I first met Ana Santos and Eru Yagami at Wizard World Comic Con several years ago where they were wearing rather impressive Joker and Harley Quinn costumes. I’ve kept in touch with the couple over the years (they were engaged in 2008,) and this year they were kind enough to allow me to photograph them as they prepared for this year’s New York Comic Con.
Preparing for a day in an elaborate costume is no small thing; it takes hundreds of dollars and hours searching for just the right props, clothes and makeup. Saturday morning’s preparations (where Ana portrayed Lara Croft and Eru played a Twi’lek Sith) took over four hours and constant touch-ups throughout the day.
Covering Comic Con is a unique experience, but it’s a whole other world seeing it from their perspective. Tourists gawked as they walked from Penn Station towards the convention center, and amateur photographers swamped the couple when they entered. For the first few hours, they were unable to move more than a few feet at a time without a fresh pack stopping them for more shots.
Sometimes the attention can be a bit much. Strangers would grab their hips, shoulders or other parts without asking. Some iPhone photographers tended to shoot somewhere below eye-level, others were just rude as hell. Thankfully this year went better than others (at a recent Anime expo, the two joined a group of fans who chased a man out of the convention hall they caught harassing underage fans.) For Ana and Eru though, it’s all about the art.
“For me, it’s always been about the creative process of bringing something I love to life,” Ana wrote me in an exchange after the convention. ” And while I believe that a certain love for a character is important in order to make it come alive, there have been instances where I was drawn first to the overall aesthetics of an outfit I wanted to recreate. After all the stress leading up to the event, getting everything completed just in the nick of time, it’s rewarding to see it all come together.”
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY C.S. MUNCY