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About Ronald J. Rossmann Jr.
Ronald J Rossmann Jr. is self published author and professional Cosplayer. His first self-published work is The Lost Road to Hope, an apocalyptic tale featuring heroes who are cancer survivors, inspired by his mother’s three-year battle with the disease. His second, a twenty-seven year labor of love, is The Crux born of his passions for comics, cosplay, and all things science fiction. He is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy with the genre first introduced to him by his Uncle Phillip. He has cosplayed for almost 34 years; starting as a Halloween hobby and then becoming a brand that he hopes inspires others to #beyourownhero. His favorite character to cosplay is Batman, and he has crafted several incarnations of the hero representing different eras, from Medieval to the Wild West. Ronald studied theology and psychology in college but became thoroughly intrigued by retail and restaurant management which led to a successful twenty-three-year career in those combined fields. He is currently the general manager at Lake Wylie Bowl and Bounce, a family entertainment center located in Lake Wylie, SC. Ronald resides in Charlotte, NC with Tammy, his loving wife of 24 years, two children, Jessica and William, and two dogs, Jada, and Sara.
How did you first get into cosplay?
My love for Halloween. My first legitimate cosplay was Justin from the Secret of Nimh. I was eleven years old. The costume was so elaborate, especially for my age, that I immediately realized how much I enjoyed the creation, crafting, pageantry, and performance of it. However, I was only able to partake in my passion on that particular holiday for the longest time. I was bullied throughout my childhood, so comics and science fiction became an escape from the consistent persecution of my peers and father. That salvation was cemented when I saw Batman in 1989. After seeing the film, and it in fact, saved my life, I vowed that I would one day don the cowl and cape to portray my favorite hero.
How much time do you spend making your costumes?
Different incarnations require various diligence. Some costumes took me several years to finalize, like my Keaton suit. Others took a couple of years, like my Medieval Batman. Still, a few came together in less than a month, and almost by surprise, like my Dark Avenger. I design all of my original cosplays but I only manufacture about 40% of them. It takes a village to raise a Batman, and I am blessed to have some talented individuals by my side.
What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve done so far?
My Michael Keaton Batman, because it has such a personal connection for me. It’s where and when the whole, be your own hero mantra began. As I said before, the movie literally saved my life. As silly as that may sound, it’s true. Batman saved my life.
Do you usually get positive reactions from fans?
I have only had two negative experiences. No really. One was during Halloween, last year and the other was a at a birthday party by a child who desperately needed better parenting. Other than those two issues, I am happy to say, the rest have been nothing but positive. I am amazed at how many people recognize my original incarnations of Batman with little to no explanation. It’s all in the cowl, I guess.
What’s the next costume or event you’re preparing for?
I have four: Vampire Hunter Batman, which will debut in October. Street Justice Batman, who will be featured in a fan film. Bombshell Batman and Bombshell Joker. After that, I am taking a break from cosplay creating and focusing more on using my current incarnations for events and such. My dream cosplay is the Thomas Wayne Batman from Flashpoint, but that will take a couple of years to become a reality.
What characters inspire you the most?
Batman, as I said before. However, I also enjoy cosplaying StarLord and the Arrow.
What is your primary area of inspiration for your cosplay? Comics, anime, games or other?
Batman, because he is a normal guy who uses the traumas of his past to do something truly good in the world. He represents the undying spirit, a dogmatic duty to serve mankind, to exact a justice no one else can or wants to. His super power is his determination. He sees limits only as yet another challenge to overcome. Being a child of abuse and an outcast throughout my life, Batman represents hope. A hope that shines in the bleakest darkness. A hope that cannot be extinguished no matter how it is tried and tested. He truly teaches us how to be your own hero. When I cosplay and see, in a child’s eye, his or her absolute belief that I am the Dark Knight and hope shine no matter what their circumstance; those are the experiences that I will always treasure.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Anything and everything can be a resource. I am continually surprised at how many times I see an everyday object or a simple swatch of material and immediately think, how can I use that in a cosplay.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give new cosplayers?
Start simple and build from there. Don’t go for the brass ring on your first outing, let your cosplay evolve. If you do, it will truly reflect your love and dedication to the character. In addition, don’t try to compete with others, it just makes the art form become more work and less magic. Cosplay should always be first about your passion for the character and the craft.
What’s your golden rule of cosplay?
Remain in character, no matter what. If you break the illusion, that moment of fantasy, then you are just a guy in a costume. If you immerse yourself in your persona, you become the hero in their eyes no matter what their age. Also, your cosplay must reflect your passion for the character, and that is accomplished through patience, integrity, and a healthy respect for the source material. The quality in cosplay comes from the unconditional love of who you are cosplaying.
What does your budget run per costume?
Anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the materials and the cosplay’s elaborateness. That is why I make so few. Each one has to be perfect before I roll it out. I am not interested in quantity, I demand an undeniable quality of myself.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
God, I hope not. I can see myself as Batman with a walker at age 80, cape flowing in the breeze as I hobble into the room to a group of eagerly awaiting and well seasoned fanboys and girls.
If money and time were no issue, what’s your number one over ambitious cosplay?
The Thomas Wayne Batman from Flashpoint and a screen used version of Keaton’s Batsuit.
Why do you cosplay?
To bring hope, heroes, and smiles to those who are having a hard time finding any if none at all. I, by no means, believe I am a real hero. However, if I can bring a moment of happiness and peace to someone who desperately needs it; to allow them a brief escape from their predicament through my cosplay incarnations, then I feel like I am accomplishing something wonderful. I become the characters I costume, in appearance, mannerism, and voice, so that I can bring a little magic and fantasy to a world in dire need of it for both the young and young at heart.
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