This interview series is with an old high-school buddy from my old neighborhood back in Chicago. We were good friends way before social media and through the magic of Facebook reconnected. I had no idea he was into comics or even into cosplay until I saw some of his photos. So I figured it would be a great way to reconnect and do an interview for the blog. He's a great guy and we go way back and his cosplay is amazing!
What got you into comics?
- When I was younger, I was into all sorts of the wrong things gangs, drugs, fighting ect. I went to a catholic school in Humboldt Park. My best friend at the time was a kid named Jason Ramos. He wasn't considered one of the cool or popular kids, more like one of the nerdy or geeky kids but, nonetheless my best friend. We would walk home from school together because we lived in the same directions. On our way home he would always stop at a comic shop named Augie's (spelling). This was a big hangout for all the geeky kids in the hood. I had been into comics a little before because my brother would collect but that wasn't serious. Augie would always hand me comics to read when I was waiting around for Jason to finish up. One day I decided to buy one for myself. I don't remember what comic it was but i was hooked. From that point I started my collecting and trading. Now I'm so deep in, there is no escape.
Favorite childhood memory about comics?
- My cousin and I went to a comic convention in Rosemont. I believe it was Wizard World, might have been called something different. I got to meet so many artists and so many others that were into the same things I was. I got books signed and got a ton of free things. At the time they were insignificant little things but at the moment they are not only worth a decent dollar amount, but also hold so much sentimental value.
What got you into doing cosplay?
- Well I have been going to cons my whole life. Around the time I met my gf, things got a little hectic with adulting, I stopped going for a few years. About 4 years ago my gf mentioned that she had always wanted to go to a comic book convention. I was ecstatic!!!! I told her we have to go all out if we were gonna go. We needed the full experience. So we went and we had a blast. I got a closer look at some of the costumes that the competitors had and knew I could do way better than what I had seen. And that's when the bug bit. I was obsessed. Now our pictures are used world wide. What a great feeling.
Biggest mistake when you started?
- I assumed everyone that was into cosplay was gonna be nice. Some of these people are fucking assholes. Some people take this stuff way too personal and don’t care to help others. I try to help as much as possible. Also it can get frustrating when you are constantly asked to take pictures even when you are sitting down trying to eat lunch. You signed up for it, so don't be a jerk if people bother you.
What’s your favorite character or title to collect and also cosplay?
- I have two, Wolverine because who doesn't want to! And Moonknight because he's just another badass. Wolverine is the reason I even considered reading a comic. He was just the ultimate badass and he had a ton of substance in the books. I got interested in Moon Knight because he's a character from Chicago with a bit of crazy. Both smash faces and look so bad ass doing it.
Next big thing for your personal collection? Your grail?
- I'm starting to get into statue collecting. I have a few but there are so many I love and want. I'm personally rebuilding my house and I would love to have a little museum type feel for all our collections. I couldn't put one thing down as my grail. I love everything I have. Some collectors would laugh at some of the stuff I hold value to but it's personal for me. I don't buy things for what it's worth or will be worth in value. That is what separates some of us. I buy things that I love and have a story that comes with it. I like books that are in perfect condition and I also like books that have been in some kids' pockets.
Most unique or favorite thing in your collection?
- I don't have any weird stuff or Grails. If I had to pick something it would be all my silver age comics. Looking at them brings me back to a time when life was much simpler.
What's the best way to learn about the basics of the cosplay world?
- The easiest way to get started is to commit. Most people will say they wanna do it and end up being full of shit. Once you have a character and a date you need to start looking into materials you will need. You can always look on YouTube for tips and tricks. There are some pretty cool things out there. I'm a pretty handy person so I usually figure out my own ways to do things. I encourage everyone to dress up and go to a con. Especially if you have kids.
Best find or score?
- I'd say my Fantastic Four #49 #50 I bought them off a guy who wanted $100 for each and I ended up getting both of them for that price. At the time $100 was really low but he needed the money. He messages me every so often telling me how much he wants them back.
Advice to new collectors or cosplayers.
- My advice would be collect what you find amusing, not what is popular at the time and to do your research. People are always scamming especially with all the online activities nowadays. Work with companies that you know have a history of good products. Packaging and shipping are always an issue when it comes to books. Sometimes paying a little more pays off in the end.
- As far as cosplay is concerned it would be, do it because you love it and dont ever lose track of that. When it's competitive it becomes a task more so than fun. Also remember that people are gonna want pictures with you and want you to do certain goofy poses with them. Don't be a dick, have fun and play along. We are a small growing community and there are people like Joe and myself who are willing to help. Please give me a follow or feel free to take a look at some of the cool things we do.