This week, the KCCP is proudly featuring cosplayer Frank Jenks. As a hobbyist cosplayer, Frank has been able to find opportunities using his skills to modify and improve costumes and props alike. He’s also been able to take his love of sci-fi, Star Trek especially, and incorporate it into his cosplay work.
How did you get into cosplay?
Quite by accident. I asked a girlfriend of mine to get me a simple Star Trek t-shirt for Christmas and, much to my surprise, she got me a simple Halloween uniform instead. At first, being shy and shelf conscious, I thought I can never wear a geeky thing like this in public but I later changed my mind. I’ve always had my fellow Trek friends say I looked like McCoy but I really never took it seriously. When I wore it to my first Planet Comicon a couple years ago, the response was very awesome. Since then I’ve got some of the props, improved the uniform, and found more opportunities to wear it. It’s a great opportunity to meet other Star Trek fans and show support for what you love. I don’t really consider myself a serious cosplayer; I just do it for the fandom. It’s like waving some giant flag saying “I love Star Trek.”
How many characters are you currently cosplaying and what are they?
Just the two: the new and older McCoys. I’ve been entertaining ideas of doing a more traditional super hero costume such as Spiderman, Batman, or 80’s Wolverine. You know something that would make charity work with the kids possible. I’m also thinking of a Hitchhikers Guide Arthur Dent complete with bathrobe, cup of tea, towel, and bewildered look on my face. Maybe even topping the whole thing of with raspberry pi powered guidebook playing videos of the BBC TV show from the 80’s. I loved the animated guide excerpts from that short lived show.
What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve done so far and why?
I haven’t done many so it would have to be my default TOS McCoy. The response from people is the real kicker. Anywhere from little girls that run up to me with the action figures to average, every day Joes that only just barely know the show but the costume just takes them back to when they used to watch it with their parents.
What’s your favorite way to craft?
I’m not one for the arts and crafts side of things. I usually buy them outright or modify them slightly. I’ve always been more of fixing things and making them work than making them look good. I just don’t have an eye for those sort of things.
What’s your favorite crafting item to work with and why?
A soldering iron, I guess. Tinkering with LED projects or sound boards. I’m one of those few guys who loves the smell of solder. I guess you can say I’m more of a prop kinda guy. I’m drawn intrinsically towards the tech and flashy lights.
What are your cosplay goals?
I don’t have much free time on the side but I do what I can. I just do this as a way of waving the flag and reminding people of how fun Star Trek is. I’d like to also get more involved with charity eventually, maybe if I get a more mainstream character going. I’d also like to dabble more in the robotics and animatronics side of things. The practical side of me is always looking for ways to tie the fun stuff to real world applications. Maybe someday building a Nomad prop from TOS and having it fully functional. Mixing my fandom with real world technology excites me.
What’s your dream cosplay and why?
Well, I guess anything I admire and that is way out of my reach. I suppose I love the cyber-punk style of Robocop. I mean, he was Iron Man way before Iron Man was cool. Something about that obnoxious amount of technology sewn in with humanity I just love. If you got a gadget, plug it in me, cyborg future here I come.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get into cosplay?
Follow in the footsteps of others. There is no need to reinvent the wheel just yet. Start off by googling, and then refining your search and googling again. All the info you need is at your fingertips. All you need is the willingness to go out there and go do it and your own flare. Most importantly, attitude. Go boldly, my friends.
What other interests do you have outside of cosplay?
I love physical fitness. I work out 3 to 4 times a week lifting weights and jogging. I love the runners’ high and the feeling you get after a workout. I also do a little yoga and there is something about it that I find appealing. I’m also an avid reader. Reading anything I can get my hands on but preferring science fiction, philosophy, and history. It makes me a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit. That’s right, ladies, Trivial Pursuit. Meow. I also can really dig a great essay and other obscure works. When I’m not doing this, I’m either playing computer games like Left 4 Dead and TF2 or out volunteering. Gotta keep busy; a moving target is hard to hit.
If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
Pizza the Hut from Space Balls. I see myself in a romantic setting with him. Charming him with my wit and slowly getting him drunk from the wine. All the while gently eating pieces of him, a pepperoni here, a slice there. You see he would be way too drunk and distracted to notice. And before you know it, he would be all gone, in my belly. Sorry; it’s time for lunch and I’m distracted.