Cosplay is a contraction of the words costume and play. For the hardcore aficionados of comics, movies, video games, and pop culture, cosplay is a work of art, and in some cases, a way of life. Conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon Anaheim, and Anime Expo attract scores of cosplayers each year from all over the globe looking to show off their clever costumes and love for their favorite characters.
The Imperial Valley is home to a few cosplayers, and in an exclusive interview with the Desert Review, one of these cosplayers was gracious enough to speak about his passion.
Edgar Mayoral, who currently resides in Los Angeles, was originally from Mexicali before moving to El Centro. Mayoral creates homemade costumes and suits of armor, which he wears at different conventions. Mayoral’s hobby of creating cosplay armor began years ago in Mexico. “I was doing cosplay for small conventions back in Mexicali,” said Mayoral. “My family owns an off-road car shop and I had access to a machine shop so I combined what I knew of cardboard and foam costumes with some basic metal work and just started from there.”
It was in Mexico that Mayoral’s work received both recognition and praise and earned him the opportunity to travel the country and showcase his work at different events. “Back in Mexico there are hardcore fans of a series called “Saint Seiya,” said Mayoral. “The characters fight using armor and my first armor ever was from that series.”
“It attracted a lot of attention from nostalgia and seeing it real for the first time,” Mayoral added. “After that I was invited for awhile all over Mexico as a cosplayer guest to showcase my work.”
Over the weekend, Mayoral attended Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con in his current hometown of Los Angeles. On Saturday, October 28, Mayoral won first prize in the master category of a cosplay contest that took place at the convention for his homemade Darkwraith armor from the video game Dark Souls III. “I entered the contest and luckily I won first place,” said Mayoral. “Now I can retire this armor and start working on something new for next year.”
Mayoral has entered cosplay contests in the past, and because his costume armor is often made using metal, it gives him an advantage over fellow cosplayers. And this year’s LA Comic Con was no different. “I am the only one doing metal cosplay so every time I compete they [the judges] see something unique,” added Mayoral. “It’s also hard because judges are not used to seeing this kind of work and don’t know how to score it, but this time I was lucky and got the first prize”
The grand prize that Mayoral was awarded for his work was a trophy and $8,000.
Mayoral has been commissioned to create costume armor for other people, but for the labor and metals he works with, it is quite pricey. “Most people get scared with the prices,” remarked Mayoral. “A suit of armor runs around $3-5000.”
“Around 200 individual metal pieces hand forged and detailed that move in synergy with each other is a time consuming thing to do,” added Mayoral.
These days, Mayoral still works on creating cosplay armor, but he also has another life that keeps him busy and productive. “I am not doing full-on cosplay now,” said Mayoral. “I am focusing on my full time job and doing cosplay on the side.”