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CCM Interview: Cosplay World Creator Jason Keith

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Cosplay World 2022 Flyer

An All-New Cosplay Event is in the works, and it is making its debut this October in Richmond, VA. Cosplay World is the creation of a very talented comic book colorist, Jason Keith, and we are here with him today to learn more about him and Cosplay World. Let's get to it.

Marvel Colorist Jason Keith

Q. Hey Jason, welcome. For those who may be unfamiliar with you and your work experience. Let us know a little bit about who you are and some of the work that you have accomplished.

A. Well I've been coloring for Marvel Comics exclusively for the past 15 years. That's the majority of my 20 years in Comics, and during that time I've worked on just about every character and collaborated with many of Marvel's greatest artists including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Buscema, Walt Simonson, Adam Kubert, Jim Cheung and Ed McGuiness.

Q. How did you first get started working for Marvel? What has the experience of working for Marvel and working on their comic books been like, and what kind of advice do you have for artists that may be interested in working for them one day?

A. I first started coloring comics for Marvel while I was a studio assistant at Hi*Fi Color and Design, in Glendale, Arizona. I was just 19 years old and felt like I was living the dream. One of my coworkers, Val Staples, recommended me to CrossGen Comics, which I worked at for about 2 years before they went bankrupt and fired everyone. Luckily Brandon Peterson would recommend me to Frank Cho to color Shanna the she-devil at Marvel. That was my first official monthly book, and it led to my multiple exclusive contracts with Marvel for the next 15 years.

Q. From Marvel Colorist to hosting your first large convention, Cosplay World is being born. What is Cosplay World and where did the idea for it start?

A. Around 2019 I started attending several local conventions for the first time since I began working Comics. And lately for the past year I've been traveling to multiple conventions across the country each month. And with all my time spent at cons I started befriending many great cosplayers, and I noticed two things. One, I was surprised by just how creative and talented many of them were. And second, cosplay participation had been growing like crazy with social media and with new technology like 3d printing allowing regular people the ability to build nearly perfect replicas of costumes. Cosplay has exploded in the last 5 years.

Q. With new conventions popping up all over the place, what are some features about Cosplay World that you hope will help make it stand out from other typical comic conventions that we are used to going to?

A. Yes, there are so many new shows and that's great for everyone. Fans are the real winners! As a show with a focus on Cosplay we wanted to cater to that community specifically with workshops and demonstrations and panels that would serve as a real educational setting for them. How to build with foam, an intro to cosplay photography and Photoshop edits. Drawing cosplay workshops where the costumed models pose for attendees to draw, just like in art school. We have a dedicated room for workshops and our cosplay contest, but also a room dedicated to photography with sets, backdrops and props along with guest photographers set up.

Q. We see that you also have assembled quite the guest list for your first event. Let us know who you have lined up that fans can look forward to seeing and meeting?

A. We started early with the best cosplayer we could find in the state, and since I had been to most of the conventions in Virginia, I had a starting list with AstraVoid, Jake Fogg, The Everyday Grimes, Shady Haze, Joe Colton and eventually Laney Feni and Sarah Dean. I knew I wanted to bring in a few special cosplayers from other states and leaned heavy on finding a couple of Disney and Universal Studios professionals like Allie DeSantis and Cassandra Ariel. Allie was a Disney princess for a decade and Cassandra is currently a regular stage performer at Universal Studios in Orlando. We have 2 Celebrity Cosplay guests. Ani-Mia is our most experienced cosplayer with over 10 volumes of her cosplay photos, and recently she has been writing the Bettie Paige comic series. Mia has also been a comic book cover model on titles like Vampirella. Karen Whitfield is truly a special guest. Some consider her one of the first professional cosplayers. She went on tour with Adam West and Burt Ward from 1978-84 as the dynamic duos Batgirl. She has written a book Batdeiven West, that chronicles that amazing time, and we encourage everyone to read it!

Q. You have a ton of experience with the convention scene attending as a guest yourself. How much of that experience and time spent at conventions helped you to put together the framework for Cosplay World?

A. It's been EVERYTHING to me. I have no idea how someone could start a convention without having been to at least a dozen of them. I've been to the small town shows in recreational centers with astroturf and 500 attendees, while also being a guest at huge cons LA Comic-Con. I ask every show runner and agents that I meet lots of questions and seek their mentorship. I found several mentors, one of my best local promoters Mike Federali of Incredible Conventions. He has gone out of his way to offer a ton of advice and I'm extremely grateful for that. The other is Val Staples, fellow comic colorist and owner of Power-Con. He has run that show for close to 10 years now and it's great having a friend to ask for advice freely.

Q. Cosplay World also plans to have several panels lined up in its schedule. Can you share with us some of those panels and who is hosting them?

A. Of Course! We always wanted to be an event that provided a place to learn from Cosplaying Professionals. At Cosplay World you get to participate in hands-on workshops led by some of your favorite cosplayers, makers and photographers. Susie Creates Cosplay, Ryan Sims, Shady Haze, Cassandra Ariel and Silver Heart Cosplay are just a few of our talented creators who are hosting Demonstrations, Workshops and Panel Discussions on topics ranging from Foam Smithing, Digital Photography, Wig Styling, Make-Up Transformations, 3D Printing, Costume Aging and Weathering, Sewing and Drawing.

Q. For those who may have a future goal of hosting a large convention style event of their own one day, as someone doing it for the first time, what is some advice you can share to others? What kinds of roadblocks can they expect to run into and things that would be beneficial to know ahead of time?

A. I gave myself a short deadline of just 6 months and that may not be ideal, but it meant I have had no down time. I'd say start 12 months out. Build the brand, the logo and identity of your show early and continue to craft it and hone it until its super clear what kind of show you are creating. Make a list of all your potential connections because those are everything. This is what my time at other conventions has been paying dividends. Find a venue, reach out make calls ask all the questions. Compare multiple venues and also study your area. Bad idea to pick a weekend or a Saturday if someone else already has a show in your area or even 3 or 4 hours away on that same date.

Q. Cosplay World sounds like it is lined up to be an amazing event that is perfect for the cosplay community. Opportunities available to meet popular cosplayer, photographers, celebrities and even learn new skills. We cannot wait to check it out and to meet everyone that attends. Tickets are on sale currently for the first event that is being hosting in Richmond, VA this October. Where can people go to order tickets early and skip the lines?

A. Check Eventbrite for sure! And of course, ticket links can be found at and on the Cosplay World Richmond Event page on Facebook.

Q. Thank you for speaking with us Jason and telling us about Cosplay World. Where are some other places that we can find and follow your journey, your artwork, and the growth of Cosplay World?

A. You can find me mostly on Instagram @Crisp.Pratt, and my upcoming shows for the rest of 2022 are going to be DRAGONCON, Rhode Island ComicCon and finally in December I'm back at LA Comic-Con. Come out to any of these and say Hi! Thank you, Creative Cosplays Magazine.

Cosplay World

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