Cosplayer: Rick Louis
Photography: Lucid Visual Photography – facebook.com/LucidVPhotography
(Costumer: Eldritch Arts – facebook.com/EldritchArts | Helmet: Inception Studio Inc.)
Want something to look forward to every day? Well, gay geeks and gaymers can enjoy a 365 page-a-day style calendar featuring over 300 of the cutest and hottest cosplayers around the world.
Male cosplayers, portraying fan-favorite gaming leads like Snake, Ezio, Commander Shepard, and Chris Redfield, gather together to show off their best and bring a calendar to life through a new Kickstarter launched by a group dubbed Men vs Cosplay (a tounge-in-cheek riff to reality TV shows).
They have started a Kickstart account, so if you want this to become a reality show your support.
We got to talk with Anabel Martinez, the one who started this amazing project.
How did you come up with the 365 calendar project?
I started 2013 as a fun way to feature cosplay guys after being unable to find a cosplay calendar (or prints) of male cosplayers at my local cons. I talked to a few friends, and they encouraged me to make a calendar after I complained on Facebook about not being able to find one. Then, Cap Santiago introduced himself to me at Phoenix Comicon and told me he’d love to be in the calendar. I panicked a little, because it was still just an “idea” at the time- nothing concrete! But Cap looked FANTASTIC in his Dovahkiin, and he was super nice, and I thought to myself: if a guy this cool wants to be in the calendar, I might not have trouble finding 11 more!
I started with a standard monthly calendar focusing on video game cosplayers. (Cap became the cover model for the 2014 calendar.) The second year, after starting the “Men vs Cosplay Insider” group (Facebook discuss group) and really getting the word out, my inbox had over 250 guys interested in those 18 monthly slots. It was stressful to turn away so many guys who wanted to be in the calendar.
Last fall, I got in contact with a printer in China who could do a page-a-day calendar format (something I’d wanted to do but never found a printer in my area who could manage it). It was a last minute opportunity, but folks spread the word and we made the 2016 365 Days of Cosplay: Male Cosplay Calendar happen after getting a ton of submissions last minute. It was a huge growth and a steep learning curve, but I had a lot of help and we were able to feature over 300 guys for the first time.
Captain Jack Sparrow
Cosplayer: Just Some Nerd facebook.com/justsomenerd
Photography: Into The Pit Photography facebook.com/
What was one of your favorite parts of doing the project?
I really, really love learning about the cosplayers’ stories. Before I started Men vs Cosplay, I’d glance at cool pics online, hit “like,” and move on. Now, I learn: a ton of guys got into it as a way to enjoy conventions with their families! Or how some guys spend thousands of dollars making movie-accurate costumes to wow children in hospital visits for their charity groups, not just in Star Wars and superhero costumes but hundreds of groups beyond that. How some introverted folks found a way to become more outgoing through their cosplay work! There are a hundred stories for the hundreds of guys we bring onto the project, from triumphant to heartbreaking. It’s way more than just dressing up!
Additionally, I get to be a more active member in the community. I’ve been able to connect cosplayers to local events in their areas. I’ve been able to encourage some of the shier guys out of their shells. And people tell me that they’ve made lasting friends and mentors from the guys we feature. Someone will see a guy, get inspired, and contact them and relationships begin in a really cool way.
What was one of the hardest parts of completing this project?
Last year, it was taking the leap with an overseas printer. Shipping delays left me sleepless a few nights, but I kept Kickstarter folks updated and everyone was super understanding.
Now, it’s having to decide what guys make it into the calendar as we get to finalizing our last selection. At a certain point, we have to cap how many Spider-Men, Deadpool, and Mandalorian submissions we can take, for example. Other guys, we have to turn away for low-resolution images (like cell phone pics that are blurry), or images that were taken in a crowded con hall. I usually try to give people a chance to get a cleaner pic in. But in the end, we have more submissions than space, so I try to help out guys who don’t make it in the calendar. I offer to put them on our priority list for next year, and share their work on our social sites.
Cosplayer: Kagato Cosplay facebook.com/KagatoCosplay
Photography: York in a Box facebook.com/YorkInABox
Who would you like to thank for helping to get you to where you are now?
My husband, Allen Amis (of Allen Amis Creations) who was my #1 supporter for this in the beginning. We were still dating when I started the project, and he wasn’t weirded out by me spending so much time with other cosplay dudes. In the beginning, I was kind of shy in reaching out to guys. He helped me get into contact with a few! He also does a lot of the grunt work when the calendars arrive – packing, folding shirts, mailing.
What would you like to say to your fans?
Thank you so, so much for making this project become what it is. I had no idea, when I started back in the day, that it would become one of the largest male cosplay fan groups out there. I just happened to start it, I couldn’t have kept it going without everyone’s help. I also want to thank people who shared their personal stories with me, on how the Men vs Cosplay impacts them and how it helped them. Running a fan page and project can feel like a second job at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Find more information by going to their website.
Check out their Facebook page as well.