VODKA O’CLOCK 1538
GARETH HOSKINS FROM GOTHAM R&D COSPLAY

GARETH & AMBER - PHOTO BY CONNIE LEIGH 2012
GARETH & AMBER – PHOTO BY CONNIE LEIGH 2012

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AmberUnmasked staffer and one of my dearest friends, GARETH HOSKINS, comes on Vodka O’Clock to talk about cosplay, costuming building, commissioning, martial arts and philosophies, and surviving events when you live with social anxiety.

GARETH AND BATMAN

Gareth’s began his cosplay hobby for THE DARK KNIGHT premier where he learned several lessons about costuming and props. He wore the 1989 Keaton version and the secondhand pieces didn’t even survive another night.

Bear in mind, if you’re considering cosplaying at a movie theatre, get permission first. Even my little small town cinema “checked” my handbag; by “checked” the young man said he wasn’t allowed to touch my purse but had to look in it, so not a great “search” as far as I’m concerned at Regal Cinema.

PHOTO BY KNIGHTMARE6 2012
PHOTO BY KNIGHTMARE6 2012

Gareth then upgraded to one of the finest Batman suits on the market by UD Replicas in Canada.

He found a fondness in the Batman character because Bruce Wayne isn’t “superpowered” and is rather just a guy with ideals and expectations.

“…[and] for me, to take the idea of trying to take the best that you can be and to live up to your own ideals just speaks volumes to me.” ~GH

Gareth’s knowledge and perpetual studies of the Japanese bashido code are qualities he sees in the Batman character.

COSPLAY, CONVENTIONS, & SOCIAL ANXIETY

Because Gareth is one of my friends and I know about his experiences in crowds with social anxiety, it was okay for us to talk about openly in this podcast forum. The Batsuits are not only a protective armor as seen for the character, but it also acts as a barrier and shell from the crowds and noise.

“It definitely has a psychological element to it. I have a lot of social anxiety when it comes to crowds, like especially conventions, and it helps tremendously to wear something like the Batsuit, where the cowl kind of cuts off some of your senses so you don’t hear the crowd; visually you just see what’s in front of you. You have a literal suit of armor that is protecting you from being bumped into.” ~GH

BECOMING HUGO STRANGE & OTHER VARIATIONS

When Gareth decided to be the antithesis of the secretive Batman and transform into Dr. Hugo Strange, he took that leap physically by shaving off all his long hair.

Cosplaying throughout the year in the northeast of the United States, you quickly learn about varying temperatures. For this reason among many others, you begin planning costumes and could change at the second because it’s going to be 30 degrees or 95.

SUPERHERO WEEKEND 2014
SUPERHERO WEEKEND 2014

Gareth does make a lot of his own components, but also commissions from the best such as our own Geeky Redhead Kate, plus well known makers online Bob Kieffer and The Bat Texan Tom Terrell (https://www.facebook.com/TheBatTexan). I’ve also used mask makers XtremeDesignFX and Ravenwood Masks. You can always find tutorials and vendors at The Superhero Costuming Forum and the Replica Prop Forum.

Other things to keep in mind about cosplayers:

  • Navigating the floor can be hard for a few reasons including: cumbersome suits, being on stilts, low visibility, and challenging footwear.
  • Posing in capes: very often you’ll have to kneel down for photos with kids and that means your cape can be stepped on or caught on something.

TO COMPETE OR NOT TO COMPETE?

Gareth judged a costume contest at the first outting where he donned a Batman suit. Since then, he has avoided the cosplay contest scene. He chooses to focus on his craftsmanship and is well aware that he is his harshest critic so the voices in his subconsciousness are enough competition.

“As much as other people may judge my own work, my harshest critic is always going to be myself and that’s enough competition for me.” ~GH

MEETING THE CREATORS

Gareth shared his anecdote about that time he met Scott Snyder in Baltimore Comic Con.

SELF CARE IN COSPLAYING

You need to limit your time in a cumbersome costume. You can easily – very easily – run the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion.

Gareth and I share tales of woe with costume components falling apart, making upgrades, dealing with frustrations and all that good stuff that comes with wanting things to be perfect on the first try when they never are. Whether it’s your physical or your mental wellbeing, you need to take care of yourself.

“No matter how complicated something may look, ultimately, what matters is just starting. The hardest path to learning any skillset is just to start.” ~GH

NJ’S SUPERHERO WEEKEND OCT 3-4

There are changes to the bidding rules this year for SHW2015! The cosplay Facebook event has been posted so you can sign up now and claim your character. You don’t need to be in a group. Feel free to go indie! And of course you don’t need to be in a traditional capes and tights outfit. We’ve had Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Godzilla.

LINKS:

Facebook.com/GothamRD for Gareth’s crafting stuff (miniatures, prop making, etc.)