#4 Justin Grubb of Turbo Time Cosplay

#4  Justin Grubb of Turbo Time Cosplay


One of my primary reasons for starting this page of Featured Cosplayers is to learn how I can become a good Cosplayer myself and I’m not getting any better without finding out what makes this next guy successful.  He is Justin Grubb of Turbo Time Cosplay.  He is another fortunate find that happens to be local for me and connected to some of my past chosen Cosplayers I’ve come to know.  As soon as I checked out his profile and many examples of his work, I knew immediately I needed to get in on his secrets.

Justin at the 40th Anniversary of John Carpenter’s Halloween in Pasadena, CA.

Well, not really secrets because he freely shared any knowledge that I was curious about with how he did any of his cosplays.  He has a wonderfully “fresh” approach to Cosplay with his humor, his focus on research for the character he wants to portray, and the “no care” attitude towards popularity of the Cosplay and/or the obscurity and recognition.  Another words, he’s gonna do what he wants to do and love…period.

I always make it a point to meet and get to know my Cosplayers before I publish an article.  I could have easily just emailed and messaged questions and that could be alright, but I’m hoping to give the reader a better experience with reading about someone I like a lot. This is a bonus for me as I’m making new friends and one thing I’ve learned for sure is that the Cosplay community’s primary focus is the support given to each other and the friendships made.

Justin is terrific.  He agreed to meet with me during a somewhat low time in his life, as he just recently lost his cat Binx to a mystery disease, but we had a great encounter sharing both of our passions with Cosplay and what makes us tick.  Three hours at an Applebee’s booth with two fellas swapping Con stories and tricks of the trade produced a wealth of knowledge that became a story to be told in itself, here, too.

Laugh Out Loud Funny

The absolute characterization I noticed first that drew me to him was the humor and his ability to make me laugh immediately at several of his Cosplays.  His most recognizable character, and he’ll be the first to tell you, is Biff Tannen from Back to the Future where he has done every version of Biff from all three films of the trilogy.  They are hysterical!  He captures all the mannerisms, facial expressions and poses that are synonymous to Biff.  A very rare character to be cosplayed, but Justin pulls it off so well, it’s his signature role or the one probably talked about the most from his work.

While he was at the 40th anniversary convention in California for John Carpenter’s Halloween, Justin took advantage and also got to check out some of the film locations from Back to the Future and was resourceful enough to make this great video montage of Biff:

Some other funny characters that Justin has cosplayed I’ll be showing you later down the page are: Howard from Jingle All the Way, Marv from Home Alone, more Biff, Fletcher from Liar Liar, and Ted from Bill and Ted just to name a few.

Research is the Key, and Even More Research, Too

Justin finds a more screen accurate material to improve his “alternate timeline Biff” Cosplay

Justin’s specialty as a Cosmaker is all the research he does to satisfy his obsessive compulsive approach to getting a particular Cosplay screen accurate.  Everything from all the shopping and artist websites he’ll browse, to watching scenes over and over again of a movie or show, visual reference, comparing what others have done, to even contacting costume designers from the actual movie his character is from like he did for Back to the Future II’s costume designer Joanna Johnston.  He was looking for the right material for alternate reality timeline Biff’s robe.  She didn’t seem to remember as the movie is 30 years old, but she did seam to approve what he came up with, only later he managed to find a better material so he’ll be making a new robe for MegaCon Orlando 2019 as all the main cast members will be there from the movie.

Cosplay isn’t just the pictures you see on a particular Cosplayer’s profile, but I would submit to you, and Justin would agree, that the “play” in the word cosplay is one of the most important parts about doing the character.  Justin has several videos on his profile and even has a YouTube channel where he takes on each of his character’s mannerisms, accents, body language, and personalities.  This is where I believe he shines the most as where the countless reps of practicing Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s accent and Tom Wilson‘s voice and facial expressions pays off.  I remember asking him how he can keep a straight face when doing the funny parts of his character’s he portrays and he responded with, “I’ve said those quotes a million times, lol…

Justin’s Celebrity Photo-ops

My favorite stories Justin talked with me about, when getting to know him, are his many encounters with the celebrities he idolizes at the conventions he attends where he can get an autograph and picture with them.  And let me say not just any picture–Justin makes it a point to have the photo-op an experience he’ll never forget and that the targeted celerity will always remember, too.  Like when Justin got the chance to meet Mark Hamill who is the legendary voice actor for The Joker on Batman the Animated Series.  Mark Hamill, as you know, is also Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and he was coming to Florida for the Star Wars Celebration Convention.  Justin took advantage and even though every cosplayer at the con was in Star Wars attire Justin was the only Joker Cosplayer to surprise Mark with.  He even had the chattering teeth prop to have Mark hold for the pic.  Get a load of the several pics below of the photo-ops Turbo Time Cosplay gets with the chosen celebrities, and don’t spit out your drink looking through them, lol.

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So let’s begin showing off Justin’s gallery of photos to many of his favorite characters he’s done…

Turbo Time Cosplay Gallery of Photos

Biff Tannen From Back to the Future Trilogy
The Terminator T-800 Cosplay
More Arnold Schwarzenegger Character Cosplays
Michael Myers From John Carpenter’s Halloween
Additional Horror Themed Cosplays
DC’s The Joker and Gotham’s Jerome
Justin’s Niche (Rare, Cool) Cosplays
Group and Collaborated Cosplays

Cosplay doesn’t get any better than this…having friends with the same zeal for a story to be told through Cosplay of some of your favorite fandoms.  The Con experience is elevated and the fun translates to immediately thinking and planning for the next collaboration to be done.  It’s also a way to share each others talents to everyone else.  I’m grateful cause this is the very thing that led me to Justin, in the first place, through Pepe’s involvement with The Mummy Group Cosplay they did together.

Out Of Cosplay

Justin in his element

With a strong passion for Cosplay that Justin has, it seemed that almost everything he enjoys doing out of cosplay is, well, cosplay related.  Like his absolute love for movies, collecting action figures and even building dioramas with them, collecting movie props, shooting videos and playing video games.  I’m almost always guaranteed to connect with my new acquaintances with the same interests through the fandom culture.  I love a lot of the same movies and characters he does, as well.

When pinpointing some of his favorites he gave me ‘ties’ for first place in movies and video games.  For his favorite movie he says both Back to the Future 2 and the original 1978 Halloween, which he justifies as they are so different yet so good.  And favorite video game is split three ways between Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Batman Arkham series, and The Uncharted series.  He’s proved all these are his favorites as he’s done cosplays for every one of them listed.

Something else impressive he does, that is cosplay related, but I consider a non-cosplay talent is his ability to work with Photoshop and edit pictures to add to the composition and theme or mood that is being told through the photograph.  Several examples can be seen in some of his photos that I’ve added to his gallery above, like his Joker pic in front of the “added” Arkham Asylum background and his photo-op with Michael Biehn in front of an edited Tech Noir club sign from the original Terminator.  I also asked if he could play around with one of my Superman photos from my outdoor shoot with my wife as Lois Lane and what he did was incredible! See the photo of the original and then the edits below:

He does have a few other enjoyable activities he partakes with his friends like mini golf, bowling, board games, make dinners, go to comedy clubs and just hanging out.  I did reach out to one of his friends and they repeated to me these same activities that they like to do together.

What makes up most of his life right now is his job working at the PHSC state college store and his schooling as he will be graduating December 2019 from USF with a degree in Mass Communications, focusing in Advertising.  I can already, in my mind, see how this might work well with his Cosplay life and I’m sure he thinks about it, too.  I hope to pick his brain on what I could do to advance my work with that type of knowledge he has obtained.  I’ll have to bribe him over his favorite food of Hawaiian pizza or maybe chicken cordon bleu if it’s after he graduates and becomes a professional, HA!

“It’s Turbo Time”

Little Finger is scheming something up in his mind…Lord Baelish Cosplay from Game of Thrones; photographed by TKirk photos

A guaranteed question I ask every time is how did one come up with their alias or Cosplay title name.  I like trying to guess first and with Justin I thought it was pretty straight forward, but I was only partially right.  I assumed the “Time” portion to his name was a reference to the time travel within Back to the Future with his Biff and The Terminator with his T-800.  However, he told me it is from the quote “it’s Turbo Time” from Jingle All the Way when Arnold (Howard) is in the life size Turbo Man suite and is getting ready to take off in the jet pack to save his son–a funny scene from his favorite Christmas movie.  Turbo Time is also the name of the arcade of Turbo, the villain from Wreck it Ralph.  He recently re-designed his logo to show much of what he is passionate about as it’s written in the Back to the Future font along with the clock tower face from BTTF carved on a pumpkin representing Halloween, as you may recall from above is both his favorite movies.

Turbo Time Cosplay Logo

When doing these write ups on my chosen Cosplayers I feature, I also like to pick a favorite Cosplay of theirs after studying their profile for awhile.  It was hard with Justin because what drew me to his profile was his Biff cosplays, but I think I’m going with Lord Baelish from Game of Thrones that he does.  He has an uncanny appearance already when he is donning the robe and mustache.  He also does the perfect smirk on his face when posing as Little Finger and when I told him, without skipping a beat he said it’s already a natural look he does anyway, lol.  It turns out that he won a cosplay contest with his Little Finger in a large Game of Thrones group cosplay for MegaCon Tampa 2017.  Another contest he won recently was at the Saved By the Ball: ’90s Party at Ybor City Ritz as Alan Grant and his friend as John Hammond from Jurassic Park.

Another important question that I want to include to give you an insight of the person behind the façade is “Why do you love Cosplay, and what does it mean to you…?”  Here is what Justin replied, “It started off as a way for me to connect to and show my love for movies and characters I like. Movies are like my favorite thing and I thought about being an actor when i was younger. I always loved Halloween (aside from it being my favorite holiday and time of year and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and pumpkin spice and scary movies etc) I always loved dressing up. Sometimes It was hard for me to find a place to go with friends and be dressed up, and I changed my mind for what costume I was wearing like 10x throughout the year. It was like I said a way for me to have a chance to be one of my favorite characters and act out some of my favorite movie lines and scenes. So in 2016 megacon came around and they had Christopher lloyd as a guest. Back to the Future being my favorite, that brought me to my first convention and I entered the world of cosplay. Suddenly, other exclusivities aside, I found out that it could be
Halloween all year. I was immediately hooked. Now, cosplay means so much more than that as over the small amount of time I’ve been doing this, comparatively anyway, I’ve met so many great people and have made so many wonderful friends because of it. Friends that I look forward to seeing every con and friends that I hang out with almost every weekend. Cons have become less about the con itself, and more a reunion to seeing everyone I haven’t seen since the last one. And I’m lucky enough to make new ones just about every time. Another aspect of that is not just making a new friend, but collaborating with them in a duo or group cosplay. Feeding off each other and getting hype over a shared love of something just takes it to the next level. I absolutely love this world.”

Our Shared Photoshoot With Premier Cosplay Photographer BriLan Imagery

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Here’s a little treat for those who stayed reading till the end as I put together some more of Turbo Time Cosplay’s funniest pics…Enjoy!

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#3 Victoria Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay

#3 Victoria Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay


I am excited to introduce you to my next Featured Cosplayer here and she is no surprise to those who read my last write up on Khal of Atlantis.  She is Victoria Amanda Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay and she is a true Gem!  When meeting up with Pepe of Khal of Atlantis I was pleasantly surprised to find Victoria by his side as the two are a serious couple.  And what a perfect match they make.  More later on these two together, but for now I want to focus on the many wonderful attributes Victoria brings to the cosplay community.

Snow Buddies…Victoria in DC’s Killer Frost makeup with her “Fur-Baby” Kali

Let me just tell you right away that she loves what she does and has the biggest passion for the art of Cosplay more than anyone I have met before and I’ve been doing this for ten years now.  Her zeal is infectious when being around her and I find myself wanting to do more and be more ambitious in the field just talking to her.

So you’ll be shocked to hear that she’s only been cosplaying for about a year and a half now from the time this article is published.  I would have never guessed it by seeing the vast amount of quality, intelligent and fun examples of her work that she’s shared on her social media platforms and that I’ll be sharing here as well.

This girl is on fire and is non-stop, “pedal to the metal” achiever with plans I couldn’t ever imagine for myself.  I’m sure it helps having a terrific cosplayer as a partner who she can feed off of, and as exciting as she is, I’m sure Pepe is getting motivated himself.

I’ve seen her passion first hand, not only by following her Instagram and Facebook pages, but when I invited Victoria and Pepe to dinner during my research on his interview.  As I sat across the table from her, I watched as her eyes lit up whenever she told me about her experience at some of the Cons she went to and meeting and seeing some of the best influential cosplays like the incredible Lycans by @brenachs_props while she was sporting Selene from Underworld.  And as she shared with me her future cosplays and upcoming events.

What can drive someone so much with this stuff?…’cause I love it, too, but I don’t have nearly the amount of energy and enthusiasm to cosplay as she does.  Is it that it’s all brand new and exciting to learn for her or is it taking in all the many different worlds she imagines being in with a good cosplay?  I do know one of the answers for sure and that’s the people she has gotten to meet and become dear friends with.

Friends That Cosplay Together…Stay Together

So I have a list of Cosplayers that I’ve compiled as the next ones I would like to feature here on my blog and the way I found them was by association with the previous Cosplayers I’ve wrote about here.  The next few happen to be local for me here in Florida and they’ve all worked together before, which gave me the perfect opportunity to find out how special Victoria is to them or how they might know what makes her tick.

The common theme as these cosplayers answered me about her was how much of a Sweetheart she is and that they love how she totally gets into character especially with the little ones.  I’ve also learned and seen for myself how she’s full of energy all the time and how much effort she puts into her costumes.  Everyone I talked to also acknowledged how much charity work she does which is a way for her to give back and share the love.

I can tell you first hand how good of a friend she makes as she is genuinely interested in what and how I’m doing. She’s one of the only followers that responds to my stories on Instagram and cheers me on with what I’m working on.

Just Go To The Source

It kind of sounds like I’m making her out to be a mystery when all I have to do is…well…ask her why she loves Cosplay so much.  And that’s just what I did in the question, “What has Cosplay done for you?” This is what she said:

“Wow, cosplay has done so much for me.  Right before I started cosplaying I was going through a divorce.  I was down, maybe not depressed, but down.  It helped me through the almost year long process.  I have built so many friendships and relationships.  It has even brought my family closer to me.  It has even made my little brother and I closer.  He has even asked me to make his first cosplay for him.  Not to mention I found my soul mate.  Without cosplaying I don’t think any of these things would have happened.”

“Tailor Made” To Be A Cosmaker

I like to give attention to my Cosplayers’ skills in crafting, building and cosmaking their costumes since that is where I have spent most of my time in the field and, therefore, I have a great appreciation to what goes into making a good Cosplay.  There is so much I still need to learn and everyone has something to offer.  Like Victoria is a terrific seamstress and tailor, which I have almost zero knowledge in sewing, but would love to remedy that.  Her grandmother is credited for teaching her how to sew among other wonderful traits as she was raised by her.  It’s important to note that Victoria can do much more like makeup, styling wigs, prop making, sculpting and molding.

One question you’ll always find me asking as I add more of my favorite Cosplayers to my blog is what was in picking the alias or title name of your Cosplay persona?  And Vicarious Cosplay is a real good one…here’s her explanation into why the name:

“I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted my name to be and then I asked a couple friends what they thought and they gave me some suggestions and one of my friends stated that I should use vicarious, the reason being the definition of it is [experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person].  I thought this fit pretty well because it pretty much embodies what we do…as in Cosplay we pretty much divulge ourselves.”

So let’s get started with my favorite pics of Vicarious Cosplay put into multiple iconic categories:

Disney 

DC Comics Cosplays

Marvel Comics Cosplays

Selene From Underworld Cosplay

More Favorites From Vicarious Cosplay

Power Cosplay Couple

Khal of Atlantis with his Darling Vicarious Cosplay as Disney’s Jafar and princess Ariel for Costumers With a Cause Fourth of July Parade event.

If you catch a glimpse of one of these two at a con, chances are the other half is right there with him/her and you’ll be witnessing an Epic couple themed cosplay.  These two have won several awards already and they’ve only been at it for only a year now from the date this is published.

It’s important to note, however, that each one can stand on their own with incredible individual cosplays and artistic talents.  It may be tempting not to be able to think of one without the other, but as I’ve come to know them and ask about each of their lives, they certainly are their own unique person…which happens to compliment the other in a wonderful relationship.

They met at a Con of course, Spooky Empire 2017, Pepe as Predator and Victoria as Greta from Gremlins 2.  The funny thing is they have been at some of the same events and in pictures together without really knowing eachother, but being Facebook friends as just “following a good fellow cosplayer.”  She was drawn to his cool skull bandoleer as part of his Predator costume and was talking to a man in a mask.  Later that night while saying goodbyes to other friends she saw him without the mask and they ended up hanging out together the next con day.  Clues on mutual interest were being dropped throughout the day and at the end of the event she was the one who had to nudge him and ask him, “so when are you going to ask me for my number?”

For Pepe’s interview I asked Victoria to say how important she is to him and since this is my writeup on Vicarious Cosplay I asked him to tell me why she is important to him.  This is what he said:

“She means the world to me, since the moment I saw her I felt the connection with her that I’ve never felt before.  And now that feeling evolved into something more deep than love.  There is not a single moment of the day that I don’t think about her.  There is nothing brighter in my life than the light that she shines.  I can positively say that I never met anyone like her.  And my love and feelings will always shine.”

Get a load of these two:

Out Of Cosplay?

Abby from NCIS Cosplay…Channeling her inner Abby at work.

It’s hard for me to think of her out of cosplay sometimes since she’s so in-tuned to it and that most of what we ever talked about had everything to do with the craft.  Plus I know she’s thinking about it all the time, because I know I am and she is way more passionate about it then me.

Not only does she have the coolest hobby in Cosplay, but she also has one of the coolest jobs that I could imagine and that’s a crime scene technician.  Many things begin to become clear after learning this fact, like why she was drawn to Pepe in his Predator costume by noticing his real animal skull bandoleer before even seeing his face and some of the way she approaches her cosmaking.  Which led me to the question that revealed her career…”What do you do for a living and do you use any of your skills and knowledge from work that helps you at all in cosplay?”  This is what she said:

“My official title is a crime scene technician.  My duties are to observe, document, collect and preserve the evidence while also providing my testimony if needed in court. Funny enough, I am attempting to try to make a face mold with the plaster we used to collect shoe and tire impressions.  This is something I’ve been looking forward to doing within the next month or so.  I plan on taking sand and putting it in a bin and pretty much faceplanting [my head] into it, setting it with hairspray and then casting it with dental stone.”

I’m jealous of the toys, materials and techniques she gets to deal with on a daily bases.  I of course asked the stupid question that I already kind of knew the answer to and that is “Is your job anything like it is on the CSI TV shows?”  A chuckle and then a… “No, however we did get the firearms training, but never really use it unless we go to the range.”

Pepe, their dog Kali, horror movies, trips to the theme parks with family and friends and charity events are just some of her favorite things to do outside of cosplay even though some of those things she would go full costume in as well.  These tidbits of her life I learned just by catching her stories on Instagram which is always a treat to watch following her and Pepe.

A Heart of Gold

Victoria Bradley from Vicarious Cosplay cosplaying Disney’s Ariel Princess for a Costumers With A Cause Fourth of July event for kids

As talented as she is I believe I found something she is better at and more experienced in than Cosplay, which is her extensive work for charitable groups and her appearances at events where she can show her full support for.  Which being a terrific Cosplayer can be a bonus as a way to put a smile on the faces of those who could use some sunshine.

A true humanitarian was a common theme from her friends as I asked them about her and as I have noticed myself.  Some people would not want the attention as a charitable host, and even though Victoria doesn’t need the acknowledgement, she would readily share her experiences only to bring awareness to the multiple causes she supports.  She’s so passionate about it and infectious that I’ll be asking her how I can get involved.

These are the many causes I asked her to provide me with that she has supported in the past and as a Trooper for CWC National (Costumers With a Cause):

“As a Cosplayer for Costumers With a Causes I have had the honor of working with Make-A-Wish Foundation to make kids dream come true, Nathaniel’s Hope, fundraise for many charity organizations and done hospital visits just for those who are there at the moment.  As a person out of cosplay, I have done charity with Habitat for Humanities and Ronald McDonald’s House.  I am also an advisor for the Young Explorers program at my agency which is to teach those at a young age about law enforcement in crime scene which I have done numerous guest speaking at elementary schools to college.  Before Cosplaying and when I was in college I did several fundraising for my chapter 4 cancer as well as Cystic Fibrosis.”

So Much More To Vicarious Cosplay

I can go on forever about her…so I will. Maybe not forever but for at least another segment here.  If I had to describe her in one word I would say Magnetic…because you can’t help but be drawn to her with her lively spirit and zeal for life and Cosplay inparticular.  I know she’s thinking about cosplay a lot and wonder if sometimes she looks at strangers walking by and thinks to herself…”OOH, I bet he/she could do a great cosplay of __________…”

In her short time as a serious Cosplayer she has been invited to be a DC Bombshell Model as you’ve seen above with her Killer Frost, she’s made countless friends in the community and I am honored that she calls me a friend, she’s met her soul mate in Pepe, helped put smiles on the faces of many children, and has learned some new and wonderful techniques to help improve her skills.

I always ask my Cosplayers what their dream cosplay would be and hers is incredibly ambitious and can’t wait to see and watch it happen.  That cosplay is the Queen Alien from Aliens.  I actually have a dream cosplay for her that when we very first met I messaged her super early in the morning the next day excited to tell her.  Somehow I can see her as doing an incredible Mavis from Hotel Transylvania. I hope she’ll do it so I can see first hand or at least prove that I’m right…lol.

Our Shared Photo Shoot With Premier Cosplay Photographer BriLan Imagery


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#2 Pepe Bozzo is Khal of Atlantis

Thanks for the overwhelming response you all gave me with my first featured cosplayer I did on Mystique’s World of Cosplay.  I’m happy to introduce you to the next pick I made of a talented artist to be highlighted here on my website. Say hello to Pepe Bozzo who is Khal of Atlantis.

John Wick Cosplay; photographer Brilan Imagery

I had always intended on being able to interview almost anybody I chose, anywhere, but I was pleasantly surprised to find local talent here in central Florida and quite abundantly, too.  This provided me with the unique opportunity to meet Pepe and insert myself into his life and get to know the real person.  I’m not a stalker…I swear…no, really. HA!  After the interesting write up I did on Damaris, by knowing her, I still want to provide my readers that kind of realism.  The best part is I made a new friend that shares many of the same passions as I do, especially with cosplay.  Do I see a future group cosplay in the making?

I got to tell you one thing which isn’t very friendly on my part is that I’m jealous of him and of that face!  The camera loves this guy and he looks like almost anybody he portrays, as you can see with just the few images shown so far.  I do, of course, give him credit as a terrific artist and as an actor and costumer, which helps him enormously with his accurate depictions of characters he chooses.

So it wasn’t hard to figure out why he chose the name Khal of Atlantis as his cosplay alias since Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones and Aquaman from Atlantis in The Justice League are his two most well known Cosplays.

I’d like to start by giving a shout out to all the Berserk manga fans out there who probably knew or hoped this was coming.  Pepe and I, before we knew each other, did the same cosplay which both got a lot of attention from the Berserk community.  That cosplay is of Skull Knight and was a difficult one indeed.  I did it the most time consuming and most expensive way, where Mr. Atlantis here absolutely nailed it under a time crunch and with familiar cosmaker methods of EVA Foam, Latex, paint and everything in between with a much lower budget.

Cosmaker Extraordinaire 

When I asked him to hook me up with some WIP (work-in-progress) pics for this writeup he regrettably told me “I don’t have many, I need to start taking more pics of the process.”  But as I scaled through his Instagram profile I found several well represented photos of cosplay builds in development that worked perfectly here.  I told him I had the same problem with lack of pre-shots of a costume fabrication and we both agreed to make an effort to take more.

EVA Foam is his main choice of media to work with as is many other cospayers, but Pepe seems to take it to a whole other level.  There were several cosplays I had to ask him what he used, and when he said EVA Foam I was surprised because the end result looked too perfect and I thought I should be able to tell, like his Iron Man and Iron Patriot full armor.  His (and now mine) favorite EVA foam supplier is TNT Cosplay Supply.  This is where most of the materials comes from to perform his magic.

An important part of a true cosplayer is the makeup test and wig fitting test that need to be done before a full reveal.  This is where I found several WIP pics I could use from Pepe’s collection of photos.  He understands the importance of knowing ahead of time exactly how to make a character happen by the multiple tests and fittings to get it right.  Nothing is worse than a wardrobe malfunction while trying to be in character at a Con.

This Cosplayer’s Inspiration is Everything

Judge Dredd comes to life straight out of the comics…

What inspires this Peruvian the most is…well…everything.  A good sign of a true artist is to take anything and everything he/she encounters or pursues in stride and being able to translate it all into their work.  I’m all about the visual aspect to my reference point, but as you’ll see a little later here, Pepe is also a musician as well as a visual artist.  I asked him where he get’s his reference from while planning and working on a cosplay and he told me “all of it”, from comics, to video games, manga, anime and movies.  I also asked him if what he does for a living translates at all into his artwork and he emphatically replied, “No…” Work is the last thing he wants to think about while performing his mad skills in a cosplay project.  As a computer technician, I would say that it does help him some, however.  One needs to be smart and tech savvy, as he is, to know how to attempt to put a hinge, servo motors and other electronics for his Iron Man helmet’s face plate to open and close and have lights.

So, let’s get started with my chosen pics that I’d like to present to you here:

The Best of Khal of Atlantis Gallery of Photos

Khal Drogo of Game of Thrones
Aquaman from The Justice League
John Wick Cosplay
Geralt From The Witcher
Jafar From Disney’s Aladdin
Cyborg Raiden From Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Video Game
Judge Dredd Cosplay
Predator Cosplay
Iron Man and Iron Patriot Full Costume Armor
Batman Beyond
“Spiderverse”
Group Cosplays

Out of Cosplay

Pepe and his Husky Kali

Dog lover, metal head, musician, video gamer, movie goer and fitness guru are just a few things that occupies Pepe’s time when not planning or creating his next transformation. I know, however, he must always seem to be thinking about cosplay as good as he is with the craft.

But for now let’s talk about these things listed above that are important parts of his life, and one of the most important is his dog.

Not just any dog, but a sweet girl husky named Kali that he had since a puppy.  Huskies are his favorite breed of dog and when I asked him why, he confirmed that they’re silly, fun, pack minded, and how great of pets they make.  Huskies are always trying to be included in everything which makes them terrific play mates and pets.  They’re bred to be sled dogs and bark the loudest to be noticed and get picked to be part of the pack that gets to pull the sled.  I love huskies, too, as they remind me of a friend’s husky when I was a kid as it gave me my first impression of how a good dog can be as a loving pet.

If you follow Pepe it’s no secret about Kali as he shares pics of her a lot on his social media platforms.  Kali get’s her own gallery of photos here too:)

Jammin’

His love for heavy metal music and him being a self taught musician combines two more out of cosplay attributes to his life.  You gotta hear him rip on the bass and also even hammer on the drums!  Multi-talented musician, indeed.  Him and I discussed some of our favorite heavy metal bands, and I connected the most to the classic heavy metal bands from my day like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ozzie, just to name a few.  I couldn’t pinpoint his favorite band as he chuckled when I asked for him to tell me and he said, “…too many to count…”  I did find that Ne Obliviscaris, Amon Amarth, Napalm Death and Wintersun are bands important enough to see live and share on his Instagram account.

Being a gamer was no surprise as you can see through his cosplays, as he brought to life some of his favorite characters in Geralt from The Witcher and Raiden from the game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.  Going online and playing games straight off his PC is a quick go to method to get his game on and he’s currently into MechWarrior and of course The Witcher for the 20th time.

Staying in shape by dieting and working out regularly at his gym is part of his weekly routine.  Exercising is nothing different or new as he used to be a personal trainer before he got into cosplay.  I’ll be picking his brain on how I can get into shape better, that’s for sure.  Personal trainers don’t only give you a work-out plan, they also include what to take into your body for maximum health and performance.  So our next meal outing together will need to be well thought out, especially if he’s getting in complete form and strength for an upcoming Con.

Near and Dear to His Heart

Pepe’s Sweetheart, photo from Mayhem Magazine

I could have mentioned her anytime during this article, but I feel she needed her own section because that is how important she is to Pepe.  This is Victoria Bradley who happens to also be a wonderfully talented Cosplayer as well.  Spoiler alert as to who my next Featured Cosplayer is going to be.  Her alias is Vicarious Cosplay and her passion for the art is uncanny!  These two make the perfect couple and have several couple’s cosplays to date and many more already in the works.  I asked her to tell me something about Pepe that I can relay to you all here, and this is what she said…

“Pepe has sparked hope in me when we first met.  He treasures our time together and makes me feel like a queen.  When he loves he loves full heartedly.  I always tell him he’s my weirdo, because we can laugh and do crazy things together.  For example there is this moment when he was taking a picture (what I thought was a picture turned out to be a video) I had a dinosaur head on and went ‘AHHH’…so ever since then we ‘AHHH’ to each other.  It’s these little moments that make me love him.  On top of it I found a Cosplayer.  His work is outstanding for being a procrastinator.” [I guess that means he loves the Con crunch being a procrastinator…Hee Hee]

Couple’s Cosplay

Khal of Atlantis Popularity Rises

Mayhem Magazine cover September 2017

It was only a matter of time that a Cosplayer this good would get picked up and featured in several publications and media outlets.

So Much More To Khal of Atlantis

Aquaman (Pepe) and Viper Pilot (me) at MegaCon Orlando 2018

I know I said earlier that I’m jealous of his face, but as you’ve seen with his Predator and Iron Man cosplays he has no problem covering his head up with a mask or helmet for an epic costume.  Anything to get into character, because the best part of cosplay sometimes is playing a role that a terrific wardrobe helps facilitate.  As fun and important as Cons are to attend, as an excuse to play, taking the time and expense for professional photo shoots are vital to a Cosplayers experience.  I learned that from going through Pepe’s photos as many of them I chose were from planned pics with talented photographers.  I’ll be taking lessons from Khal of Atlantis on how to get my name out there as a serious Cosplayer.  He’s so good with every aspect of being a talented Cosplayer including the attitude of just having fun and relaxing with it.  When you’ve done as many characters as he has, it should just come naturally like it does for him.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite cosplay of his, but if I absolutely had to I would pick his John Wick portrayal.  Something about the subtleness yet perfectly accurate job he did made it so effective.  A totally cool character to pick as well.  His poses and stern looks he gave for the camera were Keanu Reeves all the way!

One question I wanted to ask the most is what his dream cosplay would be and the answer was a good one and I think would be perfect for him…That cosplay is the dragon armor from Dracula Untold.  He has to do this and I’ll be pestering him constantly ’till he at least starts building it…hehe.


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#1 Damaris Degen of Mystique’s World of Cosplay

#1 Damaris Degen of Mystique’s World of Cosplay


Welcome to what is probably going to be the most popular page here on my website where I get to delve into the lives of some of the best Cosplayers I’ve come to know and respect for their craft.

I knew immediately who was going to be my first Cosplayer to be featured because she’s my favorite…and she also happens to be a friend…so yes, my choice is biased, but after you read my Bio here about her, and you see the artist’s work yourself, I think you’ll agree she is worthy of the praise!

I originally approached her with the idea as an interview, but then after seeing that she’s been interviewed before and I pretty much know the answers to all the basic questions, I decided to go for a more exciting angle to this article and introduce you to Damaris how I know and love her.  I’ll of course be incorporating several of the questions one would typically like to know within the write up from time to time.

Fem-Wolverine Cosplay for DragonCon 2011, 2013 and 2017

Like, I know she’s been practicing her craft for ten years now, which happens to be as long as we’ve been friends.  She’s not only an artist as you’ll see through her cosplays, but she also happens to be an artist professionally as a graphic designer and digital illustrator along with being an instructor in the design field.

Even though, I fully believe, she could easily make a living off of being a Cosplay sensation, it’s only a hobby for her.  Her other interests include body building, sky diving, racquet ball, painting, and anything Sci-Fi.

What sets her apart as a great cosplayer is that she can do it all.  She makes much of her own props and costumes and sculpts her body with body building to get into a particular character. True dedication!

If she has a deadline or a serious time crunch she has incorporated help before with getting her part ready like with sewing and electronics, but she is fully involved no-matter-what. I know this first hand because she approached me to help her with her Star Wars Commander Cody Clonetrooper armor she sported at Celebration V.  I had a lot of fun with it and with her as we crunched away in my garage getting it ready for Orlando’s first hosting of Star Wars Celebration in 2010.

Yes, she can do it all, but there are some things that one has to have help with, and that’s with body painting.  Here is a really cool shot of her getting body painted by the incredibly talented Nick Wolfe for her DC Killer Croc.

Quest of the Muscle Nerd Trailer, Killer Croc Cosplay body painting for DragonCon 2017 by Nick Wolfe

The Fun Loving, Lighter Side of Mystique the Comedian

Having fun is “A” #1 for her, which probably is what the secret of her success is as a premier Cosplayer.  Truly, it is one of my favorite qualities that I love about her.  I’ll let the gallery of pictures tell the story to how funny and witty she is:

This Great Cosplayer is a Great Cosmaker…Mystique Shares Her Knowledge

No secrets here.  She enjoys sharing how she does her magic with anyone who wants to know.  It’s a way of spreading the passion.  Some of my favorite pictures when I’m browsing through any cosplayer’s gallery of pics are the WIP (work in progress) shots.  Damaris has TONS of them.  In fact, if you’ve read any of my blog posts, chances are you may have seen me use some of her WIP pics already.  I need to convince her to maybe someday have a blog of her own…she has better and a lot more behind the scenes, WIP shots than I do.

True Dedication and Authenticity to the Character to be Cosplayed

Lady Bane Cosplay for DragonCon 2014

If you were to ask her which is her favorite Cosplay she’s done thus far she would tell you her Lady Bane that she successfully pulled off for DragonCon 2014 because of all the work she put into it and how well it paid off…like gaining 8lbs of lean muscle.

Because she’s a comic book junkie she’ll get most of her research just by what she’s read and knows exactly where to look for more information to study her desired character to portray.  She’s also addicted to the SyFy Channel, the latest Marvel or DC film that’s released, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the re-imagined series of Battlestar Galactica just to name a few, so she can easily get plenty of character reference to copy in her chosen cosplays.

But it’s her strength and perseverance through uncomfortable situations that a costume may require; like crazy contact lenses, heavy wigs or tight fitting corsets that has a straining effect on the body, which defines her dedication the most.

She does enjoy the body building portion, though…but who wouldn’t with the results she gets and the beautiful physique she has.

So without any further delays, my chosen picks that I give to you:

The Best of Mystique’s World of Cosplay Gallery of Photos

DC Comics Cosplays
Marvel Comics Cosplays
Star Wars Cosplays
Original Designs
Group Cosplays
Collaborated Action Poses

Out of Cosplay

Sons are the anchor to a mothers life.

If you were to ask Damaris what her greatest achievement in life is, she would say being a mother to two beautiful twin boys which is a forever, ongoing happy endeavor.  In her own words about Justin and Ethan, “The world did me a favor by giving me two of you. Although you are each unique, you share the same wonderful qualities that only twins share.  Ethan Degen and Justin Degen. Born June 1st, 2006 at 7:24pm and 7:25pm. I got double the blessing and twice the love!”

Twice the hugs, twice the fun, twice the laughs and twice the proud moments.  She needs twice the energy, too, to keep up with two boys…I can see where she gets her juices flowing to pull off three or four different cosplays for past DragonCons.  Maybe, it’s the other way around…she got twin boys because forces knew she could handle the glorious task of raising them in a fast paced modern world we live in today.

#whorescuedwho

Here are some of my favorite pictures and selfies of Damaris Out of Cosplay:

Earlier I told you one of her hobbies is painting…check out these samples of her work, including some sketches, I pulled from her collection:

So not only is she a terrific sculptor and 3D artist through her Cosplays…she’s a  great 2D graphic artist and painter as well.  Her background in fine arts she credits to her success with any artistic task she conquers.

There are times at a comic convention, believe it or not, that an Out of Cosplay experience happens more frequently then you’d think.  It’s mostly about the people and friends you hang out with and Damaris feeds off these times the most.

I don’t go to conventions just to show off my craft or to express my fandom with others.. What drives me the most is to be with people that I consider to be family.. like all these faces right here! THAT’s what conventions has done for me.

Our History Together: A Shout Out to The TCF!

DragonCon Colonial Fleet photoshoot.

Damaris and I first met on a forum for Battlestar Galactica fans called the Colonial Fleet Quorum, where we hit it off right away talking about props and her first and still planned attempt at her Borg Queen from Star Trek First Contact motion picture Cosplay she aspires to do someday.  It’s still my favorite makeup FX of all time and hers too.  We saw that we were local and met face to face for the first time at a TCF (The Colonial Fleet) gathering of the first Iron Man movie release in the summer of 2008. Since then, a few Cons, gatherings and 10th floor Marriot parties later, along with a Clonetrooper armor build together has been a complete pleasure being around this fun-loving friend and Queen of Cosplay.

She’s not the only true friend I made at the TCF…a dozen more immediately comes to mind when I think back at all the past events involving  these Frakkers.  I miss you all and I am soon coming back out of the shadows of lost time.

Here is what Damaris feels about The Colonial Fleet:

Today [December 9, 2017] is the 14th year anniversary of one of the GREATEST shows of all times, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!! This show changed my life as a geek, introduced me to the best group in the FRAKKIN world AKA: The Colonial Fleet, as well as giving me the best hobby: costuming! It also brought me closer to my fandom and I got to experience many wonderful once-in-a-life-time events such as the BSG auctions ran by Propworx. I raise my Top Gun mug to all you frakkers that share the same feelings as I.. So Say We All..
Thank You Ron D Moore for BSG!

…So Say We ALL!

Notoriety and Publication Appearances

DragonCon2017 Co-hosting a panel on body building for costuming

I knew I had to include this section to my write up on her because it tells you just how well received she is in the Cosplay community. I’m going to include only a few of these because there is so many and also when I asked her to list them to me, she couldn’t remember all the different publications that have featured her in the past.

First I need to give you the link to her Facebook Fan Page here because it is definitely an important achievement, it’s her publication.

Next is her Instagram account here. Go and follow her if you have Instagram.  She’ll continue to update you on what she posts next.

Trailer for Quest of the Muscle Nerd where Mystique makes a cameo appearance with her Killer Croc Cosplay for DragonCon 2017.  She was also invited to be a guest co-host for a panel on body building for costuming, and a judge for the competition:  https://www.facebook.com/JayShettyIW/videos/1995740577407064/

Aside from a few calendars she’s appeared in, here is a few publications and links to past interviews:

Thanks for the Fun Ride, Mystique, We’re So Looking Forward to More!

Isis (Damaris Degen of Mystique’s World of Cosplay) and Skull Knight (me) at DragonCon 2011

One question I did ask her recently, which I was reluctant to ask because I thought I should have known already was why she picked the alias Mystique for her Cosplay name. The answer was really simple…Mystique is just her favorite X-Man…

I don’t know if she realized this when picking the name, or you as the reader figured out while reading about her, that Mystique is the BEST most PERFECT name for a Cosplayer.  Think about it…Mystique’s mutant power is shape shifting, and a really good cosplayer, as Damaris is, has the ability to change into any character she chooses…Bravo!  I can’t wait for the next adventure with Damaris at Mystique’s world of Cosplay!


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