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Marc Kandel (NEW YORK)

Photo: @Miggychagon

Iron Man, the Silver Centurion and later the Modular armor, were chosen as all my builds are, from a period from roughly 1982 to 1994, the height of my Marvel Comics readership. These were the stories that moved me, inspired me, that I couldn’t get enough of, and an alarming number of years later, I made these little foam love letters to that special time.

The Centurion specifically was a big moment for me, my first Iron Man build. It is from Iron Man 200, when Tony, for the first time in decades, radically changed the look of the “Golden Avenger”, as his alcoholism had him give up the armor and asked James Rhodes to take up the mantle. Tony built this armor with Rhodey in mind to continue wearing it. But with Rhodey injured and his friends in danger, Tony, now sober, suited up and became Iron Man again. A tremendously exciting, moving story. I’ve always thought of this armor as his “Sobriety Chip” armor, signifying change and redemption.

Its also *extremely* fun to cosplay as Tony. Always be yourself. But if you can be someone else, be Tony Stark.

The suit is all eva foam, specifically @maskeddadworkshop foam and foam clay. Its a basic muscle suit with the armor details layered in top. For near a century, your basic comic hero costume hearkened to turn-of-the century circus strongmen- tight outfits showing musculature, underwear on the outside, the typical design and Tony is no exception. That style has changed over the last 20 years, especially with the advent of the high resolution video game and cgi, where designs can be made more elaborate, but I’m fond of the old period.

People love the Silver Centurion at comic con. Jim Shooter, the Editor and Chief of Marvel was very pleased to see me sporting it when I visited him, and the old school readers and many Marvel artists and writers who either worked during this period or read during this period get very excited seeing it, running over, popping over tables to take pics… its very gratifying.

My cosplay origin isn’t as excitibg as your typical first issue. ???? I basically wanted to do something to take up the other six hours of New York Comic Con after getting all my books signed in 2012. I remembered the Trekkers dressing up, and popped together a very hardscrabble Doctor Doom outfit and I was not prepared for how excited people were to see it. It was crazy (cosplay was not as prevalent as it is today, lookong back its such a primitive build I’m shocked folks liked it as much as they did). And I’ve been building, showing up, showing off, ever since.????????

I help out with a not-for-profit charity, @capesforacos , whose founder, @michellefoard , a tremendously talented cosplayer and fellow maker, I met at NYCC 2021. We kept in touch and she asked if I could help out with some builds for disadvanted children who might not be physically able to join in on the fun of cosplay. I said “of course!” , and its been an extremely rewarding experience. We’ve built a fire engine complete with fireman’s outfit for one child that fits over his wheelchair, and he even joined us on the runway at @cosplay.runway , another organization I work with that blends the fashion industry with cosplay, and we just finished a batmobile and bat-suit for another little boy that likewise fits right over his wheelchair, so they can get in on all the fun and participate. We’ve also done some school and hospital visits in-costume for special needs children, and each and every occasion has been absolutely lovely.

I am exceedingly grateful to Capes for providing me a new way to participate in the cosplay community that gives others a chance to join in the fun, tailored to their specific needs.

And NYCC? Well, that’s where it all started and I’ve never seen reason to stop. Its joyous. Full stop.

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