Relatively new to the cosplay realm, and having been involved for around 5 years, Bob Mask is a true hero. In addition to being the co-owner of Rocky Mountain Con, Bob serves on the board of directors for the Colorado Heroes Alliance (he is also a local branch leader for the national charity).
Initiated into cosplaying along with his daughter while researching various comic conventions, a chance meeting and cosplay discussion with Danny Kelley (known for an amazing Superman portrayal), he launched the hobby for the Mask family.
Bob has been featured on various podcasts including Crowbar Radio and tends to favor super heroes, most notably Batman and the Creeper. Comics, movies, TV shows and especially other cosplayers provide his main motivation for the craft. “Seeing them do fantastic things inspires me to want to learn and grow as a cosplayer,” he said.
OTM recently had to the privilege to discuss this cosplay passion with Mr. Mask:
What does cosplay mean to you?
This is a hard one as cosplay means different things to different people. To me, it’s an outlet for creativity where I can combine my love for comics with my love for creating things. It also provides me with the opportunity to make people smile.
Is there a particular arena that your enjoy more?
I love to go to cons and see friends, but my biggest “arena” is Heroes Alliance (charity). When I see the smiles I can bring to kids (and adults) it just makes my heart melt.
Do you make your own costumes/props?
My costuming is a mixed bag. I sew and make a lot of props myself. I also have a number of different items that I purchased from professions prop and costume makers. I really do enjoy making my own stuff when I can and I love to learn new things. With regards to where I shop, you can find supplies in the oddest places. Fabric stores are great, thrift shops, hardware stores, army surplus, even places like Target and Walmart. I always have my eyes open for items that can be incorporated into costumes.
When you create your outfit do you strive for near perfection in accuracy or just the essence of the character?
I think it depends on the costume and the character. For instance, my Creeper is as comic accurate as I can possibly make it. As is my Deadman. On the flip side I have a NiteOwl costume that is a mix of both the comics and Watchmen movie.
Do have a favorite moment(s) or event?
I always love doing charity work. Any time I can do something with Heroes Alliance it’s a great day. Getting to meet Hayley Atwell while I was dressed as Captain America was awesome. Meeting Kevin Conroy while in my Batman costume was a bucket list item!
Please describe anything you might see as a roadblock/concern in the cosplay community.
I think one of the biggest problems in the cosplay community today is a lack of equality and inclusion. There are so many people who believe that body type, gender, and race should be strictly adhered to when costuming. I believe it should be FUN and that anyone who TRIES should be appreciated for the effort. I try very hard to make sure I appreciate everyone I meet. Supporting someone who is doing something to make them happy is huge.
What advice would you give to someone getting started in this realm?
Have FUN! Take your time, learn, enjoy the creative process. And don’t let anyone tell you that you CAN’T do it.
Finally, any additional insight/information about your involvement in cosplay that you like to add?
I’d love to let everyone know about Heroes Alliance. HA is a national charity organization where cosplayers and propmakers use their skills in their community to bring heroes to life for folks that need a smile. Check them out by clicking on the banner below.