By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) At last week’s San Diego Comic Con, one Victorville resident was stopped every few minutes for pictures. Everyone wanted to get a pic with Will Blagg, even the LA Times, who had his picture on the front page. So, why the big deal for Blagg? Well, by looking at the picture above, he is quite the monster.
Blagg went suited up this year as the Predator, the sci-fi icon known for a string of solo films as well as the crossovers with the Aliens series. How did Blagg get into costuming, or cosplay, as it is better known in the convention circuit? “I have a degree in theater and I’ve been dressing up in costumes my whole life, but I only recently got into cosplaying a few years ago,” said Blagg.
“My first costume was Jigen from the anime, Lupin the III. A friend wanted to dress up as Lupin and asked me to be his sidekick. It was a lot of fun, and then the next year I started working on my Red Son Batman costume, which has been signed by the designer. I have always been a fan of Predator and own nearly every Alien and Predator book, comic and toy ever produced.”
Blagg and his Predator costume were a massive hit in San Diego, as bystanders and fellow cosplayers alike clamored to be in a picture with him. After seeing a Predator costume at a past comic con, Blagg started researching schools to learn how to make such an elaborate costume. “I actually was planning on going to school for special effects makeup and animatronics, pretty much specifically because I wanted to do that, until I found out, unfortunately, I don’t have the artistic, sculpting and painting skills required,” he said. “I scouted schools and everything. I checked out a couple of schools in Los Angeles. I ended up giving 3D animating a shot and took some VVC classes, but that didn’t really work out. Basically, I just kind of figured out recently, that I only wanted to do the effects and sculpting to be around the system. What I really wanted was to actually be the Predator, so then I found a cool community, www.thehunterslair.com, which is devoted to discussing and creating Predator costumes.”
Blagg purchased a custom made suit, and is slowly replacing pieces with his own creations. The experience of cosplaying at a con as huge as the San Diego Comic Con is something Blagg has experienced before, but is an indescribable feeling, especially being on the cover of the July 13th edition of the Los Angeles Times. “I love being in the Predator suit because everyone stops to check it out. I can’t walk 10 feet without 50 people asking for a picture. Getting my picture on the front page of a major newspaper was like the pinnacle of what I am hoping to achieve when I put the costume on. The funny thing is, the guy took the pic, then I kind of forgot about it until my brother, who reads the Times, sent me a text the next day.”
Being in costume while walking through the crowded convention halls has its downfalls, though. “One of the most frustrating things about the suit is that a lot of the time I really have no idea what’s going on. I’m pretty blind without my glasses, and then you add the tiny little holes I use to see out of. The latex head muffles a lot of sound, on top of the ear plug I wear in one ear so as not to deafen myself with the sound system I installed in my mask for roars and growls. So my wife works as my ‘handler’ by pushing and ushering me around and ‘translates’ for me by yelling in my mouth hole.”
Yet, the memorable moments outweigh the bad, as Blagg shared with us his favorite reactions while in the costume: which, of course, come from the children. “My favorites are little kids who are either shy but interested or straight out say ‘MOMMY LOOK! AWESOME!’ I feel bad for the kids who cry though and usually I try and act scared of them or cover my face, or do a little dance, something silly to try and lighten the mood. But I tend to forget how terrifying my mask is when I’m not looking at it.”
Blagg’s Predator picture is up at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel Facebook page. If he gets the most likes, he has a chance of winning tickets to next year’s Comic Con. You can check out the picture at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=384525818268471&set=o.83395931355&type=3&theater and make sure to like it!