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Con season is in full swing and most cosplayers are doing the most good for their communities by donating their time volunteering at an event or visiting sick children at a hospital. What I love the most about being a cosplayer is meeting people and appreciating the amazing cosplays that they do. One of those people that I have spoken highly of is Arkansas Iron Man. Last November at the Cosplay Con and Anime Experience in North Little Rock, Arkansas, it was my birthday weekend and suddenly, I ran into Iron Man. I wanted to take a picture with him badly, but I was too nervous to ask. Hopefully, we'll cross paths again at another convention. With that said, I've had the pleasure of interviewing him recently and knowing more about himself.
Texxx-Man Cosplay: How long have you been doing cosplay and how did it change your life?
Arkansas Iron Man: For a little over ten years now. Crazy to think it’s been that long. Started off as Christopher Reeve Superman in 2008-09. Can’t say doing cosplay has changed my life, but I enjoy through cosplay making others happy when playing particular characters.
How did you become first interested in Iron Man?
Been a fan of the character since I was a kid. I always loved the idea of a guy saving the world in a flying iron suit! I’ll never understand why the character wasn’t popular until the movies came out.
How did you know that cosplay was your calling?
I get to be a kid again! I enjoy Iron Man, because I’m a lot like Tony Stark and had to settle down some of those habits after getting married, but seriously though, I can’t fly “yet”, but walking around as Iron Man is something I never thought I’d own or be doing when I was a kid, so doing it now brings the child out in me! Kid me and adult me are on cloud nine!
I've noticed on your Instagram page a few weeks ago that you have a huge Iron Man collection. Do you have the largest Iron Man collection, according to the Guinness Book of World Records and if so, could you tell me about that?
I have a massive collection that started when I was a kid. I’m in the final process of being included as having the largest private collection.
As far as your suits go, do you make them yourself and if so, how long would it take to complete even one?
All of the above! I’ve bought, made a little, but a lot of my stuff is custom and were obtained from friends who make it.
I've also noticed that you go to different events to give back to others. What's positive feedback have you received every time you appear as Iron Man?
The kids thinking I’m the real deal! Just recently, I attended a vacation bible school and a group of kids were fighting to hold my hand during prayer. I ended up loaning all my fingers on both hands. Can’t tell you how many hands were on my fingers.
What advice would you give to someone, even a cosplayer like myself, is thinking about doing volunteer work, such as visiting sick children at a hospital?
It’s a lot better than going to the high maintenance comic cons. The kids appreciate you and it means something to them. More personal. At cons, if you don’t look like you walked off a Hollywood set, your crap and being grabbed for a photo or pushed, just has me more distant to attending cons and doing more community work where this type of stuff hasn’t happened to me. It’s not easy being in a walking sauna for hours so if it makes a kid's day memorable, then that’s what counts!
Be sure to follow Arkansas Iron Man on Facebook and on Instagram, @arkironman.