Hero Behind the Mask: Nashville’s Dark Knight

This weeks Hero Behind the Mask has a great Batman costume!!! Some of the pictures he sent for this interview seemed to be out of a movie!  I completely geeked out when I saw them!  He was also a guest at Toymania in Murfreesboro, TN.  Something many cosplayers dream of but few actually get to do!  In addition to making appearance, this man also focuses on charity and his community.  Which is why I selected him to be part of this interview!  I hope you enjoy this week’s  interview with one of the biggest Batman fans I have met so far!  – Mala

 photo 4_zps2enrwrp5.jpgName: Adam Prince (Nashville’s Dark Knight)

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
The love of the fictional character Batman.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
I love to entertain. I love what the character stands for and the impact he gives others.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
Shelbyville Autism benefit

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Anything Batman.. The character means a lot to me. In my life whenever things got bad I looked up to Batman as a child. When I’m Batman I feel proud to represent a iconic character.
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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment: I have so many… I was at an autism event in a small town seeing kids and families. My mother told me to grow up and stop wearing a mask until the day she saw me show up to a event and walk up to a kid in the hot summer heat , get down on my knees and hug the little boy and then hold his hand and talk with him while walking. I looked up at her to see her cry with joy.
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What is your favorite cause to support?
Children’ s hospitals . Helping promote literacy in all age groups. I like to show support to as many causes as possible, whether it’s supporting adult groups or children there are all equally worthy.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
Dance at a 5k event

Who inspires you?
Batman… As a child growing up in school I was picked on for my weight. I got into fights all the time with bullies. Girls and guys of all ages. My parents loved me and tried to help me the best they could until they decided to home school me after it became too much. I got to the point where I was suicidal and depressed until one day I was looking at a comic and realized I’m stronger than what the world throws at me. I went into karate and joined a volunteer fire dept around my high school years. I lost 105lbs. I got involved in volunteer work in my area. For the last 13 years I have been Batman. If I can reach one or two and help them then I feel that I’m doing what Batman did for me… to never give up.
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Advice for CAUSEplaying: Treat the character with respect. You don’t know who is watching you. You might make a difference in someone’s life.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
May 1 I have Free Comic Book Day. June I’ll have Fanboy Expo in Knoxville, TN. Superman Celebration in Metropolis IL. Dickson County Public Library in June. August Shelbyville Autism Benefit. September Nashville Wizard World. Ghouls at Grassmere in October. November GMX… I have random charity events and hospital visits I do randomly through the year. Not sure on exact dates.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
It doesn’t matter to me.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
1989 rubber Batman suit

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m a farmer and a painter and a writer/mascot for a batman website (www.darkknightnews.com)

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would say Fireman but I did that for 5 years. I would say any job that I was able to break away when I want to vounteerl my time seeing kids as Batman and still have the wealth to not worry about paying the bills on time would be awesome!
 photo 3_zpseia7vyp1.jpgTell us something random about yourself: I love going hiking in the mountains with my wife.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Trek

Marvel or DC: DC all the way 🙂

Favorite Comic Series: Batman No Mans Land

Favorite Comic Character: Batman

Favorite Book: Batman The Ultimate Evil

Favorite Video Game: All the Batman Arkham games

Favorite Convention: Nashville Wizard World

Affiliations (clubs or groups): The Bestine Fanforce / The Rogues Gallery / Heroes Alliance / Dark Knight News

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

Instagraminstagram.com/nashvillesdarkknight/

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Heroes Behind the Masks: Costumers With A Cause

OMG! Costumers With A Cause has some amazing costumes!  Between that and the fun they have at their events I struggles with selecting photos for this interview!!  These guys sure know how to have fun!  I know you will pic that up as you read through this great interview! In addition to that a few of the members were kind enough to answer a few questions so you can get to know them a little!  I hope you enjoy their interviews linked at the bottom!  –Mala
 photo group_zpszmcqkeyc.jpgGroup Name: Costumers With A Cause

Location(s): We started in the Orlando Florida area, I brought the group to the Chicago area 7 years ago. I have had costumers contacting me wanting to start up branches in New York, Ohio, Utah, South Carolina, and Los Angeles California

Mission Statement: Our mission is to work together with children’s charity organizations and charity events that promote community growth, unity, and hope for every child’s future. Together we believe that a world of difference can be made with a smile, photo or a single hello. It is our goal to utilize our talents to the best of our abilities in order to make a child’s day brighter.
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When was the group started? And by who?
I started the branch in the Midwest 7 years ago. Megan Barker started the organization originally in Florida

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Costumers With A Cause or CAUSEplay in general?
I have always supported and participated in charity events. I attended a Breast Cancer event that the 501st Midwest Garrison was at. I thought “hey, I am a costumer, I can do that too” My very next event I came dressed as Wolverine. I was friends with Megan in Florida where The CWC was created, and I asked her if I could use the group name in Chicago for Charity events and she happily agreed. I attended charity events in costume for the first 2 years by myself, but as my costuming family grew, I met several good hearted, like minded individuals. Now, we average 20 people in costume at every event we are able to attend,
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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?
We do not currently have a 501(c)3, but we are actively looking into acquiring one. I do consider us a charity, as every single member is a volunteer and donates time, money and travel expenses to help raise money for any charity event we attend.

How can someone join Costumers With A Cause?
Contact us through the E-mail on our webpage, or contact us through Facebook.
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What type of costumes do you accept?
We accept any costumer who has a giving heart, and someone who works well and is non judgemental of others.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Many of our members make their own costumes, myself included. Everyone in our group is helpful and friendly, and willing to help anyone getting into costuming with advice and many will even give their time to help others with making costumes.

How many people are currently in your group?
Our private facebook page has over 600 members, but perhaps only about 200 of them are active costumers in our Midwest area organization.
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How is the leadership determined?
Although, right now, I am the Midwest Regional President. I organize most of our events, but I rely heavily on other members of the group who are very active in the charity work. I could never continue to do this all by myself. Truly, we are a giant team and we are all responsible for making our midwest group successful

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
I believe we have participated in almost every type of charity Fundraiser, We have done Hospital visit, and parades.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We have always attended events that were close to our members hearts, other events have been by request. However, this year we are hosting our first ever event. We are hosting a 1.5 mile walk fundraiser for St Jude childrens hospital. The event is April 3rd at the Volo Auto Museum in Mchenry Illinois
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How did you build you “clientele”?
Social Media and we have gotten several requests to appear after attending Parades in several towns.

Do you have particular organization or cause you work with regularity?
Not really, we have worked with all of the Childrens Hospitals in the Chicago Area, we have attended events for MS, MD, Breast Cancer, Children’s Leukemia, ALS, Autism, and many more.
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How much money has the Costumers With A Cause raised for the organization it works with?
I honestly have never kept track. Anytime we do an event we set up a donation page with that specific charity. Since we are not a 501(c)3 we do not accept donations ourselves, so we always ask that donations be made directly to the charity we are volunteering for at the time.

What is the most amazing thing Costumers With A Cause has accomplished so far?
The Happiness I see when we are at events is beyond anything I could describe. Both in Adults and Children.
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Where do you see Costumers With A Cause going in the future?
I am hoping we can continue to grow nationwide. Definitely hope to become a 501(c)3, and continue to move forward with hosting our own events, as well as continue to attend the events we already do.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
It is tough, it is a lot of work, but if your heart is in the right place, you can do it and you will be surprised to find all of the people in your areas wanting to join you.

What future events do you have?
May 3rd : MS Walk in Naperville Illinois. For more info click here.
May 9th : Tough Mudder Chicago.
May 16th : Muscular Dystrophy Walk at Catigny Park. For more info click here.
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CostumersWithACause

Website: http://www.costumerswithacause.org/

Twitter: @MidwestCWC

Email: costumerswithacause@gmail.com

Getting to know members of Costumers With A Cause: Scott Whipple

Getting to know members of Costumers With A Cause: Matthew Rzepka

​​Getting to know members of Costumers With A Cause: Anthony Vernon AKA Pally Kashra
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Hero Behind the Mask: Rafael ” Captain” Pedragon

This weeks feature is about a man with a positive attitude. His goal is to be a positive role model and I feel this man has achieved this! His Facebook page is full of positive messages.  If you are ever down just stop by to check out his words of wisdom.  This man is busy with charity events showing his drive to achieve his goal and how much he cares about his community.  I would like to introduce you to man whose long time love for Capitan America has influences and shaped him for the better.  –Mala

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Name: Rafael ” Captain” Pedragon

Location: New Jersey USA

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
While I was growing up, I always wanted to be a hero. My mother encouraged me to be and become whatever I wanted. She always motivated in doing not only great by the right thing. My pushed and educated me in being a good and giving person. I was part of groups when I was younger like 4-H club ( charities for the environment) and Serve America ( events for veterans) . I grew up loving Marvel heroes Like Captain America, The Avengers and the X-men. Those groups and characters always strive to do what was right and just. I tried for a long time to get the right costume to start . I always loved Captain America so that was my costume I made the best effort to have made to do CAUSEplaying with.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
My mother and loved ones. While I was growing up, I always wanted to be a hero. My mother encouraged me to be and become whatever I wanted. She always motivated in doing not only great by the right thing. My pushed and educated me in being a good and giving person. My mom was and is Supermom. My mother was supportive, and never laughed at my hobbies, interests or friends. Instead she, helped me follow my dreams by providing support, encouragement and the opportunity to do so. My mother was very patient with me growing up and still till this day supports what I do. My mother takes a lot of interest now in what I do. My mother and my wife fully support what I do and always give me positive feedback on the things I do for others. My wife and mother respect me and show that by bragging about the things I do while CAUSEplaying. The children and the people also keep me going. Those who love and appreciate what I do keep me doing it. They keep me believing so that keeps me motivated in doing more events.

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What was your first CAUSEplay event?
October 1st 2011 Heroes for Hayley was my first official event in my Captain America costume was per a CAUSEplay event

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
I love Captain America . What he stands for and what his morals are. I grew up loving Marvel heroes Like Captain America, The Avengers and the X-men. Those groups and characters always strive to do what was right and just. I tried for a long time to get the right costume to start . I always loved Captain America so that was my costume I made the best effort to have made to do CAUSEplaying with. I still spend a lot of time and money having upgrading and making different version of Cap to use for events and Charity events.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment : Christopher Norris. A child with Autism who lives in CT. I did an Autism walk and he approached me with a map. Christopher explained the map to me as he wanted to help me protect the people so he made a map of where the bad guys are. I walked with this child and go to know him through the years. His father keeps in touch with me telling me how Christopher gets more and more out going. When I see Christopher , he usually is open to giving me hugs and speaks to me about things on his mind . Children with Autism don’t usually do these things with those who aren’t family. Christopher Norris Jr motivates me to be a better person. He is a good boy and makes a lot of people proud.

What is your favorite cause to support?
Ones that either involve children or Veterans. Those are my top two types of causes . Ones for children and Veterans.
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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
While in my Cap costume put on a whole bomb suit for the Ronald McDonald house. With My own costume on I had a whole bomb suit on top of that. It was very hot.

Who inspires you?
My mother and my wife. They always motivate me and inspire me to do and be better. My friends also inspire me with the great things they do for others in and out of costume. My friends who also CAUSEplay inspire me to do more events all the time when I have time.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Do it. Do not let people hold you back from doing something amazing for others. Do not let anyone hold you back from being kind because they think either you cant, aren’t good enough or other wise. Just do it and do good things often in and out of costume.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
As of right now I don’t know. A lot of times I get last minute calls for events either to do charities or appearances for people. I usually post it on the East Coast Avengers page ad my Cap America ECA page.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Does it matter? A lot of people make a big deal out of it cause they either don’t do anime characters or only comic characters. The thing is I like anime and love reading comics but I get in costumes for both. I have done costumes for video games, anime and comics. I plan to do more so really doesn’t matter.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
Angeal from Crisis core. My first costume when I was a kid though was I was a US Soldier. My mother said I always wanted to be a soldier or a hero she said.
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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
Supervisor for one of the largest privately held security, investigative, and background screening services firms in the United States.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
Travel the USA in a  Captain America costume motivating kids and parents to be good and better people . Pretty much a motivational speaker in a costume. I think that would be a dream job for me. Doing that till the day I retire and hope my children continue on with what I was doing. A man can dream.

Tell us something random about yourself: I was the nerdy weak kid who used  to get beat up and called names for being small and dorky. I have a BA in communications and an MBA in business from a private school in Massachusetts.
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Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Trek

Marvel or DC: MARVEL !

Favorite Comic Series: its Between Captain America (classic) and the Exiles ( Reality jumping team) .

Favorite Comic Character: Captain America ( Steve Rogers) and Mimic( Classic and Exiles).

Favorite Book: Mice and Men

Favorite Video Game: Marvel Heroes 2015

Favorite Convention: NYCC

Affiliations (clubs or groups): East Coast Avengers

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

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.