Cosplayer of the Month: NYC Assassin (September 2014)

Have you ever googled “cosplay”? Go ahead, I’ll wait. You’ve probably noticed by now that the vast majority of photos that appear are of amazingly skilled women. So do guys cosplay too or is it just something for the ladies? Well as we learned last month when we got to sit down with the talented Katie Cosplay, cosplay is open to everyone.

Just because you don’t see many guys cosplaying, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Maybe they’ve just mastered the art of stealth and have remained undetected all this time. Well allow me to pull back the hood and introduce you to NYC Assassin, a very talented male cosplayer and our newest Cosplayer of the Month.

NYC Assassin Ezio

So when I finally got a chance to chat with NYC Assassin, I asked him all about this. He agreed that “the majority of well-known cosplayers [does] consist of skilled women”; and that if a male cosplayer wanted to stand out in the community, he might have to explore different design options such as armor and weapons. Though at the end of the day, cosplay once again comes down to one thing above all else: enjoy what you’re doing.

Male or female, it’s important to do costumes you enjoy despite the perceived difficulty level, and don’t worry about how “noticed” you will be by the community – NYC Assassin

This echoes what we learned last time when Katie said the number one rule of cosplay should be to “Cosplay for Thyself”. So just who is this NYC Assassin and in what ways does he ‘cosplay for himself’?

NYC Assassin – or Chris as his friends know him – first started learning about cosplay after attending New York Comic Con in 2011. He immediately connected with it and began making plans for the following year when he reached out to one of his friends to commission an Assassin’s Creed themed costume. Though this wouldn’t be a run-of-the-mill Assassins Creed costume by any means. Chris’s friend just happened to be the owner of Cosplay Designs in Central Jersey. Pair those skills with Chris’s unique vision to bring a lesser known AC character to life, and the Deacon – as well as NYC Assassin for that matter – was born!

Since then, Chris has begun to expand his costume arsenal. From the mechanical arm of Mondo Zappa to the entirety of his recent Starkiller costume, Chris has begun making more and more of his costumes himself – and he certainly prefers quality over quantity. Seriously though, look at some of his recent works. His armor working for Mondo Zappa from Killer is Dead actually looks spot on, if not better than the game itself. As for his Starkiller outfit, it look less like a costume and more like a screenshot from an HD PS4 rerelease of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Though it isn’t just the look he tries to get down to a science. When it comes to cosplay, Chris strives to walk the walk and talk the talk . . . literally! It isn’t just enough to look like the character; but he also does everything he can to get their mannerisms and expressions down pact.

I have to find a character I connect with either on a personal level or in the overall design aspect for me to want to cosplay them… It contributes to my enjoyment of the character and makes me want to accurately portray them, which includes personality as well as appearance. – NYC Assassin

It’s extra touches like this that can turn a good cosplayer into a great cosplayer. After all, on some level cosplay is all about everyday people trying to honor and become their heroes – or characters they enjoy. If you’re going to go through all that trouble, you want to have as much fun with it as you can.

NYC Assassin Mondo Zappa 2

Despite all the precision and intensity of his work, Chris is actually a very laid back guy. When he’s not cosplaying, he’s either working as an engineer in Midtown, spending time with his girlfriend Laura – who also loves cosplaying -, or just working out and enjoying some time to himself with a good video game. Speaking of video games, – and considering I’m a huge Assassins Creed fan – I had to ask which he was more excited for AC Unity or AC Rogue.

I’m obviously excited for both. Unity has a co-op option, which is new. But overall, I’m more excited for Rogue. With this game, you get to see this fallen assassin become a templar which … will be very interesting to see the templar point of view and why he felt that the assassin order was the wrong side to be on, [as well as] why he would join the people he worked so hard to fight against – NYC Assassin

So what’s next for NYC Assassin you ask? Well you can see him at New York Comic Con this year in the previously mentioned Starkiller outfit Saturday and Sunday; and possibly Mondo Zappa on Friday. As for new projects, he is currently getting started on a Vergil cosplay (from Devils May Cry) for Katsucon in February. Additionally, he is also beginning to plan out an incredibly detailed Paladin armor from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. How long will these new projects take? Who knows, but at least we know they’ll be done right!

As always, I wanted to end this segment by asking NYC Assassin about his favorite things about cosplay and why people should give it a shot. Besides being an “excellent ice breaker when [meeting] someone at a convention”, cosplay is a great way to bring “like-minded people” together while promoting “acceptance and confidence.”

This is the first hobby that allows me to feel as though I have artistic and creative skills… but rather than being a learned trait, it helps bring out those qualities that you’ve always had

Though even if you don’t make your costumes yourself, it’s important to remember that you can still cosplay. Cosplay is just another art form; and as such, there’s no real wrong way to do it. Chris put it best when he said, “a cosplayer can be anybody despite how they come by their costumes, as long as they are enjoying what they do.”

NYC Assassin Starkiller 2

NYC Assassin and Katie Cosplay might have different beginnings and methods of working; but what ties them both together is the inner creativity. Whether you’re making everything from scratch or buying some or all of your costumes, there is imagination and creativity in how you plan out and choose your costumes – which is what this “Cosplayer of the Month” series is all about. So if you don’t know how to cosplay, give it a shot. Buy your first costume and learn along the way. As long as you approach it with a sense of fun and community, you’ll be surprised by how much you can get out of it.

*All photo credits go to their original takers, including but not limited to AshB Images, WeNeal’s Photography, A.G. Vask, Cozpho Photography, and Mike.K at Eleventh Photograph.

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