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In the almost four years being a cosplayer, I've met some of the most generous cosplayers, online and in person. Whenever I see someone devoting their time to volunteer or visit ill children at a hospital, it really puts a smile on my face. I want to introduce everyone to Matches Malone and by the time you have finished reading my interview with him, it's going to show you that superheroes can be charitable.
Texxx-Man Cosplay: How long have you been doing cosplay and what does it mean to you?
Matches Malone: I have been dressing up as Batman, or cosplaying as you would say, now for a little over 25 years. I truly love the character and I love what he is able to do as a human being to make a difference in his city. There's nothing extraordinary about Batman. But being able to cosplay Batman allows me to live my dream and give back to the community because Batman is a symbol of justice and the tragic story of what happened to him. He decided to make a difference and not allow any kind of crime like that to happen to anyone, as long as he could prevent it. My life wasn't easy growing up. I've had my share of loss. But I figured what two things I had in common with this fictional character and the popularity that he is. I can make a difference and since I know the character, I can pretty much bring him to life, as I said, and make people smile, young and old.
How did you first become interested in Batman?
I first got interested in Batman when I was a kid. I was seeing superheroes, but Batman was the one that had no special abilities or powers. I saw him getting beat and yet still get up and take out the bad guy. I didn't really have much of a male figure role model. But Batman was something special. I knew that I wanted to make a difference and when I read his comic for the first time, I knew I wanted to be like this guy. Then I met Adam West and he was in costume at the time. I was about 10-years-old and he gave me a smile that I never will forget. I told myself that I want to be able to give a smile like that to a child and have them believe they are meeting their hero. Years later, I met him several times. But the last time I met him, I bumped into him at a hotel and we exchanged words of positivity and he smiled at me. That smile was the same smile that I had when I was a kid. So it came full circle for me. I was deeply honored by the kindness of that gentle soul that was my hero.
When did you first start attending conventions and if you had a favorite con moment, what was it and why?
I started doing shows before they were cons. They were small and had maybe 20 tables, if that, of people selling comics and toys. Also, they had artists there promoting their comics as well as other comics. I did get some negativity, because I was the only one pretty much dressed up. But a lot of the promoters and the people who were working the event enjoyed what I did. Even most of the families that brought their young ones enjoyed what I did.
I am very fortunate that a lot of people enjoy what I do and I am humbled by it when they tell me they love my Batman. There are so many favorite moments. But I do like it when celebrities come up and ask me for a picture. But most of all I enjoy being able to interact with the kids and give them something positive to go home to think about, as in believing in yourself and never giving up your dreams. I did have one child go home and draw me a picture and begged his parents to take him back to give me the drawing. Unfortunately, I left at the time. But the promoter got it and he was deeply touched on how much I impacted this child. I told him that every child is special and every child has a right to believe in themselves and have something nice. It's not always the case in this world, but there are a lot of different memories I have that are special that's just came to me.
I've noticed that you've attended many charity events. What positive feedback have you received in regards to appearing as The Dark Knight?
I truly enjoy doing charity events more than anything else because these events are for specific reasons to help children or people in need. And I have met so many great people who I think are heroes. But again, the character is just a symbol. But what I do with that symbol by giving joy to others is what's important to me. People keep on asking me to come back to their events, which is always an honor and I will do this as long as I'm able to.
What advice would you give someone who's interested in volunteering or taking part in charity events?
Well, I always give advice to people about anything if I can help them, but if they want to get into cosplay and volunteering and helping in charity events, sign up for some groups on social media. Also, if they have a good costume, that they have professional photos. To take those photos and go into the local hospitals and go to the human resources and discuss what they would like to do to put smiles on the patient's faces. But look professional, act professional, and be very, very kind. A lot of people don't understand that it's not easy doing this because some patients are really sick. And the thing of it is that you are there for them. And focus on making them happy and smile without bringing up the fact they are sick. But always volunteer your time and show up early. And give more than what they are asking from you. You don't have to donate money, just your time. And always be positive, even if you're not in the best of moods.
I'm curious about this: do you wear your cowl everywhere you go, minus the suit?
I pretty much bring my cowl everywhere I go. The reasons for this is that it makes people question why is Batman here. But as you can see on my social media page, I never take off the cowl. Reason for this is because I have families and their kids following me on Facebook and I do not want to destroy the magic of the children believing in the adventures that I do. And I want them to see that Batman is human just like them and has his good days and bad days as well, but is always willing to make a difference and help those in need.
Which actor, in your opinion, is the best Batman ever?
Every actor that portrayed the character of Batman is different in their own right. They brought something that one person may like over another.
I do like the serious tone they brought with Batman and I do like Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, despite his voice. And I am very impressed with Ben Affleck's portrayal. I am also a huge fan of the animated series starring Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman. I have an extensive collection from that series.
Matches is a true example of being a hero and champion for his community. His posts on Facebook are so positive and are inspiring everyone to become better people. As a cosplayer, I love seeing stories of other cosplayers doing amazing things for those who are less fortunate or being a friend to someone. Like I've said on previous posts on social media, it's not about having lots of followers and likes. At the end of the day, it's all about being good to one another.