An interview with Chicago Cosplayer, Ryan “Banner” Green

Rose Noir and Jennifer Kateri on the stage at the Chicago Wizard World Comic ConRose Noir and Jennifer Kateri on the stage at the Chicago Wizard World Comic Con
Ryan Green as "Compound Hulk"

Ryan Green as “Compound Hulk”

Ryan Green is a paramedic, personal trainer, kayaking instructor, and cosplayer from Chicago who has been cosplaying for three years.  His cosplays include multiple versions of The Hulk, Duke Nukem, Gargoyles Goliath,  Colossus, and others.  Recently at Wizard World Chicago Comic Convention he and his team (Kala Smith and James Wolfgar) won the trophy for The Best Team-up in the costume contest for their Gargoyles collaboration.

John Collins (JC): Thank you RG for agreeing to an interview with me! You are developing a reputation for your cosplays. What characters have you cosplayed?

Ryan Green (RG): NO problem! Thank YOU sir for being a fan of cosplay. I can safely say that I’ve done enough characters to count on both hands.  I’d say I’m most known for my Hulk cosplays. I do Bruce Banner’s The Incredible Hulk, General Ross as Red Hulk and then the Compound Hulk which is a fusion of both. I also do a pretty Duke Nukem, Gargoyles Goliath, Bane, Crossbones, Omega Red, Colossus and a Young Hellboy

(JC): Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into cosplaying

(RG): Well if it must be made public knowledge I’m a Paramedic/Kayaking Instructor by day and personal trainer by night. Somewhere in between I squeeze in costuming Haha. Like most cosplayers, I grew up on comic books, video games and movies which, in my opinion, is the best possible childhood. You get exposed to so many fictional role models and characters that young people need growing up.

For me it was Bruce Banner/The Hulk. I felt like the character and what he goes through embodied what I felt growing up, which was a “Giant Rage monster trapped in a shy cowardly shell”. I had no I idea how much that character would play a role in my life later on. I actually got my start in costuming 3 years ago when I attended my first convention, which happened to be Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.

First off, anyone who’s been to it knows the magnitude and power felt walking into McCormick during C2E2. But for a first timer it’s pretty overwhelming. Comic books, action figures, posters, t shirts, celebrities and fans as far as the eye can see. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I met my first cosplayer…  Aaron Brigman. He was dressed as Frank Castle from “The Punisher: War Zone” and boy did he fit the part down to every last detail. Guns, knives, grenades, custom made vest. Hell, he even had the effing facial expression down PERECTLY.  Not to mention that “The Punisher” is one of my longtime favorite comic book heroes.

It was like my childhood had come to life. But needless to say, the guy left a hell of an impression on me. So much that I went home that week and began brain storming my first cosplay. What Brigman made me feel, I wanted to bring to other people.

(JC): Do you make your own costumes and if so, what portions?

(RG): The majority of my costumes involve lots of make up and body paint which is usually done by my make up artists Bevan Sukowaty and Michael Perri who happen to be fellow cosplayers. As far as the actual costumes and props themselves, I make or put them myself with a little assistance from The Midwest McGuiver (Scott Whipple)

Ryan Green (grey gargoyle sans wings in the middle) with his cosplay team and the judges

Ryan Green (grey gargoyle sans wings in the middle) with his cosplay team and the judges
including Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Jason David Frank and Ivy Doomkitty!

(JC): What was the hardest costume you ever came up with? Your favorite? Your next?

(RG): I’d say the hardest cosplay I had to come up with was Goliath from Gargoyles. I had to had to build and paint giant 8 foot moveable wings from scratch. My favorite would definitely be my Duke Nukem. Wearing that costume is blast! Duke is an older character and probably one of the first crap talking video game badasses to grace the video game screen. And if your next question is do actually act like a crap talking, bubblegum chewing, kick ass machine when I’m in costume? Well…. Does the Millennium Falcon make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs?!

(JC): Are you involved in the creative arts in other ways? Modeling? Acting? Artist? Writer? Etc?

(RG): Well I would say cosplay and modeling pretty much go hand in hand. I’ve done some modeling outside of costume for a few photographers. I’ve got some acting under my belt. I’ve played characters in videos for musicians and bands around Chicago from “Stoop Goodnoise”, “Matthew Morgan and the Lost Brigade” to “Kevin Flynn and the Avondale Ramblers”. Stoop Goodnoise being one of my favorite bands of all time. I’ve also done some work as an extra on the television show “Chicago Fire” and the upcoming pilot “Influence” with Christian Slater.

(JC): Do you have any current projects you would like to tell us about?

(RG): Currently I’m working with Scott Whipple his organization “Costumers with a Cause” it’s a group of cosplayers and volunteers that spend their time helping charity organizations, children’s groups and notable causes in the Chicago land, Indiana and Wisconsin area. Kind of our way of giving something back to the fans and cosplay world that has giving so much to us. On the entertainment side I’m working with Paul Heid and Nyq Bonaventura of Starship Explorers to produces a handful of short films based on the characters that I and a few other cosplayers play within the next year. Off the record, the world is still waiting on a Duke Nukem Movie, well we’re gonna give em the next best thing!

Rose Noir and Jennifer Kateri on the stage at the Chicago Wizard World Comic Con

Rose Noir and Jennifer Kateri on the stage at the Chicago Wizard World Comic Con

(JC): Who inspires you to your creativity and what do you do to keep the creativity flowing?

(RG): Honestly my peers are my biggest inspirations to create. I mean there are so many great cosplayers out there who have pulled off some amazing characters and intense costumes. Just to name a few cosplay Jedi’s, I’m a big fan of Freddie Nova, Scott Whipple, Jennifer Caes, Aaron Brigman, Sidney Vons, Toby Markham, Rose Noir, Michael Perri, Kearstin Nicholson, Mike Prost, Dante Drake, Jonathan Onopa, Zadok Camacho and Moe Hunt. When I see the hand made props, costume masks, homemade armor and handmade clothes produced by these people in order to bring their characters to life, this Padawan is quickly humble by their efforts and filled with the overwhelming urge to keep up. Which is realistically impossible! Just when I think I’ve seen it all, Freddie Nova does a fem Robocop or Michael Perri builds a 15 foot Deadpool cannon that ACTUALLY fires!

Keeping the creative juices flowing is the easy part though. My life is nothing but video games, comic books and movies. Got plenty of material to work with.

(JC): Where do you plan, aspire, desire to go from here?

(RG):I honestly have no plan when it comes to cosplay and I don’t think many cosplayers do for that matter. I honestly just do it for fun and will probably ride this train until the tracks end. But will I get better and better every year? Yes. Will I continue to pump out cosplays of my favorite fictional characters? Definitely

(JC): In addition to the other sites I write for, my site is The Weird Review and I like to close my interviews by giving the interviewee the opportunity to tell me and their fans something weird and wonderful about themselves that they might not already know. Do you have something weird and wonderful you would like to share?

(RG): For a guy who dresses up in make-up, walks around conventions shirtless and yelling at people, I’m incredibly shy and quiet out of costume. That and prefer to eat pizza a day old, cold and with a can of Mountain Dew.

(JC): Can we look forward to seeing you at Wizard World in Chicago next year?

(RG): Of course! Wizard World, C2E2, and ACEN are like home games for me. Dragon con is my superbowl and all other cons in between are up in the air.

(JC): Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me and I will look forward to seeing you soon through my camera!

(RG): Thank you Sir for you time! I’ll see you on the con floor…

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