Cosplay Confessions is yet another monthly feature I’ve added to my blog. Every month, I plan on featuring a different cosplayer and my interview with them, along with photos featuring their cosplays. This will not only be beneficial to the cosplayers themselves – because any publicity is good publicity when it comes to updating your fans on which conventions you’ll be at, and what you’re working on – but it will also be beneficial to those who are interested in cosplay as a hobby.
Since this is a new feature, I have asked some cosplayers I know to fill out my questions and it’s my great pleasure to introduce a cosplayer I just met online (through his girlfriend, who is a friend of mine) named Steve Custer. I just started talking to him, but he is a super-nice and interesting dude. On to the interview!
QUESTION: Hello! Many people reading this may not know much about you. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been cosplaying?
My name is Steve Custer, I live around the Washington D.C. area and I have been cosplaying since 2007. My first cosplays were surrounding The Dark Knight film. I cosplayed classic Joker with a bunch of friends in college for the film’s viral advertising campaigns (Rory’s Death Kiss). After participating in the campaign and seeing the film in the summer of 2008, I cosplayed TDK Joker to a series of Long Halloween parties. After that my first convention cosplay was as Spider-man to the 2011 Baltimore Comic Con, which was in order to meet the guest of honor, Stan Lee, and get a picture and have him sign my Amazing Spider-man #50. I was starstruck when he told me I looked like Peter Parker.
QUESTION: Do you attend many conventions? Which ones are your favorite to attend?
I have attended a good amount of conventions on the eastern seaboard including some of my hometown favorites; Baltimore Comic Con, AwesomeCon, and MAGfest. I attended some of the larger cons including Dragon Con and New York Comic Con, but I have yet to make the westward adventure to San Diego. My favorite convention to attend is Baltimore Comic Con. While I’m slowly becoming a veteran when it comes to attending conventions, I find Baltimore Comic Con to be more of a “comic purist” convention. By purist, I mean a convention centered entirely around comic books and their respective artists and writers rather than the mainstream Hollywood influence most of these conventions now have. Names like Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, Mark Waid, and many more influential writers and artists are at this convention to appease the hardcore fans who follow the original inceptions of their favorite heroes.
The most recent Baltimore Comic Con had many of the writers & artists I mentioned share their insight and input through a variety of panels going on during the days of the convention. For readers of the New 52 reboot of many DC Comics superheroes – Greg Capullo, David Finch, and Dan Jurgens shared their thoughts on the series and the exciting things to look forward to. Their counter-part, Marvel Comics, had a similar discussion through the voices of Mark Waid, Jim Starlin, and Tom Brevoort. Both companies promised exciting futures for upcoming comic books with a variety of new storylines that got crowds of fans, including myself, very excited.
I have not been able to live down my Q&A panel with Scott Snyder as he was preparing to helm the new 52 Batman; After he’d just finished the Detective Comics run of Dick Grayson as Batman, I asked him, “How does it feel to be off of Dick and onto Bruce?” I was immediately shamefaced when Jimmy Palmiotti repeated my question aloud and I realized my oversight in wordsmithing.
QUESTION: Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to cosplaying?
It takes a lot for something to be a pet peeve of mine. I think the cosplay world, much like any art, is highly subjective and rests on the laurels of an artist’s merits. Most of my pet peeves have to do with the reception of cosplay, but here is a list:
- Cosplayers who get defensive and jealous over other people cosplaying the same character. This kind of drama is eye-rolling at best. If you see someone else cosplaying your character, why not be happy to meet another fan? Maybe you’ve found a new friend?
- Unwanted critique of someone’s cosplay. Beyond the rude factor, whether it be online commentary or live feedback, no cosplayer wants to hear criticism about alleged inaccuracies to their craftsmanship or how they’ve chosen to celebrate this particular convention or their love of a character
- Shaming/Harassing. In any field of American interest, shaming and harassment are sensitive issues. Whatever you do, don’t be part of the problem. People cosplay and attend conventions to have a good time, and when you’re self-conscious about your body, age, color, or sex, cosplaying can be really scary. Be supportive of everyone. Do your best to contribute to a positive atmosphere not only for the cosplayers, but for the convention itself.
QUESTION: What’s one cosplay project you’d like to do in the future?
In the near future, I’d like to take my recent Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier and cosplay the Bucky Barnes version of Captain America. Paying it forward after my mishap with Scott Snyder, I’m going to be gearing up for Katsucon 2015 doing my dream cosplay of Batman, which will be a Dick Grayson-inspired version of Batman. I’m very excited to be finally taking on the mantle of the bat. It’ll be nice to finally be able to be Batman next to my Catwoman girlfriend, Devin Gaither.
I was also recently invited and cast by Josh Strong to participate in his fan-film Batman: Ultimatum as the Joker. I’m looking forward to working on this project; the trailer will be coming out soon!
QUESTION: Are there any cosplayers (professional or otherwise) who inspire you? If so, why?
The cosplayer who inspires me the most is Nathan DeLuca. I met him online in a Facebook Group called Heroes For Hire when I was looking to create an armored Nightwing cosplay. I’ve been Facebook chatting with him for a year and commonly refer to him as ‘Canadian Nate’ – I enjoy spitballing cosplay ideas with him and working on projects together. I’m ready for the bromance to begin at Katsucon 2015 where our two worlds will finally collide (which has, at the time of this interview, happened already). Beyond that, his work is great, his hair is perfectly quaffed, and he’s always having a good time doing what he loves: Making cosplay. Positive energy is infectious. Thwip!
I’m also looking forward to one day doing some photo shoots with Action-Packed Cosplay, Kevin DiPlacido, and Matches Malone.
QUESTION: What do you think sets you apart from other cosplayers?
I invite my friends and colleague cosplayers to participate in volunteering efforts with me. This includes promoting local stores on Free Comic Book Day and reading comics to kids at comic book stores. Primarily, we visit local hospitals and provide comics, toys, pictures, and cheer from charities to youth and families in various patient care units. We often celebrate holidays at Children’s National Medical Center and volunteer at charity events sponsored by ‘Hope for Henry‘ and the ‘Be Great Foundation‘.
QUESTION: Any advice for someone wishing to begin cosplaying?
Don’t be intimidated, everyone was a beginner once. Here are some quick tips and tricks.
Never mind the critics and the creepers. Be respectful. Be responsible. Check con policies for cosplay. Always be prepared to strike a pose. Remember that a picture is a compliment.
It all comes down to attitude. Your attitude, confidence, and all-around demeanor are the difference between a decent and amazing cosplay. If you feel really great about what you’re doing, it definitely shows. And don’t worry about looking stupid. At the end of the day, we’re all just a bunch of nerds in costumes. Like any sport or hobby or other form of entertainment, the main reason people cosplay is because they’re having fun doing it. So have fun! YAY for friendship!
QUESTION: Last but not least – do you have a website or Facebook page where people can check out your cosplay endeavors?
I do not have a cosplay website and I’ve been marinating on making a Facebook Page for some time, but I’m always down to be friended and messaged on Facebook HERE. I know, make fun of me if you want, SpideySteve5422 has been my screen name since AOL and battle.net happened.