We first came across the cosplayer known as Swaggy on Instagram. We stumbled upon him through other cosplayers we followed and we quickly learned that he was a talented and fun cosplayer. His recent Arthur cosplay, from the PBS Children’s Televison Show, had us so tickled, we had to reach out. He is usually a private person, so we really appreciate the time he took to share his cosplay journey with us.
Tell us about yourself:
I’ve been a big nerd my whole life. Originally I was born in Cameroon, a country in Africa and when I moved to the U.S. in 1999, I fell in love with Superman and Batman. I loved watching the Spider-man animated series along with everything else that came on TV, from Samurai Jack to Static Shock, Digimon to everything that came on Toonami, Cartoon Network, FOX Kids and Kid’s WB Saturday morning line ups. I could go on forever, but you can see my point. I just loved the way superheroes could solve their problems no matter the outcome and how they were good moral individuals even though society would instill hate on certain heroes. But those same heroes would rise above the hate to help the world and even those who rejected them. My biggest concept in life is to treat others how I want to be treated and to read comics and see heroes on TV, who could literally destroy their haters with all that power, be decent people and still show love to even their enemies…that speaks volumes to me.
When did you first discovery cosplay?
I discovered cosplay by accident, I didn’t know it even existed till 2016 when a group of friends of mine invited me to a Comic Con here in Cleveland. I was 25 at the time and when we went I was like “Wait people dress up as their favorite characters and go to this?…I’m in”.
What was it about cosplay that you like so much?
Dressing up and meeting other people that like to have fun really. It’s great to go to a convention, someone recognizes your character that you worked so hard on and for that instant two human beings can relate to each other and enjoy each other’s company.
What was your first cosplay?
Tai from Digimon, I went to Wizard World Columbus in 2016: my 2nd ever convention and I remember Pokemon Go being really big at that time, so I wanted to be different, so I went as my favorite Digimon character.
What has been your most recent cosplay?
PBS Arthur, I just wanted to do him for fun really, people seem to love it a lot.
How do you decide on what cosplays to do?
I usually just pick my favorite characters and go from there, but I take into account what they normally wear and how I can make it more comfortable for me to wear it. A major factor is “How often does this character gets cosplayed?” I just have to be different for some reason, cause that’s how I’ve been my whole life, so I don’t pick common characters, but characters I feel need to be appreciated for being a good hero that actually taught good real life lessons. Static Shock had an episode that spoke on racism in the U.S and even an episode to speak against gun violence among the African American community.
What is the process of building your cosplay? How long does it take from start to finish?
It just depends on who the character is, the longest I’ve had to wait to finish a cosplay has been about 3 weeks to a month, because I just waited for pieces to come in like specific shirts so I can tweak around or sleeveless hoodies for me to add logos to
Which cosplay was the biggest challenge for you to put together and why?
They’re all challenges, finding specific colors to go with different parts and adding logos are all huge pains, then there’s dealing with parts you order that don’t match what you already have, so you have to switch up everything, but worth it in the end
Which cosplay was the easiest for you to put together and why?
Arthur, a yellow sweater and some ears are easily obtained.
Which cosplays have brought you the most satisfaction and why? Do you have a favorite cosplay or yours?
Yeah my Static Shock and Kid Flash cosplays have, because they’re both my top two favorite heroes and I get to wear them my way, like if I was that character, this how I’d zoom around the city.
Do you have any favorite stories from your different cosplay adventures?
Yeah a few, but we don’t have enough time to go through all of them, but one of my favorite memories was when me and this little kid that was the Flash, chased me down to meet me as Kid Flash and we hugged it out and took a picture.
Are there any future cosplay that you are currently working on?
Yeah only one left is a Sith version of Static Shock and The Flash, Barry Allen from DC rebirth when he sees his future self.
Do you have a cosplay bucket list of cosplay you want to eventually do?
Nah not really, I just do it as it comes at me and I’m currently just having fun.
Are there other cosplayers who have or do inspire you?
Yeah my friend Laurel is one of them, I went to college with her for a year before she graduated and after starting cosplay, I saw she did it too and was like woah, I didn’t know you were nerdy…she’s on instagram as @thatssolaurel
What kind of stuff are you interested in outside of cosplay?
I’ve been an athlete my whole life, even played soccer in college for awhile, so I watch a lot of football, basketball, soccer and track events…I use to be a soccer coach for 5 years, won a championship as well.
What advice do you have for someone who is new to cosplay and wants to get started in it?
Do it your way, don’t let the social norm of what people think is right define you, you’re an individual, cosplay is an art in a sense so express yourself the best way you can and don’t worry if someone hates on you, they hating cause they recognize you, if they recognizing you, you doing something right to catch their attention and their lives aren’t as good anyways…
To see more from Swaggy, head over to his Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/swaggycosplayer/
Born and raised under the California sun. Monica can be found around the Southern California comic book and pop culture convention scene. She can usually be seen either behind the lens of her camera or in cosplay. Lover of all things geeks but especially Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Star Trek.