashion jealousy & insecurity combined with a lack of protocol on Facebook's part to monitor reported photos to confirm/deny the justification of reports. 

They just took down anything reported, which invites mass abuse & harassment from the ignorant & close-minded. Clearly it backfired, however, due the mass retaliation from fans that made it go mega-viral internationally. 

Facebook has only recently corrected this problem; an actual human now checks the photos & emails a report as to their decision.

 Cyborgs, however, can still enforce the rules if needed.

RBC: Has the success of the Venom shoot translated into other opportunities for you? 

Fred: Oh yeah, now I'm a genius-playgirl-billionaire-philanthropist <sarcasm>. 

Well...nothing extreme...I mean I get to do these sweet interviews! :D 

And I now work with Superhero Photography by Adam Jay & I'm also a product on comic merchandise like calendars, posters, prints, t-shirts, cell phone covers, etc.

Makes for a great protective case...until it starts eating your phone.

...which is still seems very silly to me.  Mostly I've just gained some fantastic friendships through it.

RBC: Have you ever been asked to be used as a sketch model for a comic cover (or everything that Greg Land draws)?

Fred: (Oh...ouch on the Land burn, sir). Indeed, but that had occurred well before Venom. You meet so many talented artists at cons that I've occasionally been asked to take pics in a certain pose for reference. 

This year I was on a limited edition Lady Death cover that came out this past August.  

Hopefully one of my Adam Jay pics will be on a May cover this year, as well.
I was also asked to do a more horror oriented comic cover for an independent publisher called XES

RBC: Since you are a cosplay model that actually reads comics (one of the many reasons that you're awesome), what are some of your favorite series that you are reading right now? 

Fred: The only comic that I actually stay current with is Lady Death. These days you won't see me in the comic shop on a Wednesday night; with all the stuff I collect, there is no room for long boxes. 

So what I do instead is pick up Graphic Novels for $5-$10 at Half-Priced Books, cons, & flea markets, which means that I am always all over the place with what I read. 

Right now I'm reading Thunderbolts & Witchblade: Redemption.

RBC: One thing that really stood out about the Venom shoot was how visually striking it is.

A lot of female cosplay tends to consist of a hot chick wearing a slightly modified outfit or just portraying the "sexy Halloween costume" version of various fictional characters.

...which Fred can also totally pull off if needed

But much of your work has a real dramatic edge to it that jumps out from the page/computer screen. 

Does that come naturally to you? Have you ever wanted to do something more with it in an acting role or short/fan films?

Fred: Nope, I have never had delusions of grandeur. 

Since I was 2 I knew I would work with animals. I fulfilled that goal immediately once I reached adulthood (& started my own pet grooming service) & have no complaints.
Nerd does comes naturally to me, though...& an acute photographic memory doesn't hurt either when posing

RBC: Speaking of "looking good", do you have a workout routine or specific diet you adhere to to keep yourself in such great shape? 

(And if you say it's just genetics, I swear I will through my computer across the room...).

Fred: Haha, damn I hate answering this question cause I sound like a douche! 

Trust me it's not genetics. But I am hyper active, therefore my metabolism is above average. Weightlifting dogs for a living & constant home improvement projects also help. 

When I do need to tone I swear by my infra-red sauna, Ab Coaster machine, & Thigh Rocker; it's all about the right equipment for needed target areas.

Eating fellow cosplayers makes for a healthy diet, as well.

RBC: You have A LOT of tattoos (which are very cool looking in my "don't have any tattoos myself" opinion). Any stories behind some of them that you want to share?

Fred: They all mean something, so that would be a long tale to tell. 

My sleeves are Mythology based; I've always been fascinated by their origins. The Dracula sleeve reminds me of my teen years (obsessed with vampires).  

The other is a Pan themed sleeve: A god of forest & mischief commonly confused with the devil as well as an old Peter Pan theater poster to remember my old comic shop Lost Boys. 

My upper back & legs are covered in comic characters & 80s toys & movies I loved growing up. 

 What better way to wish your loved ones a Merry Christmas
than with Batman glaring down at them from your right leg?

I've collected weapons since I was little, so I have 2 cutlass swords on my stomach; one with a phoenix engraved in it & a woman figurehead for hilt, the other with a skeleton hilt & engraved pirate ship-- "To rise above in life is to sail fearless into death."

Wanna hear the deep/meaningful story behind my ass tattoo??..."I'm moonin' the world!" 

I drank pretty heavily that year :D 

RBC: Have your tattoos every caused you to miss out on a modeling/cosplay opportunity?

Fred: More like Cosplay has stalled my ink, especially because I frequently bodypaint.  

Obviously I am limited with pro photogs (with skin showing costumes) that want me to look like the real deal, but the ink is a major part of who I am & a prissy model I am not. 

You have to either accept "Freddie Nova as <insert character>," or move along so I don't high kick yer face.

RBC: I remember reading somewhere that Huntress is your favorite comic book character.  

What draws you to Helena Bertinelli? (Or Helena Wayne, if you prefer to be current).

Fred: Bertinelli all the way. 

I am very prone to favoring characters with dual personalities who internally quarrel with themselves over what is wrong or right & declare their own form of justice. 

Basically I like heroes with good intentions, but dark thoughts.

RBC: Time for a very cliche questions that I'm sure every cosplay chick with tattoos gets (even if it does make you want to punch me in the nuts). 

Harley Quinn--will you ever be bringing her to life? 

Fred: Do I look like a sidekick to you!?! I'm nobody's puppet! :P  

Actually I think Harley's outfits are super fun & know many Harley cosplayers that nail it. I could never do the character justice like they do.

RBC: Does cosplay bring in any income for you, or is it purely a labor of love?

Fred: I might work a booth here or there, but I wouldn't consider it income since I never make close to what I loose taking off from my real job. I just consider it helping out a friend. 

Cons are my Neverland and I have the time of my life at them. Once you make it business, it sucks all the fun out of it. 

RBC: You've said before you that you refuse to make a Facebook fan page...which seems a bit odd since you have a lot of fans. 

Why won't you make one so that we can shower you with adoration (and your personal Facebook page can stay free of creepy folks)?

Fred: Cause I'm not famous! 

Why should I have fans instead of friends? I mean sure, I'm cooler than the average blonde, but I'm not commissioning costumes, selling anything to gain business, or trying to work the con circuit. 

I'm just not that desperate for attention I guess & I'm set in my ways. I like social networking, but I want to keep it personal. 

I encourage anyone to subscribe (just not to send a friend request if I don't know them) & I will always respond to Personal Messages on costuming or con advice.

RBC: Does anyone every recognize you out and about (when you're wearing normal clothes and not covered in liquid latex and/or body paint)?

Fred: Oh, you think I have a life? That's just shenanigans, sir!

RBC: You also have a successful pet grooming business; how did that start?

Fred: I always wanted a career with animals, but changed my mind at 16 about going to vet school; I had to seek out another route that didn't involve them suffering & dying. 

I came across a school for it, got my learn on, & been shavin' ass & goin' home smellin' bad ever since! It's pretty awesome.

RBC: Any future projects on the horizon that you can tell us about?

Fred: I'm always working on something. 

Gonna debut as Femme Robocop for Superhero Photography at C2E2 and attend Phoenix Comic-Con for the 1st time as Femme Spawn & Armored Lady Death. 

I'm also completing my weirdest Masters of the Universe character yet & a few others characters will join the parade along the way.  

 I'm pretty curious as to what MOTU character will end up being weirder than this...

RBC: Any chance of you fighting Carnage at some point?

Fred: UGH! I WISH! I wanted a Carnage vs Venom shoot from the second I was told I would be painted up. 

Unfortunately Adam Jay did Carnage over in the UK, so it would be challenging to make that happen, at least with the same girl. 

I can easily see how to make it epic in my head too!

I think we all can, Fred.

RBC: Anything you want to say to your fans?

Fred: There's that word again ;)  

Thank you seems a bit boring, but I really do mean it. I appreciate every comic fan & person who has genuine respect for the art of costume design. 

It's not an easy hobby to get into by any means, but I strongly encourage it as an outlet to just escape the ever so serious everyday routine & remind you how much fun it is to tap your imagination & be a kid again.

Just remember that it's not competitive, it's just fun no matter what your skill set is.

Despite my insistence that she make one, Freddie Nova refuses to create a Facebook fan page...so if you're not creepy, go ahead and subscribe to her personal page here.  (The standards can't be too high since she added me).

To see more of Adam Jay's incredible work with Freddie Nova and other great cosplayers, check out his SuperHero Photography website or his Facebook fan page.

I can also be found on Twitter, although I don't pull off the liquid latex quite as well as Fred.

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