Tag Archives: gothic

Meet Indonesia sensation cosplayer Vinvid Luke

Here, as we are all just staring into space and wondering when 2020 will ever show some good news from this Pandemic year and I believe I’ve found it. Vinvid Luke is a cosplayer from Indonesia and was gracious enough to allow this old report at a chance for an interview. She is cute and petite and all complete. A lover of great food and of course cosplay veteran for some years now. Her name is Vinvid Luke and she is my guest to offer sight about her life, love of cosplay, and everything in between. Please give a warning American welcome to cosplayer, Vinvid Luke.

Raven: Hello Vinvid Luke. Indonesia’s most precious gift for the world to enjoy! I really appreciate you taking your time to answer these burning question about you and your artistry.

Vinvid: Thank you for having me here. I am so looking forward to answering all your questions.

Raven: It is a tradition of mine to offer a cosplayer, who I have the pleasure of being interviewed by me, to offer some words of advice, inspiration, or encouragement. So here goes, “ My life is like a camera. It just focuses on what’s important and captures the good times. It develops from all the negatives and if things don’t work out, I take another shot”.

With that being said, please tell us all about Vinvid Luke? I’m all ears!

Vinvid: Hi everyone, my name is Vinvid Luke, I was born in Indonesia. I’ve recently cut my hair very short. I once had about a meter long hair, but drying it was a bother. So I cut it short. My eyes are brown/hazel in color. I love offering one’s fortune with tarot cards. My clients consist of friends and family who have become very loyal customers. They love to discover their luck, especially when it comes to finding their soulmate. Haha! What sort of secret am I keeping? Once, I confessed my feelings with someone, twice. Each time, I was rejected, twice. On the third attempt, he finally confessed his feelings for me. I was extremely relieved!

Hemm. I am 165cm (5’4) tall and was born in the month in July making my Zodiac sign,  Cancer. At times, I am more comfortable writing in English or Japanese. But when I have to speak in English, I’m still submissive. Drawing things like Fanart, manga, and original characters fill my heart with joy.

When I’m in a bad mood, or stressed-out, I like to drink a matcha latte. The bitter taste and creamy milk make me relax. Just the smell and taste alone is enough to enjoy having it. I like vampire genre comics like “Vampire Knight, Vampire game”. My favorite anime is Code Geass, and the character, Lelouch, is one of my favorite characters.

Raven: Let us go back to when you were younger. Were you a shy or outgoing young girl growing up? Were you Nerdy or Geeky? 

Vinvid: When I was little, I was very geeky in appearance, but I got into fights with guys a lot, that’s for sure. I was a Tomboy kind of girl and I blame that on an aunt back when I was 7 years old. She said I was ugly to my face. It changed my life from that time forward. I hated looking at myself through a mirror or if someone were to take my picture of me.

If you ever read a manga called, “Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge” where the main character is a girl named, Sunako, who hates all things beautiful including his reflection. Sunako, like myself, got his feelings and affections for someone rejected because she believes she was ugly.

Thus, in some way,  life inmates’ art. The resemblance is uncanny. My appearance is somewhat similar to the character. We both love to wear all things black with dark accessories like Goth features. I became so obsessed,  I even wanted to paint the walls of my room black, providing my mom allows it. Haha!

Raven: What got you started into cosplaying? What was your first cosplay character? 

Vinvid: It wasn’t until I was 17 years old when I found a cosplay community. At first, I didn’t know what cosplay and cosplayers were until I joined them. My first cosplay was “Hatsune Miku”, and it was a character that traumatized me a lot.

Why, should you ask?

Raven: I choose you, Pikachu. Why?

Vinvid: Because my first time cosplaying and my first time to an event I saw so many “Hatsune Miku” cosplayers. They were so many beautiful cosplayers wearing these amazing outfits and their fabulous makeup to compliment there cosplay. Many asked for their photos, whereas I was never asked at all. That event kept me from cosplaying for two years, but since then, I’ve made it a goal to practice with makeup applications and making better costumes.

Now, while tending an event, I again was cosplaying, Hatsune Miku,  and would you believe, the fanfare was overwhelming. I couldn’t even move a bit because there were so many people asking for my photo. It is the most precious, most amazing thing I have ever experienced.

Raven: What’s your most favorite cosplay outfit to wear? Do you create these amazing outfits?

Vinvid: The character I like the most is “Neliel” from the anime Bleach. I do all of my costumes and makeup myself.

Raven: What characters draw you to cosplay them? 

Vinvid: I choose a character that I like because when I like a character, I can act like him. Because in my opinion, cosplay is a character that we like. Makeup is very important in cosplay. No matter how good your costume is, if you can’t make up and style the wig according to the character, then you can’t be the character you cosplayed.

Raven: Does makeup play a role in your cosplaying? 

Vinvid: Usually, before I cosplay a character at any event or a photo-shoot, I practice makeup,  and their persona about 2 to 3 times. If I’m satisfied with my makeup, and my performance, I will cosplay that character then. I especially love to cosplay with my dear friends.

Raven: Many fans want to see more of their favorite cosplayer do Lewd or Only Fans photos? What is your opinion about women doing Lewd photography?

Vinvid: About sexy cosplay, I don’t mind it, because cosplay is a hobby that we must be able to enjoy. That’s why I cosplayed the characters I enjoy playing the character. But, it all depends if the character’s costume is really sexy, and offers that certain allure or attractiveness a cosplayer gives off.

For example, I cosplayed Nami Swan or Jewelry Bonney where their costumes can be said to be very sexual, but the allure I portray is not a Hot- Pornographic allure, but an allure as the character. So if it’s a matter of sexy or open cosplay, it depends on what the cosplayer’s intentions to portray it.

Raven: Do you find yourself dressing in sexy cosplay wear from fan requests or what you want to offer them? 

Vinvid: I prefer it if my friends approve my cosplay, not because it is sexy, but because I am suitable and can make a 2D character come to life, which means I have successfully cosplayed many of the characters with the help of my friend’s suggestions. With their positive comments and suggestions, that is well appreciated, can I enjoy and do more interesting cosplays and not just being a sex symbol in the cosplay world.

Raven: Now, a more established cosplayer, can you see some of the mistakes people do when cosplaying?

Vinvid: I like to pay attention to other people’s cosplay preparations, for example, I noticed that one cosplayer whose wig was not neat or real hair was visible, my body spontaneously wanted to help her straighten her wig so that her cosplay would be better, even to strangers. And I like the environment of cosplayers in Indonesia, they are kind and open to anyone helping them.

Raven: I am always curious about the cosplayer choice of character outfits. Does the personality of the person determine what sort of character to wear? Or, does the character’s personality chooses the cosplayer?

Vinvid: I cosplayed a lot of different characters, and I like them all. I don’t look at what their costumes are like, as long as I admire the characters and I can act them out, then I’ll cosplay them.

An example is  “Lalatina” from the anime Konosuba, she is a masochist girl, a character I can relate to. She’s alluring and full of expressions as well as detailed makeup.

On the other hand, the character “Boa Hancock” from the anime One Piece is quite different. She’s a pirate queen whose personality and appearance give high self-esteem and grace. Overall, if I can’t portray the character well, no matter how much I adore the character, then I won’t cosplay it.

Raven: I’m told you love Gothic and love Vampires. How did that possess your soul? 

Vinvid: I like goth more mainly because I love to wear black. I always wear the color black in my clothes and my accessories.

Raven: Do you Bite? 

Vinvid: I don’t bite..XD

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

Vinvid: Location .. Depending on the kind of character I am portraying. It could be a sandy beach and ocean location, a forest, or a simple house location. I do prefer having all of my photo-shoots be outside, it is refreshing. XD

Raven: When you are in front of the camera, your face is full of emotions. What are you thinking? Food? Milkshakes? Did I leave the stove on?

Vinvid: When I was cosplaying and taking pictures, what I thought at that time was, how to become the character, what would this character be like if someone asked him to talk or pose. Well .. sometimes I think “have you turned off the stove and locked the door of the house” XD.

Raven: When not in front of the camera, what sort of fun-filled adventures does VinVid do?

Vinvid: Culinary hunting..XD is something I must do when I’m not in front of the camera..XD.

Raven: Is having a friendly relationship tough when you are a cosplayer

Vinvid: In the world of cosplay that I live in, that relationship is a delicate one and one that can break easily. When you’re on a project while working with two or more people, there are times where teammates take on the same character. There have been some egos bruised that later has festered into creating animosity among each other. But, even in the world of cosplay, there’s beauty in a relationship because they understand and respect each other. Its the fun of meeting at events, sharing knowledge, and sharing stories

Raven: If I could just leave my COVID-19 mask at home and fly over to visit your country, what place can you show me?

Vinvid: The place that I would recommend, to be honest, I have never traveled around Indonesia myself because I’m the type who likes to stay at home except for cosplay activities. But there is a place that I want to visit and that I might recommend, namely “Raja Ampat” off the island of Papua.

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

Vinvid: I miss some of the big events in Indonesia like Ennichisai. It is one of the biggest event ever. Visitors from various regions and outside countries will make their way to this. I really like walking in the middle of all the activities and enjoy the atmosphere. It is full of diversity.

Raven: Do you have anything in the works right now that will break the internet? 

Vinvid: Nope, I prefer to make works, such as makeup practice, making an original character, practicing concepts, making my own photo studio so that I can still work at home.

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

Vinvid: I want to say that cosplay, is a hobby where I can be anyone and anything I want to be. Just keep practicing and you will become better at it. Don’t give up when people insulted you, especially if starting. Make the insults and harsh criticism a source of strength so that you can become powerful. Prove to those who are against you that one day they will praise and adore you. They will eventually be your biggest supporters.

Raven: Can I get a Hug? 

Vinvid: Of course not, we are in a pandemic. When this pandemic passes, quickly, and we can all enjoy the beauty of the world again, only then will I give you a hug, friend.

Raven: Thank you so much for that amazing interview, “It is in the Books”! If I could as one more question Vinvid. Where can anyone find more about you and be a fan? 

Vinvid: Raven, it was my pleasure, and thank you for having me do this interview. I really appreciate it. For those out there interested in finding more of me, they can go to these websites:

Facebook Page
Instagram Page

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

Review: Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #3

deadman3coverDeadman: Dark Mansion of Love concludes in twisting, turning Gothic fashion, and one of these twists is in this first page as it’s revealed that Adelia is the dark, malevolent spirit that has been haunting Glencourt. But, like the previous issues, Deadman #3 isn’t just creepy libraries, spooky spirits, and gorgeously designed architecture from Lan Medina and Phil Hester. Writer Sarah Vaughn continues to dig into the budding relationship between our protagonist Sarah and her friend Sam along with the strained one between her and her boyfriend Nathan. There is plenty of blood magic, candles, secret passages, and even an explosion, but Deadman is really about finding someone who you don’t have to hide your true self from.

The romance between Berenice and Sam is definitely one of my favorite queer romances in comics. And Vaughn also makes their connection an essential part of Deadman’s plot as Berenice can see the dead while the dead don’t have an effect on Sam. But even though they have awkward moments while Berenice is chatting with Deadman and Adelia, Sam wholeheartedly believes in these apparitions and teams up with her to get to the bottom of the mystery. Vaughn indulges Gothic tropes and adds a touch of defanged vampire mythos with the reveal that the Nathan is a murderous immortal and Adelia’s ex husband, whose lifeforce is tied to the house. She doesn’t give him an overcomplicated backstory making him a man, who isn’t afraid to literally sacrifice woman he supposedly loves to make him live forever. Nathan forces Adelia to sustain his life just like he is controlling over Berenice and doesn’t want her going into his study or spending more time with Sam. This isn’t love, but abuse and tyranny, and thankfully there’s a spooky revolution in Deadman #3.

And Deadman doesn’t get left behind in the comic that bears his name and is downright heroic in a genre that is more about running away from creepy things than facing down the abyss. His possession abilities are key in defeating both Nathan and Glencourt, and Medina and Villarrubia show this by having a red outline around Nathan’s body. Deadman is in the eye of the hurricane letting Adelia do the ghostly equivalent of whaling on him before finally releasing himself while Nathan collapses as a clump of blood and meat fulfilling the gore quotient of the Gothic genre. And his ending is the most typical superhero thing ever (He flies away to save someone else in need.), but it comes off as original because for most of the series, Vaughn and Medina have trapped him in Glencourt. Deadman did save the day, but in the weirdest haunted house/bodily possession way.

deadman3interior

I really enjoy the way Medina draws and Jose Villarrubia colors Adelia as she switches from ghostly maiden to dark spirit of vengeance. The being is starkly inked and is just an amorphous blob of power that is hungry and can’t be contained just like Nathan suffers from headaches even though he’s immortal. On the other hand, Villarrubia uses cool colors that flow like Adelia’s dress and spin around when she is finally freed from the house like a young girl at a ball. It’s glorious to see these wide open spaces and beautiful sky and fields after being cooped up in the house (A gorgeous one, however.) for 40+ pages, and Vaughn and Medina give her a poetic moment before she fades away peacefully. This epilogue is a well-earned bit of relaxation after the full-page spreads and jagged panels of fire, destruction, and hairbreadth escapes.

Speaking of those things and the series in general, Deadman Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love is an example of how you can re-tool classic literary genres and still make them relevant in the present. Deadman has all the escapes, murderous intrigue, twist, and setting/atmosphere overload (Kudos to Medina, Hester, and Villarrubia yet again.)  of a great Gothic yarn, but it stars a bisexual Asian woman and a non-binary black person and gives their relationship great nuance. Vaughn and Medina let queer people of color be the heroes of a genre that is pretty lily white in both the genre defining novels by Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis and recent films like Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak while crafting a slow burn romance that is filled with honest words, smouldering glances, and soft touches wreathed in copious shadow.

Deadman Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #3 is an exciting and satisfying ending to a wonderful Gothic romance with exquisite set design from Lan Medina, Phil Hester, and Jose Villarrubia. Each moment that Sarah Vaughn writes featuring Berenice and Sam will give you those happy, goosebump chills that you get when you see two humans that are perfectly matched for each other.

Story: Sarah Vaughn Art: Lan Medina with Phil Hester Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Deadman Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1

deadman1coverThe first of three issue prestige format miniseries, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1 skillfully combines atmosphere and spooky stylings of classic Gothic stories with a nuanced romance subplot that happens to star the DC Universe’s most famous acrobat turned ghost/people possessor Boston Brand aka Deadman. Writer Sarah Vaughn (Rosy Press’ Ruined), artist Lan Medina (Fables), and colorist Jose Villarrubia (King Conan) uses the fifty-page length of Deadman #1 to construct a perfect haunted house setting that would make Guillermo del Toro or the old Hammer horror directors swoon. But there is substance behind the varied line lengths and almost painting style art of Medina and the ghostly whites and crimsons of Villarrubia as Vaughn gives her protagonist, Berenice, a complex personality. She loves the past and buying antiques, but she is also creeped out by the old mansion that her boyfriend Nathan inherited from his uncle and is currently writing a novel in.

Berenice also has genuine romantic feelings for and wants to keep Nathan and her friend Sam, a non-binary antiques dealer safe. She is also getting over an ex-girlfriend, and Deadman feels the intense pangs of their breakup when he possesses Berenice. Vaughn alternates narration between Deadman and Berenice offering different reactions to their surroundings as Deadman makes with the punching while Berenice plays the sleuth and investigates. She happens to be one of the few mortals that can see him. And along the way, they begin to bond as friends, and Berenice challenges him to rethink his usual practice of possessing people without permission. Their relationships is completely platonic, but this conversation is a great metaphor for the importance of enthusiastic consent in touching someone sexually or otherwise. But eventually, she comes to trust him and allows him to possess her if it means stopping the super creepy shadows that prevent him from leaving the mansion. Vaughn and Medina go old school horror and don’t show the comic’s monster yet, but shows its powerful effects, including giving Nathan migraines, keeping ghosts hostage in a corporeal space, and giving almost everyone bad vibes.

Lan Medina’s art and Jose Villarrubia’s colors are both melodramatic and subtle depending on the situation. The deadman1coverinterioropening pages are reminiscent of a frontispiece of a Victorian penny dreadful with its combination of architecture (especially window) porn, fine art, and a shrieking woman in a nightgown. Like Wuthering Heights or Northanger Abbey (albeit in a more parodic way), they and Vaughn make the Glencourt mansion a character of its own while keeping the setting’s time period ambiguous for quite some time thanks to Sam and Berenice’s love for all things vintage, including automobiles. Medina also neatly integrates the superhero genre into Deadman #1 through powerful poses when Deadman fights the equally powerful red and black shadows in a study in contrasts from Villarrubia. But a right hook or a nifty ghost power can’t heal a broken heart, homesickness, or an “It’s complicated” relationship status as Deadman’s attempt to fight physically all come up short.

But Medina can also tone down the Gothic, horror, and superhero bits of Deadman #1 and deliver on scenes where human relationships are front and center. A good example of this is a two-page sequence after Deadman attempts to bust out of Glencourt by possessing Berenice. Vaughn’s dialogue seems like that Sam and Berenice are going to talk about the strange phenomenon that just happened, but she and Medina pivot and turn to their relationship. Medina slows down with a couple panels of Berenice about to kiss Sam, but she ends up turning her back to them. Their body language goes from being close and intimate to more standoffish with no eye contact and arms crossed. Then, Medina goes for the romance comic staple that always breaks my (and Roy Lichtenstein’s) heart: the sad eyes. Sam and Berenice part in the rain, and we’re back to the moors, mansions, and inlaid chests of Gothic land after this beautiful human moment.

sadromanceeyes

Deadman #1 is a nearly flawless, Gothic romantic treat with a diverse cast of characters when it comes to both race, body type (Kudos to Medina.), and sexuality that has chills, thrills, and gorgeous scenery to go along with poignant themes of love, death, and the messiness of relationships. The incorporation of the character Deadman adds a touch of humor and the fantastic to these lofty themes while he also gets to learn more about humanity through his bond with Berenice.

Finally, Sarah Vaughn, Lan Medina, and Jose Villarrubia deserve to take a bow while “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush plays in the background as the comic ends with a twist that would make serial fiction writer turned English majors’ nightmare Charles Dickens nod with approval.

Story: Sarah Vaughn Art: Lan Medina Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher #1 and #2

1This review takes the Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher #1 and #2 into consideration as both an adaptation and an original work for those unfamiliar with Poe’s 1839 original short story of the same name, and the final rating and recommendation reflect my feelings on the comic as both adaptation and original.

Reading through Richard Corben’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher felt like a literary analysis of Poe’s story writ for the comic enthusiast; bye-bye to lectures on thematic and symbolic elements of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” hello to this wonderful comic worthy of its own interpretation and analysis and just plain pretty (in an eerie sort of way). Corben combines the plot for this comic with another of Poe’s works, “The Oval Portrait,” which is somewhat akin to Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. In addition, the narrator in this comic is Mag the Hag, introduced in Corben’s adaptation of Poe’s poem “The Conqueror Worm” (comic has the same name) which came out last November (2012), and Corben features Poe himself, as ‘Allan,’ as Poe’s original unnamed narrator.

As an adaptation, Corben does a great job capturing Poe’s major themes: the creepy life-like quality of the House of Usher, Roderick Usher’s madness (though Corben’s Roderick is more psychopathic and less derranged than Poe’s man), and the incestuous relationship between Roderick and his sister Madeline. Corben took great liberties with their relationship, making Madeline a central figure to whom Allan becomes attached. Allan is quite talkative, not the quite, concerned narrator that he is in the original—this doesn’t detract from the story, but Corben’s script for Allan seems out of place with the 19th century setting.

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Corben’s unique twists to the story modernize it; I’m sure many reader’s would find Poe’s original somewhat bleak. But where Poe uses pages full of eloquent narration to express in literature the dense oppression of the atmosphere of the House of Usher and the hair-standing-on-your neck vibe, Corben instead has his masterful artwork to accomplish this task in an equally effective manner.  His style is well suited to this type of Gothic work, as he’s worked with Mike Mignola a number of times, and got his start submitting to Creepy and Eerie, among plenty of other successes.

Corben’s panel ecology in The Fall of the House of Usher is complex, with edges rumbly and mottled except where human characters are concerned, giving the whole book a feeling of being visually unsettled in the same way that Poe’s original story leaves the reader with a somber, heavily laden fog of depression milling about his narrator’s environment. The best example is the longshots of the House of Usher, the edges of which are so busy as to make the house seem—quite literally—alive, much as it has been suggested Poe meant, alive and overgrown with sentient fungus!

And the ‘death’ of the House of Usher is even more spectacular under the penmanship of Corben than in the original (though, admittedly, readers in 1839 probably hadn’t read too many stories in which a house crumbles when its owners die), where it almost seems a final anecdote which the read is left contemplating. Then again, forced reflection is sometimes the key to brilliant writing.

Creepy. That truly is the best way to describe Corben’s eerie adaptation on the whole, both story and art, all of it seeps through the pages and into the mind like an unforgettable horror story populated with too eccentric madmen and unnerving twists. And while the dialogue is at times awkward, at least for someone who greatly enjoyed the original, I would contend that Richard Corben’s Fall of the House of Usher will be remembered for some time, and if ever I get the chance to teach Poe, my students will surely also be reading this adaptation.

Story and Art: Richard Corben
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review