Introduction: How to Make a "Batman Who Laughs" Costume
In the Dark Knights: Metal Batman comic book series, Batman has to finally kill the Joker. In his last breath, Joker infects Batman with the Joker virus, thus causing Batman to slowly go insane and become a Batman/Joker Hybrid.. AKA... The Batman Who Laughs!!!
For the most recent 2018 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, I wanted to create a whole Batman cosplay group. I thought a cool idea would be to incorporate The Batman Who Laughs into the group! So how about we get started and I show you how i built this thing?
*FYI, your vision is seriously impaired in this thing. It is awesome to have a handler with you (Perhaps a Robin).. but the visor is removable when you need to see something.
- EVA foam
-Thick EVA foam
- Hot glue
-small heavy duty magnets
-exacto knives/ cutting mat
-Long Black Leather Jacket
-Black Leather pants
-knee high black boots
- metal buckles
- red finger nails
- rigid colodian (scar make up)
-white make up
- Plastic top chain
- Black thread
-sewing machine or needle/thread
-Black plastic clips
Step 1: Reference Pictures
Before I ever start ANY costume, I look up a ton of reference photos from various sources and put it in a folder. The more pictures from different angles, the better.
1. Actual photos of the character from its source (movies, comics, action figure, etc)
2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve on a design. You can also start getting an idea of different poses you think you'd like to do.
3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, etc. This way, you can see different renditions of a character through a new perspective and once again, start thinking about what you like, don't like, etc.
4. Use your own imagination. Think about what you want, how to make it your own original design, what are some tricks you think you'd like to incorporate.. perhaps you want to try out a new technique with this build, etc
Optional: 5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design.
Step 2: Cowl
For the cowl, i found a batman file online at the RPF Forum.
1. print out your pieces onto paper and cut them all out (pic 1)
2. Transfer these stencils onto your EVA foam and cut out each piece. The EVA foam i buy comes in a roll and is typically used for exercise so it comes with this diamond tread pattern on the back. I have an electric sander so i sand off all the tread for all my EVA foam pieces.
3. From there, it becomes pretty much a puzzle of gluing the miscellaneous pieces together. (pic 2)
4. try to get your seams to fit together as nicely as possible. You can use your sander/ dremel to sand the pieces together to make them fairly smooth. you can also use kwikseal to fill in any unwanted gaps. (pic 3-4)
5. Remember that you do NOT need the ears on your cowl, nor do you need the jaw pieces as they will be separate pieces.
6. cut the cowl to your head specifications as needed.
7. Now, take a strip of your thicker EVA foam and glue it to the back of the helmet. I have it going from temple to temple. (pic 6+7)
8. I take my scratch paper and i now draw the ear/jaw piece and size it up to the cowl. Once i'm satisfied with how it fits, i transfer it to EVA foam, cut out the center, and glue them in. (pic 5+6)
9. For your front, you take the same strip of EVA foam and run it from your temple, across your eyes, to your other temple. You can take a heat gun and heat the foam so that it will curve and retain a curved shape (pic &)
10. i will explain how to keep the visor attached in a later step.
Step 3: Visor Spikes
1. Get your thermoplastic,measuring spoons, and a bowl of boiling hot water.
2. Depending on your head, you can measure out how much thermoplastic beads you will need per spike. i wanted them all to be consistently the same size, so we used a measuring spoon instead of eyeballing it. i think we used a 1/2 teaspoon or something.. it's really up to you how big you want your spikes. i've seen them super large to medium sized.
3. drop your thermoplastic in your hot water. It should turn from white to clear.
4. using something, get the thermoplastic out of the hot water and start shaping it into a cone. (pic 1-2)
5. i know i needed 12 spikes to fit around the entire visor. (pic 3)
6. now mark where your spikes should go on your visor. take your dremel with a sanding tip and create a hole to insert each spike.
7. IF your spikes are too heavy, you can technically hollow them out with a drill. Just be careful when doing so!
8. Glue all your spikes into their respective holes (pic 4 and 5)
9. At this time, you can switch dremel tools and scratch up the cowl. i wanted it to have a distressed look with scratches, tears, and gouges all over it.
Step 4: Jacket
1. Go to your local thrift shop and find a long black leather trench coat. i personally think the longer the better. (pic 1 + pic 2)
2. Once you get the jacket, remove any unneeded accessories- buttons, buckles, pendants, etc
3. lay your coat on the floor, grab your chalk, and start drawing in your triangles. I think the bottom of the jacket is supposed to resemble the traditional shape cape of batman's cape
4. Cut all of the triangles out and re-sew the fabric together if needed. Do NOT throw away the scraps.
5. We cut the front of the jacket a little bit to allow for some leg movement (pic 3+4). Once again, we did not throw away the scraps.
6. With those scraps, we added little details to the jacket such as straps on the wrist areas. We also extended the color so that it was quite higher (about the height of his mouth). We also added two straps to the collar. All these little details just seem to add to the aesthetic of the suit.
Step 5: Straps, Pants, and Boots
- For the straps, we took the scraps from the jacket and sewed them together. We have 6 straps total that were about 1 in wide by 6 inches in length. Our wearer is quite skinny so it will depend on your size.
- I went to a local textile warehouse and found a bunch of buckles for quite cheap so i bought 14... 12 for the chest (2 buckles per strap), and another 2 for the collar straps i installed in the last step.
- We sewed the buckles directly to the jacket and slid the 6 strips in each.
- Find yourself so good black pants. Its totally your call how baggy you want them. Our wearer was quite petite and he wanted a more skinny framed batman, so we went with tight pants. However, i have seem cosplayers wear bigger sized ones. I think points if they are leather.. after all, your jacket is leather, when mess up the motif.
- Get your self some nice black boots that are about knee height. the boots we originally bought were a bit large and looked like rain boots. But we were actually able to slim them down and make them more fitted.
-We wanted to give the wearer a bit more height so we gave him show lifters to put inside his shoes.
Step 6: Chest Piece
1. measure your person in terms of their shoulders and how low the cheat piece needs to extend. take your scratch paper and start drawing it up. (pic 1)
2. transfer the paper template to EVA foam and begin to distress the foam. You can heat it with the heating gun and create grooves or indentions in it. I also took some of the leather scrap pieces and tied them into the shoulder piece. I later realized that there was also a chest piece layer under the original template i drew so i added that in later.
3. Now, this Batman who Laughs as a ton of buckles. i believe he had 12 again on his shoulders.. so these buckles looked a little different than the traditional belt looking buckles on the stomach. Once you find you buckles, you can sand them with sandpaper if they are a bit too shiny for you
4. I had to bent my shoulder buckles to get them to the general shape i wanted. I superglued them all in place to the foam at that point (pic 3)
5. I used a few black plastic buckles to keep the shoulder piece in place. I put on in the collar to clamp around the neck, and then i also attached two to the front of the jacket and one to the back of the jacket so that the chest piece would sit still and not flap around.
Step 7: Teeth, Make Up, Accessories
-You have several options with the teeth. You can buy some cheap prosthetics (pic 1)
-You can create you own teeth with the thermoplastic (pic 2). I used food coloring to get it a darker color
- You can purchase some expensive prosthetics. The wearer opted for more expensive teeth as he liked the look of it. He purchased the Pennywise teeth from dentaldistortions.com (pic 3 +4). The kit comes with more thermoplastic that allow the prosthetics to grip around your actual teeth for a fairly comfortable fit.
- We applied some Rigid Collodion around the mouth to give it some scars. It's totally your call on how you want your scars to look, IF you even want any at all. You can do the Heath Ledger style or just miscellaneous ones.
-Then, we took our white make up and used a song to apply it to the lower part of the face. There really is no reason to apply it to the entire face, as you don't see that part due to the cowl. Don't forget to put the white make up on your hands as well.
- Take your red lipstick and apply it to your lips. You can smear it a bit if you'd like.
-Once done, apply a sealer to it so your makeup doesn't come off or smudge
- We liked the idea of having red sharp nails so we got a couple of press on ones as well.
- I always love accessories with my costumes.. Not too many though..
1. We wanted a long thick chain that we could carry around. We were concerned it would not be allowed in the con for "weapon" purposes, so we bought a fake halloween one. I actually really liked this one because it was thick, which allows it to be seen in pictures more. Plus, it was somewhat distressed looking so that was also a place. We later found out we would be having a robin as a handler, so we decided to add a collar to the chain so either the Robin could be chained on him, or con-goers could have it around their necks as a interaction piece. (pic 6)
2. I also created a card in photoshop based on one of the pictures i found online. This way, he still had a prop is the Robin was not around him.
3. We also were playing around with the idea of having blood capsules for him to have some blood running down his mouth. We thought it might be a bit overkill, so we left that out this round.
Step 8: Prep and Painting
1. Take your plastids and plastidip ALL EVA foam pieces - Cowl and chest piece. If you do not prep them, the foam will absorb the paint and make it more dull looking.
2. once plastidiped, i took some silver spray paint and sprayed the strip of the cowl that contained the spikes.
3. Once dry, i went with an acrylic black and painted the cowl.
4. I also took some watered down black paint and dirtied the silver parts to make it look weathered.
5. In order to keep your visor attached to your cowl, i used 4 small circular magnets (probably the size of a corn kernel). i soldered a hole on both sides into the strip of cowl. Then i superglued the magnets into the holes. I then repeated the same process for the visor. Now, the visor should click in place and hold there due to the magnets.
6. I painted the chest piece the acrylic black. However, i took a air brush and airbrushed ALL the buckles so they were a bit darker and weathered looking. Remember, it is easier if you sand them a bit first to create some rough texture and remove some of the brand new shimmer.
7. once finished, you can add your clear coat to all your pieces.
Step 9: Finished!
That should be it!
A few things to consider:
-Work on your cackle if you want to stay in character.
-It makes it infinitely easier if you have a handler, such a Robin to help you get around. If not, take off the visor and click it back in for pictures
- Don't be afraid to take a few pictures with Batman, his cronies, or the Joker
- Work on your poses beforehand. I like the hand on someones head, the use of the card, or holding Robin like he's a dog.