Confessions of a Spider-Man Cosplayer

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

If you’re a spider-man fan, I’m sure you recognize this iconic quote Uncle Ben said to Peter that reminded him so many times not to give up. I’m currently repeating it in my head as a mantra to distract my mind from the pain in my knee and quad. I’m currently sitting in what we spiders call the “spidey crouch” with a leg sticking out. The photographer is yelling - “Hold it just a moment longer!” - as people crowd around me taking the opportunity to snap another memorable photo at the con.

My knee feels like it’s going to give and my quad is on fire like I’ve been holding a squat for ages. The photographer yells, “...and rest!” I casually crawl out of the pose and shake it off as I get ready for another round of shots, this time involving the low to the ground “spider crawl”. I’m glad I don’t skip chest day cause my arms and chest are about to be on FIRE (Editor's Note: "En FUEGO" for our friends south of the border). I smile, take a deep breath and whisper my mantra, “with great power comes great responsibility”, as I drop to the ground and into my pose.

It’s just another day in the life of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man cosplayer.

Source: Julius Vergara (@MediumBlast on IG/Freelance Geekdom on FB).

I want to start out by saying that Cosplay is for everyone. No matter what your age, gender, size, race, etc., you have the right to Cosplay whoever and whatever you want. If you decide to suit up as a Spider-Man or Woman you DO NOT have to go the extra mile that me and many of my friends do. If you rock a dope suit, have a few casual poses, and just want to wander around a con seeing the sights and nerding out then you are more then welcome too.

There is no secret society of spider people who will come hunt you down and beat you up if you don’t hold a deep squat or pose off the side of a ledge. What I will say is that in my 6 months of cosplaying as a Spider-Man, some of us take it pretty seriously, and if you want to truly get the most dynamic of poses you have to be willing to put your body through some physically demanding stuff.

My first run in with the Spider-Verse (as we like to call a group of more then one spider-person) was at Wondercon of 2016. This was also my first time ever setting foot in a comic book convention and I was in complete awe. I still remember the first cosplayer I ran into was a Spider-Man and I absolutely lost my mind over how well done his suit was. I'd swear I was standing next to Andrew Garfield from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 cause this kid was looking slick.

After we posed for a quick photo he mentioned to me that there was going to be a gathering of all the Spider-Verse later on that day and I should come check it out. When he said that I was thinking I would run into maybe two or three more Spider-Men who had similar costumes. I was in absolute shock when I showed up later and ran into nearly 20 cosplayers, both male and female, decked out in SO MANY DIFFERENT SUITS.

I hadn’t read Spider-Man since Civil War and I had learned that Peter Parker had to deal with this massive “Spider-Verse” crisis. The Marvel Comicbook Universe was introduced to an INSANE amount of Spider-Men and Women. I took a bunch of photos. I chatted with them a bit and made a ton of friends. It was at that very moment I knew I had to become a Spider-Man cosplayer. One of the Spiders I made friends with that day goes by the name of Snowy Spidey on Instagram. He comes from Colorado where it snows, so his Instagram handle made sense. Hah! We had a ton of conversations and hung out at every con after that. You could say he was the Yoda to my Luke Skywalker in showing me the ways of the force... the Spider Force.

He went into every detail of how to craft the perfect suit: from picking your pattern, to getting a faceshell and lenses so your mask keeps that spider-man shape, to measuring my self, as well as installing my shoes in my suit. In this process I learned making these suits is not easy and takes a bit of time. But is it worth it? You bet it is. The first time I got to rock a full suit was at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con in October and it was Snowy Spidey’s first suit. Mine wasn’t ready to be shipped at the time so since he had a new one ready for the con, he let me get my feet wet with his. I also learned at this very moment the Spider-Verse cosplayers are some of the most friendliest and knowledgeable cosplayers I’ve ever met. He took the time to teach me every little detail to order and build my suit, and he even let me use one of his until I got mine. Thanks to his kindness I now have my own suit and even teach other young spider padwans how to get started.

Source: Julius Vergara (@MediumBlast on IG/Freelance Geekdom on FB).

Now building a suit is only half the battle. Like I said, me and Snowy became great friends and we also connected with other cosplayers as well as an amazing photographer. We banded together and formed our own little squad called “Maybach Cosplay” and pretty much spent almost every weekend after LACC having photoshoots of our own around various spots in Los Angeles.

My most memorable shoot would have to be the day we went to Downtown Riverside. You see we do a lot of “high risk, high reward” things to really nail the spider aesthetic and some of those things... Well, some of those things involve us having to face some fears and putting our selves into danger. Like I said, you don’t HAVE to do what we do, and personally I would advise against doing what we do.

Source: A random phone at Wonder-Con.

But we are absolutely OBSESSED with Spider-Man to the point that we’re willing to take these risks.

My most risky shot that day involved a ledge on a parking garage. I hoisted my self up, stood up on it for a second and did the worst thing ever which was look down. Below me I could see the streets of riverside, the cars passing by, and I knew if I took one wrong step I’d be on the local news as the dead Spider-Man. The thing is, as I stood looking down at the city as much as I had fear in me I also had this confidence rushing through me. I honestly felt like I was in Spider-Man, that this was my town to protect, and for a moment I thought I was a superhero.

The photographer asked me, “You ready for this?”, as I slipped my mask on and nodded. I then proceeded to get close to the edge, drop all the way down to the ground, and nail what to this day is probably one of my sickest looking spider-man crawling poses to date. Everyone sees it and goes, "wow look at that angle! it really looks like you’re high up in the sky with nothing below you!”. If only they knew that one small slip up would have been a spidey pancake on the road.

Source: The Ramones and Marvel.

I talk like that one was risky but that wasn’t even the craziest shot we had that day. My buddy Snowy decided he needed to up the ante. Our parking garage was right across from this abandoned movie theater. We all stared at the roof and imagined how great the photos would look, but Snowy, he decided imagining wasn’t enough. He ran down the stairs of the parking garage, ran across this little bridge and decided to climb up the side of the movie theater onto the roof. All of us went into scramble mode: I started rolling on my iPhone capturing the entire scene for my vlog, our photographer climbed up on the side of the ledge as two of my friends held him by his belt so he wouldn’t fall over and Snowy just kept climbing.

As he set foot on the roof we heard a loud crack and a bunch of tiles slid off. We all gasped in unison and I feel like that should of been the moment for us to bail.. but Snowy used to be in the military, so for him it was just another day. He ran across the roof and climbed his way up onto this tiny pipe with just enough room for his two feet. He dropped into his squat, struck his pose and we nailed the most iconic photo of the day. He ran back, hit the other roof and even did a cartwheel which gave us all a heart attack. After we nailed the shots we called it a day and got thai food to celebrate.

Source: Julius Vergara (@MediumBlast on IG/Freelance Geekdom on FB).

Cosplay is for everyone.

If you want to cosplay as Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Gwen, Silk or any of the other spiders from the SpiderVerse I highly encourage you to do it. What I want to say though is if you really want to go the extra mile, if you really want to get the best shots, and if you truly want to become the Spider-Person you are cosplaying, you’re going to have to take some risks, you’re going to have to conquer some fears, and you’re going to have to push your body past some of its physical limits. It’s not going to be easy but I promise you that the journey will be worth it because at the end of it all you’ll realize you could do a lot more then you thought you were capable of and you’ll be more motivated in other areas of your life. I’ve always been physically active but now I take the extra effort to make sure I eat clean, I make sure I do a ton of yoga to stay mobile and flexible, and I’m slowly getting over my fear of heights and climbing on and off high things all because I really wanted to be the best Spider-Man possible. No one in the cosplay community asked me to do these things, but through cosplaying Spider-Man I found the motivation for it all. Much like when Peter got bitten by the radio active spider, throwing on a spidey suit will change your life for the better and you’ll finally understand what Uncle Ben was talking about when he said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Source: Julius Vergara (@MediumBlast on IG/Freelance Geekdom on FB).

What's your cosplay hero? What are your cosplay goals? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!

#CristobalHernandez #VeganSpiderMan #Csplay #NerdCulture #NerdbotOriginals

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