Thursday, May 12, 2016


I’m going to try to keep today’s bloggy brief and to the point. Cosplayers, especially cosplayers wielding realistic-looking and realistic-sounding firearms, should not point and “shoot” them at children. Or at anyone else. Regardless of age. In fact, unless they are performing a stage presentation as part of a competition, they should keep their bang-bangs holstered.

I had a great time on Free Comic Book Day. However, the experience was marred by a clueless man-child in a Snake-Eyes costume, a jerk who took enormous delight in exactly the behavior I outlined above. I thought he was a stupid kid until he took over the mask covering his entire head. He appeared to be in his late twenties or early thirties. Old enough to know better.

We live in an age when shootings of children and older folks are a daily element of the news. A few evenings ago, the lead stories on a Cleveland news station were the shooting of teenagers on the east side of the city and the shooting of an elderly woman on the west side of the city. The elderly woman lived on the street I lived on in the late 1970s. The councilman of the west side ward was on the east side during the aftermath of the first shooting and got back to his ward to learn of the second shooting.

This is the world we live in. It’s a world when innocent children get shot and killed with real guns. It’s a world where the police have to make split-second decisions and often make bad and tragic choices. It’s a world where, even at a Free Comic Book Day event, a sensible person would recognize the potential danger in firing realistic-looking and realistic-sounding fake guns while covered in black from head to toe.

The Free Comic Book Day events were being held in the store’s large  parking lot, completely visible to the street and to any vehicles driving by the busy location. When I saw Snake-Eyes fire his guns at children, I waved him over. I told him it was inappropriate to be aiming his fake guns at and then shooting at kids. He took extreme offense. How dare I tell him what he could and couldn’t do? I told him he was being an asshole.

He told me to keep my politics to myself. This puzzled me. Because how many political parties advocate shooting at kids? I mean, yeah, the Nazis and ISIS and a few others, but, really, requesting that someone not aim and fire even fake guns at children is some sort of political thing? Really?

I spoke to the owner of the store. I explained what I had seen and why I thought it was inappropriate. The store owner said he agreed with me and would talk to the cosplayer.

I also told the owner the cosplayer hadn’t repeated the offensive actions since I registered my complaint. Perhaps, angry with me or not, the cosplayer had realized I was correct. I asked the owner to go easy on Snake-Eyes. That was a mistake.

After Snake-Eyes saw me talking to the owner, he resumed and even increased his inappropriate behavior. Of course, he only did this when the owner wasn’t around, so, on top of being an asshole, he’s sort of a coward.

I’ve been asked to return to this store for next year’s Free Comic Book Day event. I’d like to return, but I’m going to insist on one change to our previous agreement. It’s this:

All realistic-looking and realistic-sounding firearms must be kept holstered during the event.

This is common sense.

It doesn’t make mockery of the real gun violence that injures and kills so many children.

It doesn’t set a bad example for impressionable children.

It makes it that much more unlikely that a police officer who does not know from G.I. Joe makes the wrong decision.

I’m about as minor a celebrity as they come. But, whenever I can, I will use that wee celebrity to advocate for what is right. If it means I don’t come back to next year’s FCBD event, then I can and will accept that disappointment. There are other invitations and, in the worst case scenario of no store inviting me to be a guest on Free Comic Book Day, I gain a day of writing or relaxation. It’s a no-lose situation for me.

Snake-Eyes won’t like this blog. I’m sure he won’t be alone in not liking this blog. Ask me if I care. In the interest of propriety, I offer no suggestion as to where they can holster their toy guns.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2016 Tony Isabella


  1. Bravo, Tony. As usual.

    David Peattie

  2. This is a strange day in which I'm discovering people who are so self-absorbed and consumed by their own self-gratification that they are completely shut off from realizing the harm they're doing to those around them. Just watched an episode of the People's Court, and I'm not a fan of any of these "Judge" shows, but I couldn't help but get caught up in the case of a 19 year old girl raising her three younger brothers on her own with some welfare money and a fast food job, the mother having deserted them for a life of drugs and the father suddenly after five years asking the daughter to let him stay after his girl friend booted him out. Out of kindness, she allowed this, and for her thanks he repeatedly smoked pot in the apartment around the kids, stole money and Christmas gifts from the family, trashed the place often, and when she approached him to not do this or find someplace else to live, he raged about being a grown man and not having to be told what to do. To say the least, when it came to his defending himself, all he did was shake his head, deny, deny, deny... except that he admitted smoking the pot and that he went into a rant because he shouldn't be told what to do because HE'S AN ADULT. He claimed he didn't ask to have kids and that the mother took all that on having four of them. Judge came back and said, "Ever hear of a condem? They're all the rage!"

    To say the least, the Judge's mouth was hung open during all of this, and she finally had to send him out into the hallway because she couldn't stand looking at him any more.

  3. The store owner should have told this guy to immediately cease his behavior. I'm surprised that no parents were upset at his actions. Does this guy not realize that Snake-Eyes is one of the good guys?

  4. I echo the " Bravo!" Good of you to speak up.

  5. Here, here! Thanks for speaking out on this and for the actions you took at the store.