Heroes Behind the Masks: Cosplay Heroes QLD

I absolute love the philosophy and attitude under lying this week’s interview! From everyone can cosplay/CAUSEplay to helping others and bringing smiles to others to inspiring people to be heroes themselves! That is one reason that got me into CAUSEplay, was the thought of inspiring others to reach out to their communities. It makes me happy to know there are others on the opposite side of the world with the same thought process! And they are for sure a busy group putting smiles on kids faces! I hope you enjoy this weeks feature of Heroes Behind the Masks! – Mala

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Group Name: Cosplay Heroes QLD

Location(s): Queensland, Australia

Mission Statement: **Not yet applicable** But if I was to make one on the spot.

We strive to help others, bringing smiles and assist where it is needed. To live up to the definition of being a hero in our community. Providing inspiration to all so “Anyone can be a hero”

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When was the group started? And by who?
The group started around June 2014, It was originally started by 4 Cosplayers.

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Cosplay Heroes QLD in general? If you are a member of the Cosplay Heroes QLD what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
There are other groups present at the time already. But not enough groups and or members, resulting in a lot of events or special visits being turned down. This was not acceptable for me/us, so we decided to start our own and grow our members large enough to cover all regions possible.
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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 are not ‘registered’ as a non-for profit. We are based on those guidelines and are recognized as non for profit due to the nature we are all volunteers and no payment is received. We would class ourselves as a Costuming organization with intent of non for profit charity work. As long as we have a NFP declaration, it is recognized as such. The declaration is what it says: Declares the groups interests on the work that is performed.

At this point we are not considering on registering the group in regards to tax deductible donations. As any monies raised goes directly to the charities deposit accounts.

How can someone join Cosplay Heroes QLD?
We will scout potential members or they can contact us via email or fb post. Though each member is subjected to a short interview, usually three questions. These questions are generally about: Teamwork, acceptance(of others/no discrimination) and passion to help others.
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Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
We are under a year old, so we are operating solely on Facebook. Though a website is under construction.

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?
Costume approvals – as we do not discriminate on ones costumes or skills, we will accept any one or thing. There is a time and place for all costumes. Child friendly costumes and easily distinguishable characters are very helpful. But each Charity event has different needs, so it is foolish to only accept certain costumes. We want to satisfy all requests we get to the best of our abilities and resources.

Do you accept crossplay costumes? Gender bent costumes? Customized characers?
Genderbent and crossplay of course are accepted. We live in a diverse community and we encourage everyone not to be afraid to express themselves (Of course at discretion of event host). We will not hold any of our members back from “doing good” just because it is not of the right gender. Anyone can Causeplay.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Yes there are members who are armour builders, sculptors, artists, seamstresses and of course there is a much wider community outside of the group to assist.
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How many people are currently in your group?
54 members

Leadership structure:
President
Vice President
Board members(X4)
Public Relations officer
Librarian(Custodian or Administrator)
Event Organizer
Costumers

How is the leadership determined?
Elected yearly and based upon experience and knowledge. When elections come up, members are welcomed to nominate themselves and explain to the group why they are best suited for the position and a ballot is then held.
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What have you done for charities (types of events)?
This is a hard one for me to answer as I am not in attendance at all events. But to summarize we don’t do as much charity fund raising as other groups. We try to focus on children, we have visited many ill children. These children may have Cancer/s, disabilities, rare health conditions and life threatening or terminal ill children.

This is an emotional thing for some of us to speak about, but we leave knowing we have made a difference in a childs life, their families and their wider community.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We do quite a lot of requests, to host our own event would be time consuming, not ours but of the public. There has been times we get a request at “the last minute” so we try to make ourselves available at all times. We have not turned down an event to date.
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How did you build you “clientele”?
Usually it has been word of mouth from our last client(Child visit) and our members reguarly keep an eye out in the community to find potential clients or events that could benefit from our presence.

Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
1-Capes 4 kids Australia. Website: http://www.capes4kidsaustralia.com.au Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capes4kidsaustralia

2- Childrens Hospitals in Queensland

What is the most amazing thing Cosplay Heroes QLD has accomplished so far?
Spreading smiles and joy. Creating a team(members) that work together to make a childs day special. Everything we have done has made a huge impact in the community. But the most surprising thing about our team members, is the passion and commitment they show. For example we could be given under 36 hours notice for a visit for a sick child or an event. I guarantee you I could confirm attendees within 12 hours.
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Where do you see Cosplay Heroes QLD going in the future?
Expansion of members and a wider area of coverage in the state. With the budget cuts from the government in regards to health and charities, we will be required for a long time to come.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?

Have fun! Choose wisely your members, pick those who have passion for costuming and helping others. A slogan I use/created: If I have strength, why can’t I too be strong for others.

Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay:
Every member should be proud of what we have become and grown into. Started with 4 members and now it has increased to 54 in under a year. It is surprising how many people want to help, costuming is another outlet for them to help the community and have fun doing so.
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What future events do you have? Please note that many of the events listed below have passed but I wanted to share with you the amazing things this group does!!!  Also, some of the pictures in this interview are from some of the listed events.
The 20th Birthday of the Birth Centre 2nd May https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfTheBirthCentreQld
EB Games Star light foundation week April 27th – 3rd May
Abigails Birthday(Cancer survivor and past client) note: we always follow up on clients after visits, its our way of showing we care( we are not just a one gig wonder)
Capes4Kidsaustralia 1st year Birthday
Sensory Movie Day 4th Anniversary
And that is just the next few months, more requests are expected 🙂

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cosplay.heroes.qld

Email: Cosplay.Heroes.qld@gmail.com
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Heroes Behind the Masks: Cosplay Collective

This weeks feature not only thinks about charity in the community but the costume community as well!  From podcasting to conventions and charity events to inspiring their community they do it all!!  There is so much to say about this weeks feature that I will let them tell it all!!   –Mala

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2014 Toy Drive with The Rouges Gallery

Group Name: Cosplay Collective

Interviewee: Dee Volpe

Location(s): Nashville, TN (Including all of Middle Tennessee and anyone else who wants to be a part of it). We have a presence on Facebook and welcome input from anywhere.

Mission Statement: We connect cosplayers and cosplay groups for support, inspiration, development, and to bring hope, strength, and joy to our communities.

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Batwoman

When was the group started? And by who ?
We began activities at the end of summer 2014. The founders are Dee Volpe (myself) and Nancy Arch. We have had great help and support from Johnny Dellarocca, Leeanna Player, and Tina Veda.

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Nancy as The Riddler

If you are the creator of this group what inspired you to create Cosplay Collective or CAUSEplay in general? If you are a member of the Cosplay Collective what made you want to join this particular group or CAUSEplay?
As a cosplayer in the Middle Tennessee area I noticed the diversity and many small groups and individuals, yet no real connection between them all. I wanted to unite them for support, advancement, and community causes. As a whole we can do so much more for ourselves and the community at large.

Brief history/overview: We were lucky enough to be acquainted with someone who asked us to work with IndyPopCon 2014 after developing, setting up, and then running the Cosplay Lounge and at the last minute the Cosplay Contest. We had such an incredible time bringing the cosplayers together and spending time with so many wonderful people we started to see a real reason for bringing them together in an effort to create community for them and bringing our love for cosplay to the general public. We offer to bring our Cospitality Suite to conventions where we can set up a place for cosplayers to relax, socialize and even repair costumes while getting off the con floor to avoid photographers for a time. When we realized that our ideas about our group were much different than our acquaintance we decided to split from them and Form Cosplay Collective. We immediately began events introducing our ideas to the community with a room party at Geek Media Expo and then a Toy Drive and Photo Shoot to collect toys to deliver to The Children’s Hospital at Tri-Star Centennial Hospital and the Monroe Carroll, Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Since then we have visited several Hospitals and Assisted Living Complexes. We are lucky to have contacts where we are able to set up visits at places who have not had this type of events before and we have had great success from them, being asked for return engagements.

We also are a part of a larger group that brings programming to conventions. The Powerhouse Project includes, BDC Entertainment, Unlockable Characters, Comic City Conventions, and Cosplay Collective. As part of this group we provide our Cospitality Suite, run cosplay contests, and produce panels on cosplay. We intend to local charities and hospitals in the cities of the conventions we participate.

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Tina as Tomb Raider

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 are beginning the process of getting a 501(c)3 status for our charitable work. We consider ourselves a cosplay community that supports cosplayers while doing good works, if that makes sense. We believe you can’t do the charity work if you don’t support and advance the members that are doing it.

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Visit to Cennennial Childrens Hospital in Dec 2014

How can someone join Cosplay Collective?
Anyone, group or individual, is welcome to join Cosplay Collective. We do most of our contact through Facebook, conventions, and local events. We are an inclusive group and encourage all fandoms to join. No shaming or bulling is allowed in this group. We also encourage as much participation as possible.

Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
Right now we have only this chapter, but hopefully that will change after we get our status. At this time our web address, cosplaycollective.org, directs everyone to our Facebook page.

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?
As a general rule, all cosplayers are welcome. It is not all about the superheroes. We want to not only do the charity work, but we also want to be supportive of the cosplay community and include everyone who cosplays and even those thinking of doing so. We are planning to have “maker meet-ups”, photo shoots, and events for cosplayers outside of cons. So, everyone is welcome. We also have a “no shaming” rule, as I said, everyone is welcome.

Charity events are a bit different, as we want the best representation of the characters, recognizable and well made. We don’t seem to have a problem with finding this. Everyone who volunteered so far has had great costumes. I believe there is a general understanding that we need good costumes for any visits we make. Some members have reached out to get help to make their costumes better just so they can participate in this side of the group.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
We do and are gathering more information everyday of local artists that are willing to help others create. We try to connect with those who use our services at the Cospitality Suite we provide for cons. Those who create are welcome to let us know they are willing to help others. We are also happy to support cosplay businesses in this fashion.

How many people are currently in your group?
Our Facebook page currently has almost 450 members. There is smaller amounts that participate, but most all of us have day jobs and can’t make all the events.

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The founders Dee and Nancy

Leadership structure: Right now, the leadership structure involves all those mentioned earlier. As we set up our Non-profit that may change as we want others who participate to be more involved in the planning of events.

How is the leadership determined?
That will be determined as we get further into the process of getting our Non-Profit status.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
We are a very young group, but we have been fortunate to have created several events.

We began with a Christmas Cosplay Photo Shoot and Toy Drive. We invited cosplay photographers and cosplayers to come for a meet and greet. We also invited the public to bring a new toy and they could get their pictures with the cosplayers. It was quite successful and we collected many toys to be delivered to children in the hospital at Christmas.

The toys were delivered to two hospitals by some of our cosplayers. Getting to meet and show support for some little ones who had to be away from home at such a special holiday.

We have been very humbled by being invited to a local hospital that has never had cosplayers make appearances. We visited the adults on the Oncology and the Pallative Care floors and, to me, this was amazing. We collected items that would be useful for them while they were hospitalized and delivered them during our visit. Families and staff were so grateful and we put smiles on faces that needed something to smile about. This is what I do this for. We have been asked to make regular visits from now on.

Events at some senior living facilities have been a joy to do also. After our first one we have been asked back and others have reached out to us to make appearances at additional places.

We are part of a live podcast called Comixstravaganza Live that can be found at graphicpolicy.com on Wednesdays at 7pm CST. We have had several local cosplayers on the show discussing why they cosplay, giving tips about costuming and more. We hope to expand on that in the future.

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Nashvilles Dark Knight at 2014 Toy Drive

There is also our Cospitality Suite that we provide to cons where we have a location at the con where cosplayers can get away from the crowds and regenerate and/or repair if needed. We provide many items that can be used to do this from sewing machines to hot glue guns.

Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We create many of our events, but we also make appearances. Our idea is that not only will we do our thing, but if you are a cosplay group and want more participants we are happy to reach out to our group to find some for them also. Any event programmers are welcome to reach out to us for participation.

How did you build you “clientele”?
Mostly by putting ourselves out there and telling people about ourselves. We do this at cons and events. I love to talk about cosplay anywhere and it has surprised me how many people become interested when they hear about and see pictures. We are lucky to have a great network of contacts that have asked for our participation or have referred others to us.

Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
The Children’s Hospital at Centennial Hospital and Vanderbilt Medical Center has asked for regular visits along with several senior living facilities.

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Batwoman and Superboy

What is the most amazing thing Cosplay Collective has accomplished so far?
Everything we have done has been amazing! Seeing smiles regularly at our visits makes my heart sing! There would be no way to pick just one accomplishment; it is the whole that is amazing!

Where do you see Cosplay Collective going in the future?
We hope to continue locally providing a resource for local charities and event planners. We would like to help other areas of the country to create their own collective, bringing their communities together for great causes.

One thing we hope to do is to be able to make appearances at locations near the conventions we attend. In connection with the Cospitality Suite we provide, we feel that we have the ability to get groups together to make appearances locally during the conventions.

Do you use any fun terminology specifically for Cosplay Collective?
Of course “Cospitality” is something we use a lot.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
Do it! It takes work and perseverance to get it off the ground, but if you put the work into it the rewards are amazing! Find the people that make the decisions and ask. If you ask, usually, they are happy to work with you.

Anything else you want to add about your group or CAUSEplay: The first time I put on a costume I paid close attention to the reactions I got! I saw what this can do for people. A smile is the best thing you can give someone because it gives them hope for something better. Why would you not want to do something like that?

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Visit to Vanderbilt 2/2015

What future events do you have?
Right now we will be creating a regular schedule for visits to the local hospitals and we have several senior living places on the schedule.

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

Website: www.cosplaycollective.org (Directs to Facebook at this point)

Twitter: @coscollective

Email: cosplaycollective@outlook.com

Podcast: Comixstravaganza Live @ graphicpolicy.com every Wednesday at 7pm CST

Hero Behind the Mask: Scott Loxley

I have had this interview for a while and it is finally the time to share this great story and adventure with you. One reason I picked today is May 4 is just around the corner and what better way to say “May the Fourth be with you” than an interview featuring a Stormtrooper!

Remember how I mentioned in one of my first blogs that the ways to CAUSEplay is only limited by your imagination? This weeks feature demonstrates this! Scott Loxley is walking around Australia (19,000 miles) in a full Star Wars Sandstrooper costume. Now for those of you who wear armor, Star Wars or any other genre, you know what it is like to wear it at a con. Now imagine walking the distance this guy has, and will by the end of his journey. Personally, I will never complain about being too hot or uncomfortable at a con again! You may be asking why is he doing this? Simple, for the children at Monash Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. But I will let him tell you more in his own words! If you are interested you can donate on his behalf here. Scott’s goal in $100,000 and he has reached $57,662.25 of it!  You can help him toward his goal too!   Make sure to follow him over the next few months as he completes this 18 month chapter of his life!  He has had some pretty amazing stories too!  Like surviving a snake bite because of his armor!

Scott, May the Fourth be with you on this journey and the next! –Mala
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Name: Scott Loxley

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
My daughter asked me to take her to a comic con event in Melbourne that started it all. I remember saying to her “what is that”? She laughed and proceeded to tell me all about it. It was another way for me to spend time with her so I agreed to go. It was there that I first heard of and saw the 501st Legion in action and was impressed by the work that these volunteers do for charity. It wasn’t until after we got home that my daughter told me she wanted to get involved in costuming and asked if I would do it with her, the rest is history.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
Every time I attend an event, be it as a Sandtrooper or Darth Vader with fellow 501st troopers, it gives me a great sense of wellbeing as we are all there for the right reasons and we are continuing to make a difference in our communities. I can’t see a time when I won’t be doing this.

Is this fundraiser your first CAUSEplay event? If not, what was?
As a 501st member, I have attended many fundraising events and look forward to many, many more. It’s quite easy to get addicted to helping those who in some cases can’t help themselves. That’s what the 501st do.

What is your favourite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and why?
I do enjoy wearing Vader but at the moment it would have to be the Sandtrooper (sand/desert version of a Stormtrooper). After wearing him non-stop for the last year on the road I have seen him appeal to pretty much everybody who stops me wanting their picture taken with him.
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Most memorable CAUSEplay moment: I have two moments,
1: attending my first 501st event as a Sandtrooper and experiencing firsthand the reactions of the kids, priceless.

2: when my wife, Sally Loxley, decided that she would also join the 501st and help me in raising funds for charity. Her costume is Emperor Palpatine, basically the boss of the bad guys.

Why did you chose Monash Children’s Hospital as a cause to support?
When I decided that I was going to walk around Australia, I was looking for a charity to get behind. I knew that one of our members worked at the Monash children’s Hospital so that made it a pretty easy decision in the end.

Your goal is to raise $100,000. How will these funds help Monash Children’s Hospital?
It will go towards buying new equipment that is always needed in hospitals. The hospital knows where it is needed and will make good use of the funds. I’m just happy that it gives them an opportunity to make a difference.

When did you start this journey?
I left Melbourne 2 November 2013 and should be finished by June 2015.
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What made you decide that walking 9000 miles was the best way for you to make a difference?
Sometimes in order to make a difference you have to be a little different and what better way to get people’s attention than to wear the iconic Stormtrooper costume. I use him at many charity events so why not take him on the road and try to reach as many people as possible.

At the time of this interview where in Australia are you?
(Monday 9 February 2015) I am currently passing through a little town in Northern Queensland called Mount Larcom. There’s not much here but I have found a picnic table and chairs amongst a few trees which will do me for the day.

Have you had support from the Star Wars costume clubs in Australia? If so what?
I could not tell you in a sentence the level of support I receive from the Star Wars community. I receive numerous messages every day from supporters both in Australia and overseas in almost every country around the world. It’s been amazing.

During your journey, what has been the nicest thing anyone has done for you?
I don’t think there has been one single thing. The people I continue to meet continually surprise me with their generosity. The longer the walk goes on, the more people are becoming aware of it and are offering support in varying ways whether it’s a room for the night, offering food or drink or are happy just to stop and have a chat.

Have you learned anything about yourself on this journey? What about the world?
I have learned patience. I have had no choice but to accept the things that I cannot change. I have also been given an insight to people around the world who donate via the Everyday Hero online donation page. People who live in other countries appreciate what someone else is doing in a country far away from them has been very humbling.
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You have set the bar high for yourself. Do you think you will do something this ambitious again?
Watch this space I guess. There’s always something to be done and a difference to be made somewhere.

When you get home what is the first thing you want to do?
Hug my wife and not let her out of my sight for the longest time.

Is there something in your daily life you miss?
Just a daily routine.

What do you hope people will take away from your example of selflessness?
The fact that any person who reads this is no different than me. We can all make a difference. You don’t have to walk around a country to do it. Just step out of your comfort zone and have a go.

What is the silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
I’m doing it now, lol.
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Who inspires you?
The 501st Legion and my wife.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Get into it. It’s been by far the best thing I have ever done. I can’t tell you how good it feels to make a difference. Ask a 501st Legion member, they’ll tell you.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
As long as people donate, It doesn’t matter. I remember walking across the Nullarbor plain and coming into a roadhouse and being told by the people that work there ” we heard there was a spaceman coming” as long as people donate I don’t care what they call me, and they donated.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
The current Sandtrooper costume I’m walking around Australia in now.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m an ex-Australian Defence Force member.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
If I could I would work for the 501st Legion so I could make a difference every day. At the moment I think that is my job, lol.
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Tell us something random about yourself: I have won State, National and World titles in cycling.

Star Wars or Star Trek: Isn’t Star Trek a courier company?

Marvel or DC: I lean more towards Marvel.

Favourite Comic Series: The Phantom.

Favourite Comic Character: The Phantom

Least favourite super hero and why: Aqua Man, apart from talking to fish, what does he do?

Favourite Book: I don’t have a single favourite, I enjoy history.

Favourite Video Game: I’ll play anything you put in front of me, but I like the first person games.

Favourite Convention: Armageddon is a favourite.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): I’m all about the 501st Legion. I’m a member to the Terror Australia’s Garrison’s Knightfall Squad. http://www.501st.com, www.monashchildrenshospital.org.

Please donate via ‘Everyday hero, Storming Australia’… https://newmonashchildrenshospital.everydayhero.com/au/stormingaroundaustralia

Follow my progress and video diary posts at: https://www.facebook.com/StormingAustralia
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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/

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: 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/

Tumblr: http:// abisue.tumblr.com/

Heroes Behind the Masks: Portland Superheroes Coalition

I believe that the world needs more Muppets and this weeks feature has them! Major KUDOS to anyone who adds these amazing characters to the world. BTW I saw them at a distance at Emerald City Comic Con 2014 and they are amazing! If I wasn’t on the escalator going the opposite way I would  have grabbed a picture of them! Okay, enough fan girling!  Though I have never personally meet this amazing group, several friends of mine have nothing but amazing things to say about the participants and creator of the Portland Superheroes Coalition. The do a little bit of everything and have a high level of professionalism.  Maybe one day I can join them and the awesome that they do!  A girl can wish right!  –Mala

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Group Name: Portland Superheroes Coalition

Location(s):  Greater Portland, Salem and Eugene areas.

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Mission Statement: Helping others through fundraisers and community events.

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When was the group started?
The group was initially created by myself and another cosplayer July 2012 after the Batman movie theater shooting, but then sat dormant until January 2013. In Jan 2013 was Wizard World Portland, and so much fun was had meeting other cosplayers that things were ramped into full gear and our first event was in April of 2013 for a college graduation.

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What inspired the creation of Portland Superheroes Coalition or CAUSEplay in general?  
I was always that kid that made things and took apart toys and who loved Halloween. Over the years Halloween became a favorite holiday and I started making more and more elaborate costumes, and eventually wanted to do more with my costumes than just Halloween; and wanted an outlet with a positive aspect. Basically all parts fell into place that way, and other people were recruited and invited.

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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? 
We are not 501c3, just a group of volunteers who all want to do good things in the community and make people happy. We have no bank accounts or money to spend on huge things such as filling for 501c3, and personal monies we do have is used to either buy hospital toys or for group purchases like business  cards to give out when people ask of us. We are fortunate to have Sponsors who contact us and ask what we need, and who provide us with extra money and toys for our special visits. We all work on the honor system basically.

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How can someone join Portland Superheroes Coalition?
People who have top-notch non mass-produced outfits can send us an email with a few photos of their character, where they will be voted on by the most active members of the group. There are a few rules listed on our website people must follow too, such as being 18+ years old and expectations of keeping up to date on group outings.

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Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
We have only 1 chapter but will travel and have Heroes from Seattle down to Eugene. www.facebook.com/PortlandSuperheroesCoalition

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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?
Currently we are pushing for more superheroes and superhero-type characters than pop-culture. We do have a selection of video game, Muppets, Star Wars and a few other genres in order to appeal to wider audiences though. Needs can always change due to group activities and what is asked of us when invited to an event.  High quality top-notch family-friendly suits only as mass-produced and store-bought are not allowed. We try to raise the bar a step higher than regular cosplay in both class and interaction to give a unique experience while in the public.

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Do you accept crossplay costumes?  Gender bent costumes?   Customized characters?
We do have crossplay and welcome it if it’s done very well. The expectations from dressing at a Con versus going into the public for events are totally different, as the public is far more picky and less forgiving if a character isn’t as accurate as possible. Also if a character doesn’t meet the public’s expectations, it will cause a distraction and reduce the illusion we are going for. We do not accept custom made-up characters for the same reason as they can be a distraction due to people asking too many questions.

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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, and we love it! Between the almost 50 Current Members we have a great knowledge base and abilities on everything from sewing to fiberglassing.

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How many people are currently in your group?
As of today Jan 5th, 48.

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How is the leadership determined?
I am the founder and one who handles all emails, Facebook and events. When a person submits a Hero for consideration, a non-typical event has been asked of us, or just something slightly unusual is happening, we have a private forum where all Current Members are addressed and a Core Group of the most active Heroes to get ideas and suggestions from. Very few things are done without asking another person something, as I believe a group should have group input.

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What have you done for charities (types of events)?
We attend fundraisers and charity events, community festivals, school functions and assemblies, walk in parades, help with canned food drives, spend the day at children’s museums, greet at movie premieres, attend games with many local sports teams, setup photo booths for donations, and visit children’s hospitals.

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Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We never make our own events, we only go somewhere after invited.

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How did you build you “clientele”?
Just from word of mouth, or from giving out cards while attending an event.

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Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Make A Wish Oregon are 2 that we are very proud to support. We have worked with many others and have had very awesome experiences. We attended an event at Christmas time for the Oregon Air National Guard and they are very excited for future fun.

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What is the most amazing thing Portland Superheroes Coalition has accomplished so far?
Helping current and past Doernbecher patients and Make A Wish kids hits us pretty hard and makes everything all worth it. Just making people happy is a main goal and we are accomplishing that at every event by giving people a few minutes to meet a childhood Hero, especially adults who will “let their guard down” to be a kid again.

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Where do you see Portland Superheroes Coalitiongoing in the future?
No way to tell. It’s all done with volunteers and you never know who is coming or going, so you just plan for the moment basically.

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Do you use any fun terminology specifically for Portland Superheroes Coalition?
No.

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Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
It can be exhausting but totally worth it. Surround yourself with good people and good things will happen.

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If people want to donate toys, or money to help with toys, how can they do this?
It’s best for them to message before donating to work things out.

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What future events do you have?
We go to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital every 3 months. Events with the Portland Winterhawks and Portland Trail Blazers are also set, and an event for a large group of foster children.

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/PortlandSuperheroesCoalition

Twitter: www.twitter.com/supers_pdx

Email: portlandsuperheroes@yahoo.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/PortlandSuperheroes

Instagram: www.instagram.com/pdx_supers

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!

Hero Behind the Mask: FirewingCreations

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!  I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday season!

For the first blog of 2015 I want to introduce you to FirewingCreations.  This lady is a sweet heart!  I had the please of meeting her at several conventions this year.  At Rose City Comic Con we had fun at a photo shoot and made a fun video!  Its never a dull moment around FirewingCreations! People from Comic Book Character for Causes and the Northwest Mutant Academy can confirm this.  She is a wealth of costume knowledge and shares her skills as a panelist at cons in the Seattle area. I hope you enjoy the interview with her as much as I enjoyed putting this together.  I am looking forward to seeing her at cons and charity events in the future!   –Mala

Name: FirewingCreations

Location: Everett, WA

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
At my second ever convention I happened to see a large group of cosplayers collecting money in a rather unassuming bucket to be donated to Children’s Hospital. One of the members handed me a card with contact info and I joined what would more officially become Comic Book Characters for Causes. I remember thinking that it was a really nice idea to take something that was just a personal hobby and turn it also into an opportunity to help people in real life. Why just dress as a superhero when you have the ability to make an impact in someone’s life at the same time.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
I continue with CausePlay because I know it makes an impact. It is very encouraging to hear the positive feedback from many of the adult volunteers and coordinators that are involved with events. Of course, I often get a lot of good interactions from kids when they are around at events, but often kids can be kind of shy around new people; so many times I’ve had adults follow up after and tell me how the kids kept talking about our participation and inquire if we will be back again.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My first event was at a local toy store called Bobakhan Toys and Collectables. They hosted a Marvel vs. DC day where they were raising funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I wish I could recall the wish they were fundraising for, but I know they had a really good turnout.

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Bobakhan Marvel vs. DC Fanshots

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Currently, Batgirl is my favorite to wear CausePlaying. Batgirl is my most recognizable character costume, it’s quite comfortable (though I’m still looking to make the cowl better), and has a utility belt and cape. I would say character recognition is fairly important in costume choice for charity events, I think it’s often easier for the public to identify who you are and then what you’re doing if they can place your character.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:  This past summer at a foster family picnic, there were two young girls that apparently picked me as their buddy from our small group of superheroes and princesses. They kept coming back to talk to me and hug me and one even insisted on giving me some candy she had won at one of the games they had there. They were the sweetest.

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July 26, 2014 Foster Family Picnic

What is your favorite cause to support?
I like supporting causes for children in need. Camp Goodtimes (http://www.thegoodtimesproject.org/) is a great group that provides a summer camp for children affected by cancer. They recently lost their funding by the American Cancer Society and so can really use the publicity and donations. I also have enjoyed supporting Hand in Hand (http://www.handinhandkids.org/) a group that supports foster kids by providing safe and comfortable transitional housing when they are removed from their homes and are waiting for their new families.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
This last summer I had the opportunity to visit Camp Goodtimes West with some other members of the group Comic Book Characters for Causes. We split up and participated with the kids at some of their recreational choices. The activity I joined was a flash mob, dancing as Batgirl to the song “Classic.” It was really fun, and there is video proof.  Which can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzkWwzAyWiY

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by all the people that daily work in jobs dedicated to directly helping others and providing for their needs, particularly when it’s usually a thankless job. I couldn’t adequately list every job position that does this, but some that I’ve personally encountered or worked with the last few years include: veterinary staff (who try their best to take care of the animals they see, even if their owners don’t understand why Fluffy shouldn’t be eating fast food every day…), medical staff (who really wants to clean up and tend to the things that they do daily?), special ed staff (there are some really awesome kids that can be trying at times). Most of these jobs aren’t really high-paying or glamorous and they certainly aren’t easy, but these people do what needs to be done. It’s amazing really.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
Don’t be afraid to talk and connect with people, that’s how you will find a good group to join for CausePlay. Once you connect, be reliable and professional. Do what you say you’re going to do. Last, but not least, leave your drama at home when you attend an event. I think it’s important to remember that we who CausePlay come together to promote a cause that’s bigger than our ourselves and more can be accomplished if you’re able to work together smoothly with your peers.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The next big event for Comic Book Characters for Causes is Emerald City Comicon in Seattle at the end of March. We’ll have a photobooth as usual and will be raising funds for local children’s charities.

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2014 ECCC

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I tend to use the term costumer because my personal focus is more on the crafting of an outfit instead of becoming a character. However, I’m not the type of person to quibble over vocabulary.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
Well, I’ve had Halloween costumes over the years of course but my first costume at my first convention was Kaylee from Firefly. That basically only involved removing sleeves from a flight suit and sewing on patches. The next year I decided I could figure out how to sew gloves and boot covers and dressed in spandex as Dark Phoenix.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
Trophy wife. Ha! No, its kind of true. Previously I’ve worked in a veterinary clinic as a receptionist and lab assistant and also in the local school system as a substitute paraeducator. My husband works and supports my role as a home maker so I can take care of our household and also help my parents who have had some health issues recently.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I love being a home maker, that is my dream job. If I wanted to do something where I actually get paid though, I think it would be fun to be a lab assistant and do nerdy and scientific things like running bloodwork, looking under microscopes and most importantly not doing retail or customer service. I’m pretty introverted and I love science.

Tell us something random about yourself: I have a bachelor’s degree in business and I’m very good at jigsaw puzzles.

Star Wars or Star Trek: I grew up with both. My dad was really into Trek, but I guess I like the overall aesthetic of Star Wars a little better. As I watch some more Trek…..

Marvel or DC: DC. I started reading American comics because I thought, justifiably, that Batman was just the coolest. I’ve stayed with DC because of the strong females like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Black Canary… etc.

Favorite Comic Series: Fables. Birds of Prey. But really, if we go international… Sailor Moon.

Favorite Comic Character: After much mental deliberation: Storm from X-Men.

Favorite Book: *sigh* Ella Enchanted. But I love so many others too…

Favorite Video Game: I love me some Pokemon. I still remember saving up my own money to buy myself a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Red game package back in the day. And yes I still play.

Favorite Convention: Sakura Con in Seattle. 2014 was my first time attending and it was super fun. This may be in part because I got to join a Sailor Moon group and costume as a Sailor scout, something I’d wanted to be since about 1st grade.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): Comic Book Characters for Causes (cbc4c.org) and Northwest Mutant Academy

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

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories! If sending info on an individual person please let them know you have done so, to reduce the creep factor of a stranger contacting them for a potential interview.

Hero Behind the Mask: Missa Zane

I have known Missa Zane for less than a year and in that short time she has shown the passion and love needed for CAUSEplay!   A great example of why many people fall in love with CAUSEplay.  This fall I had the amazing opportunity to be on a panel with her at Seattle’s GeekGirlCon 2014 discussing CAUSEplay.  Her insight and passion added to the panel and discussion.  She has some great costumes in progress so check out her Facebook!  I adore this lady and look forward to her adventures! – Mala

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Name: Missa Zane

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I met Batman (James C. Carlson) at a DC Comics themed photoshoot at Anime Banzai a couple of years back. He told me about H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. and their mission to use cosplay to support charitable events and causes. He eventually offered to nominate me. I was honored but also thrilled to be able to use my cosplays for a good cause.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The kids I meet at events are my biggest motivation to continue CAUSEplaying. Seeing their faces light up just makes my day ^_^. I see the direct impact my actions/presence has on the kids. An added bonus is that I know my presence at charitable events or my help with spreading the word about charities has an indirect benefit for the recipients of the charities. Sometimes the novelty of having cosplayers at an event will draw bigger crowds and news coverage that can help to raise funds (or other donations) for the cause we are championing.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My first CAUSEplay event was at Free Comic Book Day. Though, at first glance, this may not seem like a CAUSEplay event, it allows everyone an opportunity to get access to comics for free. Some of the kids that come have never read a comic and this could be their first introduction to reading for FUN. Comic books can be a great tool for helping slow or reluctant readers find a passion for reading.

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What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
My favorite cosplay to wear is my Catwoman. This is my absolute favorite because I was an avid reader of Catwoman back when Jim Balent was the artist. I was always drawn to them and loved the art and story. Catwoman is strong, smart, and independent, despite (or perhaps as a result of) her childhood. Though she may seem like a villain at first glance, upon closer inspection one can see that she lives by her own code of justice. Her definition of good/evil acknowledges the reality that we live in a world filled with gray.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Fantasy Con invited us to go to the Shriners hospital to visit the kids. We were invited to come up to visit a kid (a HUGE batman fan) that could not come down to see us. He was recovering from surgery and still slightly sedated, but we could see how happy he was that we were there.

What is your favorite cause to support?
My favorite cause to support is Toys for Tots. I was a recipient before, so this has a special place in my heart.

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The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge while in cosplay. 

Who inspires you?
So many! Everyone in H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. has been a great inspiration to me, but if I had to call out one person I’d have to say Eric Allen Hall. He’s so supportive, friendly, flexible, and easy-going.  He’s always willing to go the extra miles for a charity or friend and he always seems to have at least two costumes in his trunk “just in case”.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
First, remember why you are CAUSEplaying. This is NOT a competition sport. One could easily get caught up in the process (having the best cosplay, networking, etc.) and lose sight of the goal. My goal is to make the kids happy and to help the organizations raise donations to support the various causes.
My second bit of advice is not to get involved in drama (it happens anytime you get more than 1 person together for an extended period of time). The best way to deal with this is to, again, focus on the goal not the process. Does it matter if I don’t get along with or disagree with another CAUSEplayer? No, because I’m there for the CAUSE, any friends I make along the way are just an added bonus ^_^ I’ve found that most CAUSEplayers can get past their differences if they keep the goal in mind.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The Utah Kids Club WinterPalooza on January 24th and the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Walk on March 24th.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I prefer cosplayer. To me, that means I don’t just wear the costume, but I try my best to know the character so I could “play” them.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
My first costume was Wonderwoman when I was 5, one of those dresses with the plastic masks
My first cosplay was Yin from the anime Darker than Black.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I am a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I want to be a housecat. Seriously, I’ve put a lot of thought into this and would like to be reincarnated as such. I want to sleep, play, and snuggle all day (on my own terms, of course).

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Tell us something random about yourself: My idea of a good day is one in which I don’t need to set an alarm (see above).

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars. My dad was a big scifi fan, so I was exposed to both but I always liked Star Wars better.

Marvel or DC: DC

Favorite Comic Series: Catwoman

Favorite Comic Character: Catwoman (broken record?..)

Favorite Book: I…I… there are so many T_T…. I guess I would have to say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Favorite Video Game: It was Final Fantasy 7 (US), but this was recently replaced by The Last of Us.

Favorite Convention: A-Kon in Dallas, Texas

Affiliations (clubs or groups): H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc

Facebook: Facebook.com/missazane

Twitter: @MissaZane42

Instagram: MissaZane42

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!

Heroes Behind the Masks: Comicare

Here is another new group starting this year but they are already making a name for themselves!  I follow several of their cosplayers individually as well as the group on Facebook.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.  Through something simple they brighten the days of many children.  When it comes to this group always remember: “Your comics. Their smiles.”   –Mala

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Group Name: Comicare

Interviewee: Zeff, creator of Comicare

Location(s): We operate mostly in Arizona with occasional trips to neighboring states in the Southwestern U.S.

Mission Statement: While not an “official mission statement”, we simply strive to brighten the day of hospitalized children by delivering comic books and visiting superheroes.

When was the group started? 
Amazingly, we have only been operating since June of 2014. We have made amazing strides due to careful planning and organization and parlaying momentum built while with a prior organization.

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What inspired you to create Comicare or CAUSEplay in general?
A few years back, a friend of mine contacted me with an idea to deliver comics to kids in hospitals. He had been hospitalized with Leukemia as a teen and learned the value of the distraction that regular comic book deliveries offered. This idea immediately struck a chord with me! As a comic book collector, I was aware that many of us ‘comic-heads’ had amassed portions of our collections that were no longer important to us. As a collector, you end up with books from many sources: received as gifts, bought as part of a bulk deal, or just some you no longer care about. There is NO value to most of these books (bulk comics can be valued as low as $.05 each) and shipping them to a niche collector is cost prohibitive. I realized what an EASY charity this could be! I ran with the charity here in Arizona and shortly after, he organized the group in another state. After a few years we had a falling out- but I was so proud of the organization we had built in Arizona and we had such great momentum and public support, that we NEEDED to reorganize and created COMICARE.

Shortly after I began receiving books as donations I came up with the idea of having costumed characters deliver them. As obvious as it seems, it was never a part of the plan! It is surprising, the things that have organically arose while conducting business. For one- we have found what an amazing treat our visits can be for the siblings of hospitalized children. Many of these kids are forced into a similar isolated lifestyle but with the added psychological confusion of maybe feeling less attention which can create an odd guilt dynamic. Those little brothers and sisters are also suffering. Visiting the staff at these medical facilities is another bonus we hadn’t counted on. These angels are the front line and work with these kids every day. On occasion we have even visited some senior patients and found something interesting. They are so excited to see these superheroes and are anxious to take pictures to share with their grandchildren. That act of a grandparent showing their loved one some exciting photos they took may be one of the final chances to bond with and impress their beloved grandkids.

Probably the most substantial realization we have made is that we nearly offer the comic book community as much of a service as we do the hospitalized children. I really believe that everyone likes to be charitable. By offering this service we provide an avenue for comic collectors around the country to do something that makes them feel great. What a bonus! We get to give the gift of giving charity- what’s better than that?! We have so many wonderful donors that help us out. We are helping them share their love of comics with a new generation that may have not otherwise been exposed to it. I am especially proud when someone goes through their collection- or heads to a comic shop- to carefully select a book or storyline that sparked their own love of comics, and is anxious to share that same experience with a child.

Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation?
We are currently a State of Arizona non-profit corporation. We are 501(c)3 pending. We are currently going through the process of finalizing our filing.

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How can someone join Comicare?
We take pride in being an organized and efficient group. One of the ways we do that is by keeping our staff very small and only including people we know well. For that reason it is actually very difficult to “JOIN” Comicare- however, we consider our supporters family! We are entirely dependent on comic donations from individuals and shops. If someone just follows us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we consider them as having “joined” us. We need that kind of encouragement from the public. Many of our followers ACTIVELY share our posts and events- and we love them for it. We have also gotten requests from people to visit their family members or friends. Also, we sometimes receive requests to visit a facility that has served someone’s family in the past. This whole experiment only works as a “community project”. Sometimes you just need the public support to remind you that you are doing something worthwhile.

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 work with cosplayers in a number of ways. When it comes to hospital visits, we are EXTREMELY selective. We work with very small groups of usually one to three characters. We only bring ‘A-list’ characters that the kids will immediately recognize and we do have very high standards as far as costume appearance. We also require our cosplayers to be outgoing and have knowledge of their character as they will be staying “in character” as their superhero of choice. It can also be difficult for some people to interact with children, especially in a hospital atmosphere. I know it sounds terribly excluding, but it is necessary considering our mission. We also try to have some open events where we can include everyone and really celebrate the fun of cosplaying. We enjoy seeing everyone and spending time with them. There are a number of great costuming groups in town. I understand the need to be open to cosplaying at all skill levels and preferences. Sometimes people feel left out by Comicare, and we don’t want that, so we look for every opportunity to be inclusive.

Do you accept crossplay costumes? Gender bent costumes? Customized characers?
At open events it’s more of an ‘everything goes’ atmosphere, but we are a children’s charity so we try to keep it as family friendly as possible.

Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
We are VERY fortunate to be aligned with a few very skilled costumers in the community. Most of our cosplayers our self-sufficient, but if they need help we refer them within our organization.

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How many people are currently in your group?
On staff we currently have six. We also have a handful of semi-regular cosplayers that could be considered a part of our organization.

Leadership structure:
Being a corporation it is important to have certain roles filled. We have a director, a VP, a treasurer, a few event coordinators and a talent/cosplay manager.

What have you done for charities (types of events)?
Most of our time is spent on our narrow focus: visiting children in medical facilities. We pride ourselves on being professional and flexible, as hospital schedules and priorities can change on a moment’s notice. We are generally lead around the hospital floor by a guide who shows us the kids they believe would enjoy a visit. A visit usually consists of a hospital staff member leaning into a room and announcing “you think you would like a visitor”, after which Captain America, Iron Man or some other superhero walks into the room. The hero spends some time talking to the children, answering questions and taking pictures. We try to be intuitive as to when the child has had enough. At which point, the character ducks out of the room for a second and comes back in with some comic books, stickers and such, as a parting gift. There are a wide range of reactions we get from children. Some are off the charts excited! We do not get disappointed by the less animated ‘visit-ees’. We have heard all too often about the little shy boy who would hardly look at Iron Man, and how he acted like he couldn’t care less. Then, two minutes after we have left, he springs to life talking about his experience meeting THE REAL IRON MAN!! Many times that little boy talks for days about his special visitor!

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Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We really do both. We try to accommodate special requests of events or specific superheroes. If we feel we have been idle to long, we will reach out and schedule a visit.

How did you build you “clientele”?
I suppose I see our clientele as two different parties. The main person we deal with at most medical facilities is the “Child Life Specialist”. We have worked hard reaching out to these people and developing relationships. We also try to retain our good standing with them by offering the highest quality experience possible and by being prompt, flexible, professional and available. Our other ‘clientele’ would be our donors- individuals and businesses. We have survived on word of mouth and a lot of social media exposure by providing a top notch service. Word gets around that we are committed to being a good steward of their donations.

Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
We don’t often work in partnerships with a lot of other charities. We have such a narrow focus that it keeps us very concentrated. We also act as a blanket for some other groups. Because we have no ego, a lot of groups will participate in our events as an extension of Comicare. We don’t want our message to be watered down. It’s really all for the kids.

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What is the most amazing thing Comicare has accomplished so far?
I think the most amazing thing is how far we have come so quickly. Many charity groups never get full non-profit status and even fewer move all the way through 501(c)3 filing. We have moved extremely fast through these hurdles. It is a testament to the quality of our staff and the passion of our supporters.

Where do you see Comicare going in the future?
We actually have a lot of plans for the near future- really exciting stuff! One thing we are looking forward to is visiting facilities in other states. We so greatly appreciate the support of our followers that we pay attention to where they live throughout the country. When we see a pocket of enthusiastic supporters, we start to feel an obligation to visit their hometown and meet with kids on their behalf. If we build strong relationships with people in those states we may look at expanding chapters. Thant is quite a ways off though.

Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
I have learned a lot about cosplayers and the dynamics of their groups. One thing I will say is: Enjoy what you do! Everyone likes to ‘do charity’ and ‘visit kids’- but I really think it is important to acknowledge that you also “just like to dress up”. There’s nothing wrong with that! Most costumers really like to go to events and cosplay and they shouldn’t be ashamed of that. If you want to do charity, I really suggest keeping your goal simple and focused- and don’t confuse the two. Be proud to cosplay for YOU- and when called for “give it your all for others”.

What future events do you have?
Most of our events are private medical facility visits that we do not promote. We are very excited that in the next few weeks we will be very busy visiting children. In one week alone we will be visiting FIVE valley hospitals! There are a series of Saturday Family Fun Festivals that we will be at and we are the recipient of their fundraising efforts (Nov 8, Nov 22, and Dec 13). They are open to the public. See our social media sites for info. We will be announcing a VERY special event on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (stay tuned!) and we are trying to organize a private event coinciding with the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy DVD in December.

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Tell us about the fundraiser you are promoting on your Facebook page!
To be honest, we are a bit uncomfortable with fundraising. We take pride in our efficiency and low overhead. All of our staff donates their time and expenses. We do some light fundraising at the annual Phoenix Comicon and that covers our yearly expenses. For this initial startup year, however, we find ourselves in need of a little additional funding. We wrestled log and hard over what to do. Our main goal was simple: remain dignified. We were not interested in ringing a bell while holding a cup, or a car wash or a bake sale. These things are fine for other organizations- but we were looking for something simple and elegant. Our first couple of ideas fell through so we came to this one. Instead of hitting up everyone to pitch in a couple of dollars- we want to extend the opportunity for the really excited few to become a part of our family. We need a MUCH smaller group of people to each donate $40 (tax deductible). This group is mostly comprised of our early supporters and donors who really feel an ownership of our mission. They make a nice donation of $40 and we send them out a “CHARTER MEMBER” Tshirt. We only printed a very limited number to meet our financial goal. These “Charter Members” can be proud knowing that they were there on the ground floor and helped actually BUILD Comicare into the charity group we will be for years to come- and they can wear that pride across their chest! From now on, anyone who shows up to a Comicare event wearing one of these limited edition shirts, will be welcomed as an honored guest and usually receive some sort of gift or prize. The dream is to imagine a decade from now- someone shows up to the 2025 Phoenix Comicon wearing an old wore out “CHARTER MEMBER” Comicare shirt- and they are treated like royalty! Everyone will be so jealous of their shirt! Hahahaha This campaign will continue until our supply of shirts is exhausted. Get yours now!

How can people donate?
Email me at zeff@comicare.org with your Tshirt size and I will send you out an invoice payable with any card or paypal. For other donations of any amount- donate at paypal, user: donate@comicare.org

What do the donations do?
Monetary donations go to our extremely low operating costs. These include the costs of running convention booths and printing costs of stickers, banners and other promotional materials. We may, in the future, use some proceeds to purchase specific comic book titles needed for hospital deliveries- but it is not anticipated to be necessary. The bulk of the “Charter Member” Tshirt campaign will finance the final stages of our 501(c)3 government filing.

How can people submit comics to help your cause?
For people in the Phoenix area, the easiest way to donate is to swing by “Drawn to Comics” in downtown Glendale. They are a fantastic shop who supports us intensely! They always have a box waiting for donations. Samurai Comics in Phoenix is another great shop in town that has THREE locations! We can orchestrate a drop-off there, but need to make plans to do so. Sometimes we can meet people around the valley to pick up comics from them. If it is easier, or if you are out of state, comics can be mailed to us. To arrange a comic donation, msg us on Facebook or email us at info@comicare.org.

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/comicare we are extremely active and usually answer correspondence promptly
Website: http://www.comicare.org we are hoping to have a better presence on this site in the upcoming year
Twitter: @comicare
Email: info@comicare.org or me directly: zeff@comicare.org
Instagram: @comicareorg
Tumblr: http://comicare.tumblr.com/
Flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/comicare

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories! If sending info on an individual person please let them know you have done so, to reduce the creep factor of a stranger contacting them for a potential interview.