MWS spoke with Wendy Craig about her very unique position as the Marvel Comics Costume Supervisor. She shared what makes this job unlike any other!
Wendy Craig: Marvel Comics Costume Supervisor: A Unique Position
MWS: You’re the Marvel Comics Wardrobe Supervisor. This seems like a really unique position. The closest comparison I can think of is working on a long running TV show, but does this have an even larger scope than that?
Wendy Craig: Yes, sort of! I liken it to the old studio days when they were making serials – like Tarzan, and the Lone Ranger – all the movies in the Marvel Universe reference each other, and cross overs occur in almost every film now. It truly is like being on the longest film ever made with the job that defies description.
MWS: How long have you held this position?
WC: I was the costume supervisor, in the traditional sense, on the first Antman film. When that film wrapped in December of 2014, I was offered this position.
MWS: What kind of team do you work with?
WC: I work, day to day, at the costume archive warehouse in North Hollywood. Once a Marvel film wraps, the costumes are shipped here. I have two archive assistants, and we unload, inventory, and hang the costumes as they arrive.
MWS: Do you spend much time on set?
WC: Along with managing the archive, I supervise and/or staff the reshoots for each film as they come up. And if a film in production has a flashback, and needs a costume from a previous movie, that comes from archive. Literally anything that happens with the costumes after their movie wraps, goes through me.
Because of those responsibilities, I am not usually with a film on a day-to-day basis. I meet with the costumes designers and supervisors about what from the archive or civilian stock would be available for use on their film, or to talk about the production facility. But I became the “traditional” costume supervisor on Black Panther because production couldn’t find anyone to take it on after the first supervisor left for personal reasons.
Wendy Craig: Marvel Comics Costume Supervisor: Superhero Afterlife
MWS: What happens to the costumes in the Marvel universe after the film is shot?
WC: Part of my job is pulling, dressing, and installing displays and exhibits of the film costumes. We have installed costumes at many venues from opening displays at theatres to long term exhibits in museums and everything in between. For instance, last year GOMA, Brisbane, Australia, hosted a 3 month exhibit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For that, Alexis Auditore, the Manager of Physical Production, and I travelled to Brisbane and led the installation of approximately sixty costumes, and over a hundred props. Every Marvel Studios film was represented. It was truly awe inspiring to see the costume history of the films in one exhibit.
Marvel Comics Wardrobe Supervisor: Superhero Afterlife
MWS: Can you tell us a bit about working on Black Panther? This is a huge moment! Was there a lot of excitement as it was being made?
WC: I am always amazed how every part of the Marvel universe is entirely different from the other parts – ie – the look of the Doctor Strange costumes and world is different from the Guardians and their worlds – and Thor’s films feel yet again very different. And, again, I knew from the first read of the script, and my first meetings with Ruth Carter, the costume designer, that Black Panther would be yet another entirely different experience for the audience.
Ruth and her team did an amazing amount of real world research, which she then translated into the tribes of Wakanda. The color palette of each tribe and their style is firmly rooted in that research and the resulting boards. And Ryan Coogler may be the best storyteller of his generation. His lack of ego makes production meetings truly an exchange of ideas, and, while it’s clear that he’s the captain of the ship, he’s always interested in someone else’s ideas or impressions.
After Black Panther started shooting, I eased away to return to my “day job” at the archive. Paul Simmons, and Caroline Errington ran the show after that. We would talk every other week, but I didn’t go back to Atlanta until wrap to see how the show would come to the archive, and to facilitate some assets moving on to other Marvel projects.
Wendy Craig: Marvel Comics Costume Supervisor: MWS
MWS: What is your relationship with Manhattan Wardrobe supply and how has it evolved over the years?
I have to say that once I “discovered” MWS, it became my go-to supply house. They’ve always been very good to me and very quick to get me whatever I needed – wherever I was in the world. They offer the sort of personal relationship and service that has made them the greatest.
Thanks for telling us a bit about your amazing position with Marvel, Wendy!