Favorite Cosplay you’ve done?
Definitely Robin. It was the first Cosplay I did and it has continued to be not only my favorite, but a fan favorite as well. I wore that thing everywhere. I still wear parts of it at home for fun.
You have a very diverse fan base, how have your fans been in regards to support up to this point?
My fans have all joined my page for different reasons. Some are there for the Cosplay, some are there for my modeling work, and some are there for inspiration or motivation. I think people join my page for their particular reasons but end up staying because they can enjoy all the other aspects as well.
I think it’s this diversity that has led to having such incredible fans. In all honesty, and I’m sure most people say this, but I have the greatest fan base of all time. The amount of support and energy I pull from these people is incredible; they are the yellow sun to my superman. They are open, honest, and never afraid to speak their minds. If it wasn’t for them I probably would have given up a long time ago and I can’t thank them enough for all the support.
We’ve noticed some seriously sexually charged messages on your page, how do you deal with people getting a little out of hand on your page?
To be quite honest, it rarely gets out of hand. Most times there will be some crude innuendo that borders on the side of being inappropriate but I tend to just laugh it off and share it with friends. On my page people are free to post whatever they want as long as it’s not offensive or hurtful to anyone.
That being said, people need to recognize that that’s MY rule for MY page and is not an excuse to comment sexual things on someone else’s page. I would hope that if at any point I said “ please keep the sexual comments to yourself” my fans would respect that. I would have no issue banning anyone but I’ve been lucky enough to never have to do it.
Is sexual harassment as prevalent on your page versus some of the female cosplayers?
It’s hard to answer this question because what constitutes sexual harassment is different for everybody. The sentence “you look really hot in that” can be a compliment to some but sexual harassment to others. It’s all in how it perceived by the person who the comment is directed towards.
Like I said above, I’m not offended or upset by any of the comments so they don’t tend to come off as sexual harassment. That being said, I think it’s important to note that I am a male, and with that comes a lot of privilege. I don’t know what its like to be threatened with rape, or be scared to dress a certain way, or stay home because I don’t want to walk alone on a dark street. I think this privilege helps form my assessments of the more sexually charged comments on my page. I can’t even fathom what it must be like for female Cosplayers, and because of that I can’t really give a proper yes or no.
How has cosplay has allowed you to freely express yourself?
I played a lot of sports growing up and because of that I felt I always needed to hide my geeky side. I mean, yeah, when I was really young it was fine-everyone loved Spiderman and the ninja turtles. The problems is that once you’re around 15, having a Spiderman bed set is something your friends start to make fun of you for.
Every Halloween I would get incredibly excited because it was the one time of the year it was acceptable to dress up as a superhero and not get made fun of. It wasn’t until my first convention that I realized there were other people like me. These people had the same interest as me but the difference was that these people weren’t afraid to show it. What really stood out the most was the Cosplay. Thousands of people were doing the exact thing I had always been ashamed of wanting to do. It was at that moment I realized that I was ok to be geeky and weird because I wasn’t alone anymore.
What’s your biggest source of creativity outside of cosplay?
Nothing. Outside of Cosplay I’m not creative in the least bit. I don’t draw, paint, play music, write, sing, dance, cook, anything. That’s why Cosplay is so important to me. For the first time in my life I feel like I’m able to create something. Building my robin costume was the first time I was ever able to truly see something I had imagined come to life and it was a surprisingly proud moment for me.
Are you involved with any sports or activities?
Growing up, sports were only thing that mattered. I started playing hockey when I was five years old and continued until I was 17. Between those years I also played soccer, tennis, football, rugby, and ran on the track team. I stopped playing sports when I was first introduced to theater. I did a summer camp and fell in love with it instantly. Later that year I auditioned for a year-long intensive that was over $1000 and when got in my parents told me I had to choose between theater and hockey.
Without hesitation and I picked theater and I’ve never looked back with regret. Currently my activities are mostly scholastic and volunteer based. There is not sense getting into them because although I find these things exciting I’m struggling to find the words to make “imputing data for statistical analysis” sound exciting. Oh, and the gym. I’ve been there a few times before as well.
How do you balance your ‘real’ daily life with social media popularity?
Hahaha. A social life? Good one. The balance for me is pretty easy because I don’t really have a social life. I spend about 10 hours a day at school and then come home and read comics, watch TV, or work on my thesis. I would say that I probably get out to seem my friends once a month or so and that might be pushing it. And this isn’t meant to be a “oh, poor Mike” pity party.
I choose to stay secluded because I’m extremely introverted and tend to have a bit more social anxiety than you might expect. On top of that my studies are the currently the most important aspect of my life and take up a majority of my time. That’s what makes having a page so special. I get to share all these wonderful things with all these wonderful people and I can do it between classes and I don’t have to break out in a rash because I’m in the same room as them.
One superhero you would want to spend a weekend in Mexico with, and why?
I would have to say Aquaman. I feel like I could really relate to that guy. I feel like a lot of geeks could really relate to that guy. Aquaman is essentially the geek of the comic book world. He is constantly being picked on, getting made fun of, and he is continually underestimated.
I don’t know why but I feel like we would get along and have a lot to talk about. Also, water terrifies me so maybe he could tell all the scary things to go away for a bit. Although he can’t control seaweed, which is also disgusting, so I may just stay on the sand. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure Aquaman would be embarrassed to be on a beach with me. Maybe I’ll just go with Catwoman, she probably hates the water.
Your most embarrassing moment in 2014?
When my Grandmother found a picture from underwear shoot I did. She printed it off and made my grandfather take it to me at work where he asked me “why are there naked pictures of you on the computer?” Thanks internet.
A car manufacturer is creating a new car in your likeness. What kind of car would it be, and what’s the name?
If someone were to make a car in my likeness, all they would have to do is replicate the Batmobile from Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever. I feel as though that car and I sadly have a lot in common. It’s over the top, exaggerated, flashy, and it can’t be taken too seriously. I remember reading somewhere that the designer didn’t want it to just be an object, he wanted it to look like it was a living breathing character.
This is important to me because some times people will comment on my posts and say things like “I really like THIS GUYS Robin costume” as if I not an actual person. Because of this I try to humanize myself as much as possible and let people know that I’m just a dude and you can talk to me anytime you want. I also read that the Batmobile was based on leather bondage, but that’s a conversation for another time.
One misconception about cosplay that you would like to put to rest, or something unrelated to cosplay that you would like to yell at America about…Or both? We’re flexible.
One misconception that really pisses me off is the idea that people need to continuously put out new costumes on a regular basis to be considered a Cosplayer. It doesn’t matter if you did one costume this year or 52, I believe that anyone who wants to call themselves a Cosplayer can, and should do so. The Cosplay community is based on passion, love and respect and sometimes I see that slipping away.
This is a more recent revelation for me and in the past few months I’ve even contemplated removing the word “Cosplayer” from my Facebook page. People were starting to ask why I was a Cosplayer if I wasn’t posting Cosplay pictures and I started to feel more like a guy who had done Cosplay than a guy who was a Cosplayer. Luckily, I quickly realized I didn’t give shit what other people thought about me and decided to keep the title. I’ve been extremely busy lately and just don’t have the motivation or passion and I refuse to ever build a costume without having the passion behind it.
Michael Hamm is an extremely well thought, and introspective soul, offering a multitude of elements into the cos community. His wit, sarcasm, and laid back personality creates a fun and welcoming environment for all who decide to click the “like” button on his fan page. As this is supposed to be an avenue for self-expression, Hamm uses cosplay as his only creative, and cathartic outlet. He will continue to develop and we’ll be right there, waiting for a smart-ass comment to follow.