Greetings gay geeks and gaymers, we’re here with Carl Martin, a cosplayer from Austin, Texas. He’s cosplayed dozens of characters from Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Halo, and Pokemon. You may have seen him at Akon, NDK, or Edmonton Expo. He’s a professional prop maker who specializes in fabrication and armor making. So let’s get to know a bit more about him and his cosplay.
How old were you when you started doing cosplay?
I was 18 when I started out, just getting out of highschool. So 8+ years.
What got you into cosplay in the first place?
I had a group of friends that wanted to attend and compete at conventions, so we started creating cosplays and competing. Our first competition was Ikkicon and we won a Best in Show there. My very first cosplay was a Glaceon hoodie with a tail. Wasn’t that spectacular. My first competition cosplay was from the movie 9 with the stitch puppets. We had 5-6 of them and competed with it.
What’s your most memorable experience while cosplaying (the more funny, awkward, weird, the better)?
Heroes of Cosplay was all around a memorable experience. I met a ton of different people, made many life long friends, and walked away with too many stories…. too many.
What is it about cosplay that you like the most?
Since I make my income from prop making and cosplay, I’m unable to compete anymore even though I adored doing it, so now I just all around enjoy the artistry and creation of beautiful characters. Each step I take it’s my goal to become a better creator and make more professional work.
How do you define cosplay?
Cosplay is what you make it, whether you’re competing, modeling, doing sexy cosplay, trying to look like the character, or anything else. It’s a love of what’s geeky and nerdy. It means doing what I love. It’s showing my craft and my creations and getting to interact with friends, fans, and anybody else that loves these characters.
How has cosplay impacted your own life?
I’m a lot more confident. I know what I do, who I am, where I am in life. I know there’s always more to learn and ways to grow.
What are your views of being body positive when doing cosplay?
Cosplay what you want, when you want, how you want. It doesn’t matter your size, your shape, your gender, etc. Just create and wear what you want.
Has being LGBT affected how you cosplay?
Well actually I haven’t come out about this before and only very close friends and my fiancé know that I’m actually Pansexual. So, I guess there it is? It’s hard to define, but I don’t think that biological gender nor the gender that someone identifies as is a factor to whom I feel romantic or sexual feelings for. If someone’s attractive to me, they’re attractive to me.
What issues have you noticed between being a cosplayer and being an openly out LGBT cosplayer?
Unfortunately, drama in the community follows every cosplayer with a following. I’ve noticed that many cosplayers and friends that are open about being LGBT have individuals heavily define the cosplayers life around that and create drama via that fact.
Do you think there’s enough representation of minorities in cosplay?
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. My fiancé and future children are and will be brown and I can tell you right now that before being with her, I was blinded by the prejudices and micro transgressions that drive POC out of our community. I myself used to be ignorant of the fact and it’s only after years of being with her that I can see how ignorant individuals can be the driving force behind so few POC in our community, let alone POC at the forefront of our community being able to succeed.
Do you feel like the cosplay world has changed over the past few years? More free and accepting?
It has changed in the fact that it’s a higher class of cosplay, but the barriers that prevent POC and LGBT from succeeding are more prevalent than ever. Ignorance shouldn’t be a factor in a community of nerds that have been shunned for who they are their entire lives. There needs to be more social acceptance and empathy towards others.
What was your most expensive/hardest cosplay you did and why?
Either my Zack or Cloud. They were my first ones I did full leather work and such a large and intricate prop on.
Do you make your costumes or have them made/commissioned?
I make most of my stuff but with a lack of time, I’m finding that I have to start commissioning more and more things.
What would you say to a first time cosplayer? Have fun. Just go have a good time. Go see artists, meet guests, and don’t worry about the drama. If you want to make anything of yourself, don’t cause waves. Keep your nose to the grindstone and it’ll pay off.
What upcoming events will we see you cosplay at again?
I’ll be at Akon, RTX, Gencon, and quite a few more!
Anything you would like to say to your fans?
NipahDubs snores. Don’t let him tell you any different. He claims that he doesn’t but I’ve seen him do it many times.