Mark Wesley Pritchard
LGBTQ cosplayer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 2X Cosplay Contest Winner.
Facebook: Texxx-Man Cosplay
Review: Supergeek Designs
For nearly a decade, I've cosplayed some of the best cosplays. From Superman to Spider-Man, you name it. I've done over three dozen characters and have no plans of stopping. In this story, I'll be showing my appreciation and props to a costume company that I've been supporting since 2021. That would be none other than Supergeek Designs. In case you're not familiar with who they are, they have a plethora of authentic and quality superhero costumes, according to their website, from DC to Marvel characters. As of this writing, I own three costumes from them: Symbiote Spider-Man, Spider-Man (Sam Raimi suit), and the Green Lantern. I have one costume on the way, which will be Daredevil. I'll be doing a review on that once it arrives. To find out more about them, head to their website:
The Exclusion and Disrespect of Black Cosplayers in Arkansas
February is the start of 28 Days of Cosplay. For those who aren't familiar with what it is, it's a month where black cosplayers share their cosplays, as well as their experiences, celebrating their excellence, and encouraging everyone to support them. The hashtag #28daysofblackcosplay was started by a woman named Chaka Cumberbatch, also known as Princess Mentality Cosplay a few years ago. Now that I've explained that to everyone, there was something that I've noticed since I've started doing cosplay in 2014: an ongoing pattern that I never disclosed to anyone, especially to my cosplay friends or followers. Why is that, you ask? It was because of the fear of being "cancelled" or shamed by them. I'm a realist, so me sugarcoating the truth is not an option.
My Coming Open Letter to My So-Called 'Parents': 2 Years Later
To kick off Pride Month, I want to give everyone an update about a story I wrote on Vocal back in 2020. Two years ago, I had the courage to write an open letter to my "parents", not only coming out to them for the first time, but also sharing how much they verbally and physically abused me as a kid. Plus, them not letting me be myself and also portraying themselves as victims. In case you're unfamiliar with my backstory, I grew up in Texas to Liberian parents. I'm the oldest of three children and have two younger siblings (brother and sister). While most memories of my childhood were great, there were other times when my parents would yell, berate, and belittle me (mostly about my slim figure at the time and calling me hurtful names), followed by physical violence, whether I did something right or not. Even the smallest things would irk them and the cycle repeated itself again and again. These beatings and verbal assaults occurred on a regular basis. That lasted from childhood until my early 20s. My so-called "father" was the most abusive towards me. African parents never take any responsibility for their actions, constantly play the victim card whenever confronted with their wrongdoings, and denies everything that they've done to you, refusing to apologize. Not only that, but they have told lies about me to their friends and my own relatives that weren't true. Those are the reasons why I've been estranged from them for over a decade. Parents are supposed to love their children unconditionally and accept them for who they are, not harming them. They are our first bullies and if someone shows you their true colors, believe them.
Americans Are Sick and Tired of "Thoughts and Prayers"
It's been a while since I've written a story on Vocal. I thought I'd talk about something that continues to infuriate me and probably it does for you as well. I'm seething in anger and Americans are tired of what I'm about to discuss. You're probably aware of the recent shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which is west of San Antonio, where 21 people were killed (19 children and two teachers). It's the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.
Following My Own Rainbow: 10 Years Later
February 20, 2012: the scariest, yet joyful moment in my life. It's hard to believe that 10 years has gone by since coming out as a gay man. While many people were excited that I had the courage to do it, others condemned me for "living in sin." I've dealt with homophobic comments since then and still face the same problem today, mainly on TikTok. I used to attend church services on Sundays with my parents as a kid, but I stopped going to church almost eight years ago. The reasons are because most Christians are hypocritical and don't practice what they preach. Also, they spread their hatred towards LGBTQ+ people: people who they personally don't know anything about, by spewing Bible verses and urging them to "turn to God." You can't claim to be a Man/Woman of God and have a pure dislike of a specific group of people who aren't bothering you or have never done anything to you. All they want is to be treated equally with dignity and respect, not as second class citizens. Why are they so invested in our lives and how does the way we live affect their marriages? Those are the two questions I would ask them. However, there are other Christians who openly support people like me. I love being who I am and will never apologize for it.
Putting Myself First in 2022
2021 is drawing to a close soon and a new year will begin. We’ve been through so much, especially for almost the last couple of years. You’ve probably been asked at least once what your goals are for the new year. According to an article from Statista Research Department published in May 2021, about 50% of Americans said that they wanted to lose weight or exercise. I never use the term resolutions, because in most instances, many people tend to break them in a short amount of time. Instead, I say New Year’s goals.
‘Spider-Man’ Fans Came Through
The Spider-Man hype is real! On November 29 at midnight, pre-sale tickets for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which comes out on December 17, were available for purchase. However, with that hype, came huge problems. Most people were experiencing crashes while purchasing their tickets online through either AMC Theaters or Fandango. Others had to wait several hours. Also, scalpers were on the prowl. They are selling their own tickets and the asking price of them were for as much as $25,000. I loathe scalpers in general, because they take advantage of people’s deseperation. Yours truly, on the other hand, had no issues with purchasing my ticket through AMC Theaters’ app. I didn’t have to wait long to do just that. I’ll be seeing No Way Home on December 16, one day before the official release of it. I’ve never seen a movie a day before it’s release before, so I’m looking forward to this day. It’s been well over 600 days since I’ve last seen a movie in person. That movie was Sonic The Hedgehog on Valentine’s Day 2020.
The Ugly Truth of Being a POC Cosplayer
Cosplay has helped me make numerous friends at conventions, make memories, gained a moderate following on social media (specifically on TikTok), and allowed me to express myself. However, with the good, comes the bad. POC stands for person of color. It’s also known as non-white. These are cosplayers who dress up as characters who are not white. We’re often told by others that we’re either the wrong race or body type for a specific cosplay. The most common thing I’ve heard from people is “(insert character here) is not black.” I’ve been doing cosplay since 2014 and still love it. Unfortunately, I’ve occasionally been the target of racial and sometimes bigoted attacks towards me on social media because of two cosplays I love doing.
Embracing Loneliness During the Holidays
The holiday season is almost here and it’s stressful for anyone to figure out what to do during this time of year. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the things and people we’re happy for. However, there are others who either don’t have any family to spend time with or aren’t accepted by their families because of their sexual orientation. Growing up, my family and I would eat some great food and watch the yearly Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game. Over the last several years on Thanksgiving, I would either go to a friend’s house or simply enjoy this day alone. My parents and I have been estranged for over a decade and I’ve experienced physical and verbal abuse in my childhood. Not only that, but also the early parts of my adult years.
Switching Political Parties
In my previous story, I shared my honest opinions about President Joe Biden and why I no longer support him. The main issue I had with him was implementing vaccine mandates for businesses with 100 or more employees. As of this story, the 5th Circuit in Louisiana issued a stay, preventing the mandate to take effect. Also recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, suspended the enforcement of President Biden’s vaccine mandate.
LGBTQ+ Representation In Comic Books
LGBTQ+ characters in comic books have existed since the late 1970s. There are now more than 65 comic book characters who identify as such. Whenever a character comes out, I could never understand the outrage over it. It’s 2021 and LGBTQ+ characters are here to stay, no matter how much you complain on social media. They’re not going away anytime soon.
My Latest Thoughts About President Biden
I’ve stated many times in previous stories that I wasn’t going to talk about the Covid-19 pandemic anymore, but since health experts, the government, and most governors continues to milk this whole crisis, I have many strong opinions about the 46th president of the United States. I swear this would be the final time I ever talk about this. Many of us, me included, have since moved on from the pandemic. We have been cooped up at home and isolated for over a year and a half. I’ve been a Democrat for years, but some of the things that President Biden have said and done makes me not like him. The following below are the reasons why me and the majority of the country have lost confidence in him.