Cosplay, Charity, and Community Service!

Cosplay Groups at Amazing Arizona Comicon

by Durrilion

Phoenix Ghostbusters

Many people in the Arizona con scene, if not elsewhere around the country have surely heard of the Arizona Ghostbusters.  This group is a costuming fan club that uses their costumes to shine a spotlight on many well deserving charities.  Looking on their website one can find a list of all the causes they help.  www.arizonaghostbusters.com

I had the fortune to learn about the Phoenix Ghostbusters sub group from ‘Mom’ of the Popshop AZ.  So I swung by and had a brief chat with two of the members.  The Phoenix Ghostbusters are a part of the Arizona Ghostbusters group.  They wanted to “do more things, wear different versions of the costume and go more out of the box”.  There is lots of cosplay going on, they told me, with room for crossover.  Imagine a Tony Stark Ghostbuster for example.  The Phoenix branch of the group has only been around for a couple of weeks but has 16 members.  With two members of the group manning the booth, the leaders were out and about doing PR at Amazing Arizona Comicon.  They hope to continue working with charity groups, and having fun cosplaying one of the most distinctive movies in the ‘nerdverse’.  The Phoenix sub group doesn’t have their own website just yet.  The Arizona Ghostbusters site has all the information anyone needs to contact them.

Garage FX

This group of family cosplayers/creators is based in East Mesa AZ.  It started with two guys (Jason and Guy) making sci-fi cosplay as a challenge, and attending a con a number of years ago.  Initially it took some time to convince the wives to participate, but eventually not only their wives, but also their children soon joined them.  Jason and Guy ran a couple of panels at Amazing Arizona (I’ll cover those separately).  As a group, everyone has a specialty.  Jason’s wife is the seamstress, his daughter is the artist, his son has the ability to create something out of nothing.  Guy’s wife has real world training and experience that help her create not only believable make-up but also realistic prosthetics.  Additionally, they operate a cosplay repair station, free of charge.  They do sell kits for armor making beginners, but overall they teach.  They find joy in helping others learn how to create the visions in their own heads.   Check out www.garagefx.com and their tutorials.

If its broken they can fix it
If its broken they can help you fix it

Umbrella Corporation Arizona Hive

These cosplayers were out in full force this past weekend.  While they’re having a great time they are also raising money for Arizona Animal Welfare League and the SPCA.  Look for them on all the various social media outlets.  Judging by the crowd around their booth, they are pretty popular.

Heroes United

I met this group of community volunteering cosplayers at Comic and Media Expo in Mesa last year.  Looking impressive in their cosplays this group of people visit local children’s hospitals.  It’s tough being sick, but it’s even worse when you are seriously ill, and still a child.  Look for Heroes United AZ on facebook, and find out how you can help kids forget how sick they are, even if it’s just for an afternoon.

Asian Carter Cosplay and a fellow member of Heroes United AZ
Asian Carter Cosplay and a fellow member of Heroes United AZ

 501st

There was so much going on that I missed a few photo ops of , as well as a chance to speak with, the 501st Legion, and Arizona Judges.  The 501st is famed throughout the con scene for their dedication to Star Wars.  I have a friend in their ranks, so one day I hope for a chance to speak with them.  In the meantime, search the internet for the 501st, you’ll find their website (www.501st.com) and their facebook page.

The Arizona Judges

The Arizona Judges are on facebook as well.  Having just recently seen Judge Dredd, I was a bit intimidated by their cosplays.  I’d comment on the movie, but I think I was the last nerd to have never seen it.  Since I was unable to speak with them at Amazing Arizona Comicon, I sent them a message of facebook.  This Tucson based group has done charity work with St. Jude’s Hospital and ANPAD (Arizona Network for PKU and Allied Disorders.  Head over to https://www.facebook.com/ANPADnews/ for more information).  They also donate merchandise to the children in care of University Medical Center in Tucson, AZ.  “We are always doing our best to make ourselves available to any charities”.

The Arizona Judges started in January of 2014 after Tom Buck went to his first Comic Con (Tucson Comicon) in November 2013.  Having been a “huge fan of Judge Dredd and after walking around TCC and not seeing anything Dredd related I decided to start this group and it flourished quickly from there”.  This group has over 100 members who have shown an interest, but there about 30 fully uniformed judges just in Arizona alone. They are often joined by Judges from California.

As if charitable work wasn’t enough, Tom told me “Since Amazing Arizona Con our top project is working on the web series https://www.facebook.com/JudgeDreddCursedEdge/. Which had originally started out in England. The director Oliver Hollindale reached out to us and asked if we would like to be a part of this amazing series. We will be shooting in the desert at the end of the month to complete episode 6″.

Judge Dredd: Cursed Edge
A Short Film based upon the Judge Dredd Universe following stories from the published case-files 2000AD.

Cosplay isn’t just an excuse to dress like ones favorite characters, and feel a bit closer to the magic in the various fandoms.  Cosplay can be a great opportunity to improve the lives of others and meet people with common interests.  While charity work and community service are noble acts, not all of us have what it takes.  If one can’t get in the trenches (so to speak), consider donating funds, toys, food, etc to any of these groups.  That way everyone can be involved, and someone’s day gets a little brighter.

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