Cosplay Spotlight: Margie and Ned Cox

On my recent visit to Georgia I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Margie and Ned Cox, the powerhouse cosplay couple.
I have longed admired Margie and her husband Ned for their incredible talent in costuming. Their costumes are flawless and their photos are nothing short of stunning. There's also an element of romance to them; I have always found it romantic when couples cosplay together. This husband and wife team are quite the dynamic duel in the world of cosplay and are highly respected and admired. They have inspired many, including myself and I was thrilled to have the chance to meet them on my recent trip to Georgia.
Victoria: How did the two of you meet?
Ned: We met in college--nothing too interesting. She had taken Army ROTC as an elective while I was in the midst of my four-year pre-commissioning training to become an officer. She didn't care for me at first, as she likes to recall, but I can be pretty bad with first impressions, admittedly.
Victoria: How long have you been married?
Margie: We'll be married six years in May.
Victoria: When did you begin cosplaying together?
Ned: Toward the end of college, my love of comics hit a boiling point where I felt the need to LIVE in the fantasy world. Totally healthy of course. I'm kind of a big kid at heart and running around as Batman as an adult in 2012 isn't much different than what I was doing in 1992 as a child after watching episodes of The Animated Series, I just tend to be better dressed for the occasion. When I told Margie that this was what I wanted to do, she was a bit apprehensive. She liked comics and superheroes, but this took it to another level. When I told her that I was interested in looking into doing this beyond conventions as a way to give back to the community and help charitable children's causes, she became more interested.

Victoria: What's your favorite couple to cosplay?

Margie: Oh, I don't know what Ned's going to say, but I honestly really like being Carol and Hal (Star Sapphire and Green Lantern). I think the reason is that we only have two couples costumes (Star Sapphire and Green Lantern, Batman and Catwoman) and Ned's personality is a lot more of a Hal Jordan personality than Bruce Wayne (Batman) personality. Anyone who knows Ned will probably say that "That guy doesn't break character for anything." Ned is naturally a goof-ball and I love him for it. However, as a comic fan (and someone who doesn't like to alienate new potential friends and bystanders), I appreciate that he keeps that part of his personality locked down in certain situations or wearing certain costumes.

Ned: Agreed. It's great that, after so many years of pretending to "just be friends" as some of our JLA characters, Margie and I finally got to be Green Lantern and Star Sapphire and really be a couple just
like Hal and Carol.

Victoria: You recently debuted your New 52 Wonder Woman at this year's MegaCon. How long did it take to construct the costume?

Margie: I have a day job and mostly I work on costumes at night and on weekends, but it took me a few months. That was with the sanity breaks I took, where I would stare at a boot for a week and think "I wish I had briefs to go with those boots..." Four weeks later: "I guess I need armor to go with this corset. Five weeks later: "I'm going to get Velcro to hold up this armor since it's not going to stay on with magic." My overwhelming guilt at staring at hundreds of dollars of untouched costuming materials is how most of my costumes get finished. I've actually been staring at a creepy plaster hand that I've had in my basement for a few weeks knowing I need to get started sculpting my Huntress armor.

Victoria: What costumes do you have planned for in the future?

Margie: I'm working of the New Huntress costume and a Sith costume. I would also like to do the new Starfire costume, but I'm honestly waiting (and hoping) that DC caves and gives her a bit more coverage. I really like the new costume, except for that part.

Ned: I'm going to work on classic Giant-Man (Hank Pym) from the Avengers. After costuming as Cyclops, I feel a sort of connection to the misunderstood and damaged characters in comics. Besides that, he's a classic Marvel character that gets no respect. And the Giant-Man costume looks REALLY cool. Margie and I are also hoping to join the Sith soon--our first costumes outside of superheroes as well as "good guys." It should be fun!

Victoria: You both do a lot of charity work for your community. Could you tell my readers more about that?

Margie: Heroes Alliance is a charity that I've been involved with in some way since I first got into costuming. Basically it's collaboration of costumers, photographers, and general comic fans who
would like to use their art to reach out to their communities, to charities, and also to support local comic shops. I'm the coordinator for the Atlanta group and I have a soft spot for children's charities, so the majority of events that we do here are for special needs children. Some of the groups I've worked with over the last year are FOCUS, Down Syndrome Society of Atlanta, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Extra Special People, and CASA.

Ned: Margie and I joined at the same time, shortly after the Heroes Alliance's founding in Tampa. I've had the honor of being elected council chairman for the second year in a row and I'm extremely proud of our teams across the nation (and world, with our UK partners). We've built a great community of volunteers who have a very unique role among charity groups in bringing a real-life superhero experience to children with illnesses and disabilities. I love conventions and seeing my spandex-clad friends, but I've found so much more fulfillment in the Heroes Alliance than I ever imagined.

Victoria: Margie, you are a very accomplished writer. What are you currently working on?

Margie: Thanks! I have a Bachelors from USF in English with a specialty in Creative Writing-my family thought I was insane for coming off the Pre-Med/Microbiology track, so I'm elated that I've been able to do a few dark, gritty, artistic pieces which have proven to them that I was more insane than they ever imagined.

A few years ago, I finished my novel, Southern Gothic Confidential, a dark regional comedy/tragedy that entwines the cultural evolution of a small town with the personal renaissances of some of it's inhabitants. The backdrop of characters is very colorful. In the foreground of the Historic District is Ms. Jane Bradshaw, a very prim and proper Southern lady. She is President of the Red Hat Society and Secretary of the Garden Club. When her neighbor is decapitated in an auto accident, she finds herself living next to his estranged mother, Crazy Deb, and Crazy Deb's very strange husband, Wild Ernest, who have been certified uncrazy due to the overload of patients in Chattahoochee Mental Institution. This state of affairs sets off a chain of events which will forever change the Historic District and the characters. Luckily, SGC got into the hands of someone in the industry via my husband's boss who was nice enough to send it to a professional proofreader. After the proofread, they sent it to a publisher for me. It was super nice of them. We'll see where it goes.

Currently, I found a pretty sweet gig writing a comic with Eugene Selassie called Rock, Paper, Scissors. It's a 12-Issue story that deals with the super-powered crime underbelly of Chicago. It is morally gritty and I'd like to think that the characters are rather likable although they are in a very ethically challenged climate. It was great being able to work on a team of very talented, fresh artists and writers. It was like walking into a room that was bursting at the crown molding creative energy. We were like artistic vampires feeding off of each other's talents and ideas. Issue One exceeded my expectations art and story wise. I'm a huge fan of Tarentino and Puzo. We all brought our love of crime noir, modern classical mafia literature, and comics to the table. I don't know how much more I can say since we're talking to a few publishers now, but we're building a damn good story.

Victoria: Many people like myself, see you both as an
inspiration in the world of cosplay. How does it feel to be role
Margie: I'm so honored and humbled that you feel that way. When I started out, I just had a few friends who costumed (I could count them on both hands) and we were just supportive of each other. We'd find a few photos of ourselves online from time to time, but other than that, I don't think anyone was terribly well known. I don't feel very far removed from that experience except I can't count the people I know on my hands anymore. It's really easy to treat people well when I've been so well treated. I feel pretty much the same, but I'm very grateful for any good vibes that I've been able to send to people. It feels great to know that maybe I've made a difference.

Ned: I'm humbled, perplexed, and honored that you say that. It's something I didn't expect but I'm always very happy to hear whenever I've had any sort of positive impact in people's lives in any way.I've found myself in leadership roles from time to time--in the Army, through the Heroes Alliance, and now at the company I work for. Those are all very different environments with different leadershiprequirements but I've found some common truths among them: be honest, be consistent, and take care of the people you care about. It's always served me right.
As for being an inspiration, I've always been just an, "I'm just happy to be here" kinda guy. If I bring positivity and joy to a situation or group then all the better. I've met some of the most wonderful people doing this (another unexpected blessing) and they inspire me. It's easy to be positive when you're around great people.

Victoria: What is your personal favorite costume?

Margie: Wonder Woman.

Ned: I'm going to say Green Lantern. I've accepted that I'll probably die as Hal Jordan--a Green Lantern Corps emblem on my tombstone. That's fine. I'm very happy to be known for that and I absolutely love the character, the Corps, and all of my fellow Lanterns. It's a wonderful thing.

My thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Cox and be sure to check out Margie's Facebook Fan Page to keep up with this Cosplay Goddess!