It will be 9 years in January 2022 that I have been cosplaying exclusively as Mr. Clever. I don’t have to go into detail about how much that character changed my life. You can skim through older posts to find out all about that.
I debuted him at Arisia 2014. And for Arisia 2022, I have a new cosplay to debut. Not another variation on Clever, but an actual non-Clever, non-Doctor Who character.
Paul Atreides from Dune.
I read Dune when I was 13 and it quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. I loved the 1984 movie. That solidified my love of all things Kyle MacLachlan. One of the many things that my spouse and I bonded over was our mutual love of Dune.
So you can imagine our excitement when they announced a new movie. Fast forward to October 2021, opening night. We sat there in excitement and anticipation to see our favorite book come to life for a new generation of fans. I won’t lie, I went in thinking there was no way in hell that anyone could do better than Kyle, and as much as I love his portrayal, I was very wrong.
I had no idea who Timothee Chalamet was before this, but I was instantly blown away by his performance as Paul. THAT was Paul. The young, spoiled, angsty teenager with a destiny. He captured the complexities of Paul; scared, confused, resolved, terrifying.
The entire cast was just as incredible. It instantly jumped up to one of my fave movies of all time.
Now let’s segment to one of my other favorite things of all time, October in Salem. This year we saw record breaking crowds. I have never seen this many people in the city before. Which meant any version of Mr. Clever was out of the question for weekends and sates closer to the 31st.
On a whim, I decided to be Paul for Halloween night. I figured at least I was “in costume” of some sort to go trick or treating. I had clothes that were similar enough to his uniform, so I threw that all on. Now, mind you, for the last 9 years, I have only ever worn my hair like Matt Smith’s. I color, cut and straighten it specifically for Clever. Flipping it over to BOTH sides of my head was really weird! Even weirder was the idea of having eyebrows. I bleach and trim those for Clever as well, so coloring them in was a first.
Halloween was a blast as always. Great friends, great energy in the city, and I didn’t have to worry about ruining my costume! I could eat, I could run around, I could walk through crowds without worrying, I could go out in the rain, and it only took me TEN minutes to take it all off a the end of the night. Clever takes upwards of an hour. Not including the scrubbing and peeling I have to do to remove left over adhesive.
I thoroughly enjoyed being Paul for the night. So much so that I slowly started invested in some more accurate pieces. Managed to find a long black coat and I made the little straps around the collar. Got some Atriedes house pins, gloves, and even commissioned a friend to create his uniform.
After my 3rd or 4th viewing of Dune, I also decided to do a second variation of Paul. This one looked super comfy and great for warmer days.
I bought some linen pajamas, dyed some cheese cloth, cut up a grey duster and viola. Instant “not quite Paul, not quite Muad Dib” cosplay.
I was honestly unprepared for how much positive feedback I got. I think that is the biggest difference between this vs when I started out as Mr. Clever. Back then, I got nothing but hate, and nasty comments about my choice of character. Very few people liked Nightmare in Silver, or even recognized who Clever was. It took years before people stopped giving me crap for picking him. So when I got so many lovely, wonderful comments on my Paul cosplay, I was blown away.
I really never thought I would ever dress up as anyone else. I don’t like dressing up in general. If I could live in my barn clothes all day, I would. And I certainly never expected my second cosplay to be such a complex character. Though I guess he does have similarities with Clever. Charismatic leaders out to cleanse the universe. Hmmm…
Mr. Clever will never, ever go away. I will always be him. He is my everything at this point. He has become such a piece of me and my life. But he is also a PITA to put on, to wear all day and to take off.
Having a second option for the times when I just don’t want to deal with all that will be incredible!
Long live the fighters!