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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Walking a Mile in His Goggles, Part 1

Obviously, cosplaying is popular with comic book fans. But what motivates someone to dress up like their hero at a public gathering, especially when that hero isn't the same gender as the cosplayer? The only way to find out is to ask, so that's what I did.

The following is the first of 5 parts of an email interview I recently conducted with Nicole, the very gracious and loquacious Booster Gold cosplayer better known in these parts as Demyrie.

Nicole as Booster Gold

BOOSTERRIFIC: When/where did you first meet the character Booster Gold?

NICOLE: My love of Booster Gold developed as a sort of illicit affair, as it was conducted under the nose of my boyfriend at the time. He actually introduced us, unknowing that my love for Mr. Carter would outlast our own hazy teenaged tryst!

But really, it was high-school, and my comic-hipster boyfriend managed to sway me from a diet of anime and onto western animation, DC-style, through the antics of Blue and Gold. He loaned me some old Justice League International trades so I could become just acquainted enough with happy, cheeky Booster to see him utterly destroyed/re-built in 52. Upon introduction to the JLI and I Can't Believe It's Not Justice League, I loved Booster and Beetle as a unit of dipwads, making trouble for everyone and laughing all the way... and then I retro-found Infinite Crisis.


BOOSTERRIFIC: Why do you think Booster Gold appeals to you? In what ways has the character inspired you, other than into putting on his clothes?

NICOLE: First of all, his clothes are incredibly comfy! Except for those goggles. Damn those goggles.

The facets of Michael that really hook me are his flaws, all of which hide a very, very squishy nougat-trauma center that I find far more appealing than Bats' psychosis. His troubled home-life and the abandonment he suffered work towards a very relatable character that jump-starts a life of heroism with an untraditionally selfish act and even more selfish intentions. Warm fuzzies and apple pie were not Booster Gold's MO for picking up that suit, which makes him interesting from the get-go, but the recent evolution and expansion that his writers have taken him through is just plain fantastic. His recent arcs have fleshed out a humorous-till-the-last character who struggles with guilt and feelings of inadequacy (see: Supernova!) and is eventually forced to hide his own maturation into a true hero in order to keep doing the thankless, dirty work of saving the world.

He's gritchy, hilarious, vain, frequently miserable and astoundingly generous when caught off guard. And, y'know, handsome.

When his time-cop series really forced him to figure himself out, I think the most poignant statement Booster makes is that he doesn't want to be Superman: he just wants to be needed. He wants someone to call on him with full faith that he can save them, believing that justice and the safety of the public is important to him. Basically, that his heart is in his job, which isn't a job but a calling. Unfortunately, he has made a literal career out of violating the trust of what a hero should be, so he's never going to get the full moral endorsement that Supes claims.

The recent Booster Gold series was action-packed and almost obscenely emotional (woo man-feelings! Ted's grave should be bursting with foliage, as often as Boost has watered it with his tears) and if I loved Booster before, those arcs officially obsessed me. Characters like Superman and Batman are iconic but I feel about as close to them as I do to Odysseus or George Washington. They've been reincarnated so many times, they're more metaphor than man, and thus are impervious even beyond bullet-proof skin. As a girl who was always more interested in the team-building comics of the Avengers/X-Men than the BLANK vs. BLANK fight-offs, Booster Gold put the human back into heroism for me. He offers an emotional insight into the costs of the business when he loses his sophomoric soul-mate and simply can't see why, if there are 52 Earths and aliens and magic and time-travel, he can't ever get him back. He's a tragic character who, when the cologne deal expires, really just wants one thing: to help.

... Seriously, can we just have Blue and Gold again? Wuughhh!

Thank you, Nicole. There's plenty more to come.

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