Comic Con allows people to explore creativity
March 22, 2017 at 4:12 p.m.
Updated March 24, 2017 at 1 a.m.
A small town guy with unusual passions has achieved Texas celebrity status with fans who admire what he does throughout most of the year.
Whether he is sporting loose, green ninja gear or green tights, Jeremy Cardosa is comfortable being himself and "acting the fool" at conventions around the state.
"It wasn't easy growing up and not having like-minded friends," Cardosa, 27, of Goliad, said. "(Comic Con) is a de-stressing environment where you have a crazy face-off with different characters. It's overall a good time."
Stryfe the Warrior, also known as Cardosa, will be a featured cosplayer at the 2017 Victoria Comic Con on April 1-2 at the Victoria Community Center.
Stryfe attends 10 to 12 conventions a year. He has created a social media presence that has allowed him to garner almost 2,000 followers on Instagram and 1,400 on Facebook.
Although his day job in customer service at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Victoria keeps him busy from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Cardosa said he keeps up with his social media pages, trying to post the right picture at the right time.
He posts to his Instagram account daily and receives a range of 50 to 800 likes per picture.
"I was urged by my friends to make a cosplay Instagram. I started with 25 followers," the warrior explained the origin of his hundreds of fans. "The Texas community is so close; you see a lot of the same people at conventions. I remember most of their names and faces."
Cardosa's cosplays involve the green Power Ranger, hybrid creations involving the green ranger and characters from his favorite shows and video games.
Being remembered in his green ranger cosplay allowed Cardosa to be part of an upcoming Power Ranger fan film in Texas.
Cardosa said creating a cosplay character can range from $20 to $2,000, it depends on details like the quality of the fabric and upgrades on the costume.
Jeremy Garza, 28, who is a cook at Whataburger and a volunteer firefighter for the Woodsboro Fire Department, has been a fan of cosplay and decided to materialize a hybrid concept he saw online.
After going to the Victoria Comic Con as a spectator Garza decided to go to the upcoming convention as a custom Iron Man White Ranger.
He sent the concept to a cosplay maker in Indonesia where the man created the Iron Man suit, but Garza had to install the lights himself.
The whole suit cost Garza about $2,000 and took a year for it to be finalized.
Bryan Hons, organizer of the convention, said the Victoria Comic Con's cosplay contest "goes all out and makes you feel like a super star."
"Some people work so hard all year to build their costume, it's our duty to build the best experience for them to feel accomplished," Hons said. Winners of the contest receive trophies and a chance to judge next year's contests.
Preparing for comic con is a yearlong process and organizers try to make the event bigger and bigger each year, Hons said.
The first convention brought in about 3,000 people and last year's had more than 10,000 in attendance.
Hons said the convention allows attendees to see things and people who normally would not come through the area.
"It gives them a chance to escape for the day or weekend," he said. "They get to be among like-minded people who are into the arts and cosplays."
Blake Palmer, 27, a contractor, has had a passion for enhancing a person's features with makeup for the past few years and spends his free time trying out new techniques.
He was involved in theater in high school and has been curious about how makeup artists work with different characters since then.
"To create something that nobody else thought of is something pretty awesome," Palmer said.
Palmer prefers working with gory creations and is inspired by characters he sees on television, movies or concepts he has on his mind.
He has been practicing in preparation for the Victoria Comic Con. The makeup can take from two to nine hours to apply.
Other than Halloween, the convention is a time that allows him to showcase his talent. He said he would like to work for at least one movie in his life.
Hons said the convention is a great place for people to network and follow their passions. Attendees get to meet a variety of people they can learn from while having a good time.
"We just want to invite everyone to come," he said. "Even if they have never been to a convention, they should come and see if it's for them or not. It's a good place to hangout for the weekend."