She was wearing an electric orange T-shirt that read DO NOT TAUNT THE OCTOPUS, jeans, and a lab coat, and was pointing a hunting rifle at the middle of my chest.
– From Deadline by Mira Grant
This is our introduction to Dr. Shannon Abbey. I immediately saw her in my mind and knew I need to do be her! After 5 years, she is finally done. Well, as done as any costume can really get. But done enough that I’m willing to write her up!
Dr. Abbey is one of the few characters that I don’t have a wig for. Her hair is mentioned far less than her t-shirts and lab coat and dog that I don’t feel the need for one. Also, I think she’s got short, curly hair, which can be very hard to find a wig for. So, for these two reasons, I haven’t bothered with a wig.
In the books, there are only two t-shirts mentioned – the aforementioned “Octopus” and “CEPHALOPODS UNION #462”. Both are bright/electric orange and say nothing about the text color or style, so I bought some t-shirts and got to work. I made one of each (details here), ordered a lab coat, and went to DragonCon in 2014. Then I took her to Marcon 50! When I walked in to be on the Literary Costuming Panel, I was pleasantly surprised:
There was another Dr. Abbey on the panel! Thankfully I went with the “Cephalopods” t-shirt, so we weren’t exactly the same, but there were a couple of other differences. She also had gloves one would wear in a lab, as well as safety glasses (I think they’re in a pocket). It got me thinking about what I could add to my costume.
I started looking on Amazon and found a box of gloves and some wrap-around glasses. Then I got to thinking, what else could I use to distinguish my Dr. Abbey from others? That’s when I remembered how we met her in the book. After the shotgun, we find out that she also has a black English Mastiff named Joe. After a lot of looking, I found a toy shotgun – not Airsoft, not BB, toy – and a little plush black puppy that could pass as a puppy Joe. As of today, I have all of that!
Little Joe’s arrival marked the completion of Dr. Abbey. I bought the rifle, gloves, and glasses last year just before Marcon to try and add to her look. I will admit, finding somewhere to set the rifle down during panels was a little annoying. Especially since no one recognized me, and the rifle really isn’t very useful outside of photos. I’ll figure out a better way of toting around with me at a con. The glasses and gloves made me feel better about the costume, which really is the important thing for me. Now I can add little Joe to one of my lower pockets so he can enjoy the conventions too!
But, like I said earlier, she’s done but she’s not done. I’ve had two orange t-shirts and a kit to “screen print” the two more effectively for a few years now. So I need to make those. Also, Mira has been a busy little writer, because Dr. Abbey’s shown up in two more works, in two new t-shirts! I’m probably going to work on those as well, just for variety. And I may make a sturdier lab coat that fits better when I have the time. But, at least she’s done and easily wearable to conventions!
More photos and details are on the Dr. Shannon Abbey page of my site! (It’s also named Cosplay Notes. I’m hoping to get them combined into one some day.)