Bob the Reaper is one of the personas of a local to Edmonton cosplayer who spends his free time building costumes based on characters he likes, or entirely of his own design.
Ryan Troock: What was your first costume?
Bob: This would have been in about grade four and I had watched an Alice Cooper special on TV - this would have been about 1974 or 75 - and my dad had a vampire cape. I put that on with a vest, a tie, dress pants and some Dracula teeth, and then I had my eyes painted up like Alice Cooper’s. My music teacher told me “wow that’s a really cool costume” and that’s pretty much where it started from.
Except from grade one when I played a snowflake. I didn’t get first snowflake though, I was like fifth or sixth snowflake.
Ryan: can you tell us a bit about the materials you use for your costumes, and how you come about them?
Bob: These kaleidoscope goggles that I’m wearing I actually found one evening when I was searching at Value Village. On their shelf of miscellaneous Halloween props these goggles were just sitting there, and they were like $4.59 - I was looking at them and wondering, should I buy them? And apparently I did.
This leather pouch is actually something I made about 20 years ago. I made this Braveheart costume and I needed a pouch to keep stuff in. Ever since then, I use this with costumes where I’ll need to carry something around and the costume itself doesn’t have a pouch.
I first started working with leather on my Orc Costume, that was really the first time I started dabbling in the field of leather as a medium to express myself.
Ryan: Tell us about your this Orc Costume - was is your first large-scale costume project?
Bob: Yes - so this costume was kind of a mix between the Ring Wraiths and the Orcs from Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings. You don’t really see them because the film is kind of dark. I meshed the two together to get that kind of image. I like how it all flows together.
This was the first costume I worked on where all the bits were hand-made. I dedicated myself to a work that covered my whole body, form the tip of my toes to the top of my head. I kept adding to it every year - I would do the chest part one year, then the legs the next, then the mask - and it just kind of grew over a number of years.
Funnily, there was a KISS concert that I made these really tall boots for, and I actually combined those with this costume to turn it into more of a Gene Simmons/KISS kind of thing.
Ryan: What are you working on next?
Bob: This is something I started about two or three years ago, and - procrastination is just a bad thing when it comes to costuming - but I’m working on one of the Feudal Samurai Warriors from Sucker Punch - the one that has the rotating machine gun. I don’t know when I’ll have it done, but hopefully at some point!