Firebird Feature: Jason Keister

I first met Jason Keister at a Dallas Comic Show in 2017. He was making a fantastic showing as Red Hood (seen below), and, if I recall correctly, placed second in the cosplay contest there. Since then, I have continued to be impressed with his costumes, frequently involving masks and/or body armor. Given the number of vigilantes he has portrayed, it is almost shocking what a genuinely kind individual Jason is.

What initially got you interested in cosplay?
I had seen cosplay a couple times just through media formats or whatnot, and the characters had always interested me, didn’t really matter who, and then me and a close friend of mine decided to go to our first con, (not in cosplay) I believe it was Fan Expo circa 2014,and I saw so many people dressed up, it was maybe one of the coolest things for me to see, and literally as soon as I got home I started Googling images and YouTubing videos on how they were able to accomplish these outfits.

What was your first convention cosplay experience like?
First con for me in cosplay was surreal for me, I had never really done such a thing and did not know a cosplay community existed, so i wandered around with my family, me as Red Hood, my then 6 year old son as Nightwing, and my wife, who was dressed as my wife, pushed around our 3 month old who wore a Batman onesie, we all walked around, had a blast, a few people wanted pics, I met maybe a couple people who I know pretty well now, over all fun and super tiresome with a family I found out.

What aspect of cosplay do you most enjoy?
I really enjoy the interactions I have with the kids, like when I am dressed as someone they really enjoy, the smiles are so bright and the hugs are so tight (sounds corny I guess but that’s the best feeling). Also I love when people are curious about how I made this or that or how I accomplished this or that, I enjoy talking with people maybe spit firing ideas back and forth.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as a cosplayer?
For me this is a bit of a tough question to answer, I don’t tend to see a lot of pictures of myself out there, and it makes me feel like I didn’t build a good enough outfit or maybe I’m not liked, just is an inner struggle with my brain about how I hold my own self worth I guess. I guess part of me wants to see the time and effort I put in out in the wild.

What are your favorite characters to cosplay and why?
For me, I really like my Casey Jones cosplay, by any means I am not bragging or anything, but I feel that’s probably the most screen accurate and realist looking cosplay I have, probably because it hides my ugly mug, but I get more of a reaction out of fans when I wear that one than anything else, second I would have to say my Netflix Punisher, that’s also another piece that I made and I really enjoy how well it looks and how much of a conversation starter it is, really accurate and all out of foam and people are so blown away by that, I always like to think, maybe that will get them to start looking into cosplay like I did in the beginning.

What character(s) have you never cosplayed, but would like to do so in the future?
I really love the look of big crazy cosplays like Ironman or a Halo Spartan, but I always get intimidated looking at it all, like I literally have a Deathstroke template I’ve been working on sitting in my closet and on my mannequin, lol, I’m not sure what I’m scared of with working on it.

Where can you be found online?
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jason_is_shady/

Click here for more photos of Jason Keister!