Comic Book Curious

Cosplayer Highlight: Tyler Mansfield

January 7, 2022

This servicemember utilizes fitness and cosplay to build community and self-expression.

Where are you from?

Mansfield: I'm originally from the Bronx, New York.

How did you get into cosplaying? /How long have you been cosplaying now?

Mansfield: In 2014, right after I graduated high school

What was your first convention like?

Mansfield: After high school, I immediately bought (NYC) Comic-con tickets. I went there on day one (Friday) and had no costume. On Saturday and Sunday I went as Dudley (from the Street Fighter franchise), with all the training gear and dress clothes.

When I went as Dudley, I had (a good) time. I did the red color scheme from Third strike and the white color scheme on Sunday. The funny thing is like I had no social media then. I was still like the quiet high school kid, but I was kind of fun, and one of my friends texted me:

Mansfield with Yoshinori Ono

Credit: Mansfield

"Tyler, I thought you had no twitter."
Tyler- "I'm like, yeah, I don't."
His friend: "then why's your face all over the Street Fighter twitter."
Tyler: "What do you mean by that?"

Mansfield: Then she showed me that I had taken a picture with Yoshinori Ono. I had no idea who that was, but she told me he was a producer for Street Fighter. I was like, WHAT, haha. I thought that was a random old dude who wanted a selfie. Yeah, like not the actual director. Then after that, I went to college, went into debt, and ended up joining the Air Force because of that. So, I wouldn't cosplay again until I came to England (after joining the Air Force).

What kind of heroes/shows did you grow up with?

Mansfield: Yeah, Static Shock was huge, but he was the only real American superhero, and outside of them were the Power Rangers. But yeah, but then once I discovered like, Naruto, that's it. That's when you fall into the trap. Yugioh, Pokémon, all those shows you just fell into the trap. Like, this is different from Power Puff Girls; yeah, they're HIGHER (as in deeper storylines). I didn't understand (the concept of) death till like Pokémon when Ash got turned to stone. So, you don’t know what happened, and then you see it there (the heavy topic of death) like, just like realize the fact that Ash is dead for that 5-10 minutes.

So, you joined the Air Force, and got stationed in the U.K(United Kingdom). Care to dive into that a bit?

Mansfield: Yeah, the first year in England 2017, and I was like- okay, I'm in a foreign land. let's do something foreign. (Fast forward to) March to MCM Birmingham Comic Con I went to that one, not in costume, so let's see what's going on; I met some fantastic people. Then we heard that there's even a bigger one in two months called London comic con, and it was like time to get ready. So I went on the internet, searched up start static shock, and was like, let's go, I want to go as my favorite character, and you know, it's like, oh, people, make their own stuff. I got a hop on that trip and make my own stuff.

How long did that Static Shock cosplay take?

Mansfield: Oh, I bought it. Comic con still ended up being a blast, however. I evolved from that to make my own costume, then I went to RTX London. (For those who don't know, RTX is a gaming and internet convention created by Rooster Teeth) a rooster team convention made by mercury. That was fun. I fell in love with the ruby community, and then the ruby people in the ruby communities taught me basically how to make my own costumes. The Ruby community really sped up my cosplay skills.

Editor’s notes about that comic con trip:
I ended up going to this comic con with him-London MCM, and the both of us had an adventure regarding a particular hotel.

A small hotel in England.

Credit: Kyle Norris

It was an old school 1920's apartment building where people shared bathrooms, the rooms were super small, no more than the width of the doors, and the ceilings were slanted. We both agreed that it was part of the 'British Charm.'

We met another cosplayer who had an interesting story about everything being paid for everything except for a hotel. The cosplayer (who was going as the predator from the Alien Franchise) explained that he had his trip sponsored, but he had to pay for his hotel. All three of us noted and joked that typically, hotels are included in a sponsor bundle. He even had escorts but had to pay for his hotel.

Once you find your community, most communities are relatively supportive and can help you out.

Mansfield: Yes. Very, very supportive. All you have to do is define like the group you're into, like, if you’re into Marvel or DC stuff, you're going to be with an older crowd, but if you're an anime fan, you're going to be with a younger group, and since I mainly was into anime, I had people mostly around my age.

How would you say that U.K. comic cons differ from American cons?

Mansfield: The U.K. ones are always smaller, yeah. England's one-third the size of Texas. We (Americans) always do everything bigger, however it takes longer to get somewhere because their roads are all curved.

But even London’s main MCM Comic Con (arguably the biggest con in the UK) is smaller. But since it's small, the community is a lot tighter and closer, so if something happens, everyone's gonna know what happened. Oh, yeah, absolutely like, it's hilarious. For example, if one guy gets arrested, one of my U.K. friends already knew who that guy was. So, I'm like, what the? Haha.

If you get into cosplaying, find tight communities. That's really how you get into it, finding the fandom you like.

How would you recommend someone go about finding a community?

Mansfield: Forum groups are one way of going in by yourself; that's a tricky part unless you're courageous. If you're not, it's gonna be almost possible because you can't talk to people. So, you're not gonna have a good time, in that regard.

It isn't that hard for me because I will talk to you reasonably quickly once I know someone likes the same stuff I like.

This is actually how we met. Remember when we were in-processing, and he came up and asked. So, in short, risking it can be worth it!

What cosplay are you most proud of?

Mansfield in his Stain Cosplay

Credit: Mansfield

Mansfield: My proudest moment, I would have to say, was at MCM October with my Killer Stain (from My Hero Academia) cosplay that I made myself, the sword and everything.

And that thing blew up, and I was like, yeah, everyone seems to enjoy this costume way more than anything else I ever made.

Yeah, that one seemed to have made its rounds- Instagram, Twitter, Facebook I think even I saw it on a couple of websites!

Mansfield: Yeah, (I thought) how did this happen? I found out because one of the photographers I really liked was a well-known photographer in the states, and he usually takes pictures for Jessica Nigri (Nigri is one of the famous cosplayers out there, garnering over 4million followers on IG, @jessicanigri) Yeah, so I thought: “Oh, no, we are gonna blow up now, haha.”

What is the most fun story you have?

Mansfield: Let's see. It's definitely when I went to MCM London as Eddie Gordo (from Tekken), and everyone was surprised that I knew what Capoeira was. Most people don't expect that. Doing all of my handstand poses is the most fun.

Transitioning to fitness, specifically Capoeira and lifting, how do you incorporate that into your cosplays?

Mansfield: I've been training most of my life, however it really all started in middle school. It's a most fun way to keep in shape. I got a coach and everything, too. Tracking my macros and wearing my gym gear from JustSaiyan. I'm essentially following a bodybuilding-type regime, aiming to be a beast for Katsucon in February.

What is Capoeira exactly?

Mansfield: It is a Brazilian dance martial art that focuses primarily on kicks. You have probably seen it in “Are We There Yet”, or “Bob's Burgers”. Once one of those shows is mentioned, people go, “oh yeah”. Yeah, some other shows because it's the only time I ever said that's where people think it's from.

Have you ever thought of just doing cosplay full-time?

Mansfield: Yeah, people expect me to quit (the Air Force), and start cosplaying for money, but what people don't realize is how much money I would need to make to replace my job. They have no idea. Sometimes I can't go to a con because of work. Do you know how much money I need to make to replace it? I've been tempted before though.

Is there one other cosplayer that you had the most fun cosplaying and collaborating with?

Definitely the cosplayer, BeMoreShonen! You've seen the Goku and Uub collab we did together, right? His branding, the way he's selling everything, that's where I want to be. But I need a lot of time and can’t give up this air force gig.

BeMoreShonen is another cosplayer who had gotten third at the World Cosplay championships. He now owns his own Coaching business- check him out here.

How do you keep in contact with your cosplay communities?

Mansfield as Todoroki

Credit: Mansfield

Mansfield: Just follow them on social media, turn on post notifications, likes comic subscribe, ring the bell.

*editor's note, this next section is a joke*

Also, did you know that over half of these people watching this video are not subscribed? You know you made it when you get sponsored by rage shadow legends.

But in all seriousness, just keep involved with them on social media, and be active in your groups and forums.

What do you recommend for people starting to cosplay?

Mansfield: Um, just watch YouTube tutorials and bloggers and blogs. And that should keep you going.

Are there any particular YouTubers or people out there that you'd recommend?

Going from high school to taking selfies with Street Fighter's producer, being photographed by a renown photographer, and winning a rather impressive award (The Biggest Energy Award) at RTX, alongside even being on a panel about diversity in cosplay. You’ve done a lot, but when did you notice things taking off?

Mansfield: I was just an account follower before (just using I.G.), but when I got my Stain photos back, Funimation, the Black Hawks community, a lot of people took notice of that cosplay. I couldn't snowball it, sadly, because I got deployed in 2019. So I was in the desert, while all my stuff was being shared. So, I can't do anything about this.

What are your most expensive cosplays to date?

My current cosplays-Dongo and Diluc. Diluc has a lot of dedicated 3D printing work, and that eats up a lot of cash.

How do you use your platform and presence to talk about social issues?

That panel I did was 2 to 4 hours; it was nice to talk about things other than cosplay. I don't have much to say in this regard, but people like my content. So, you choose who you want to follow.

Has being where you're at made reaching out to people easier? By putting yourself out there, do you see more people of color taking that step to cosplay?

Mansfield: Oh yeah. I knew, and I know people I want to grow and turn costs into a job. Well, I'm just doing it as a hobby. I help them out too. Developing that community helps.

Have you ever faced social negativity?

Mansfield: Of course, I have faced my fair share of racism. Yeah, it's the internet. You can't run from it. I try to help those who get bullied, but it's hard if you're on the dark skin coincide because you probably say you have fewer options, but you can always find it costly outside your skin color.

What does the cosplay world mean to you?

Mansfield: I like it so much and have met lots of genuine friends through it. It also has helped me socially.

How would you recommend someone start to build up their profile?

Mansfield: It's about quantity over quality most of the time until you hit that one particular thing that I think people will go from. One thousand to like ten k in like a single go. and I'm just like, oh, boy, this one hit the nail right on the coffin, right, it's okay. Yeah, it just keeps throwing, you know, keep throwing until it sticks, yeah. So that's it; throw it until it sticks pretty much.

How about for those that might want to be more focused on social matters?

Mansfield: I (personally) don't want to try and balance that, and I’m not sure what to say for those who try.

There's no need to gatekeep or police, other people, or if someone's gatekeeping instead of helping them, don't focus on punishing people for assisting.

You're absolutely right with that, cause it's just putting people away. Any future comic con plans?

Mansfield: May MCM Comic Con and NYC Comic-Con might be my main go-to's as I try to go to the U.K. once a year and back home once a year. Right now, Katuscon is the big convention. That’s gonna be exciting!

So, if anyone over the D.C. area comes to Katsucon, check out Black Ace cosplay! Any last words?

Mansfield: Stay positive; keep moving forward, guys. Corona is here to stay, it’s not going to get easier. Also, I want to shout out Bar_fie and Anaelic.

If you want to follow Mansfield on social media, his socials are:

FB: @blackacecosplays
IG: black_ace_cosplays

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