Interview with Retro Joad

Jody Haucke aka Retro Joad, is a cosplayer/costume designer/wedding officiant/actor/burlesque host/improviser/Murder mystery producer with Eddie May Mysteries from Canada’s capital. Jody has been performing professionally for over 25 years and cosplaying seriously since 2005.

Photo taken by Raventhorne Photography 

J: Let’s start off with something easy, What got you into cosplay? And how long have you been doing it?

RJ: It would have started with Halloween’s an always loving to dress up as different characters at Halloween. My now wife and I dressed as the Joker and Harley Quinn at a Halloween party that we host every year called Heroes and Villains. We had so much fun acting like the characters that we wanted to dress like them again and again and again. I would say cosplaying since about 2003 however I have been dressing up in home made costumes and acting out my favorite TV shows and fandom since I was a kid in school, bringing my own costumes and costumes for others to be characters from shows like Battle of the Planets and V

J: How many different cosplays do you have?

RJ: We have a room in our basement that we affectionately call the Room of Requirement. I have over 30

J: Why did you start to cosplay, What does Cosplay mean to you and What has kept you doing it for so long? Is cosplay a hobby you could see yourself continuing to do  in 10 years from now?

RJ: Answered in above question 📷As actors , we have a lot of fun acting like the characters we costume as Absolutely

J: Do you have a dream cosplay or bucket list of cosplays?

RJ: Yes, who doesn’t ? 🤪a few come to mind , the DS9 wedding outfits of Worf and Dax, Grand Admiral Thrawn

J: What is your favorite cosplay to date or cosplay genre and why?

RJ: The joker because it is so much fun to interact with other Bat family characters /DC characters and it’s really fun with kids. They love the Joker. There was one young fan at a kids charity event , who was great fun to talk to and joke around with. He wouldn’t let me get away with being at the Superhero party. His mom told me afterwards that we was very shy and didn’t really talk to anyone but he was liking so forward to seeing the joker again from the previous year’s party.

J: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a cosplayer or even as a male cosplayer in a mainly female predominant industry?

RJ: I find that there is still a lot of people who look down at the use of the word cosplay vs costumer. My favorite part of cosplay is the “play” aspect, I love embodying the character, emulating the way they move and speak. I find jay if I refer to myself as a costumer , it would not really describe what I do.

J: Do you have any advice or words of encouragement, you would give to someone who is just starting out or thinking about cosplaying?

my favorite two guidelines would be : 1. Dress up and 2. Have fun, try not to worry about every minute detail, stand about 3 to 5 feet away from a mirror and look at your creation because that is the distance that most people will stand to look at you.

J: What accomplishment or project(costume) are you most proud of and why?

RJ: I love the idea of some of our quick closet cosplays that we have created, things that can be thrown together with items from our room of Requirement and still get a lot of fan recognition and admiration. There is something very satisfying having people appreciate these costumes that we put together in a few hours.

J: What is your favorite con and what con is your dream con that you hope to one day attend if you haven’t already?

RJ: I really enjoy the smaller conventions, because it’s nice to hang out with your friends, go to panels , walk the dealer room and artist alley, do a photo shoot, and not feel like a salmon that’s trying to swim upstream with thousands of other salmon.My dream con until this year would be Star Trek Las Vegas, we were finally able to go and it was very enjoyable to spend 5 days immersed in all that is Star Trek. We were also fortunate to meet Renee Auberjonois (Odo) and Aron Eisenberg (Nog) before we lost them this year. It was so awesome to be there on the earlier days and get to speak with some of the actors one on one in the dealer room. Aron was fantastic, he met us for about ten minutes and later that day he saw us at Quarks bar and remembered our names.

J: Who are you favourite cosplayers, Or cosplayers that have been an inspiration to you and why?

RJ: I am definitely inspired by a local cosplayer in my city, Ottawa Knights Cosplay . They have wonderful creations, they built my Aquaman costume, and Saruman staff. They have an incredible collection of bat family costumes that they have built and I was so fortunate to get to be a part of the creative process.

J: Do you have any Cosplay pet peeves, If so what are they and why do they get under your skin? RJ: My biggest pet peeve is people thinking cosplayers are immature because they like to dress up. Everyone loves something , and if this is what people love to do, why should anyone else’s look down on them for it

J: How do you decide or choose a character, what is your process on starting a cosplay to finishing? RJ: Usually the character chooses me , I do have the cosplayer problem of not being able watch anything without me saying I want to make a costume of that character.It all starts with research and figuring if the costume is within our own skill set. If or my wife can make it, we will, if we need help and have to commission something , we will. Finding materials, watching tutorials and making a huge mess in our basement. If it’s a character from a TV or movie we usually play the show while we are working on the costume.

J: What are your thoughts on paid and unpaid photo shoots? Do you prefer on location shoots or in a controlled studio? RJ: I don’t have an issue with either, as long as it’s agreeable to both cosplayer and photographer.I think I prefer on location however I have worked with some photographers recently who have done some incredible things in post.

J: There’s so much drama that surrounds the community. What are your thoughts, do you think it’s always been that way or is there more drama now with geek culture becoming so mainstream? RJ: There is drama in any group, we try to not get caught up in it, we try to focus on the parts we love about the community, the friends and people we admire and the people at the conventions that react positively to what we have created.

J: So what is next for you? Tell me your secrets. RJ: We are just finishing up our Christmas run for Eddie May Mysteries , dinner theater company, where I did the costumes in 80’s office attire styles and acted in as well. We would like to revisit some pieces on previous costumes and do some repairs. There are also a few more jokers in the plans including a Christmas with the Joker video. My wife also decided on a whim to build the Mountain costume for me, so she would have the ultimate accessory for her Cersei Lannister costume.