Needless to say when I was at San Diego Comic Con in 2018 and got a call from our production designer Jerry Wanek with a request to make a Red Hood costume for our show, Supernatural, I was ecstatic. We had just wrapped up Episode 1401 not a day before I left for California, so while the show was in full production swing, I was surprised to receive such a request that early in the season. There really could not have been something more suited to my interests.
By now, everyone at work knows, if not should know, about my love for comics. Although not nearly as prominent as it was at the time, cosplaying characters mostly from Marvel and DC definitely consumed a lot of my spare time, and like so many cosplayers, I have a list of dream costumes I would like to construct before I close my very heavy cosplay book. Red Hood was on that list of dream costumes. However, since I was unaware of how exactly I wanted to design the outfit to suit myself, I had felt unmotivated to accomplish the project. Since this was for a mannequin in a comic book shop, there to pay homage to Jensen Ackles’ voice acting performance of the character, that was more than enough motivation. I had a sketch drawn before the convention was over, and immediately began construction when I returned home after it was approved.
Not that I had a choice to mosey around before starting. Turnaround for props, or in this case set decoration pieces, is very very quick. I was given two and a half weeks to complete the entire costume, which might seem like more than enough time, but, take away the days I was still at the convention, the eight days I worked on set after coming home, plus the two days I spent as a prep dresser, it sounds just possible.
Luckily, sitting in the room with me while I got the request call for the costume was my friend Ken Lashley, also known under his pen name Ledkilla (X-Men: Gold, Friendly Neighbour Spiderman, Black Panther), an incredibly talented artist for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Hasbro, and more, who has a daughter who loves Supernatural. I asked if he’d be willing to have us use some of his art on the show. Not only did he say yes, he even offered to draw a custom superhero just for the episode for us to use as a logo for the shop. His name can clearly be seen in the episode along the back wall of the store.
Along with his incredible art in floor-to-ceiling panels and lightboxes around the set, littered on the walls are features of my costumes as a signature homage to my work on the Red Hood piece. It’s still surreal to see my face in the background of the show. However, it would have been insanely nervewracking if the original offered intention of having me in the episode had ever proceeded. There’s a reason I’m in set dec. I’m not overly fond of the idea of being in front of a motion picture camera. Because of the generous nature of the gesture, I certainly would have accepted! I’m still more than grateful for the thought.
Red Hood for Episode 1404 was certainly one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had creating a piece for Supernatural, but that was just the beginning…