I Know What We Did This Summer: A Recap

We Are Cosplay’s first summer was very eventful (no pun intended). We were extremely excited to be part of the very first Lake Count-i-Con, participate in our first library event, Comic Book Mania! at Gail Borden Library, our first museum event at Adler Planetarium’s After Dark, the first of many events at Hollywood Palms for Marvel Weekend, and Bartlett’s National Night Out. Good news is our members rocked it so hard, we have been invited back AND it has opened doors for some of our upcoming events as well.

Enjoy some highlights on our gallery page and on our video page!

Thanks to the following members for getting involved this summer! Hope to see you, along with some new faces for the fourth quarter of the year.

Aaron Brigman
Amanda Burke
Zadok Manny Camacho**
Maurice Castillejo
Mary Jo Charbasz
Sean Cho
Terrance David**
Sonya Dombrowski*
Joseph Flores
Katie Frendreis
Bryan Gomez
Mallorie Gomez
Luisa Gonzalez
Jennifer Greeley*
Amanda Hamil
Neal Haze
Xi He
Jamie Hersh
Moe Hunt
Meryle Idzerda
Steve Janes
Cliff Karrow
Jayme King*
John Kohler**
Ron Ladao*
Jonnie Lee
Josef Lim*
Joe Liss*
Toby Markham*
Luis Marquez
Margaret Musiel
Jonathon Onopa
Tania Ortiz***
Pearl Paramadilok
Daniel Phelan*
Jenny Prado
John Quade*
June Rivas*
Mike Rizzuto
Val Romack
Sanela Salkic
Steve Schertz
Amy Svalenka
Anthony Vernon*
Trevor Walmer*
Casey Welsch*
Joshua Winchester
John Zachary
Amie Zimmerman
Joe Zuniga

* (more than one event)

Featured Photographer: Ronald Ladao

Ronald Ladao

Summer’s come and gone, and it’s been a little while since our last featured member. Back in August we polled the We Are Cosplay community to tell us what their favorite event appearance was to date. From the many who responded, we randomly selected a member to feature. This time, it happened to be one of our non-cosplaying creatives, photographer and selfie enthusiast, Ronald Ladao. Here’s what he voted for…

My personal pick [has] to go to St. Patrick’s [Day] parade… just getting the pics that regular cosplay photographers couldn’t get made it worth noting for me. Yet, I wish I could say Adler After Dark, and Boomers… but I didn’t go to those.”

We caught up with Ron, aka “SoulCrash” while he had a little down time from hunting Oreo flavors like they were Pokemon.

On Location

Abandoned Warehouse shoot – Ramencon 2014; photo by Ang Espiritu

What type of work do you shoot? What’s your specialty?

“Almost anything. But [I] specialize in event, action, documentary, candid photos. Most of the time, it’s usually cosplay photoshoots that I get asked to do.”

Your must read comic/book, or videogame/tabletop, or show/film at the moment?

“Ummmmm, comic/book-wise… the last time I read a comic from start to finish was the Battle Royale Manga. Video Gaming, last thing I remember playing was Saints Row 4. But TV show-wise, totally hooked on Chicago P.D. as of right now.”

Who are your favorite artists/writers/publishers/game studio/whatever?

“Tough one, cause you said artists/writers/publishers/game studio, but since you said whatever, I’ll go pick a few cosplayers that I really respect. Not cause they make costumes and wear them, they take it to the next level and do good with it by doing community service and charity events. So I gotta make a shout out to Scott Whipple, Dustin Dorough, Ryan Green, and Paul Heid (I’m being honest!).”

What got you into photography/costuming/cosplay/propmaking/fx/etc.?

“What, more like ‘how’ I got into the convention/cosplay scene is ’cause of my sister. She attended Anime Central 1998, recorded their cosplay contest, and I watched the video she captured. It made me want to go the following year, and record the cosplay contest. Back then, we had AOL (America Online) message board, there was someone requesting a copy of the cosplay contest. I just replied back about that, and that’s the start of my convention rep.

As for the photography part, it was from various sources. Like, I got part of it when I joined my high school’s yearbook club, then from my cousin Jon, and from the anime side of cosplay community. It didn’t really kick in until I joined Scion Evolution Car Club. Since I was their media nerd, why not do photography as well? So I picked up a Nikon D60, and took pics with that camera with my car club. And the rest was history.

What do you think is an important issue in the pop culture-sphere today?

“I kind of flip between how conventions price out their badges and their additional content (like Wizard World cons), to the cosplay community, to the over sex-up in (non canon) cosplays and how unnecessary it can be. It’s hard for me to pick which one is more important, but those are the ones that stick out for me.”

What’s your typical process when taking on a new project?

“What I usually go through is, who’s asking me to do this for them. It’s usually people who I know. If the project has a lot of pressure in doing it, like a wedding with a couple that I don’t know, I won’t accept it. But if the wedding has some kind of a geek theme, or if it’s with someone I know, I’ll give them a quote, and take on their request.

I get some requests and just do a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ based on what they’re asking for. So there’s not much of a process that I go through.

Who would you like to work with regarding a shoot? This doesn’t have to be confined to model/subject, but can also include other photographers/artists.

“The people or cosplayers who I like to work with, are the kind of people who know how to have FUN, and be bad ass about it. I have a lot of confidence when a cosplayer has a prop weapon, or a fighting pose. So I can help them pose them, and make them feel uber bad ass about it.”

Do you feature your own brand or studio?

“Ummmm… does ‘Ronald Ladao, Freelance Photographer’ count as a brand? I don’t get why people want to cosplay as me, and like oreos and stuff like that. That’s kind of weird, but I’m cool with it. I just don’t promote it as much. I just mention myself in a third person perspective.”

Most interesting Con story?

“I was just thinking about this just now, and it’s a funny one. This happened a few years back at YoumaCon in Detroit, Michigan.

YoumaconI was just wandering the con floor, and I saw my friend Joe hanging with some dude. I said ‘Hi’ to Joe, and asked if that’s his dad. And Joe was like, ‘Nope, that’s Jon St. John’… the voice of Duke Nukem! I did a double take, and man I felt like an ass. We had a good laugh, and I took a selfie with him afterwards. One of my greatest con memories in my 15 years of convention going.

Do I really need to talk about DashCon here???????”

What Con are you most excited to one day attend, or return to?

“If I have to be honest, it’d be ScrewAttack Gaming Convention. That con back in 2010 REALLY hit the right notes in my standards of liking [a] con. Not much con drama, not much big lines, the BEST congoers EVER, best staff ever, awesome guest EVER! It was just all win across the board. I HOPE I can make a return to that con in 2015.”

What do you like to do when you’re not behind the lens… other hobbies?

“I’ll go exploring. From urban exploration, to nature walks. Looking for the next location to take photos in. When not exploring, I’ll just go on my computer, make a post on a topic to talk about some issues in the community that we can discuss about.”

Costume groups or solo; hallway, studio, or location- which do you prefer?

“Well it depends, like I prefer hallways to help generate the fan like count on my fanpage. But studio and location if I want to show my quality in my work. But costuming groups or solo… I think I prefer solo most of the time cause it’s simple to direct.”

What’s next? Dream project?

“My Dream Project… to have a full crew cosplay as the cast of Valkyria Chronicles, and get a photoshoot of the group in Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. That park has a tank museum, which is perfect for this shoot!

Valkyria Chronicles

Aside from following your projects via We Are Cosplay, where can fans see your work and reach you to arrange a private shoot?

“You can check me out on my Ronald Ladao, Freelance Photographer page.

And You can contact me [on] my fanpage, or personal facebook page. Feel free to add me, cause I usually accept anyways.”

Also check out some of Ron’s work as a member of the We Are Cosplay Media Team in our Gallery.

Upcoming Recaps

It has been an amazing and busy Summer for We Are Cosplay. Thank you to all the organizations reaching out to us to be a part of your events and especially to our members who came out and showed their support. Due to all the excitement we haven’t been able to update the site as much as we’d like, but you can always check out our social media channels (listed at the bottom of the page) for our most recent activity.

Stay tuned for recaps from We Are Cosplay’s Cosplay Idol at Lake Count-i-Con, Comic Book Mania at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin, Adler After Dark: Superhero Science, Marvel Weekend at Hollywood Palms in Naperville, and Nationl Night Out with the village of Bartlett!

Look for us in October in a community near you!

Countdown to Count-I-Con

Costume Contest

Only a few days left before the inaugural Lake Count-I-Con.

We’re of course excited to take part in this new convention launch, but also for our Costume Idol! We Are Cosplay’s resident time and space jaunting alien, The StarShip, is your Master of Ceremony for this first ever Costume Idol… think of it as that well known singing competition, but minus the singing and more spirit gum and spandex. We’ve also borrowed the celebrity judges format including the “Merc with the Mouth”, Deadpool; Meryle Idzerda of Idzerda Designs; and the Overlord of Evil: Skeletor!

With prize donations from We Are Cosplay, Dark Tower Comics and Collectibles, Brass City Games, Buffalo Wild Wings, and other Lake Count-I-Con vendors, plus the voting power being in YOUR hands, you won’t want to miss it!

Check out some of the StarShip and Skeletor’s previous encounters in the Video section…

C2E2 2014 LIVE Stage Costume Contest

Skeletor’s Evil Plan: A C2E2 After Party

Featured Cosplayer: Jonathan Onopa

Jonathan Onopa

As part of our costume contest production, Costume Idol, Saturday, June 28 at new-con-on-the-block, Lake Count-I-Con, We Are Cosplay gave members an opportunity to not only strut their stuff on stage, but to BE an in-character judge for the show. And from those submissions, what better opportunity to select our next featured cosplayer?

Lock up your gun safes, tacos, and unicorns… joining Skeletor, Meryle Idzerda of Idzerda Designs, and MC- The StarShip, is everyone’s favorite “Merc with the Mouth”, Deadpool- aka Jonathan Onopa!

Character wise, who’s on your “done it” list? and who’s the favorite?

I think that will be a toss up between Ant Man and Speedy.

I love Ant Man cause for the most part, he is not done all that much. So when people do see it, they love it. When I first did it, I thought only grown ups will know who I am… I did not even think about the fact that he is in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, so when all the kids came to me giving me high fives and asking to take pictures, it was an awesome feeling.

Speedy is new, like ACEN new, so the new costume feeling is still hitting me [laughs]. I really like Young Justice though, and although I have a lot of favorite characters from that show- Kid Flash, Robin, Shazam, Blue Beetle, and Lagoon Boy just to name a few, I feel like Speedy had a little more depth to him than most of the others. Plus that hat is way stylish.

Your must read comic/book, or videogame/tabletop, or show/film at the moment?

Right now I am trying to catch up on the New 52. I know a lot of people have their concerns with it, or just overall hate for it- which I have my complaints like everyone, but its here and it is going to stay. Got to just accept it.

I am not a huge gamer, I wouldn’t even call myself one really. I still need to play the last three Assassin’s Creed games, really should finish Batman: Arkham Origins, and I really want to play Mass Effect 3. I know, I am that far behind. Oh!!! I have been playing the crap out of Puzzle Fighter though. If you don’t know what it is, its like Street Fighter mixed with Tetris….its too addicting!!

Who are your favorite artists/writers/publishers/game studio/whatever?

Well, as a huge Green Lantern fan, Geoff Johns is my jam! I have yet to meet him, he tends to disappear during cons when I try, but when I do… the day shall be glorious!!!

Gail Simone is a new love of mine. I met her my second con ever and we ended up talking for a good ten minutes or so. Not only are her books good, but she is like the nicest lady ever to meet.

Humberto Ramos is a pretty good artist, but for a different reason to me. One, he always looks so happy and you cannot dislike someone who always looks so happy. Two, the art he does is more cartoonish, and when it comes to Spider-Man, I really love how that looks.

Ivan Reis is probably #2 favorite artist. He did Blackest Night, and Blackest Night is my yellow impurity. It is the first comic that I actually paid attention to the small details in the art, and the drawing itself. I love love love love his work.

Then there is Jim Lee. I am not sure what makes me giggle like a school girl when I see his work, but it does. I think it is the fact that he just pulls out the emotion of the character he is doing at that time, every time.

What got you into costuming/cosplay/propmaking/fx/photography/etc.?

My friend Damian actually did. We were on the phone having a lovely nerdy conversation and he brought up going to C2E2 in 2011. I was all over it until he threw down the notion of cosplaying. I was not sure how I felt about it, but realized it was probably a good way to talk to the ladies. My first thought was Robin, but since I never made a costume or prop before I instantly went to the internet to see if I could find a pre-made one that would arrive in 2 weeks… nope. He said I should be Deadpool since I am a jerk anyway and it will fit me. So I ordered one, painted my white shoes red, and wore some red winter gloves.

It was not good to say the least, but I didn’t care, I was having way too much fun.

Do you think you’re treated differently as a cosplayer, than a cosplayer of the opposite gender?

Uhhhh… honestly I do not know how to answer that. I mean treated as a person, no. We all get treated the same way in my opinion, for the most part. We get the jerks that everyone complains about, and then we also get the nice people that are not so much talked about.

I think it is more of the individual rather than gender of the person.

What’s your typical process when taking on a new project?

Usually there is a nice couple days or so just looking up pictures to get an idea. Usually look up other cosplayers to see if I can see how they made it. After that, its looking around for either random things that I can use to make it, alter, or make it from scratch. Then, I get to work.

Have you met any of the artists/writers/filmmakers/etc., who’s work your costume is based?

I think the only person I have met that did anything with the costumes I do, is Gail Simone. She wrote for Deadpool awhile ago.

Are your aliases known to everyone, and how do they feel about it?

The only alias I have is one that I made up recently and I do not think anyone really knows it.

Most interesting Con story?

I think the best one is when John Barrowman asked if he can touch my crotch while I was meeting him. It would have been rude of me to say no, so I jumped on top of his table and let him do his thing. Having a celeb ask that does not happen everyday.”

What Con are you most excited to one day attend, or return to?

Well, like everyone, I want to go to DragonCon. I hear it is pretty awesome, and hope one day I will be able to get there as well. Next year… hopefully.

Also, a new con I recently went to, Northwest Indiana Comic Con (NWI Comic-Con) was awesome for only its first year, and I am really looking forward to seeing what they do with it next year.

What do you like to do when you’re not costuming… other hobbies?

I love riding my bike, and no, I do not mean a motorcycle. Leg power all the way!! Also ice skating is a new found love of mine. I am not real good at it yet, but I am starting to get good. Hopefully I will be able to jump a bit in the next few years. Swimming is also a love of mine. I hate the heat with a passion, but if I can get in the water, then let it be as hot as the gates to Hell.

Costume groups, or solo- which do you prefer?

Both, I would say. As long as I like a character I am okay with doing groups. But then again sometimes it is nice to just walk around and be by myself. Especially since sometimes those cons are so crowded it is hard to walk around in big groups.

What’s next? Dream project?

Whats next? Yikes… a lot [laughs]. Kid Flash is the closest thing to come out. That will be for Wizard World this coming August. Other than that, I still want Flash, a Green Lantern, Gokai Blue (want that sooooo bad), and Beast Boy.

The Blue Stinger Beetle Borg. I think it would be so awesome to bring that out. That is most def a dream project of mine. I know I can buy it, but I want to get good enough to be able to make it myself.”Kid Flash Gokai Blue Beetle Borg

Aside from following your projects via We Are Cosplay, where can fans follow your work?

“Fans? Pshhhhh, I do not have fans, lol. My mom sees my stuff all the time, and my sister does too. My girlfriend usually is the one helping me, so she has no choice but to see it. If you want to follow my stuff and you like it a lot, just add my Facebook and say whats up from time to time. Fans make it seem like I am becoming famous or a professional, both of which I do not want. Be my friend, not a fan.”

Check out Jonathan’s projects in the We Are Cosplay facebook community,or be his friend on facebook.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Meet & Greet Recap


Welcome to the 21st Century. That was the closing phrase on the opening page of one the shortest, but most memorable story arcs for Professor Xavier’s gifted group- Uncanny X-Men issue #141, published in 1981. On Friday, May 23, We are Cosplay partnered up with AMC Village Crossing 18 for another in lobby fan meet-and-greet.

We had mixed opinions on the film adaptation… Nyq loved it, I hated it, Angelique… well she fell asleep. Tell us what you thought in the comments, check out the photos by Ron Ladao, and our video recap!


We Are Cosplay:

Nyq – Media Director
Paul –  Creative Director, Mr. Sinister
Angelique – Social Media, DirectorDomino


Special thanks to  all the members that came out!

Zadok Manny – Toad
Al – Nightcrawler
Billy – Beast
Ryan – Colossus
Amanda – Marvel Girl
Josef – Quicksilver
Joe – Wolverine
June – Storm
Val – Dark Phoenix
Bevan – Mystique
Bree – Shadowcat
Scott – Cyclops

Kay – as herself

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Meet & Greet Recap

Amazing Spider-Man 2 Meet & Greet LOOK OUT! Here comes the spider-Man! Friday, May 2, your favorite wall-crawler teamed up with some of his amazing friends, and worst enemies, for a Meet & Greet at AMC Village Crossing 18. Although we split our decision on the merits of the film, many of the fans who turned out to see Spidey’s Round 2 were excited to see us, as well as the movie. How about you?

Let us know what you thought in the comments and be sure to check out photos from Ron Ladao, and our video recap! Before ol’ J.J. gets his grubby hands on them.

We Are Cosplay:
Nyq – Media Director
Paul –  Creative Director, Spider-Man

Special thanks to  all the members that came out!
Zadok Manny – Doctor Octopus
Al – Winter Soldier
Ambre – Black Cat
Terrence – Electro
Ryan – Hulk
Josef – Hawkeye
Bevan – She-Hulk
Trevor – Iron Man
Scott – Kraven the Hunter
Amanda – as herself
Kay – as herself
Bree – as herself

C2E2 2014 Recap

C2E2 Fan Village


What an amazing weekend! We debuted the Costume Triage booth in Fan Village this year and received a lot of great feedback. So much even, that it has been requested that the We Are Cosplay Costume Triage appear at other upcoming conventions! We spent the inaugural weekend repairing anything from reattaching clothing to bosoms, to sewing splits, to connecting hairpieces to wigs, and much much more. Thanks to everyone who donated their time and supplies to the cause.

Friday, Skeletor and The Starship hosted the Live Stage costume contest. A lot of amazing costumes graced the stage but Smaug ultimately won over the crowd.  On Sunday, photographer Ron Ladao set up a photo booth and captured some beautiful images of our members.

Check out Photos and Video from C2E2 weekend!

Special thanks to the ReedPOP team and all the members that came by to say hello!


We Are Cosplay:
Paul –  Creative Director, Skeletor
Angelique – Social Media Director
Nyq – Media Director,  The Starship

Triage Team:

Alex Avelis
Adoree Dunn
Jerica Hucke
Meryle Idzerda
Rich Johannsen
Emily Leonard
Clayton Monical
Candice Reilly-Powell
Robin Sellers
Miguel Torres


Skeletor’s Evil Plan Video Released!!

Skeletor's Evil Plan
One year ago, fed up with his rag tag band of misfit henchmen, Skeletor scoured the Universe for evildoers befitting of his guidance. Bridging the cosmos with aid of the Cosmic Gateway, he returned to C2E2 with designs to conquer Earth, defeat his enemies, and Master the Universe!

Aliens, Time travel, Fire, Damsels in distress, Resurrection, Metal mayhem, Villainy and how we could we forget Lion-O! Did you miss the C2E2 After Party to end all C2E2 After Parties… no worries, we got all on VHS…er video.

Watch it now!!

Check out the photo album!

Special thanks to everyone involved!

General Dollface… Dollface
She-Ra… Sallie Smith
Skeletor… Himself
Carmen Sandiego… Hazel Hellbender
The Starship… Himself
Viking Jesus… Mike Niemietz
Lion-O… Bazuka Joe
Gozer… Red Rum
He-Man… Scott Whipple
Angelique Rickhoff
Meryle Idzerda
Chris Cruz
Cirque FX
Crystal Portillo
Paul Chen
Nathan Youngblood
Miguel Torres
Lou Heid
Emily Leonard
AlleyCat Comics
Amazing Fantasy Books & Comics
Amhurst Asylum Haunted Attraction
Avatar Press
Chicago Comics
Dark Tower Comics
Idzerda Designs
Gorilla Tango Theater
Graham Cracker Comics – Loop
Neftali Morales, New Media Student
Glitter Guild Burlesque
Fantastic Mammals
TeleTech Video
2nd Shift Photography
Reggie’s Rock Club
ReedPOP / C2E2

No spiders were harmed during the filming of this show

We Are Cosplay at C2E2

You asked, and we listened! The We Are Cosplay admins – Angelique, Nyq and Paul will be at C2E2 as we inaugurate the new Fan Village, along with many fine community groups. But as you know, we’re not just about boosting awareness of who we are and what cosplay means to us. We want to evolve your con experience.

We are Cosplay is proud to bring you Costume Triage at C2E2! Stop by the We Are Cosplay booth located in Fan Village, 1st Level, Grand Ballroom to find mending supplies for those “Oh No!” moments. We will have safety pins, spirit gum, needle and thread and the ever popular in a bind – duct tape, to resolve your on the spot costume “band-aid” so you can keep the show going, without having to head back to your room, or worse, change out of costume! We will also offer, by reservation only, limited space to check-in your own personal repair kit.

But that’s not all we’re doing at C2E2. Come check out the C2E2 LIVE Stage, Noon Friday, April 25, as We Are Cosplay hosts the open Costume Contest, with your emcee’s- The StarShip, and Skeletor. Not to be confused with the Crown Championship event, this walk-up registration event is where you can take your creativity to the convention fans for your chance to WIN prizes packages from Marvel, DC, ReedPOP and MORE!

Stay tuned for a scheduled list of activities going on at the We Are Cosplay booth all weekend.

See YOU, at C2!!!