First name and last initial: John C
Where are you from originally or reside currently? Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
How long you have been cosplaying? On and off since the 90s. Pretty hardcore since 2010.
Other Characters cosplayed: Hawkeye (Matt Fraction/Marvel Now), Union Jack (WW2 and modern), and Beta Ray Bill
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
It’s been so long since I started… Going back to childhood I always loved Halloween, dressing as something you’re not was the best part. My parents weren’t really able to buy costumes so we made a lot of them. That’s probably where it started. Fast forward to my late teens early twenties when my friends and I started hitting the conventions. It was such a mind-blowing thing back then. In the 80s and 90s you’d maybe have your small circle of nerd friends, if you were lucky. Being hardcore into sci-fi or comics was different. Like being on a desert island waiting for a star wars novel to wash ashore. Then you’d go to a con and there’s literally thousands of other fans and more books and movies than you can process. It was overwhelming. And people were hanging out in costumes. So basically as a young adult, it brought back Halloween, but like, 2-3 times a year. Now it’s like 5-6 times a year.
All my early cosplays were incredibly lazy. I used to be in the reserves and was really into competitive shooting for awhile. So I had tactical vests and holsters and all this military barf everywhere. So my first costumes were the low hanging fruit. Hunk from Resident Evil, the Punisher, District 9 MNU mercenary. I’d add the touches like a patch or ID or what have you. That all culminated with Ghost from Modern Warfare 2. It was a ten dollar skull mask. Everything from the neck down was real and I had a buddy who sold airsoft guns for a living, so I had some tricked out prop guns. Two things happened: the cosplay scene in Toronto started blowing up. People were really starting to bring their A game to conventions. So folks would come up to me and touch my filthy chest rig and be like ‘how long did it take you to make this?’ and it was just embarassing. I bought a cheap mask and people were comparing me to these amazing, hardworking artisans. The other thing that started was the security heat. You used to be allowed the craziest stuff back in the day, there were no rules. Knife? nobody cared, Bow and arrows? Just don’t fire it. BB guns? Just make sure they’re unloaded. That doesn’t fly anymore. So I stopped doing military/tactical characters and decided to really push myself and make superhero costumes.
I’ve been a Marvel guy since X-Men ’92 so I decided Marvel characters would be my focus.
The artists and writers inspire me, I want my wearable omage to show them my respect for their work. I’ve had a few opportunities to interact with creators while dressed as their characters. It takes the convention experience to another level.
Sometimes I’ll be dressed on my way to a con thinking ‘this is dumb why am I doing this?’ Then a fan sees me and loses their mind. Especially if the fan is a child and you make their day. That keeps me going.
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
I’m a working actor.
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
Beta Ray Bill for sure. I definitely jumped to a complex build with little experience. One version had a light up chest piece. Just an over engineered nightmare lol.
But at the same time, I get the craziest reactions for Bill. The biggest cons, I’m the only Beta Ray. I’ve met Walt Simonson who created the character, Steve Blum who voices him, and they both totally flipped.
Bill is just as fun when people don’t recognize him and are frightened or confused.
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Baby steps. Maybe Iron Man shouldn’t be your first build.
Don’t be afraid of obscure characters. It can be very rewarding when you’re spotted.
Suit up at the convention. Especially if your costume has prop weapons or your face is covered. Don’t freak people out on the train.
Research your character thoroughly.
Practice poses in the mirror so your photos aren’t boring and all the same.
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
Leave judging to the judges. Keep your stupid comments to yourself.