My name is Mike Young, and I first got involved with all of my current hobbies back in 2003. I had just graduated from high school and attended by very first anime convention, Anime Expo in Anaheim, CA. I didn’t even know the term “cosplay” yet, but I had friends who attended the events and I knew people dressed up at them. With that in mind, I threw together a decent generic ninja costume and had the time of my life running around in character.

That started a chain reaction of cosplay for me. That same summer I got really into Pirates of the Caribbean, and so I set my sights on making a Captain Jack Sparrow costume for AX 2004. I took up the mantle “Captain Jack” on and wound up playing that character at a ton of events, finally retiring it in 2009 in favor of my original pirate character, Captain James Hawkins.

Photo credit Stephanie Short (left), Jamie Rose (right)

Through cosplaying Jack, I co-founded the Pirate Rum Party with several new friends I made through the anime convention circuit. Eventually some of us spun off into the faire circuit, founding the still standing guild Sea Wolf. Some of the best friends I’ve had in my life were met through these events, and they shaped my future hobbies significantly.

I branched out over the years, cosplaying other characters such as Link from The Legend of Zelda, HUNK, Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker, all from Resident Evil, and Jecht from Final Fantasy. I attended several events a year, mostly in Southern California. For four or five years I would carpool with my good friend Matt Simmons (one of my Rum Party co-founders, and its current Captain since I retired) up to Sakura Con all the way in Seattle, WA.

Through Simmons, I met Max, the founder and operator of the YouTube channel Miles923. Max was looking for a Wesker cosplayer for his tutorial series Assist Me! Simmons had played Doctor Doom, and got in touch with me about playing Wesker. What started as a simple acting gig in two episodes wound up blowing up into a pretty significant few years for me.

Assist Me! took off, and Capcom hired the crew to develop a few tutorials for the release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Max asked if I was interested in writing some scripts and making some costumes for the job. I wound up partially writing two or three of the episodes for that run, and and built costumes for Strider Hiryu, Ghost Rider and Vergil. I also helped with casting and random other tasks.

For the second season of Assist Me! I was the primary writer and producer, handling a large amount of casting and scheduling. I continued to play Wesker, and also played Deadpool in season 2. For that season I made the costumes for Deadpool, Chris Redfield and Taskmaster.

I wound up working with the Assist Me! crew for one more Capcom gig, called Retro Assist Me! For that I wrote two of the scripts, and shared producer duties with Simmons. I made costumes for Captain Commando and Thanos, and played Thanos when our actor had to back out at the last minute since his wife was on the verge of going into labor.

I was the primary writer and producer for season 3 of Assist Me!, but even though we filmed about 80% of it, it seems that the series is on indefinite hiatus. I hope to be proved wrong, but bigger, more important things have come into all of our lives. We have shot and released a few one shots since then, including one where I played my own gritty version of Link.

I still get together with Max and Simmons when possible to livestream videogame playthrough’s on Max’s Twitch station. I’m considering starting my own livestream in the near future.

I still make costumes, though I informally retired from the hobby of cosplaying back in 2013. I don’t find the time or interest to attend many events outside of faires, where I’d consider myself a reenactor more than a cosplayer. Still, it’s a fantastic hobby, and one that I will probably be somewhat involved in for the rest of my lilfe.

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