Cosplayer Spotlight: KnightMage
Updated: May 29, 2019
Droids: This week we have a treat for our fellow geeks! We get to sit down with Michael Wilson aka Knightmage! Thank you for sitting down with us for an installment of Cosplayer Spotlight!
KM: Thanks for having me.
Droids: Easy/typical questions first. What was the first convention you attended? What was the most memorable part of that convention?
KM: Well, I guess I should say that it really all started when I decided to make a Halloween costume in 2011. I’ve always loved to dress up for Halloween. This time I wanted to make my own costume. I chose The Green Lantern John Stewart. I chose that character not just because I liked him but because the design seemed simple enough to do. I knew of cosplaying but I had no idea how big that world really was. Believe it or not I had never been to a convention before. Once I made that costume I started doing a few local charity events which led me into creating my second costume then third and so on. A few well known cosplayers took notice of me online and started asking what conventions I attend. Well, again I had never been to one. I finally attended my first convention, Cincinnati Comic Expo in the fall of 2012. From the moment I walked on the convention floor I was blown away. The energy and atmosphere was intense. I wore my Batman costume and I couldn’t believe the reception it got from both the kids and adults. I think that was the most memorable part, the reactions and meeting new people simply because you shared the same love of a fandom. That’s simply magical.
Droids: Is there a cosplay you will not do? If so, and Why?
KM: One that’s expensive. Lol Hmmm, I won’t do a cosplay that I’m not going to have fun doing. To me, there’s nothing off limits when it comes to cosplay. To me, at the very core, cosplay is your own personal expression of yourself and represents a world of infinite creative possibilities. If I believe I will have fun building the costume or becoming the character then I’m going to do it. Remember my John Stewart Green Lantern? Well, one other reason why I chose that character as my first costume was because he’s traditional seen as black. At that time I didn’t know if it would be socially acceptable to be a character that was traditionally seen as another race. Now, that mentality has went out the window. I’ve seen the true nature of cosplay and embraced it with every fiber of my being. And that’s the idea that the only limitation is your own creativity and mind. And I whole heartedly believe that goes for body size, gender and everything else. So, if think I will fun with it, then I’m doing it.
Droids: What was your favorite cosplay costume that you've done so far? KM: My favorite is always my next one. To date I’ve done over 70 costumes and each one is special in it’s own way. Some of the cosplays I embody the character more than others but all are still my babies. Like when I’m in Lobo I feel like a bad boy biker. When I’m in Snake Eyes I feel very stealthy and noble. When I’m in Kratos I feel simply like a badass. It also depends on what I’m doing and where I’m at. If I’m at a convention then my “favorites” are things that will get a WOW factor like Spawn. If I’m at a charity event then my favorites are the ones that will get the best reaction from the kids like Batman or Super Grover. For one that is my favorite that I’m most proud of I would have to go with Predator. However, all in all, again, they’re all my babies and special.
Droids: Do you have a favorite convention? If so, which one is it, and why?
KM: I love conventions period. I can honestly say that I have yet to attend one that I really didn’t enjoy. Often times it’s the company you keep that will make or break how enjoy the convention. However, I do have a few that actually stick out to me. Cincinnati Comic Expo is one because it’s where it all started for me, at least convention wise. It’s crazy and really cool to see how that convention has grown. And it’s even more incredible to say that since that first year of attending I’m now a part of that convention family helping it grow. C2E2 in Chicago is another favorite of mine. It’s the perfect mixture of convention going during the day and friend time at night. It’s a large convention with very high energy and enough room to comfortably enjoy it all. And lastly, Colossalcon in Sandusky, Ohio at Kalahari Water Resort. This is an Anime based convention but let’s be honest, it’s the fact that it takes place at a water park that makes it so incredible. This is a convention that I’m only in costume for maybe an hour for the whole weekend. The rest of the time is spent hanging out with friends having a great time.
Droids: What was the hardest costume for you to make to date? What made it so difficult?
KM: To date I have to say Predator, which as I said earlier is also the one I’m most proud of. It’s not that it was difficult to make, it’s that I was so intimidated by the thought of making a Predator costume. The thing with me is that I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to break the bank to have an awesome costume. I’m a straight up budget builder from using cheap materials to makes something to reusing items to thrift store shopping to dumpster diving to repurposing store costumes. I’m also not a planner. I just think of a costume I want to do and I just start it. So when it came to Predator it was intimidating because you see other Predator cosplayers spending hundreds to thousands of dollars and crazy amount of hours on their Predator costumes. But like everything else, once I sat down and started cutting foam it all went smoothly. It took me about 4 days to make, which is average for me and I spent a total of $125. My budget limit for any costume is $250. I was already extremely proud of it but when the popular YouTube series “MAN AT ARMS: Reforged” approached me to be their Predator for their Predator Blades episode I was completely blown away. That sealed it for me.
Droids: Is there a cosplayer that you look up to for inspiration?
KM: .It sounds cliché but it’s so true. I look up to the entire cosplay community for inspiration. There’s so many amazing people in this community and for so many different reasons. Some for their heart and dedication to giving back in the community, some it’s for their pure artistic abilities and others for their infectious positive attitude. But everyone has something to bring to the table.
Droids: Is there a Con that you have not gone to yet but aspire to do so? KM: TONS! I really do want to experience a convention overseas though. That’s hopefully a goal I’ll reach in 2017.
Droids: Is there anything else you want to add about cosplay or yourself in general or perhaps promote something that may not have already been covered?
KM: Cosplay really has become a passion for me. So many doors have been opened and friendships made. I’ve worked with over 60 different local and national charity organizations like Make-A-Wish, Putting Downs First and Angels for Animals. I’ve worked with companies like World Wrestling Entertainment. I’ve been in fan films and big productions. I’ve been in numerous magazines and books. I’ve had local and national awards for the charity aspect like receiving The Presidential Volunteer’s Service Award and I’ve been mentioned alongside world renowned cosplayers. So much more has happened and is happening. While I’m absolutely proud of everything I’ve done, I still personally don’t see myself as anything special or above anyone else but I do certainly recognize that it’s influential. So I just hope to continue to have fun for myself and hopefully make a positive impact on others.
Droids: It was an absolute pleasure sitting down with you! Congratulations on your continued success as an amazing cosplayer!
We hope to see you at a Convention some time!