Heroes Behind the Masks: Heroes n More

With a tag line like “Helping Children one smile at a time!” how can you not smile yourself!  This amazing groups goal is one reason I CAUSEplay and what I hope to do myself!  Show people that anyone can be involved in their community and make a difference. You only have to go out and do it! As I learn more about various CAUSEplayers and groups I am amazed to find that one person can inspire so many!  This group from Texas was also inspired by the amazing Aquaman-San Antonio’s Amazing Adventures.  I am sure he is pleased to see that he has made a difference in the lives of his friends and people who have no idea how he inspired others by being a good and amazing man.  Remember anyone can be a hero! This group also recently debuted their amazing Hulk Buster!  Check it out on their Facebook page here!  This is an amazing feat to make charity events fun and memorable!!  –Mala

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Group Name: Heroes n More

Mission Statement: Our organization is a group of special superheroes giving struggling kids a reason to smile, hope and dream. We also raise awareness about rare diseases, disabilities and help the world learn about a whole army of resilient, inspiring fighters and survivors. Our goal is for everyone to realize that it does not take a cape or costume to go out and help someone, just the desire to become an active force in the world around you and make our world a better place.  If you know of a child who needs our help, please contact us!

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Location(s): We work with children in San Antonio, TX and the surrounding area.  Plus we send out our Hero/Princess Boxes to 3-5 children with in the 50 states.

Can you elaborate on the Hero/Princess Boxes?
Our Hero/Princess Box program is a box full of toys, homemade gifts, books, crayons, dolls, cars, comics, etc. and a note from us.

How do you determine who qualifies for one of these boxes?
All Qualify  for the boxes, the way they are picked is by some one contacting me and telling me the child’s story or by recommendation of one of my Heroes or someone in our community.  The sole reason we started this program is to bring joy to a child and let them know they have a whole team of Heroes thinking about them.

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If someone were interested in donating for these Hero/Princess Boxes what is needed?
If someone would like to donate to our Box program, they may do so via paypal, in person or thru the mail. We take all gifts for the boxes. We have the most need for books and comics.  Our Paypal info is: heroesandmore@paypal.com

Since you ship these boxes throughout the US can people also assist with donating funding for shipping?  If so, where would they send their donations to?
Yes we would love to have someone help with the shipping cost, they vary based on the size of the box and range from 5-20 dollars.  Our Paypal info is: heroesandmore@paypal.com

Is it 3-5 a month or a year? 
We ship 3-5 a month.

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When was the group started?
We have been working in San Antonio, TX for 1 and half years.

What inspired you to create Heroes n More or CAUSEplay in general?
We started this Team because we have a special needs son and wanted to give back the way folks gave back to us. Our other inspirations Were one of my very first team members and dear sweet friend Aquaman Sa and Princess Savannah Gomez. Both of these sweet Angels are now in heaven together. We see them as our guardian Angels and  the driving force to this team of loving hearts and helping hands!

Brief history/overview: We work with special needs, terminally ill children  and special groups. We actively speak out about Childhood and Adult cancer. Our team members are a family and we not only support those who need us most but we support each other.  We are more than folks who put on a cosplay, we are FAMILY.

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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation?  If not, do you consider yourself a charity group or just a group of friend who do good?  And are you looking into getting a 501(c)3  status?
Yes we are a 501(c) Nonprofit Charity Organization.

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How can someone join Heroes n More?
We have a application process due to the privacy of the Special children and groups we work with. All you do is contact us on our Page and we will have a convo with you and send the needed paper work. Once we receive them back we will go thru them and contact you back.

What type of costumes do you accept?  Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it?  What do you look for in a costume?
We accept all cosplays. As long as they are child friendly, it doesn’t matter to us if you made it or got it in a store. We look at the heart of the Hero wearing the cosplay.

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Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Yes we do have a Team Seamstress , as well as multi very skilled ladies who can sew. Along with many who can build props and Armor.

How many people are currently in your group?
We currently have 42 members.

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How is the leadership determined?
We look at the leadership skills of all of our members and then if we see someone  really sticks out, we approach them if a position on the Broad is open. Our broad members make all of the decision for the team but all members have a vote.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?  
Every year we attend and support The local cancer walks, Autism walks and events these groups hold. As well as all events the Elks Lodge #216 hold. For our special case children we hold events that are just for them. For our Little Princesses we do Tea Parties and Princess for the Day events. For our little Heroes we do Hero days and Pizza parties! Plus if the child is to sick to come out we do home visits. We also support our local Autism groups by attending the events, at these events we provide Hero support”, were we play games, take pictures and bring buckets of joy! Other things we do every few months are Fundraiser events, because our team is a Non Profit all of the monies donated to us will go 100% back to the cause. If a local business would like to give to the a donations to help us fund one of the children or events you can email us.

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Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We create our own events and also attend when asked to.

How did you build you “clientele”?
We receive info on our Special case children from the local community.

Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
The organizations we work with on a regular basses are: Childhood Cancers, Autism Support Groups and The Ekls Lodge #216.

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What is the most amazing thing Heroes n More has accomplished so far?
We think everything we are able to do is amazing! Because we are allowed time with these special children, we are part of bringing them Joy when they need it the most!

Where do you see Heroes n More going in the future?
Our Team is growing by leaps and bounds, we have HUGE plans this year, so keep your eyes out.

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Do you use any fun terminology specifically Heroes n More?
Yes we do. Our Boxes we send out are called: Hero Boxes fro boys and Princess Boxes for girls. We also call our self, Hero Support. Also our tag is: Helping Children one smile at a time!

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay? 
Our group has spread so much love and taught many this way of life, a few of our original  members have gone on the start there own groups. To us this is the best testimony because it means this whole area will soon be covered with loving hearts and helping hands!

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Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay: Just be a driving force of Good will and joy in your local community, if all just spread love we can make this world a better place!

What future events do you have?
Our books are already so full for 2015. Some events we will be at in 2015 are: Any Baby Can Autism walk, The Oral Cancer walk in SA, Local Breast cancer walk(one of our team members is fighting it) and Head for the Cure.

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heroesnmore

Website:www.heroesnmore.com

Email: heroesandmore@gmail.com

Paypal: heroesandmore@paypal.com

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A member of Heroes n’ More with the one and only Aquaman of San Antonio, who inspired many to use their love of costumes and comics to give back.

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Hero Behind the Mask: Knightmage

I have followed Knightmage for sometime now and I am always blown a way by his skill level as a costumer, his attitude, his compassion, and his level of giving!  I will forever be amazed at how quickly he can produce some complicated costumes!  If you haven’t seen his Predator yet check out his Facebook page (one costume that is not shown in any pictures here)!  You won’t be disappointed!  There is so much that can be said about this man but I feel his own words do more justice for his character than I could even attempt!   –Mala

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Name: Michael “Knightmage” Wilson

Location: Youngstown, Ohio

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
It started in 2011 when I decided that I wanted to make my Halloween costume. I went with John Stewart Green Lantern. After Halloween a friend asked me if I could participate in a local Relay For Life event. The theme was “America” so I thought, ok, I’ll make Captain America. After that I started attending birthday parties as Spiderman and soon after I made my Batman costume. That’s when I really started getting more involved with charity events. As time went on and the popularity of my cosplaying grew I started thinking that I could use this as an avenue to help a lot of people and organizations. Once I started getting invited to conventions and people would ask if I sold prints of my cosplays, again I thought this would be a great chance. So I came up with the idea to give my prints and autographs out for free. All I ask is a donation of any amount to my charity of choice. Every convention I attend I do a different charity. I try to stay local to where the convention is. I’ve since started to add a “Props Raffle for Charity”. Everything I do involving cosplaying where I’m handed money, whether it be a con appearance, birthday party, selling of prints and props, it all goes to charity. That’s my way of giving back for all the amazing opportunities that I’ve been given through cosplaying.

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What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
A few things. Again, it’s really my way of giving back. Once cosplaying went from a hobby to a passion I really wanted to strive to be an idea. I didn’t just want to create something, wear it then be done. I wanted it to mean something. I wanted to do more and hopefully inspire others with it. There’s so many different layers of cosplaying to me now and there’s so many more yet undiscovered. Showing how you can turn a hobby/passion you love into a charitable act of love is just one layer. But it’s a huge layer for me and it continues to drive me to keep doing more. When I started cosplaying I never expected it to go in this direction. Now two years later I’m getting The Presidential Volunteer’s Service Award and paying off layaways as an anime character. It’s just crazy how life happens and the twists and turns it gives you.

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What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a Relay For Life. I made Captain America specifically for that event. I had an absolute blast and it was well received.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I’ve tested out only a hand full of different costumes at events but Batman is probably my favorite. All kids and even adults love Batman. The reception I get from it is something really special.

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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Wow. There’s been so many. I think maybe the “Lighting the Bat Signal for Jayden” event. This was a local event for a young four-year old boy named Jayden. He has a rare disease known as MSD Leukemia. At the time he was only given months to live. He’s a huge Batman fan so the idea was to make an event so big that it would catch the attention of Christian Bale in hopes that he would come and meet the young man. Well as time drew closer the idea was thought to have a bunch of superheroes there as well. This is when I decided to make my Batman. I would be Batman for the event. A very small organization at the time from Cleveland “Superheroes to kids in Ohio” got involved and one of the members had just purchased a Batman suit. So the reigns of doing that honor was handed to him. I decided to wear my Green Lantern outfit. When the day came, with only weeks of planning, us heroes (around 12) had a police escort to the local stadium with over 10 thousand people waiting. It was unbelievable. Then comes little Jayden. We all greeted him. He over joyed. As it got dark Jayden lit the Bat signal in the sky. Literally a fully working large spotlight Bat signal. A very kind gentleman who owned one brought his from Cleveland and played the role of Alfred. With the signal in the sky and music playing through the stadium speakers, Batman rolls in with his Batmobile. I don’t remember the type of car but it was donated for use from a dealership. The car was a black sleek sports car and was worth around $500,000. Batman took Jayden for a quick ride and returned to the stadium where we all took photos and chatted. The outpouring of support shown from the community was just incredible. I think that will forever be my favorite moment. The story gets better as Christian Bale did indeed get word and flew Jayden and his family out to Los Angeles to spend the weekend with him. Also Jayden is still with us and is on the road to recovery.

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What is your favorite cause to support?
I have a lot but one charity I will always support and is my go to is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They do so much and to be able to help give someone their last wish, that’s just the ultimate gift to give.

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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
So far I haven’t had to do anything really crazy but I’m sure after this interview post that’ll change.

Who inspires you?
I find inspiration from everywhere and everybody. Sounds cliché but it’s absolutely true. There are so many people, especially in the cosplay community who inspires me. I feed off of positive energy. If it’s around then that’s what inspires me.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: So many things to say here. First off you need to be confident in yourself, be true to the character and mindful of your audience.. 90% of charity cosplaying involves working with kids. If you’re Superman then you need to be the portrayal of Superman. I don’t mean looking like you just came out of a comic book. I mean your personality. You want that kid to believe that you are Superman regardless of what you personally look like because all that kid will see is that “S” on your chest. Getting into charity work can be difficult but don’t get discouraged. Create a resume/bio of yourself to give organizations. Get a background check done of yourself too. They need to know that they can trust you and you want to be able to show that they can. Anytime money is involved, especially if you’re raising it, then you need to keep all receipts. Start small. You probably won’t be able to just contact a Children’s Hospital and start visits. You need to build a rapport with your community first. I always say that Relay for Life’s are great for that. They’re everywhere and there’s so many connections in the community that you can make. I can go on and on but I’m always available to help and give some tips and guidance.

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What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Well, since I raise money at every convention I guest at I have a bunch of those coming up. Many I can’t say yet because they haven’t announced me. And of course there’s always a charity event in need of a super hero somewhere. I post my schedule as it comes regularly on my social media pages.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
It honestly doesn’t matter to me. Neither are derogatory terms and both generally means the same.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
John Stewart Green Lantern. Made that for Halloween in 2011.

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I am a Deputy Sheriff. I’ve been in law enforcement for 15 years. People are always shocked to learn that.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I’ve always been fascinated with fight choreography and stunts so I would have to say a professional stuntman. I’ve went to stunt school and have done extra work and stunt work for a few Hollywood movies but I’ve never pursued it as a career.

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Tell us something random about yourself: I am deathly afraid of spiders!

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars! C’mon, The Force is where it’s at!

Marvel or DC: That’s tough. Character wise I love DC but when it comes to building a story I love Marvel. So overall I think Marvel has the edge with me.

Favorite Comic Series: Batman. The one character who is always a constant to me is Batman.

Favorite Comic Character: Spawn. Such an incredible story and look. Plus he’s incredibly fun to cosplay.

Favorite Book: I’m not religious but The Bible.

Favorite Video Game: Oregon Trail! No, seriously, probably the Call of Duty series. It’s so much fun. So many hours and days wasted just doing some killin.

Favorite Convention: C2E2. I have so much fun at this convention every year. I’ve met so many awesome friends there. So many amazing cosplays also. It’s a great show with a mix of pop culture and comics. It’s just awesome all around. A very close second is Dragon Con. That con is just crazy nuts but in a good party way.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio, The Heroes Alliance Ohio, Together Brothers Productions, Shot in the Dark Comics, and the East Coast Avengers.

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Knightmage1

Twitter: @Knightmage

Instagram: Knightmage1

Hero Behind the Mask: Lonstermash

This weeks feature is about someone I have followed for a long time, Lonstermash!  He is mainly a cosplayer who occasionally uses his love of Wolverine and Rocky for CAUSEplay. I highly recommend his Facebook page!  He is always coming up with fun photo shots using his unique sense of humor.  As I always say, if you aren’t having fun in this hobby then why are you doing it?!  And this man knows how to have fun!  Not only that, he is very down to earth and a pleasure to speak with!  Always willing to take a timeout to get a picture with a fan!  I am pleased to present this weeks interview!  ENJOY! –Mala

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Name:  Lonstermash

Location:  L.A.

What got you into CAUSEplaying?  If we’re talking “cos” playing, the fun of getting to basically celebrate Halloween more than once a year   If we’re talking “cause” playing, my friend over at The Trinity All-Stars who first organized an outing for me and a few of our other cosplayer friends to visit a pediatric ward of a big hospital near L.A..

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?   The great reaction I get from fans at conventions and on my FB page and IG account, the fun I get to have with fellow cosplayer friends, the fun photo shoots I get to do, and the way it allows me to express my artistic and creative side.   If we’re talking “cause” playing, the good feeling I get by making someone’s day nice who, otherwise, isn’t in a good place in life right now, due to illness/poverty.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?   For Cosplay, it was Comikaze 2012; for “Cause” play, it was the above mentioned outing to Long Beach Memorial hospital’s pediatric ward.

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What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?  For “cos” playing, it’s Rocky Balboa, because he is my favorite fictional character of all-time and much of the reason I am who I am today, in terms of my work ethic.  And, he was the reason I got into fitness back in the mid 80’s (because I wanted to look like  his body).  For “cause” play, it’s only been Wolverine, so there is no choice there.  And it’s only been Wolverine, in part, because this is my most recognizable character to kids.

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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :  When a little girl yelled out “I DON’T EVER WANT TO LEAVE THIS PLACE,” at my recent Toys For Tots event, where I and about 30 total cosplayers entertained less fortunate kids and their families just before Christmas.

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Toys for Tots event

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What is your favorite cause to support?  Anything having to do with kids who are in bad health

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?  Nothing silly/strange

Who inspires you?  No one specifically.  But I really like it when I encounter a celebrity who acts very humble and down to earth when they meet you.  And  I’m very inspired by anyone who is enlisted in our armed forces defending our American freedom, or anyone who donates their time and or money to help those less fortunate.

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Advice for CAUSEplaying:   Leave your ego at the door and try to be as real and down to earth as possible.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?   None that I know about.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?  I’ve never been called a costumer, but either would be fine.

What was your first costume/cosplay?  Wolverine

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?  Physical Therapist

If you could have any job what would it be and why?  Actor/Rock star, because it’s fun and pays well and has a lot of time off.

Star Wars or Star Trek:  I like both, but WAYYYY more into Star Wars

Marvel or DC:  Marvel, but I LOVE Batman, too.

Favorite Comic Series:  X-Men

Favorite Comic Character:  Tie between Batman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine

Favorite Book:  The Bible

Favorite Video Game:  Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on the old Nintendo system

Favorite Convention:  Comikaze

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/Lonstermash

Twitter:  @reallonstermash     (I had to use “real” because some jerk created an account with @lonstermash, using my pictures, and pretending to be me and he won’t surrender it now)

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Hero Behind the Mask: Abi Sue Cosplay

I would like to introduce you to Abi Sue Cosplay.  She is a veteran of the costume community who loves to share her knowledge!  It can be anything from worbla panels to cosplay modeling or photo editing!  She also uses her knowledge and love to bring smiles to children through various groups that she participates with!  Abi Sue was also kind enough to appear at the CAUSEplay panel as GeekGirlCon 2014 too!  –Mala

Name: Abi Sue Cosplay

Location: Seattle, WA

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I met a great group of cosplayers at ECCC 3 years ago, they were posing in front of a cheezy poofs bucket and asking for funds for Children’s Hospital. They are Comics Book Characters for Causes and I’ve become one of the staff members.

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CBCC at ECCC 2012

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The children! At CBCC the charities we support are children’s charities. I love how they think we actually are the characters, it’s so fun to see how excited they are. The occasional time when I get a picture with a mini me is just so fun too!

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Rogues at Rose City Comic Con 2013, little Rogue is AJ Cosplay photo by Snap It! Photography

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
Outside of being pulled in to the ECCC group I think my first event with them was the Marvel vs. DC event at Bobakhan Toys in Everett.

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Bobakhan Toys event, I am Domino in this.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Definitely a toss-up between my own favorite costume 90’s Rogue and Wonder Woman. 90’s Rogue is just me, I dye my hair like hers, she is recognizable by a lot of people and family friendly. Wonder Woman is more iconic and also easily recognizable. That’s really the best thing at a charity event, the more recognizable characters are more popular with the kids.

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Wonder Woman by Kairu Photography

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :
The little girls that just wouldn’t let my hands go at Camp Goodtimes this summer. They made sure Rogue sat at their table for lunch, they were just the cutest!

What is your favorite cause to support?
Camp Goodtimes (http://www.thegoodtimesproject.org/) is an amazing camp which “exists to offer Western Washington and Alaska families affected by childhood cancer a cost-free week of summer camp” (quote from website). They recently lost funding from the American Cancer Society so we really like to help them as much as we can!

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At Camp Goodtimes, summer 2014.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
This summer at Camp Goodtimes we did a flash mob style dance to the song Classic, it was so fun! I lost the heel pads of my Rogue shoes, had to get new ones for my boots covers. Worth it though!

Who inspires you?
Other cosplayers that also give of their time and energy for causes. Ani-Mia and BelleChere both come to mind. There are tons of amazing cosplayers that love to help at charity events, cons, and online, it’s just amazing!

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
Find a group to work with! It’s really nice if there are already established groups that you fit with, if not you can always start your own! They are a lot of work but definitely worth it. Keep the drama out of the group as much as possible. We’re all there to help the charities we are working/raising funds for, it’s good to be professional, and looks good for future CAUSEplay events. You really want to be able to work with your fellow volunteers, you’re going to be around them a lot!

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CBCC photoshoot, summer 2014, Studio5Graphics we can also be quite silly at times

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The next event Comic Book Characters for Causes has is Emerald City Comic Con. We’ll have a photo booth set up and will be raising money for local children’s charities.

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CBCC booth ECCC 2014, Snap It! Photography, I’m the one with the wings.

CBCC also has a calendar we are selling to support us right now! Find it here: http://cbc4c.storenvy.com/products/11320137-cbcc-2015-calendar

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Back cover of calendar, designed and edited by Abi Sue Cosplay, photos by Snap It! Photography, Studio5Graphics , and iCandy Photography

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I don’t really have a preference, in some ways I’m more of a costumer though. I don’t tend to ‘play’ the characters that much, unless it’s around a kid who thinks I’m the character, then how could you not?

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Wonder Women at Rose City Comic Con 2014, little Wondie is AJ Cosplay Photo by Thunderflash

What was your first costume/cosplay?
Twliight Princess Zelda about 5 years ago now.

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Princess Zelda, Noetic Creations

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m a Graphic Designer, regular 9-5 hours.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would probably try and be a costume designer in Hollywood or something like that, it just sounds like a lot of fun! I really do like what I do now too, being in the art field as a career is rewarding.

Tell us something random about yourself: I have 5 brothers and was home-schooled.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Trek, we watched all of them growing up. As much as I’ve watched a liked Star Wars, I’ll always love Star Trek more.

Marvel or DC: Marvel all the way, much more diverse characters. I do like the occasional DC movie and do have a couple DC costumes.

Favorite Comic Series: X-Men.

Favorite Comic Character: Rogue.

Favorite Book: That’s hard, I have so many! How about favorite book series? The Bellgariad by David Eddings.

Favorite Video Game: I don’t really play games much anymore. I kind of stopped playing after I quit WoW and costumes became my hobby. But I would say from my younger days my favorite was Myst.

Favorite Convention: Emerald City Comic Con

Affiliations (clubs or groups):

Comic Book Characters for Causes (www.cbc4c.org) and Northwest Mutant Academy

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AbiSueCosplay

Twitter:@AbiSueCosplay

Instagram: >http://instagram.com/abisuecosplay/

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