I met this character in another world, theater specifically. We really hit it off when we realized we were both geeks.
He is a great person and I really hope you enjoy getting to know him!
ISO: HI, WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
A: Arron (yeah, it’s spelled weird, or perhaps I’m the normal one and everyone else is weird?)
ISO: So tell me about yourself.
A: I am a high school science teacher and dabble in tech things on the side (computer work, converting old videos, making videos in many capacities for others, etc.). I’ve even dabbled in DJing and doing theater, both on and off stage. I guess I would further call myself more of a retro gamer than an avid gamer preferring to go back to older titles and enhanced remakes of them as well.
ISO: What is your favorite beverage?:
A: Ah, favorite things. This is where I get tricky. My tastes tend to drift, it just depends on the mood I’m in. I suppose though, if my back were up against the wall, that one of my favorites is orange Gatorade. Citrus Cooler used to be my favorite as well, but then it disappeared for many a year, and then it came back in a limited way, and then you could only find it at certain Walmarts, then it disappeared again (maybe), so I come back around to orange. For this reason, I’m also pretty partial to Tang.
ISO: What is your favorite food?
A: A typical geeky answer, I suppose pizza. But it has to be the right kind of pizza. What kind is that? Depends on my mood again. Definitely not Imo’s.
ISO: What is your favorite sweet?
A: Favorite sweet, now there’s a tricky question again. Starbursts might take the top of the list. Tootsie Frooties are also a great one, and I’ve always wondered where the heck those parade throwers get them from. I could only find them in that massive bag on Amazon, and then you’ve got a long time to get through them all…
ISO: Who are your favorite fictional characters?
A: The Jedi have always appealed to me. That would probably be a contributing factor to their dress being my first cosplay. If I had to pick one in particular, I would probably go with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Samwise Gamgee is definitely near the top of the list (and being privileged enough to be in the same room as Sean Astin didn’t hurt either). My favorite cartoon character has probably been for the longest time Darkwing Duck. Out of the entire Big Bang Theory group, I probably identify most closely with Leonard Hofstadter, so he’s on my list, too.
ISO: If you could live in or visit any fantasy world, where would you go?
A: I think that if I really got down to it, it would be Narnia. But it has to be that New Narnia at the end of the last book, because that’s basically Heaven. A lot of the other worlds of my fandoms do have appeal, but they also have their downsides. Wizards can succumb to dark wizards and dragon pox, Star Wars galaxy lives under the threat of Sith and other unscrupulous folk, Middle-Earth has orcs, and let’s face it, who would honestly want to live in Panem?
ISO: What are your fandoms?
A: Oh boy, here comes the tricky part. I know I’m going to leave something out. OK, so, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Tron, Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC (even though their movies need work, but the older stuff, like Dark Knight trilogy, Smallville, and then now the Arrowverse, even though it is fraught with many a problem now), I’ve dabbled in Star Trek but don’t really consider myself a Trekkie at this point, then on the video game side Mario, Metroid, Mega Man (original and X) and on occasion Sonic.
ISO: What do you love about what you are doing?
A: I think the thing I love most about what I do is just being myself. It’s taken awhile for me to become comfortable with who I am, but when my brother pointed it out in his best man speech at my wedding about how proud he was of me being myself, it really cemented it.
ISO: What is the most difficult thing for you about what you do?
A: The most difficult thing about what I do is funding. Getting the best costumes together takes money and unfortunately often life gets in the way of that. This is a great hobby and fun time, but priorities do have to take precedent.
ISO: Who are your support team members?
A: My wife is probably my biggest supporter. She isn’t much of a cosplayer or geek herself, but she has definitely not stood in my way in any capacity. I have a few close friends that share in my fandom and are always up for events and what not, but as we’ve all gotten older other things can take precedent, especially when family is thrown into the mix.
ISO: Do you attend geek events?
A: I do attend geek events. I have been to St. Louis Wizard World Comic-Con twice and Archon twice as well. I would like to expand this in the future. Other than that I have been to a few Harry Potter trivia nights (tied a win in one) and even a Star Wars trivia night where I successfully argued an answer.
ISO: When did you start cosplaying?
A: I began cosplaying back in the summer of 2009 when I had a friend help me put together my Jedi costume. This was, unfortunately, after all of the movies had seemingly come out, but since the sequel trilogy arrived, I am proud to say that the same costume was worn to all of those episodes plus Rogue One.
ISO: Why do you cosplay?
A: Cosplay allows one to be someone else for a time to mix things up, or even just to elicit joy from others. At my old teaching job, I saw a child just absolutely freeze in delight and shout, “Look! Look!” in response to my Jedi costume, being a huge Star Wars fan himself. At my newer job, I had a student tell another coworker that I was “making being a geek cool.” It’s moments like these that make it all a very wonderful experience.
ISO: Who are your cosplay idols?
A: I can’t really say that I have much in the way of idols as I am not as active in this community as I want/should be, but a few years ago I was at a Star Wars trivia night (in costume of course) and I encountered Chad Collins, a professional Darth Maul cosplayer and member of the 501st Legion. He was amazing in his dedication and the thing that really stuck out for me was that he won the costume contest, and a little kid dressed as Kylo Ren won second. After he got a picture with him, Chad switched prizes with Kylo. Really great moment.
ISO: What type of cosplay do you do?
A: I have a variety of cosplay that really just goes for the moments that fit. I’ve been Green Lantern (not one of my better ones), 2015 Marty McFly, a Quidditch player, Jedi, Hogwarts Hufflepuff student, the Riddler, Luigi from Mario Bros., a Star Trek science officer, and I just had to buy my greaser outfit from the time I was Sonny in Grease.
ISO: What is your creative process?
A: My creative process is tricky to pin down. Basically, I think of a fandom I’m into and then what I could conceivably pull off with what I can afford and can also accomplish myself or with who I know can do it and would be available. From there, it’s an attempt and seeing what can be pulled off. Sometimes I revisit something over the years, as I’ve enhanced the Jedi costume a bit as time has gone on and replaced things like my Luigi hat.
ISO: What are your favorite cosplays?
A: Back to the Future is my all time favorite movie. Being 2015 Marty McFly was a long-term goal of mine that fortunately was accomplished by 2015 and definitely elicited the strongest reactions, so that one might be my favorite. Jedi is a very close second, especially with it being my first big costume. Probably still biggest to this day.
ISO: What is something you want to cosplay but probably never will?
A: I always thought it would be fun to be the Scarlet Spider, the clone of Peter Parker, Ben Reilly, but though I’ve looked into it a bit I’ve never actually invested into it. I’ve also thought about Nightwing but same reasoning.
ISO: Do you make, buy, special order, etc. your cosplays?
A: All of the above. It just depends on what it is and what I think I can accomplish myself or with who is available at the time to help me and their various talents.
ISO: What do you love about cosplay?
A: There’s just something special about being in out of the ordinary clothes. Seeing reactions is always a huge bonus. Especially when someone knows what you are going as and have a strong reaction. Getting noted by celebrities is also an amazing experience.
ISO: What is the most difficult thing for you about cosplay?
A: Probably cost. That and I’m not very good at making something myself so I always need to get assistance in some form.
ISO: What is something you wish beginning cosplayers knew?
A: Be yourself. Play to your strengths and don’t sacrifice your identity because you think it may go against the grain. Do what makes you happy, but don’t hurt anyone else in the process.
ISO: What is something you wish non-cosplayers knew?
A: Everyone has their own niche. Everyone has their own hobbies/fandom that they subscribe to and may be understood by yourself, but not others. Just because mine is different than yours doesn’t mean that it has any less value, and vice versa. I’ve been holding the philosophy for a time now that if you like something, and your liking it does not hurt anyone, no one has any need to criticize it, no matter how silly it may seem to them, and that works both ways. Lack of understanding does not give one an excuse to demean.
ISO: What cosplays are you working on/what would you want to do if money and time were no object?
A: I saw some fantastic Green Power Ranger costume pieces on Etsy and various other places that I would love to piece together since I was never happy with the cheap version I currently have. But, as time has gone on, it doesn’t seem meant to be as they are high quality pieces and would cut into more important things from day-to-day life.
ISO: Where can people find your cosplays?
A: Mostly just Facebook right now. I haven’t been extravagant in advertising them but make sure I keep something ready for Halloween and cons.
ISO: Who are other geeks you look up to?
A: Chad Collins that I mentioned earlier is definitely one, even though I’ve only gotten to encounter him once. I think in a way you could consider Ryan Reynolds in that community due to his knowledge and how hard he fought to bring an accurate version of Deadpool, even stomaching the insult to fans that was the version in X-Men Origins: Wolverine just to ensure he could still have a chance at playing the character in the future.
ISO: How did you find your geek niche?
A: I suppose it just evolved of its own accord over time. As I got older the Internet became more of a thing, around the time I entered high school and I found more people online I could relate to and could find more out about fandoms I would get interested in, and it went from there. Over time, it’s just grown.
ISO: What do you love about the geek community?
A: I think, in a way, how much it has grown and become more mainstream. I know this is a source of frustration for others as they might claim that people aren’t “true” geeks anymore, but I’d question what that really means in the first place. We went from a world where one could get beaten up for reading a comic book to one where Marvel has an interconnected universe of 20+ films and is still going strong, with plans up to at least 30 already. Seeing how people react now is very encouraging. For years now I’ve had a wallet devoted to some fandom (Flash, Superman, Green Lantern, Power Rangers, etc.) and while there was a time I would have feared being mocked for carrying it, I now get many positive comments from cashiers about it, but even if I didn’t I’d be fine with the opposite without feeling the need to defend myself.
ISO: What is the most difficult thing for you about being part of the geek community?
A: There’s just too much to keep up with sometimes! With the Arrowverse being up to 5 shows and growing, sometimes it can be a bit much to not lose track, and then you have to worry about running into spoilers online! At some point there’s something new that crops up that you just don’t have time to get to, and then before you know it it’s seasons in, multiple episodes, and it just seems too daunting to even begin knowing how far you’d have to go, and then you start hearing about how it’s gone downhill or had an unsatisfying conclusion and you just decide maybe it’s best not to get into it in the first place. Sometimes it’s just overload and while you want to hit them all, you just can’t. There are some that can’t believe I still haven’t seen Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, or Stranger Things, which I’m sure to some is blasphemy, but if I’ve been stuck trying to get through Star Trek and the Marvel shows (which now are not canonical so one of my earlier attitudes creeps up!) I don’t want to overburden myself on some of it.
ISO: You do theater too, how does that play into your love to cosplay?
A: Being in costume on stage really is just a fun experience. Just hearing the reactions sometimes can be the best part. Having the costume really aids in the character portrayal in so many ways. When I found out last year that I would be wearing lederhosen on stage, it was an interesting feeling, but boy did it become fun. My favorite comment from one of my friends was, “Sexy knees, bro!” Dressing normally from day to day can be boring, but mixing it up, whether for a con or a performance really is a positive experience that I don’t regret.
ISO: What is the geekiest thing you think you have done?”
A: As of this writing, I have just recreated every Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA version) level in Super Mario Maker 2. I wasn’t sure I would ever finish or actually be able to pull it off, but I consider it a point of pride. It seems as though some others have gotten enjoyment from it as well, so I consider it a win.
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.