Cosplay is a pretty intense pursuit these days, with individual crafters making costumes to the same standards as entire Hollywood costume departments. Unsurprisingly, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, one notorious costume back in the day was made from nothing more than pantyhose and two tubs of peanut butter – and the stench that resulted caused some heavy soul-searching for the early costuming community.
Costuming was still a fledgling community back in 1972, but even so people would go to some effort to make costumes for sci-fi and comic conventions. Except, that is, for comic artist Scott Shaw! (the exclamation point is mandatory, by the way) who decided it would be a great idea to cover himself head to toe in peanut butter for his last-minute costume.
The character was called ‘The Turd’, a creation of Shaw himself. The aptly named Turd was a sewer monster composed of human faeces, so what better to use to cosplay him than good ol’ peanut butter?
Shaw’s costume was so last minute that it didn’t exist the day of the convention. Comic writer Mark Evanier recounts seeing a hat being passed around the convention floor during the day, collecting donations to fund the peanut butter. No one expected it to actually happen, Evanier claims, but they were soon proven horribly wrong…
The costume was composed of a stocking mask, a pair of shorts, and a whole lot of peanut butter. I have to say, he really got the ‘turd’ part down.
Of course, there’s a good reason we don’t generally adorn our bodies with peanut butter. The gooey substance liquefies at human body temperature, meaning Shaw was shedding parts of his inventive costume all over the venue, the masquerade stage and his fellow con-goers. And then there was the smell. Turns out peanut butter doesn’t do all that well under hot stage lights or walking around all day, and soon enough Shaw started to smell pretty damn terrible.
While by all accounts the costume was an unforgettable moment in convention history, other events very wisely added rules that forbade attendees from including edible substances as part of their costumes after then. Shaw’s is a fantastic story, but probably not one that ever needs to be repeated.
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