My first Optimus Prime costume

Digging through some old family photos, I found this doosey. It’s a picture of a costume I made when I was 10 or 12, constructed from cardboard boxes and spare paint I found in my grandparent’s garage.

I used to visit my grandparents in Oregon every summer, and the year of this photograph I was thrilled to find a flyer announcing the opening of a comic store in her neighborhood. (For those of you under the age of 23, “Flyers” are pieces of paper we used before we had Facebook and Twitter to spread announcements J )

The store was named Rackafratz and they were located in one of the strip-mall venues of a Fred Meyer. To this day, I could take you to the exact spot where it used to be, although now I think it’s a nail salon or something along those lines.

The flyer said “grand opening” and “costumes welcome” and that was all I needed to know. Nobody told me how to make this or even that I should go in costume, I was guided purely by some kind of cos-play instinct long before “cos-play” was even a word.

I wandered out into the garage in search of inspiration. My grandfather had quite a lot of tools, but it’s hard to make a superhero costume out of spare hardware—even Wolverine needs more than a few old 10-penny nails for claws. But a robot was much more suited to my resources.

The cardboard probably came from one of those child-killing freezers with the external latch and the paint was probably lead based and highly toxic, but it was the 80s and we didn’t worry about such things.  It took me one well-spent summer afternoon (and, yes, I had my grandparents’ permission).

As soon as I nailed Optimus’s rifle together, I was, like a true Autobot, ready to roll out.

As you can see, my little sister also wanted to get in on the act. Her costume is supposed to be a Care Bear (hence the symbol taped to her “tummy.” While our costume supplies definitely favored robots over cuddly things, I definitely have to give her props for trying.

About Sechin Tower

Sechin Tower is a teacher, game developer, and author of MAD SCIENCE INSTITUTE, a novel of creatures, calamities, and college matriculation. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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