Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cosplay Spotlight: Jet Cosplay

Photos by Hero Hotties
He's the Man of Steel everyone is talking about! Jason aka Jet Cosplay has the world of costuming buzzing about his screen accurate Man of Steel Superman, which he debuted this year. I briefly met Jason at the Baltimore Comic-Con and was immediately impressed. Since the initial meeting, we have done a photo shoot and charity event (for St. Jude's Children Hospital on behalf of the Heroes Alliance) and I have seen first hand the excitement and joy he brings to the crowds (along with an excessive amount of swooning). So let's get to know the "it" boy in cosplay. Jason talks to the Confessions of a Cosplay Girl Blog about constructing his costume, attending his first convention as Superman, his thoughts on the Man of Steel film and how he's handling all of the attention.

Victoria: You are fairly new to the hobby of costuming. When exactly did you start?

Jason:  For the past few years, I’ve gone out with the same group of friends for Halloween. Every year, we pick a theme, and everyone would either buy their costume or make one, but it’s a friendly competition to “fit in” with the group. During Halloween 2013, one of our friends brought up the idea of going to a convention all dressed up to see what it was about. It sounded like a fun time, so we started planning out our costumes and set our sights on the Wizard World Philadelphia comic convention this past June. Everything else just fell into place after that.

Victoria:  Your Man of Steel suit is very impressive. How long did it take you to construct?

Jason: It took me 4.5 months, and it cost about $1700. The reason it took so long was because I was very new to building a costume like this, and I only worked on it in the evenings in my spare time. And the reason it cost so much was because of the mistakes I made along the way. If I had to build a new one from scratch, I’d say it would take at least three weeks, and would cost about $1200.

Victoria: Can you tell me what your first convention experience as Superman was like?

Photo by Green House Photography
Jason: My first convention experience was interesting. Most of the costumes I made in the past involved armor or regular clothes in some form. The Man of Steel suit is a 100% full body spandex suit. I’m in fairly good shape, but it’s a daunting thing to be out in public wearing nothing but spandex. It took a little while to work up the nerve to leave the hotel room, but after that - things got very interesting. We were walking around the outside of the convention center, trying to figure out where the entrance was. We accidentally walked in one of the exits, and that’s when people spotted me for the first time. It was pure chaos. Kids and adults alike surrounded me, and formed a wall that other people couldn’t get through. I can’t say for sure how many people were waiting for pictures, but it was somewhere in the 100 to 200 range. After an hour or so of pictures, the event organizers pointed us in the direction of the entrance. From there, things got even more intense. After we registered, we made our way up the escalator, and entered the double doors to the main convention. I wasn’t able to leave that spot for a few hours due to all of the pictures. It was flattering, but overwhelming at the same time. My friends got tired of waiting for me with all of the pictures, so they took off and checked out the rest of the convention. I wasn’t so lucky. I’ve never had my picture taken so many times, and the whole idea of posing like a superhero was a foreign concept to me. All in all though, I met a lot of people at my first con, and participated in the costume contest with my friend dressed as Wonder Woman. We ended up getting second place (honorable mention) in the superhero category, but overall it was an awesome experience.

Victoria: You are a hot topic right now in the world of costuming. Costumers and fans of cosplay are buzzing about you. I've seen for myself the amazing reaction from people when they see you. How are you handling all of the attention and praise?

Jason:  It’s a bit of a change for me, but I don’t mind it at all. I enjoy interacting with everyone, and I try my best to answer any questions people have about the suit or how they can make one of their own. I put a lot of time, energy, and money into my suit, so it definitely feels good when I get to see people’s reactions and know that my efforts are appreciated. I don’t know if it’s my demeanor, or the way I look, but people typically don’t approach me when I’m not in the suit. The Superman character sort of breaks down that barrier, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Victoria: I'd like to get your opinion on the Man of Steel film. People are very split on their feelings towards the movie. What were your thoughts?

Jason: I have mixed feelings about it. I think Henry Cavill was the perfect choice for Superman, and I definitely like the concept of modernizing the character and making it as realistic as possible. With that said, I think they overdid it with the action/destruction that was prevalent throughout the second half of the movie. You can only see so many explosions before you become numb to it, and I definitely felt numb by the end of the movie. There was very little emotion in the movie, and the connection between Lois and Clark felt forced. I didn’t get the impression that Superman cares at all about the Earth or its inhabitants, but instead he just tolerates us. I also think they rushed the film, and tried to put too much into one movie. They could have spent the entire first movie doing a more realistic version of the backstory and explaining why he’s the man of steel… Similar to what Christopher Nolan did with Batman Begins. Instead, there was a lot of jumping around, then suddenly he’s Superman, and now he has to fight Zod. It was difficult to process. Regarding the major controversy in the film, I think Superman HAD to kill Zod. There was no other way for it to end. I just hope they use that scene in some way to help shape Superman into the character that everyone knows. All in all, I’d give it a 6 out of 10.

Victoria:  What would you say is your favorite thing about your new found attention thus far? What are you enjoying most? Exposing your work to a new audience? Photo shoots? Friendships? Charity events? Conventions? etc.

Jason: I like it all. I enjoy meeting new people that share similar interests, doing photo shoots with friends, going to charity events, attending conventions, and getting feedback from the audience. My favorite part of it is definitely the kids. It makes me feel good when they feel good. I enjoy seeing their expressions, when they give me high fives, and when they stare at me as I walk by. I was a huge Superman fan when I was growing up, so I’m honored to be able to bring that character to life for them. They’re the most innocent and honest people on Earth, and I think kids are the only people that experience pure emotions. If you can make a kid smile… it’s because they’re genuinely happy. They don’t have ulterior motives, and they don’t want anything from you. They live in the moment, and I’m happy just to be a part of that moment. I’ve given up entire days at conventions so that I’m able to meet and greet every little kid that comes my way. I’ll never pass up an opportunity to create some smiles.

Victoria: What is next on the horizon for you in regards to costuming? Any characters in the works?

Jason:  I really don’t see myself as one of those cosplayers that create a bunch of different costumes. I have nothing against them, but it’s just not for me. I’d rather pick two or three costumes and really nail the character. I’ve gotten quite a few suggestions from friends on Facebook that range from Commander Shepard to The Punisher, but I don’t have any immediate plans to make a new costume yet. Superman was such a central part of my childhood that it became my passion to create the suit. I’m going to wait until I identify with another character like that before I make a new one. In the meantime, my son Gabe wants me to make him a Master Chief costume, and my son Alex has requested Ironman, so I’ll be putting my attention in that direction. People seem to enjoy my Superman costume, and I’m happy to keep portraying it for now. I’ll also be portraying the Man of Steel in the upcoming fan film Justice League: Mortal that’s going to be filming next summer. I don’t have any acting experience, but the role seems pretty easy, and I’m going to put forth my best effort.

Victoria: Any plans to attend any major cons in 2015?

Jason: I’d really like to attend DragonCon and the New York Comic Con. I’ve heard that DragonCon is an awesome time, and I’m looking forward to meeting all of the cosplayers in person that I’m friends with on Facebook. And NYCC was such a blast this year that I have to go back and do it again.

Victoria: Where can people contact you and view a portfolio of your work?

Jason: The best place to contact me is on my JET Cosplay Facebook page. I update it pretty regularly, and I respond to all of the messages and comments I receive.

CLICK HERE for the Hero Hotties Man of Steel Album

and HERE for the Hero Hotties Trinity Album

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