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Laurie Jupiter
Watchmen

Laurie Jupiter is a second-generation super hero. Her mother, Sally Juspeczyk (who changed her name to Jupiter for her American public) created the superhero alter-ego, Silk Spectre, a sultry crime fighter who battles villains in a yellow negligee and garter belt. She retired from crime fighting when she became pregnant, but encouraged her daughter, Laurie, to follow in her footsteps. Laurie joined the Minutemen, a masked vigilante league, as Silk Spectre II in a modern latex adaptation of her mother's costume. She fought crime for ten years before the Keene Act banned vigilantes. Laurie began a romantic relationship with Dr. Manhattan, and when that ended, found herself involved with another former masked vigilante, Night Owl (also a second-generation superhero, although not related to the original Night Owl).

In the Watchmen universe, superheros are real and everywhere, but they aren't so super. The story delves into just what kind of person would be attracted to a life of masked crime fighting, violence, and danger. As Laurie quips: "I'm used to going out at 3 in the morning and doing something stupid!" The movie version of the character wore a latex outfit, but I chose to make mine out of liquid latex, since it has rapidly become my favorite medium to work with, instead of sheet latex. The costume has 4 individual layers: The body suit, the bottoms, the black over-suit, and the pseudo-corset. Plus, of course, the thigh-high boots. I'm not sure comic artists even know how to draw women without knee-high or thigh-high spike boots. Click on the smaller images to see the full-size image.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images. Please do not steal these images. If you wish to copy these images, show these images on your own website or link to mine, please ask permission first.

I started out by creating a custom dress dummy so that I could fit and paint the costume myself. Then I bought the leotards that would serve as the basis for each piece of the costume. On each piece, I marked out the outline of what the final piece would become and I put each piece on the dummy to paint.
 
Here you can see me painting the black over-suit onto a leotard using a foam roller. I prefer the foam rollers to the foam paintbrushes because I think there are fewer brush marks, but it does add a bit of a pebbly texture to the finished product.
 
After I painted the leotard, I cut it out along the lines I painted. I find that cutting after painting works better. If you cut first, the fabric often does not lay the way it's supposed to lay. The fabric needs to be stretched out in the proper position that it will be worn in while it's being painted, and usually cutting it to the finished pattern before painting it makes it much more difficult to stretch in the appropriate ways. I blame that on the comic artists, since their costumes often have to defy gravity and physics. Adding the latex usually adds a degree of stiffness that can compensate, but if you try to paint it without the fabric being stretched, the latex usually *won't* stretch to that point, or in that way, after being painted, so it won't lay the way it's supposed to. That's kind of hard to explain, but it really does work out better this way.
 
Next I worked on the belt. I took a length of wireform mesh, which is a fine metal mesh that is usually used for things like papermache. It allows you to bend it into the base shape and then form your mold materials over it. So I took that mesh to form the belt, since the belt seemed to be bent lenghtwise along the middle and bend outwards. Then I wrapped that in silver leather, cut out the belt buckle of the same silver leather, and attached a magnetic snap to hold it closed.
 
The pseudo-corset is really just a rectangle of nude swimsuit lycra with a zipper attached. I added two strips of black leather lacing to the back to give the corset laces something to thread through, and I cut the front to accomodate a set of underwires for the bust. The zipper matches the zipper I added to the bodysuit that will be worn underneath all the other layers, and they're both a large silver zipper on black. The under-bodysuit has its own zipper in the back, but the costume has one in front and it's not invisible like the built-in zipper. So I added the costume zipper and will be using that one instead of the one in back.
 
Next, I painted the base body suit a bright yellow. The costume calls for elbow-length gloves, but when I tried to pull on elbow-length liquid latex gloves, I discovered it was impossible. They just could not be tugged up all the way up to my shoulder. So I settled for painting on the gloves over the arms and building a pair of wrist-length gloves to be latexed that would look like a single piece when all worn together. So here you can see the pencil outline and the white, unlatexed portion of the arm of the bodysuit that I will be painting black.
 
Now it was time for the black pieces. I used the technique I discovered for making the Fire Elf boots, where I took a pair of spandex footed tights, sewed an invisible zipper at the ankle, painted them up to the crotch, then cut them out to the appropriate shape at the thighs. This particular pair of boots needed to resemble thigh-high stockings attached to garters, so I cut them to a point in front that I eventually attached actual garters to.
 
Speaking of garters, the gloves were also supposed to be attached to garters. So I painted the collar and gloves on the bodysuit, and I glued a garter strap to the point of each "glove". The top of the garter strap will be hooked onto the black over-leotard layer, just as the boot garter straps will be.
 

Here is Laurie Jupiter, all put together:

More pictures of me in costume at Dragon*Con 2009 and Dragon*Con 2010

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