Name: Steve C.
Where are you from originally or reside currently: I live in Frederick, MD and spend most of my time in/around the Washington D.C. area.
How long have you been cosplaying: I’ve been cosplaying for roughly 5-7 years. The line between cosplaying and creating costumes as an actor in live theatre tends to blur.
Characters cosplayed: Bucky/Winter Soldier, Man of Steel, Joker, Dr. Horrible, Nightwing, Spider-man, Cloud Strife
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
I was inspired by 2 events to cosplay. The first was in 2008, which was an epic year starting the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk, however, I was completely drawn that summer to the world surrounding Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight. I’d just graduated college and like many other Nolan-verse fans, I instantly knew that I wanted to do the Joker for Halloween that year.
The second event was in 2011 when I made plans to attend my first comic book convention in costume. I went to Baltimore Comic Con specifically to see the guest of honor, Stan Lee. I’d put together a Spider-man costume, registered for the Stan Lee VIP pass, brought my notable Silver Age Amazing Spider-man comics to get autographed, and when I took my mask off for a picture with Stan, he told me I looked like Peter Parker. I cried. Like a gorilla.
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
When the tights are off, I work as a magazine editor/comms specialist and moonlight as an actor. I majored in Theatre & English and have been acting in live theatre since I was a wee Steve. In fact, I was recently cast by Other Voices Theatre in the musical, ‘I love you, you’re perfect, now change’, which will be performed in February 2016 in Frederick, MD. This Spider-man can sing!
Beyond that, I take flying trapeze classes and mountain bike course at TSNY in Washington D.C., enjoy long video games, eating bacon cheese fries, and volunteering at local area hospitals visiting sick children with the Hope for Henry Foundation as Spider-man. If there are any riders reading, you have to check out the link below, I will show you the best mountain bikes for your needs.
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
For me, the costume providing the biggest challenge is hands down The Joker for one major reason: MAKEUP. I am not the most adept at applying my own make-up and I’m still learning a lot in order to do so. My favorite version of the Joker I cosplayed was the New 52 version because I went the route of using a mask in lieu of abundant make-up application.
The costume providing me with a continuously rewarding experience is my favorite comic book character, Spider-man. In early 2015, I used an imgur thread to create a definitive and classic red & blue Spider-man suit, and I got this notion not to just cosplay the character, but to become him. I started the SpideySteve campaign with a very supportive group of artists to audition and submit myself as an underdog, everyman candidate for the MCU Spider-man.
We shot for the stars and although we did not expect much, we received credible notice from BuzzFeed, DC’s Fox 5 News, The Washington Examiner, and other local news outlets for the audition videos we created, the trapeze classes I took in costume, and the numerous occasions visiting hospitalized children as Spider-man. What I did not expect is that this would become an ongoing way of life for me now, and I would not change a thing!
We actually debuted a new video on Stan Lee’s Birthday on December 28th – watch it here!
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
The best advice I could give to anyone new to cosplaying is: Don’t be intimidated, never mind critics or creepers, always have fun! If you go to an event or convention where cosplay is popular, you’ll see a lot of different types of costumes, from store-bought to homemade, from simple to complex. It’s a hobby for geeks, by geeks, and largely enjoyed by geeks. Everyone is doing it to have fun, and that’s the key to not being intimidated by it: HAVE FUN! Nuff Said.
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
I think the answer to this question starts at the root with ‘community’. In my opinion, something that cosplay can perpetuate is a desire for stardom and recognition. In that chase for popularity, I’ve seen drama, hyper-entitlement, objectification, and lack of humanity towards one another in the forms of shaming, harassing, or bashing one another – this all in the name of one-upping each other and being recognized by peers, or a faceless audience of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’.
What most of us experience in cosplay is a ‘product.’ The end result. Someone standing before us in a costume. But there is a person underneath that costume. That person has a story, and reasons for putting themselves out there for the world to see. I want to get to know that person. I want to be supportive of that person. Heck, that person could be my friend. The community aspect of cosplay is my favorite part and I think the important thing is to keep advancing the mission of collective community. We’re all in this for fun anyway! Always respect one another, have fun, and remember that cosplay life creates culture, camaraderie, and strength when we are all in it together. Great Power, Great Responsibility, Yeah.