Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Interview With A Spider...



It's a lifestyle of it's own. Cosplay is derived from the words "Costume Play". You dress up as a character from your favorite comic books,TV series, Cartoons and the like. The big difference here from your regular Halloween costume get-up is a lot of effort goes in making the costumes, sometimes the wearer spending lots of money and blood, sweat and tears from making the costume. And they have to be "in-character" while wearing the costume. If the character he/she chose does not smile, he/she must not smile. Because of this dedication to the craft, they get the same number of fans as a famous comic book artist or a College Basketball player, maybe even more. Probably the famous of them all locally is Alodia Gosiengfiao.

For obvious reasons too...

There is another famous local cosplayer ( minus the curves and cleavage ) by the name of Dan Geromo, famous for cosplaying numerous characters, like Captain Planet, Professor X, Plastic Man, Heath Ledger Joker, Michael Jackson and the one that put him on the map, Spider-Man!!!

I've known Mr. Geromo when I saw him do his Michael Jackson cosplay at a Comic Book convention a few years ago. He was really funny, and got MJ's  voice down pat. I looked for any of his appearances being uploaded by a local fan online and saw his Facebook profile. I added him and he confirmed me immediately. I have been seeing his appearances at conventions and special events at his newsfeed and everybody loves his act. It took a while for me to realize that Alternative-Rock Kiko Machine has a guitar-playing Spider-Man in the band, which is actually him!!! 

Wanting to know more about cosplaying and recently gotten into the mood of the Web-Head,  I approached him ( digitally ) and asked for an interview. Being the free-spirited and approachable person that he is, he said yes. Needless to say, he deserves all the recognition. 

How did you get started on your Spider-Man stint?

The following is and has always been my default answer: The Spider-Man thing started in 1999. It was then a requirement for us first-year UP ( University of the Philipines ) Fine Arts students to participate in that year’s Lantern Parade, and our theme was Icons. I decided to represent comic books by dressing up as one of the most well-known comics characters in the world. The experience proved to be quite addicting, thus, every chance I got, at every school event or program, or even every time my band (Kiko Machine) played on stage, I wore the Spidey suit.

Kiko Machine band

When cosplay conventions started popping around the malls ( probably around the mid-2000s ), I looked into it and saw that this is the perfect venue for me to show my love for the character and display my Spidey skills.

I’ve heard that Tobey Maguire had his whole body waxed just so he could wear the costume on-set. Did you do something similar to wear the costume?

Nah… Pulbo lang, ok na.

Can you still see with the mask on? It looks…impossible.

There’s a level of difficulty pero I can still see. It’s partly made of the same material they use for car tints. Ang kalaban mo lang talaga ay fogging, so pag kailangan matagal ko isuot yung suit, like sa Toycon, I apply defogger on the lens.

What is your day job?

I am an art director for IXM ( IdeasXMachina ), an ad agency.
in disguise (?)
Do you make your own costumes?

My recent ones, I did not. I met a great team of costume makers named Kino and Monette and suki na ako sa kanila ever since. They made five of my Spidey suits.

What are the perks of wearing a Spider-Man suit on an event?

You get to become the best superhero. That, my friend, is the greatest feeling in the world.

 Next to you, who is the best Spider-Man cosplayer?

Unbeknownst to many, there are thousands of absolutely amazing Spidey cosplayers in the world and I have the honor of being friends with some of the best. Top of mind best? Tyler Scott Hoover: The Stunning Spider-Man ( AKA T-Stunning Spidey ) . Look for his youtube videos and see for yourself why he’s one of the best.

After Spider-Man, who is your next favorite character to cosplay?

Michael Jackson.

Wait, isn’t he a real life person? So shouldn’t it be an impersonation, not cosplay? Well, yes, he’s an actual person, not a fictional one, but people also forget about Michael Jackson the heroic character with powers: the MJ who can turn into a zombie and control other zombies (Thriller), the MJ who can turn into sand (Remember the Time) or into a panther (Black or White) or into a silver car, later a giant robot (Moonwalker), or the MJ who can stop gang wars by doing dance-offs (Beat It, Bad, Smooth Criminal, etc). That’s the MJ I’m cosplaying.

Do you get angry or irritated when people write it as “SpiderMan” and not “Spider-Man”?

No. Maybe a small part of me, the purist fanboy part, does, but the rest of me doesn’t. Because, although the official name has a hyphen, other countries do not follow this. And in the age of hashtags, missing special characters like hyphens can be excused. And the famous memes, the 60’s “Spiderman” ones, are funny as hell. 

I respect the hyphen (it’s his web, you know) but I wouldn’t go as far as this guy:

Do you welcome Miles Morales as the (temporary) new Spider-Man?

Yes. When his character was announced, everybody tagged me and said: kamukha mo yung bagong Spider-Man! Gawa ka ng bagong costume! It took me a few years, but I finally cosplayed Miles last October 2013. It’s great, kasi kahit hindi ko suot yung mask, kino-cosplay ko parin siya! (Laughs)
( note: Miles Morales was the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe, who is an African-American)

How do you find Spider-Man’s presence on the comic books recently? Has he gone too serious, or is he losing his touch?

Spidey stories somehow reflect what the current comic book market goes through, almost as if he’s also going through the same things as we are. With that in mind, as a result, I am never affected too much about what’s happening currently, knowing that it will time and again change. Just like in our lives, I just go with the flow.

What is your favorite from your collection?

I treat them all as equals. I favor and admire them as a whole, so it might be impossible for me to pick a favorite.

In your humble opinion, what is the best Spider-Man action figure that captures his crazy athletic body language?

The Spider-Man 2: Amazing Poseable 18" Spider-Man. I actually once made a stop-motion animation of this toy.

What is the weirdest Spider-Man merchandise that you have seen and that you have in your collection?

A Spider-Man penis.

Why do you think that the Spider-Man character endured for so many years?

A combination of a lot of brilliant ideas to form a great comic book character: his back story, his costume design, how they combined the best traits from the concept of Superman (the colors, the nerdy journalist alter ego) and Batman (the creepy animal motif, the use of gadgets and scientific thinking) combined with Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s own take on what a modern superhero should be. 

Rapid Fire Questions, Mr. SpiderDan, mechanical web shooters or organic?
Mechanical, pero I suggest that he gets a chemical compound for his web-fluid from his blood 

so that it'll be partly organic and uniquely his. The second Amazing movie slightly touches upon this idea.
Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield?
Nicholas Hammond. Actually, both are good but have flaws in their respective universes, so I like them both. Just for 

the sake of being current, I'll choose Garfield.

Nicholas Hammond, Spider-Man from 70's TV show
Venom or Green Goblin?

Green Goblin
Black Cat, Gwen Stacy Betty Brant or Mary Jane Watson? Why?
Chat Sanduval. She's a mutant with the ability to communicate with animals. She equally loves 

and supports Peter and Spidey and sometimes acts as a partner/sidekick to both, which is 

rare for a female Spidey supporting character. She's very likeable and has little emotional baggage.
Chat Sanduval

Ultimate or Regular Universe Spidey?

Regular. And what your thoughts on the Spider-Man Japanese Sentai TV show?

It is the greatest show ever.

So that's it. I enjoyed a creative person being at his element and a good sport. In closing, Spider-Sense Tingling!!!!

-"the king"
photo by the Author