Friend Files is a new feature I’ve added to Away With Words, this being just the third installment. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading.

Today, I will be talking about another Joe – Joe Michael Malia. Before I get into what I think of him, here is my mini-interview with Joe (exchanged over e-mail and Facebook) where he jotted down just a few thoughts:



Joe Michael Malia - Cosplayer and Gamer.

Joe Michael Malia – Cosplayer, Gamer, Writer



ME: Give me some details about your life.

 JOSEPH MICHAEL MALIA: I don’t work but I am looking now after taking some time off of school. I love to write stories and am currently rewriting a story from when I was in middle school. I write mostly crime/vigilantism sort of stuff but now working on thriller and science fiction. I’m an avid gamer who loves Xbox 360 and Playstation 2. I’m not that close with my family, mostly [just] my sister nowadays. She’s an artist who now works at one of the Wal-Marts as a cake decorator.


ME: How exactly did we meet?

JOSEPH MICHAEL MALIA: We met at Free Comic Book Day a year or so back and then re-met at the comic convention [Portland Comic Expo] just before this Halloween. You were Obi-Wan and I was The Riddler.


ME: What is one good memory you have involving me?

JOSEPH MICHAEL MALIA: I enjoyed talking to you and hanging out during the comic convention and joking around. It was a great experience and made me more interested in going to more cons.


ME: Why exactly are we still friends?

JOSEPH MICHAEL MALIA: I wanted to find my con friends on facebook so we added each other, glad we did as we talk about gaming and movies and school.


ME: Anything you want me to plug?

JOSEPH MICHAEL MALIA: I’m not sure, just looking forward to whatever comes next. Hope to meet you again soon.


When I came up with the idea to do these Friend Files interviews, I knew I’d be featuring not only cool people (like I have been) but also a variety of different friends from different circles in my life. Long-time friends, internet friends, work friends, cosplay friends, family friends, etc. Joe is unique in that he is not only a relatively new friend I have the privilege of having met, but also the first of my cosplay friends I will be featuring.

I met Joe during Free Comic Book Day (as he mentioned above) at Coast City Comics. I was living in the West End of Portland, Maine and had to work later on in the evening but I always missed Free Comic Book Day every year so I vowed to go at least in the morning and stay up until I had to go to work. I put on my Obi-Wan Kenobi costume and walked down to Coast City Comics. The sun was out and the air was nice.

When I arrived, I talked to my usual stable of friends – The Maine Ghostbusters, my friend Mike Lavoie (who went as the Penguin that year), my friend Amanda who went as Spider-Woman, and my friend Matt who went as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. There were other acquaintances I spoke with, and there were a couple people I didn’t know who I ended up chatting with briefly as we posed for photos with strangers and made jokes. One of those people was Joe, who was dressed as the Riddler from Arkham City. At the time, he was friendly and was easy to talk with. However, since I was leaving so soon I didn’t really get the chance to talk with him enough to exchange names and info for contact later.

This past fall, I met Joe again at the Portland Comic Book Expo in Portland. Both of us were dressed in our usual costumes and we spoke to one another as if we’d been in contact ever since Free Comic Book Day. We chatted for a long time, about Star Trek, Star Wars, DC Comics, and more. We resolved to keep in contact through Facebook from then on and have had a few conversations online about various things.

Recently, I was with my brother and girlfriend when I bumped into Joe at Bull Moose Music (a shop that sells video games, music, and movies in the Old Port). I introduced everyone and he and my brother chatted for a little bit. This is what I like about Joe – you can really talk with him about anything, no matter who you are. He didn’t know my brother but that didn’t stop him from having a conversation with a perfect stranger.

Joe is also an avid gamer. He told me he’s currently playing Skyrim again, but recently he was updating his Facebook wall with posts about his exploits in Arkham Origins and reflecting on his mistakes and successes with boss fights and other things.

All in all, it’s a pleasure to know Joe and to keep running into him at conventions and out in the city. I look forward to seeing him grow and expand his cosplay and to hear more of his gaming and writing exploits.

And now, I leave you with some relevant photos of Joe (some of them taken by Amanda White and Matt Shaw):



Joe Michael Malia on the right as The Riddler from Arkham City, taken at Free Comic Book Day where we met.

Joe Michael Malia on the right as The Riddler from Arkham City, taken at Free Comic Book Day where we met in 2014.

Me (in the robes as Obi-Wan) crossing my lightsaber with Joe's Riddler staff on Free Comic Book Day, 2014.

Me (in the robes as Obi-Wan) crossing my lightsaber with Joe’s Riddler staff on Free Comic Book Day, 2014.

Me as Obi-Wan at the Portland Comic Expo. Joe is in back of my friend Matt Walsh (Red Skull).

Me as Obi-Wan at the Portland Comic Expo. Joe is in back of my friend Matt Walsh (Red Skull).