Being a Hero Through CAUSEplay: An Interview with H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc.
Salt Lake City Comic Con
by GamerFitnation on May 9, 2014 at 10:34 AM EDT

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By: Avery Osborn

Cosplayers catch a lot of attention at conventions. These dedicated fans put in a lot of time, energy, and money into building their costumes and becoming their favorite characters. But instead of putting their costumes away after a weekend of snapping pictures with fellow Con attendees, some of these superheroes, video game characters, and Disney princesses are visiting sick children and calling attention to charity events throughout the year with organizations like H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc.

Heroes Engaging Real Organizations in Charity, Incorporated, is one example of CAUSEplay, a movement that transforms fans’ passion for costume making and embodying their heroes into a life enriching experience. GamerFitnation was able to get an interview with Dan, one of H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc.’s members, at their booth at Salt Lake Comic Con.

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This group of fans helps out with library events, toy drives, and other community and charity events during the year.  While some CAUSEplay groups focus on one genre of costumes, like Star Wars or something like it, H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. and its 30+ members dress up in a wider variety of costumes, from Captain America to Jack Sparrow.

H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. is selective in who they allow in their group, usually giving people trial runs after a referral from another group member.  Dan said that this is because they want to make sure that people are focused on the charity and not personal glory.

Just like the heroes we adore from comics and movies, by stepping out into the public forum and participating in charity events, these cosplayers are faced with the pain and need of those they’ve never met before.1975175_494050447365771_441453813_n

Is it difficult to step out and be another person’s hero?

Dan says that his favorite part is working with kids who are suffering. It’s like creating a mini Disneyland for them.

Aspen Field, a cosplayer of three years and member of H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc., talked about her experience with CAUSEplay in Salt Lake Comic Con’s Cosplay 101 panel. “It is wonderful, and it fulfills the soul,” she said.

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Batgirl Cosplayer Cheering a little one up for Make a Wish Foundation

She shared an experience she had at a Make-A-Wish event when a little girl attached herself to Aspen, who was dressed as Princess Jasmine.

“I was her Princess Jasmine, and she’s not going to get to go to Disneyland to see Princess Jasmine.” she said.

Volunteers with H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc. go to appointments with handlers that allow them to remain in character so that they never have to ruin the illusion of being who they are dressed as.

“When you’re Batman and you’re going to the hospital to see a kid that’s dying, you are Batman.” Field said. “They’re not going to see Batman. They’re not going to see Spiderman, Superman, anyone. So cosplay is really good, but it’s really hard. It’s not as easy as everyone thinks.”

Dan said, “When a sick kid sees you, and you are like their world and their face lights up … it’s like they overcome whatever problems they have, even temporarily. It’s kind of awesome to see. It’s like magic.”

Dan said interacting with people who are suffering puts the cosplayer’s life in perspective.

“If you want to be humbled every single day of your life, do this,” he said.

For more information about H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc., find them on Facebook and Twitter. Interested in joining CAUSEplay? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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