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Melis Ishida Talks Cosplaying and Dance Dance Revolution Being a Good Workout

As the last remaining moments of summer begin to fade away, our cosplay interviews are just getting interesting. Hello everyone, Raven Steel here with another exclusive cosplay interview with this seasoned coser. A native-born American, she has performed countless cosplay wear going solo and with her husband for years. She‘s never one to shy away to sing a few Japanese songs in front of a crown as well as play a video game or two. And if you should challenge her to a Dance Revolution dance-off, you’re in for one hell of a surprise. She’s smart and funny and enjoys what she loves. Please give a warm and tender American welcome to Melis Ishida Cosplay Art!

Raven: Hello Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art or should I say, Mrs. M? I so do appreciate you doing this interview with me. I can only hope your fans as well as our reader will soon come to love Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art. 

Melis: Hey Raven, I appreciate you doing this interview. I can’t wait to get started.

Raven: As a tradition of mine to cosplayers to offer some words of advice, words of encouragement, or the smallest of wisdom in hopes these words will clear you a path during moments of strife. So here goes, “If you were able to believe in Santa for like 8 years, then you can believe in yourself for like 5 minutes”!

Now with that being said, if you would be so kind and tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Melis: My name is Melis Ishida. I’m 35 years old, am Italian – American living in the United States of America! My eyes and hair are brown (boring I know), and I’ve been married for 10 years. I enjoy cosplaying with my husband and 2 brothers. My favorite convention is Anime Expo! I guess the only special secret talent I have is singing in Japanese. Am I any good at it? My husband says I am but I think he’s obligated to say that.

I’m 5’ 2”, so I’m pretty damn short and a Sagittarius. I know phrases in Japanese, French, and Italian, but I specifically know a lot of Italian cuss words from my parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) 

Raven: What does Melis Ishida do to keep herself in shape? 

Melis: To stay in shape I play a LOT of Dance Dance Revolution (I have an actual arcade unit!) which is great for cardio and muscle confusion. I’ve also use weights to do some light strength training and watch my portions. If I want to eat something ‘BAD’ or ‘UNHealthy’, I’ll eat it, I just make sure not to eat the entire thing!  

Raven: Do you a favorite drink/food or something to makes you satisfied and happy? 

Melis: My favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs and I love Coca Cola! Snack wise I LOVE cheddar and sour cream ruffles. One time I ate an entire family size bag and cried; it was great. 

Raven: Have a favorite Comic, Anime, Manga, graphic novel book you like to read or watch?

Melis: My favorite anime is Digimon season 1! Manga wise I LOVE Fushigi Yuugi and X/1999

Raven: Were you a shy or outgoing girl growing up?

Melis: I was always pretty outgoing for the most part growing up but I’m pretty shy if I’m around new people. It takes me a while to get comfortable but once I do, I’ll never shut up so you’ve been warned. 

Raven: How did you overcome it?

Melis: I overcame my shyness by just not caring what anyone thinks about me. Cosplay has also helped to make me feel more confident, I mean have you seen some of my costumes? Can’t be shy in some of them! 

Raven: What got you started into cosplaying? 

Melis: I got into cosplay when a friend invited me to an anime convention. My brothers and I would mess around making ‘costumes’ at home with stuff we had in our closets. Eventually, we learned there were a lot of people doing the same and they all gathered at these things called conventions. Once I went to that convention in costume, I just knew cosplay was something I HAD to do. It was so cool and unique and fun! 

Raven: What was your first cosplay character? What’s your most favorite cosplay outfit to wear?

Melis: The first real cosplay I ever made on my own was Rukia from Bleach. It was SO bad, but everyone knew who I was so that was good! 

Raven: What’s your most favorite cosplay outfit to wear?

Melis: My favorite cosplay to wear is a tie between Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2 and Sarah from Labyrinth. I just have so much fun as Sora and I feel SO elegant and beautiful as Sarah. Thankfully my fans are wonderful. They’re pretty respectful and understanding and I rarely get a troll or pervert, though I have had a few leave me some nasty inbox pictures. They are promptly reported and banned asap. 

Raven: Do fans offer suggestions to cosplay or do you decide yourself?

 Melis: I’m very picky about who or what I cosplay. I enjoy getting suggestions from people. The outfit of Tharja was suggested by my husband, and LOVE cosplaying her!) so it does help give me ideas, but at the end of the day, I prefer to decide who or what I’ll cosplay. It’s just easier for me.

Raven: As a young and beautiful woman, does the size of a woman matter in cosplay? 

Melis: I honestly don’t think height, weight, bust size, etc should limit or prevent you from cosplaying who you want. I do think it helps if you want to be as identical to the character as possible. Obviously, most anime characters are super unrealistic so you’ll never be 100% accurate but if you have similar looks (height, weight, etc) then it might make you feel a bit more confident in pulling them off. 

Raven: What sort of places or locations do you prefer to show off your cosplay outfits? 

Melis: I enjoy just wearing my costumes at conventions. It’s a bit awkward waltzing around town in something super revealing or a 20+ pound bridal gown. Parks are always nice but again, it gets a bit awkward having to explain what you’re doing there and why. I think all cosplayers suffer for their art to some extent. 

Raven: Do you suffer for your artistry when you are doing a cosplay photoshoot?

Melis: For one, our feet are dead after 8+ hours in heels or crazy shoes, not to mention most costumes are super uncomfortable. And let’s not forget how fun it is wearing a wig all day! But in the end, it’s worth it, at least to me anyway! 

Raven: What do you prefer doing indoor or out shots? 

Melis: I love doing outdoor photos because they make for great backgrounds but it can again be awkward or the lighting could be wrong and the weather acts up. In the end, indoor photoshoots are a lot easier to deal with since I have control over the lighting and such. 

Raven: How easy or difficult when doing makeup for a character?

Melis: Make up wise is not too difficult. I do my makeup pretty much the same each time, though will adjust my cat-eye eyeliner accordingly. The only time I mix it up is when I’m cosplaying as a male character, which means no lipstick and less eyeliner. I try to avoid body paint altogether as it’s just too messy and frustrating to work with

Raven: Do you own personal Tattoos? 

Melis: I am currently tattoo-free. 

Raven: Are you happy with what you do? 

Melis: I am very happy cosplaying the way I do and hope it will continue to bring me joy in the future as I get better and better at it! 

Raven: Have people recognized you at conventions and has anyone offer you any gifts? 

Melis: I’ve only met 2 or 3 people who recognized me at conventions, so I’ve never really received any gifts. 

Raven: What is the first thing people notice you when they meet Melis Ishida for the first time? 

Melis: The first thing everyone seems to notice about me when they first meet me is my eyes. When I first met my husband, he said my eyes reminded him of Alita’s from Battle Angel Alita (what an amazing compliment)! I also get lots of compliments about them. 

Raven:  Do you do other things besides cosplay? 

Melis: Besides cosplay, I like to game when I have time (which is never!) and specifically Minecraft or old school games on PlayStation 1 and 2 or Nintendo, Sega, etc. I’m not too big a fan of newer video games. I also like to draw and write as well as go for walks.

Raven: Lewds/Only Fans photos? Is it something you, yourself, are interested in doing?

Melis: I plan to make Only Fans site, but I have no plans to go lewd or nude. I also want to start selling prints and art! I think Lewd photography is great. I don’t consider my work to be lewd, but others have said otherwise…so maybe I do lewds but less lewd-ish? Is that a thing or a word? I say if you’re hot and confident, then go for it! It’s a great new take on cosplay as a whole.

Raven: Overall, should cosplayers offer Lewds as artistry or shock value? Or give want fans want? 

Melis: I think the only downside is it can get pretty repetitive as there are so many cosplayers doing lewds and such now, it seems difficult to keep it fresh and unique. I also think lewd cosplay gets a bad name and it seems a lot of fellow cosplayers are not too fond of it. I get it and if it’s not your thing then just don’t do it or follow cosplayers who do. I control all of my photos and what I post. 

Raven: Was there ever an unusual request made from a fan wanting to see you in? If so, what? 

Melis: I don’t mind taking requests or my fans giving me ideas of what they want to see but, in the end, I’m going to do what makes me feel comfortable. I haven’t got any strange requests from fans. I do get the occasional troll or pervert asking for nudes. They are promptly blocked. 

Raven: Is there any profit to be made making Lewd shots? 

Melis: There is a market for lewds and cosplay in general. I think it’s a great way to help support cosplayers and artists so they can keep doing what they love. 

Raven: What sort of new characters are you interested in doing soon? 

Melis: Some characters/cosplay my husband and I will be working on in the future are Deelit and Parn from Record of Lodoss War, Selphie and Irvine from Final Fantasy 8, and Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle. One personal cosplay I must do for sure next year is Cheza from Wolf’s Rain; it’s been a dream cosplay for a long, long time! 

Raven: How long does it take to make a character outfit? 

Melis: Creating cosplay is pretty time-consuming. Some costumes we purchase from costume sites, which usually means mild alterations which can take a few hours or a few days. Costumes that involve armor can take weeks, sometimes months! The same goes for wigs! It just depends on the costume and character. 

Raven: Does a character you portray a reflection of your personality or is your personality a reflection of the character? 

Melis: I honestly don’t think any characters I cosplay reflect my personality, but if I had to pick one that was close to my personality it would be Aeris Gainsborough from Final Fantasy 7. I don’t usually make my cosplay decisions based on my personality, it usually is based on the overall look of the character and has to be a character I like or have an interest in! 

Raven: When not in front of a camera, what does Melis Ishida do in her spare time?

Melis: Spare Time….? What’s that? Seriously, I am always busy. My friends can vouch for me! I’m always doing something; reading, writing, playing Dance Dance Revolution, going out shopping, or spending time with my family. I rarely have any free time though.

Raven: Is there anything you love to collect? 

Melis: I’m a huge collector of anime and video game stuff! I also have a pretty big manga collection as well. If I’m outdoors I’m usually at the park on the swing set! I can listen to my iPod and swing for HOURS! I’m very easily entertained! 

Raven: Is there any place Melis would love to travel and visit for a photoshoot?

Melis: If I could travel anywhere for photoshoots, I would say Italy and Japan. They have so many gorgeous places! 

Raven: Due to the Pandemic, public events have been postponed until further notice. What would you love to see come back? 

Melis: I would love to see anime conventions come back ASAP! I know a lot of people and cosplayers are depressed and upset not to mention have little to no motivation to work on new costumes since there aren’t any places to show them off. It’s also hard not to be able to meet up with friends or having anything to look forward to other than working. 

Raven: What sort of advice or words of wisdom you can offer new cosplayers out there?

Melis: For any new cosplayers my main advice would be; start small and do what makes YOU comfortable. Also, decide if you’re doing this just for fun or if you want to make it big. Granted, you will more or less never make it big like a Jessica Nigri, but you can still get your name out there it’s just going to take work. If you do plan to go big (or even stay small) realize cosplay takes a LOT of time and money, especially if you want to make a good costume with good materials. 

Just take your time and work on 1 or 2 costumes at a time so you don’t get burnt out or overwhelmed. I would also say invest in some photography equipment like lights, a backdrop, tripods, etc so you can get better quality pictures. Lastly, just be yourself. Don’t go out there trying to replace another cosplayer or recreate what they do. 

Definitely use them for inspiration or advice (most of us are pretty friendly) and inspiration, but do things that make your own work unique Ex. unique eye makeup or jewelry, etc. And of course, just have fun. Cosplay is meant to be a FUN hobby. It can get frustrating and overwhelming, so take breaks often and focus on how much fun it’s going to be wearing that costume at your next anime convention!

Raven: That’s it. It’s in, “Tha Books”! Thank you so muck Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art for your wonderful interview. 

Melis: The same to you, thank you. I really enjoyed it. 

Raven: If I could ask you one more question, where can our readers get more of Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art?

Melis: Not a problem, they can go to the following sites for more of Little ol’ Me!

My Facebook page. My Instagram page.

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please Love!

This has been a Raven Steel interview.

Wall Street’s Fearless Girl Gets a Wonder Woman Upgrade

While the origin and purpose of Fearless Girl might be debated about, the Wall Street statue has taken on a life of its own acting as a symbolism of strength. Brooklyn resident Don Phelps has taken that to the next step adding Wonder Woman’s tiara to the statue making it a little more badass.

Comic Art Sale to Benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Dynamic Forces CEO Nick Barrucci is opening up some of his personal art collection to the public! It’s one-of-a-kind, original pieces of comic book art from some of the industry’s top names, including Tom Raney, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, and Patrick Zircher! These pieces include pages from some of your favorite books, including The Outsiders, The Punisher, Uncanny X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Order, Robin, and more!

Barucci has been a fan of art collecting for many years, and has been picking up pieces for the past 30 years. This has led him to build up a collection of over 400 pages of art. While he contemplated selling off parts of his collection through art houses, he decided to offer it directly to fans.

Even better, part of all the sales benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The CBLDF is a non-profit organization who provides legal aid, education, and advocacy to protect the First Amendment rights of the readers, creators, retailers, publishers, and librarians of comics, manga, and graphic novels.

While orders will be randomly filled, it will be per artist.  Fans can order Mark Bagley pages and/or Patrick Zircher pages and/or Tom Raney and Scott Hanna pages.  Each random page will be available at $75.00 plus shipping and handling.

You can order art from Tom Raney and Scott Hanna here.

You can order art from Mark Bagley here.

You can order art from Patrick Zircher here.

Are Comics Highbrow or Lowbrow?

Originally posted at The Mass MediaCross-posted with their permission.

WWAristophanes wrote raucous comedies. De Troyes, Shakespeare, and Dante wrote in their vernaculars. Mozart wrote operas, Beethoven symphonies. Georges Méliès made fantastic science fiction films, and hundreds of men and women participated in the pulp magazine fiction craze of the early twentieth century.

All of these creators wrote, composed, and filmed classics — at least in retrospect. The powers that be found them vulgar, shocking, outrageous, made for the uneducated masses; in a word: lowbrow. For most media consumers living in the twentieth century, comic books embodied the artistic opposite of high culture.

Comics of the early twentieth century were consumed in large part by children. Creators of the 1940s like Bob Kane and William Moulton Marston, now heralded inventors of Batman and Wonder Woman, wrote for children. Marston, in fact, wrote in “The Family Circle” in an article entitled “Don’t Laugh at Comics” that comics had enormous educational potential for children. Accordingly, he created Wonder Woman to serve as a role model for young girls. Meanwhile characters like Batman’s Robin and Captain Marvel (the adult, superheroic alter-ego of teenager Billy Batson) served as the literary selves of adolescent readers.

Though Kane and Marston were, in a sense, writing for children, Marston also recognized that comics are for everyone! In a 1944 article entitled “Why 100,000,000 Americans Read Comics” Marston argued that half of this number was adults. If this were the case, he asked, “Can it be that 100,000,000 Americans are morons?” He suggested instead that comics’ combination of word and picture triggered a primitive sensation that satisfied the mind in an emotional way that transcended notions of high or low art. Marston’s words do not hold up today — after all, his comparison of comics to cave paintings and pre-literate societies is absurd — but its contemporary essence remains: comics are a separate art-form with its own standards, and they are not only for kids.

Still, comics’ trite dialogue and gaudy images led many to believe they were for children, while some sought through statistical analysis to show that comics boasted a vast vocabulary that could improve language faculties. Education theorists went back and forth over the issue of whether to indulge comics as an educational apparatus or leave them out of the classroom.

Today the comic book industry, like the literati and artists attempting to create literary, filmic, and other artistic classics in the present, is not a faultless cultural producer. Unlike other industries, the comics industry produces at an intensely fast rate, with some creators drawing thirty to sixty pages or writing three times that many pages of comic book script per month. Not surprisingly, comic books are sometimes the victim of inattentive editors, overworked writers, and underpaid artists.

BoyReadingComics copy

In fact, when the medium is so little guarded that editors at companies like Dynamite routinely make major mistakes — like printing and shipping 75,000 copies of a sold-out, much-anticipated comic (Red Sonja #1) without crediting an artist, and instead labeling the artist the writer — it’s no wonder that literary snobs and highbrow art consumers look upon comics as a field of indigent wannabes towered over by the rare talents of Neil Gaiman (Sandman) or Art Spiegelman (Maus).

Luckily, the sort of major editorial mishaps quite prevalent at Dynamite tend not to occur at the Big Two (or Image and Dark Horse, for that matter) since they are subject not only to greater market demands, but also to their shareholders in the boardrooms of the Walt Disney (Marvel) and Time-Warner (DC) corporations.

In 2013 it is rare for passersby to be hostile toward comics readers or to look negatively on adults reading comics (within certain constraints; for example, a large, pimply, bearded fella reading Aquaman might not be a welcome neighbor on the T due to obvious biases). It’s doubtful any but the most conservative of parents would eschew their children reading a comic book.

This change toward the acceptance of comics is not so much a reflection of comics themselves, but is instead a general cultural confusion about comic books’ status as highbrow or lowbrow entertainment. Today’s literati are more concerned with reality television, electronic dance music, Miley Cyrus, and text messaging than comic books — at least comics are reading material!


Additionally, comics are relatively invisible in the highbrow/lowbrow distinction because of the widespread cross-class and cross-gender appeal of superhero films and their recognized value in contemporary cinema. The problem of placing comic books in a hierarchy of entertainment has been erased in the same way that early critiques of Harry Potter as promoting witchcraft no longer seem valid.

Comics, after all, can be found in high school classrooms in their more respectable format, the graphic novel, and their filmic counterparts are the recipients of Academy Awards. The cultural critics, in other words, have moved on from comics to less easily defended prey.

Positioned between high and low art, comics today are what literary historian Peter Swirski calls “nobrow,” meaning that they appeal simultaneously to both aesthetics. While you can find comics on high school and university syllabi or winning literary awards, comic books remain just as awkwardly placed in the cultural hierarchy as their nerdy readers in the social hierarchy.

After all, you can read Maus and Persepolis with your tea-and-crumpet book club or write a term paper on Watchmen in your senior seminar, but still hear a laugh track mocking The Big Bang Theory protagonists for having a comic book collection.

Andy Warhol’s Batman/Dracula

Comicx-X-Aminer has this very interesting post dredging up Andy Warhol‘s Batman/Dracula movie.  The movie was started in 1964 without DC Comics‘ approval and featured Gregory Battcock (Batman), David Bourdon, Rufus Collins, Baby Jane Holzer (Catwoman), Mark Lancaster, Gerard Malanga, Ivy Nicholson, Mario Montez, Ondine, Jack Smith (Dracula) and Naomi Levine.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 4:

Part 5:

I couldn’t find anything marked Part 3….


This Tuesday, March 6: “The Longest Unemployment Line In The World”

Artists to create
The Longest Unemployment Line In The World

This Tuesday, March 6th, over 5,000 people will gather in NYC to form the longest unemployment line in the world. The project, entitled “The Line” will stretch nearly 3 miles through New York,  from Bowling Green along Broadway up to Union Square, and hold its position for 14 minutes – 1 minute for each million unemployed Americans.

Whether you are unemployed, underemployed, or underpaid please join us in creating this visually stunning, public statement to demand the following:

– Greater public investment in good jobs: Demand congress pass strong jobs creation bills. Jobs first! Deficits second.
– Pass a tax increase on the 1%, then put that money towards creating jobs and reducing the deficit
– Corporations must stop outsourcing jobs and laying off US workers at a time when both profits and executive bonuses are at an all time high.

Join The Line!

DATE: Tuesday, March 6 (Super Tuesday)
TIME: Morning, 8:14 – 8:28am
LOCATION: Broadway, from Bowling Green to Union Square

To find out how participate, go to: http://theline2012.wordpress.com

Or find us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/260930897301189/

twitter: #theline2012

“If all 14 million jobless Americans formed a single unemployment line, it would stretch unbroken around the borders of our entire country (from Portland, Maine to Seattle Washington to San Lucas, California, to Miami, Florida and back to Portland),” said Kristin Marting, Artistic Director of HERE, one of the Line’s organizers. “The Line will remind Congress and Corporations about their responsibility to put America back to work. Creating jobs is the key to a productive America.”

THE LINE is being organized by artists and activists from HERE and Working Theater and with organizations as varied as the Arts & Democracy Project, BAAD!, Construction and General Building Laborers’ Local 79, CVH Action, the Civilians, CWA Local 1180, Dance New Amsterdam, DC37, Democracy for NYC, Dixon Place, Downtown Community Television, Fourth Arts Block, Foundry Theatre, National Jobs for All Coalition, National Organization of Women – NYC, New Georges, New York America, New York City Central Labor Council, New York Immigration Coalition, New York State Immigration Fund, Occupy Astoria LIC, Occupy Wall Street, Peculiar Works Project, Professional Staff Congress, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, Teamsters Local 814, Theatre for a New City, United NY, Workers Defense League, and Workers United. With additional support from ArtIsMyOccupation.org

A Look At Black History Through Art

Official Press Release


Are You a History Buff or Even Someone Interested in Making a Difference in This World?

Get a Teacher to Enter you in our Human Rights Art Contest

February 18th

Get published & your work could become a part of art history!
Team up with the Creators of “Echoes of the Lost Boys of Sudan” & The Professor of Cartoon Art and produce a Human Rights Graphic Novel.

Tell Your Teacher to Attend the Human Rights/Art Workshop

February 18th 10:00am to 1:00pm

at the TVAA Gallery Suite G-207 in the Plaza of Americas Building
Plaza of the Americas

700 N. Pearl Street

Dallas, Texas

Contest is open to students Grade 5 through Graduate Level Art Students.
There will be Bronze, Silver & Gold (open) Divisions.

 Each division winner will have a chance to be part of our next production &

will receive a piece of Black Comic Book History Art from the esteemed collection of

Comic Book Historian Professor William H. Foster lll
Contest ends May 20th, 2012 & Art from the Contest Will be on Display at The TVAA Gallery for the Entire Month of August 2012.

New Occupy Site ArtIsMyOccupation Launches!

Gan Golan announced yesterday the launch of ArtIsMyOccupation a great concept to get social conscious artists involved and making it easier to do so.

ArtIsMyOccupation (AMO) is a project founded by artists and for artists who are involved in Occupy and other movements for Economic Justice. Our sole mission is getting artists who are working on the front lines of social change the resources they need.

The site allows for collaboration and makes it easier to find things like grants.

Have a great idea for a project? Apply for a grant.
Want to collaborate other Occupy artists or campaigns? Get Connected
Want to see what upcoming mass actions to create work for? Get inspired

They are now accepting applicants for the first round of grants. Visit their website for more information.

Find AMO online:

Be sure to JOIN so they can update you about ongoing opportunities to receive support. Also, anyone can donate to the AMO Artists’ Fund, where 100% goes to the 99%.

Around the Tubes – GP Radio Aftermath

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We’ll have the first episode up in a bit, but for two out of three of us never having done internet radio, it went well.  You’ll be able to listen to it later, but while you wait, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Forever Geek – Classic Comic Books Look Stunning as Stained GlassThese are awesome.

EZ Comics – New Pictures from Holocaust Book ProjectA good example of comic books in the classroom.

Bleeding Cool – Where To Score The Best Deals On DC’s New 52?Even with these discounts, you’re still dropping three figures for them all.

Bleeding Cool – The Walking Dead Rushes SpecialLots of interesting news about the television show.

Kotaku – Sunday Comics – Kotaku each week brings various web comics.

Con Coverage:

Comicvine – The Insane Lines Of Comic-Con And Other Memories Of SDCC 2011

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – American Vampire #17

Geek Syndicate – Devil’s Island

Grovel – Habibi

Seattle PI – The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti

Geekdad – Radioactive, A Tale of Love and Fallout

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