Events like New York Comic-Con bring out the cosplayers in droves and the costumes are typically eye-catching, fun, and imaginative, as you can see from our NYCC photo gallery. And it’s not only adults who pack the convention floor in colorful attire — it’s the children, too! Some of these kids would be the envy of all of their friends on Halloween, that’s for sure.
One such child we found was 6-year-old Samantha Fraczek Murray, who made her convention cosplay debut as “Little Thor” at this year’s NYCC. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl from Long Island, NY, not only rocked out a perfect costume, complete with the mighty Mjolnir, her Nordic features made her the perfect little Thor clone.
Check out our full photo gallery of Samantha in action at the Con — including being part of a massive Marvel cosplay group photo — as well as more on the story of how she came to be Little Thor, courtesy of her dad, who spoke with us about the whole experience.
Samantha attended this year’s convention with her dad, Billy, who influenced his young daughter regarding all things geek. When describing to us his love of superheroes and science fictions properties, he confessed that he “never quite grew up.” Raised in the 1970s in a household in Brooklyn, NY, where The Avengers and the “Big Three” superheroes — Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor — (along with Star Trek‘s Enterprise) were huge, Billy is thrilled about the new creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “The Marvel movies are a dream come true,” he said, “especially after years and years of the same re-boots of the Pop Big Three (Batman, Supes, and Spider Man).”
Billy and his wife, Monica (who he outed as a “repressed comic book geek”), had Samantha in 2008, the same year of the release of the first Iron Man movie (which launched the MCU). His love of the movie (“It blew me away,” he said) gave the first-time dad a reason to start collecting action figures again, which he could now share with his daughter.
“Iron Man was my #1, and the movie blew me away, so I bought a 3.75″ Iron Man action figure for my shelf. Between him, the old Star Wars guys I dug up from my Ma’s house, and the other doodads, Sam grew up on SciFi. She naturally liked the girls on the shows we watched like Ahsoka Tano, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, etc., so the collection of female action figures grew. She also had a mad thing for Godzilla, but that’s another story…”
Billy felt like now that his daughter was a little bit older, perhaps she’d want to attend her first comics convention. He went online and showed her images of previous years’ cons, and she said “Yes!” she’d love to go. Knowing how young ones can be, he checked in again with her a few weeks later just to make sure. “I already told you ‘yes,’ Daddy,” he recalls his little girl saying. After that, he thought maybe she’d want to try her hand at cosplay. “Would you like to dress up?,” he asked her (“Like I had to ask!,” he said.) Now they just had to figure out what her costume would be. Considering that the mantle of Thor was recently taken up by a women in Marvel’s comic book universe, Billy figured it might be a good fit for Samantha.
“I think initially she wanted to be the Enchantress, as she identifies with blonde, blue-eyed heroines. She had already been Captain America’s Daughter for Halloween so that was considered, but when I reminded her that they had just turned Thor female (and that fact might get her a bit more attention this year), she was sold.”
But with cosplay typically comes attention and photo ops. “I told her that some of the girls there would probably like to take pictures with her, and she was fine with it,” he recalled to us. “She is a bit of a ham, after all.”
Once the NYCC tickets were acquired, Billy set out to get Samantha’s costume created. He turned first to Samantha’s grandmothers for help.
“I asked my mother-in-law, Jadwiga, if she’d help me with the wardrobe and asked my Ma if she had some shiny material in my grandma’s old stockpile. I retrieved an old pair of 1970’s disco pants that were shiny metallic gray and bought some red wool for the cape and discussed with my mother-in-law what was possible.
Sam actually fit into one leg of the disco pants, so all that was required was to separate the legs (they were wide and flared), sew one of them together, and cut arm holes to make a ‘summer dress’ of sorts – it worked out perfectly. I wanted her to cut the cape into more of a cloak, so that she would be warm if she needed to be and Jadwiga made this happen as well. Without her, this would never have come across so well. Samantha already had a black long-sleeved shirt and knee-high black boots, so all that was needed to finish off the outfit was the foam-backed discs that I covered with aluminum tape (after painting them failed).”
A week or so before the convention, which ran this year from October 9-12 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, Billy began work on the helmet and the hammer, which he created with some personalization just for his daughter.
“[For the helmet] I put a swimming cap on Sam and wrapped her head with 2-inch fiberglass orthopedic casting tape. This tape dries hard as a rock – but it’s rough – so I used papier mache to smooth it out. After the first layer of paper, I bolted on the cardboard wings then finished the papier mache, primed it, and painted the whole thing with metallic silver spray paint, and added a leather liner and then the feathers with a hot glue gun. I put on a pair of large silver washers on the wing-bolts and was done…at 2:30 AM, the morning of the Con (of course).
Mjolnir was finished days before. It’s simply the handle from an old golf club skewering a block of styrofoam and covered with papier mache and painted up. I modified the inscription and replaced Thor’s symbol with my daughter’s (a ladybug). Easy.”
On that Saturday, father and daughter set out to the Manhattan convention center via the Long Island Railroad, where Billy said it was clear that the city was hosting Comic-Con and fellow passengers were also similarly attired (they sat next to Super Mario). Once they arrived to the Javits Center, they met up with friends and plotted a course through the ultra-crowded, wildly busy main convention floor, where “Little Thor” received plenty of attention.
“After we got there, the people were fantastic. I don’t think Sam was ready for the amount of attention she got, she was a bit bashful about it all really. She didn’t even hear most of the “Ooooh, baby Thor” and “how cute” comments because of the sensory overload, so I just waved at everyone for her. We stopped and took pictures with everyone who asked, though. And she eased up and got pretty comfortable doing it. Most of the time though she was horsing around with her friend, Cheyenne, looking for toys, and anyone dressed as Raven. That and counting the Deadpools (she loved the Deadpool conga line).”
Near the end of the day, Samantha took part in a large group photo consisting of other Marvel character cosplayers. How did the tiny little Goddess of Thunder end up assembling with her fellow superheroes?
While discussing their exit strategy at the Batman exhibit, Samantha noticed people outside getting their photos taken. Once she spotted Scarlet Witch, she began to pull her dad towards the area, which turned out to be where photos were being taken for all the contest cosplayers. Though Samantha was there just as an onlooker, it wasn’t long before she was being asked to pose for more photos.
“There was plenty of room to breathe out there, so Sam got a bit of a second wind, posing for a few more solo pictures and looking at the big girls getting theirs taken. At this point she was so comfortable and relaxed that I started worrying that she was having too much fun, but in the end her feet were tired so we decided to go look at the huge inflated Teen Titans and go home.”
But that wasn’t the end of their day. Something bigger was about to happen.
“One of the photographers who had taken Samantha’s pic came running over to us, saying ‘We need little Thor’ so off she went and we were both surprised when we approached the large crowd of Marvel Heroes packing the stairs and a throng of photographers lined up ‘red carpet style’ all cheering LOUDLY when she got there – it was so cool! In the crowd were a few people we had met earlier, including a really nice couple dressed as ‘movie’ Cap and Black Widow.”
After the group photo and some more solo shots, Little Thor and her daddy got ready to depart.
“Part of her wanted to linger, but we had a long day and the desire for her bed and her mother won out. We picked a relatively peaceful train car and talked the whole ride home about what an awesome day we both had…”
Now that Little Thor not only was a hit at the convention, but also a wonderful experience for both daddy and daughter, it looks like they plan to attend New York Comic-Con again next year… and maybe next time, Mommy will come, too!
“Sam and I are in discussions on how we are going to top this year… she is trying to get ME to do it too, but I don’t know about that. Oh, and I think a certain person got jealous of all the fun she missed, because I believe we will all be going next year [Daddy, Mommy, and Daughter].”
[Photos by William Murray, provided exclusively to Geeks Of Doom. Used with permission.]