Cosplay

TGON Cosplayer: Dom Charland

Dom Charland has conquered quite a number of different cosplays during his time on our team. He came to us thanks to Masked Mateo and The 9! Not only is Dom an amazing cosplayer but he is a talented cosplay artist and creator as well. Take some time to learn more about our favorite Star-Lord in this week’s TGON Cosplay feature!

Cosplay Name: Dom Charland
Age: 138
Location: New York
Social Media Links: http://www.instagram.com/domcharland

What got you into cosplay? 
An unhealthy obsession with Comic Books, vintage movies, and Video games. While lurking in the forums of the Replica Prop Forum, I came across a thread by a user named Lunaman. Lunaman was attempting to make the first Dye Sub Spiderman suit. In fact, his suit was well known as THE FIRST Gunhead Design Spiderman suit. I followed every post on that thread and finally built up the confidence to try it myself. Back then, you had to order the printed suit from Fabric on Demand, and then find a seamstress to assemble it. There was no ZentaiZone or RPC Studio back then to do it for you. It took months to get it all together. I wore my suit to NYCC that year and didn’t take it off for about ten hours. The response and reaction were incredible and I was hooked. There is nothing more empowering than little kids seeing Spiderman and running up to you.

You are known for multiple cosplays? What are some of your favorites? 
People know me mostly for Star Lord, which is by far my most comfortable Cosplay. IT HAS POCKETS! I can eat in it! I can go to the bathroom without assistance! That being said… my Favorites are all over the place. For fan response, Spiderman. Comfort? Star Lord. Wow, Factor? Green Lantern. My favorites right now would have to be Obi-Wan Kenobi or Indiana Jones, though. Sure, they’re not as flashy as some of the other characters out there, but Star Wars and Indiana Jones got me through a lot of my childhood. 

What are the main factors in choosing a cosplay for you?
For me, I don’t cosplay characters I don’t know. I know there are a lot of folks out there who will just decide “I look like this guy so I’m going to do it” and they’re on Amazon 10 minutes later. For me, it’s gotta be someone I care about or someone that resonates with me. Spiderman and Ghost Rider were HUGE parts of my childhood. Green Lantern’s redemption arc was incredible. I watched the Indiana Jones and Star Wars Trilogies all day when I was sick at home from school just to make the time pass. I don’t watch Anime, so I don’t Cosplay Anime. I think that, in order to enjoy Cosplay for what it is, you have to have a connection that makes you value the character. 

Current Favorite Cosplay Breakdown: Costume & Accessories:
Oh man, this is tough. Spiderman is a @gun_head_design pattern and either a @tjackfx face shell or a @oraclemadeuk face shell, depending on the look. Star Lord is a Helmet by @dragonbornjedi with a jacket by @whitesheepleather and a few other builders for the bits & bobs. Green Lantern is an amalgam of multiple vendors, 3d Printing, and a lot of cussing. You know what? I guess what I will say is, no ONE vendor or person can provide you the look you want 100%. You have to take the time to piece together what YOU want from multiple places. Even if you use one of these overseas Cosplay Websites, there is always work to be done to get it to be the way you want. 

What is your occupation outside of cosplay? 

I’m the Regional Manager of a Small Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I’m a good boss, but guess what? I still have my flaws. I like to sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally, I hit someone with my car, so sue me! 

Why do YOU (personally) continue to cosplay? 
…because we all need an escape from the real world. People expect you to ‘grow up’ and leave things like this behind. Those same people work themselves to death and chase a paycheck and savings just to have it. In this crazy world of 2020, we have to take the time to be silly, to be childish, and to be happy. To continue doing what we love unapologetically because it is good for our Mental Health to say “Today, I’m going to be a superhero and make someone else smile.”

What is your favorite convention to cosplay at? 
This is a mixed bag of answers: My favorite CONVENTION is Dragoncon in Atlanta. It’s a ridiculous cosplay party over several city blocks where anything goes and everyone is just happy to be there celebrating. My favorite Comic-Con before that was SDCC, though I haven’t been in years. The best times I’ve had, though, are at New York Comic-Con. We’ve done so much at that con as a group, from large meetups to running panels, that I feel like NYCC is where we’ve left the biggest imprint on Cosplay.

How much time do you spend on your cosplay per week/month?
I’m literally typing this while inhaling Loctite Fumes and shaping foam, surrounded by 19 unfinished cosplays and a cat. So… Not that much.

Best Cosplay Experience You’ve Had
There is a young boy, Dylan, that we met at NYCC. Dylan is one of those brave children that lives his life a day at a time, fighting a Neuroblastoma. His mother reached out about having a “few” heroes show up for his surprise Birthday Party. We put out the call and had over 20 heroes for him that day. More impactful than that, though; I had set up an Amazon Wish List for him. I added maybe 20 items to the list, thinking that “Even if we get 5 or 6, it’s a win.” About an hour later, I received a TON of messages letting me know that EVERYTHING had been bought, and I needed to add more items. By the end of that week, over 50 presents showed up at my house ready to be wrapped. It was incredible to see that the fanbase responded so positively and chipped in to make this little boy’s birthday memorable. When you can get complete strangers to open their hearts to someone they will never meet, it reminds you that there are good and kind people out there still. 

Best Advice You Have For New Cosplayers 
Be ready to fail. Don’t compare yourself to others. Do not lose the love that made you try in the first place. We all had a “First Cosplay” that looked like a Plastic Trashbag held together with duct-tape & hope. So many people try to get into this hobby and get discouraged because they feel like they’re not good enough. I feel like I’m not good enough every day. We are our own worst critics. Do what you love, unapologetically, and don’t forget to smile while you’re doing it.

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