Kit Quinn and Tallest Silver keep their legal names off the record. The best friends' fear is that, as their images circle the web, boundaries blur. Online, strangers want to get too personal. And they've already been recognized at stores and amusement parks.
Quinn and Silver are 23-year-old cosplayers, showing up at such conventions as San Diego Comic-Con dressed as pop culture icons in stunningly accurate detail. Silver, a pretty redhead, does a mean Poison Ivy. Fittingly, Quinn often plays Ivy's best friend and fellow Batman nemesis, Harley Quinn.
At conventions, photographers swarm as though they're celebrities. "Some things are more socially acceptable in that situation," Silver says, "but when you step away from it, that would have been really creepy and not OK" in regular life.
Silver knows that when she's wearing a cleavage-revealing outfit, eyes dart toward her décolletage. "I stare at your chest," Quinn says, to which Silver responds, "I do, too. It's right there."
They don the tiny costumes of female superheroes at conventions a lot, but what made them Internet-famous was quite the opposite. Last year they started Gender Bent Justice League, a cosplay group that swapped characters' genders. Silver became Batma'am and Quinn transformed into Superma'am, both without any of the usual sexiness. The league became a protest against gender roles in comic books.
Their noms de cosplay are nicknames adopted back in high school and inspired by the cartoon series Invader Zim. By now, though, even they call each other "Kit" and "Silver."
The two share a San Fernando Valley apartment known as the Hall of Justice, a nod to Justice League, the all-star superhero troupe. Inside, a project board boasts costumes in progress. While chatting with a reporter, Silver flips through sketches of designs she has made for friends.
Their passion for costumes began while they were teens living near San Francisco and grew after they started college. Quinn came to Los Angeles to study theater and film at USC. She has the low, strong voice of a stage actor and hopes to someday do voice-overs. She now acts and does makeup and costuming for her filmmaker friends.
Silver, meanwhile, studied anthropology at UC Santa Cruz but now spends a lot of time drawing. Quick-witted and energetic, she's often the ringleader.
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The hobby borders on a job. They often host events and sit on panels. They spend months working on costumes -- Quinn likes to make her own patterns, while Silver prefers to work with thrift-store finds. Quinn has even shown up to conventions with her hands bloody after laboring over last-minute fixes. But the work has its rewards, like when the characters' creators compliment their costumes.
One year, Paul Dini, the famed comic book and television writer who worked on the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, recognized them as Quinn and Ivy, and told them how amazing they looked. "I had to look at his badge," Quinn says. "Paul Dini couldn't be talking to me!"