Cosplay Family Spotlight: Mutants, Maidens & Munchkins Cosplay

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Jedi, Han Solo, Rey & Luke Skywalker. Photos by https://www.facebook.com/NeitherNoir/

Cosplay is becoming more and more popular around the world and at conventions. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and personal confidence doing cosplay at conventions, and the number one reason I started was as an activity with my son. After seeing a great panel about Cosplay Families at Rose City Comic Con a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to parents and families who cosplay and spotlight them here on GeekDad!

Cosplay Family Spotlight is a new recurring segment where I interview and spotlight a cosplay family. This week, I interview Keely Graesser from Mutants, Maidens & Munchkins Cosplay.

Interested in participating? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter @billythebrick.

GeekDad:
How many members of your family are involved in cosplay?
Keely Graesser:
Myself and my three kiddos–Peter (8), Sarah (6), and Luke (4)–all cosplay. My husband doesn’t, but he’s supportive of it as long as we’re having fun! It also helps that he’s willing to stay home with the kids for the few conventions I go to without them. 😉
GeekDad:
How did you and your family get in to cosplay and prop/armor making? Did one particular member start it or did you all jump in together? What was your first cosplay?
Keely Graesser:
Kiyone from ‘Tenchi Muyo.’ Photo by Keely Graesser.

I’ve been cosplaying since 2003 when I found myself as Art Director for the convention Oni-Con in Houston. Working for an anime con inspired me to try cosplaying myself, and my first costume was Kiyone from Tenchi Muyo. I took a break for a few years when I had Peter in 2008, but soon found that the kids enjoyed conventions and wearing costumes too, so we quickly got back into doing it in 2011 or so.

Osgood & 11th Doctor photo by https://www.facebook.com/CosplayIllustrated/

Our first family group cosplay was our Doctor Who group in 2014.

GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
Keely Graesser:
Ellen Ripley, Newt, Hicks and Hudson from ‘Aliens.’ Photos by https://www.superherophotos.com/.

My personal favorite as a group is probably our Aliens costumes. Individually for me, I think it’s my Jetgirl (from Tank Girl).

‘The Walking Dead.’ Peter as Carl Grimes. Photo by Keely Graesser.

Peter’s favorite group is Animaniacs, and his individual is Carl Grimes from The Walking Dead.

Femme Ralph the guard, Yakko, Wakko & Dot Warner. Photos by https://www.facebook.com/pensepro/.

Sarah’s favorite group is also Animaniacs, and her favorite individual is her Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Luke’s favorite group is the kids’ Pokemon and his Squirtle.

GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Keely Graesser:
‘Jurassic Park/World.’ Claire Dearing, Owen Grady, Lex & Tim Murphy. Photos by https://www.facebook.com/NeitherNoir/.

We usually do a group cosplay, but it really depends on the interests of the kiddos and if they want to join. Sometimes it starts out with just one of us wanting a costume and the others decide to join in later. Like when Peter wanted to do Owen from Jurassic World and talked me into doing Claire. Then the younger two decided to do Lex and Tim Murphy from Jurassic Park to match.

Other times it’s split. I’m currently working on a “Princess Kitty Pryde” for Sarah to match my “Princess Phoenix.” Obviously, the boys don’t want to join in on that one! And Sarah doesn’t want to make a Walking Dead costume (which is KILLING me because she would rock a Lizzie so much!) with us, so she’ll likely wear her store-bought Elsa when we do those.

GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
Keely Graesser:
Ripley’s Alien Stomper boots. Photo by Keely Graesser.

My Ripley “Alien Stomper” boots are probably what I’m most proud of. I made those completely by myself (along with the boys’ Colonial Marine armor and the rest of the Aliens costumes), and it was my first time really making anything that complicated.

Lyra Erso costume is in progress. Photo by Peter Graesser!

I’m pretty partial to my Lyra Erso (from Rogue One) that I’m nearly finished with as well simply because I’ve been making it from so few reference photos that it’s proven challenging.

GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in (sewing, EVA foam, resin casting, etc.)?
Keely Graesser:
‘Mythbusters.’ Jamie Hyneman & Adam Savage. Photo by Keely Graesser.

I mostly sew our costumes. In fact, I often source clothes from thrift stores and alter them, although I’ve gotten more into sewing from scratch lately.

I’ve also used EVA foam (the Colonial Marine armor) and do quite a bit of painting on props and for details.

I also take advantage of our hugely talented local cosplay community here in DFW. Many of our props are 3D printed by local friends, Robots and Rayguns (Sean made our Han Solo and Rey blasters as well as my Black Widow belt buckle, the hardware for Peter’s Han belt, and is currently working on the comlink for my Lyra) and Chaks Productions (Charles made the “tracker” watch for my Ripley) and much of our leather work is from Leather Clad Legends (the Rey and Han Solo belts).

GeekDad:
It’s been awhile, but I used to do quite a bit of scale model building and I see a lot of similarities in techniques between small scale building and prop and armor building. Have you ever done any scale modeling or smaller scale builds?
Keely Graesser:
Jetgirl (from ‘Tank Girl’). Photo by https://www.superherophotos.com/.

No model building, no, but I do paint a lot of toys and decor for my kiddos. I’ve repainted wooden trains for them and it seems like I’m always working on custom decoration for their birthday parties and other events! Most of which is pretty geeky. 😉

GeekDad:
Most of our readers are parents and, like me, want to share their geeky interests with their kids. I’ve been doing father and son cosplay with my son since he was born. Do you have any suggestions on how parents can get their kids interested and involved with cosplay and fabrication?
Keely Graesser:
Yes! I actually run a panel at many of our local cons called “Cosplaying with Kids.” You can see the slideshow presentation in PDF format.

Kaylee Frye & “Baby” Jayne Cobb from Firefly (Peter’s “first cosplay”). Photo by Keely Graesser.

My top 3 suggestions would be let the kids pick their own costumes, simplify the costume when you can for the kids’ ease in wearing, and make the costumes LARGE so they can be worn longer.

I’m just now teaching my oldest how to make some of the costume pieces himself. He thinks it’s awesome to learn how to sew and has been working on making dice bags as a learning exercise.

GeekDad:
Something along the lines of “Being a geek isn’t about what you love but how you love it,” is sort of the new geek mantra. Do you have anything, besides cosplay, that you consider yourself a geek about?
Keely Graesser:
We’re all pretty big into comics, sci-fi, video games, and board games, but those are all pretty standard “geek” fare. As far as “outside-of-the-box” fandoms, I’d say mine is probably graphic design and typography. Peter’s is actually football (we ARE from Texas after all), Sarah’s is art and fashion, and Luke’s is turtles (not just the ninja variety).
GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at? And where can people find you online?
Keely Graesser:
Dallas Comic Show on Feb 11

All Con March 16,17, 18 (“Cosplaying With Kids” panel time TBA)

Fan Expo Dallas March 31 & April 1

Texas Frightmare Weekend May 5 & 6

Our social media links are:

Mutants, Maidens & Munchkins Cosplay Website
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