ByArchie R Spires, writer at Creators.co
facebook.com/SSoCBI
Archie R Spires

I'm very proud of building something that has made so many people happy in such a short time.
-Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

Some Batmen work alone. Some Batmen bring an army.
Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz has turned a near two decade job he loves into a chance to raise awareness, help kids, meet like-minded people and fight for a better future for western New York state.
Plus, he totally beat up the Punisher!

©E.L. Studios & CBI Media
©E.L. Studios & CBI Media

Comic Book Illuminati
You're cofounder of the WNY Superhero Alliance, who are you people, and how did you come to be?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
The WNY Superhero Alliance is a group of local cosplayers from the Western New York area, specifically Buffalo and Rochester, that I helped form in January 2015. We primarily volunteer at charity-oriented events that request our presence. Some groups we've worked with so far include the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, and the Compeer of Greater Buffalo.
Some larger events we have participated in include Buffalo Bisons Superhero Night, the Buffalo Superhero Race, and Superhero Weekend at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester.

©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

Comic Book Illuminati
You're all volunteers?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
Yes. So far every event we have done has been completely for free or the event organizers make a donation to charity in lieu of paying us.
Currently we have about 20 active members in the Alliance, with about another 20 members either working on costumes and just supporting us out of costume. People who don't have a costume come to our events as support staff to take photographs, keep track of our belongings, keep the lines under control, whatever we need help with.

©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

Comic Book Illuminati
How did you get into cosplay for charity?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
I've been a martial artist for over 18 years. Around 2006 I began performing live karate demos at my dojo in Elma, NY, to drum up business and inspire the younger students there to continue training. The other instructors and I began wearing superhero costumes and giving our demos a theme, to make them more exciting.

One of those demos featured me as Batman. Last April, I was contacted to appear for a charity event in Lockport as Batman, since I already had a costume. It was there I met several other local cosplayers and began to consider this new hobby!
The real spark happened when I won the title "Buffalo's Best Batman" by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. I then began appearing at more and more events thanks to this title, and meeting more and more cosplayers. Eventually, it just made sense to organize everyone into a formal group.

©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

I always wanted to keep martial arts as my focus throughout all this however. I did a self-defense demonstration at a comic convention last May, and then performed a full fight scene on the field at the end of Buffalo Bisons Superhero Night. I think people knowing and seeing I have martial arts experience helps make my Buffalo Batman persona more believable, and why it's made my Buffalo Batman as popular as it is.

©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

Comic Book Illuminati
And what's been your largest event?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
Buffalo Bisons' Superhero Night on May 30th, by far. I was invited to begin work on the event last Fall, before the Alliance was even formed. I wrote, directed, and starred in an entire live show after the baseball game, including performing a full martial arts fight as Batman. We also filmed videos for an in-game storyline that played on the video board throughout the game. The event raised awareness for a charity event called the Buffalo Superhero Race. I believe over 13,000 people attended this particular game. We even had the Batmobile there, which I got to ride out in and throw out the first pitch.

Comic Book Illuminati
I've spoken to a few cosplayers who perform for charities and awareness, they've told me the only downside is what one called "compassion fatigue", and the need for downtime. Has you suffered this at all?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
I must be lucky because I can't say I've felt that yet. I will say that when we went to visit children at Roswell Park in May, it was difficult to stay in character as Batman, who generally doesn't smile or show sympathy, when I really wanted to just hug them all. I did sneak some smiles in!

©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

Comic Book Illuminati
Do you think you'll ever stop or retire?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
I definitely don't think the Alliance will stop anytime soon, and I'm very proud of building something that has made so many people happy in such a short time. As far as me as Batman, I'm just enjoying this roller coaster I've been on since last April!

Comic Book Illuminati
I think that's about everything I can think of asking you, Mr. Lorenz.
Is there anything you'd like to add?

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
The Alliance can be reached at [email protected] We also have a Facebook Page, WNY Superhero Alliance, and my own 'spin-off' page, Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz [links below].

©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
©Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz

LINKS:

Will "Buffalo Batman" Lorenz
WNY Superhero Alliance
WNY Superhero Alliance's Facebook
WNY Superhero Alliance Twitter
WNY Superhero Alliance GMail
Greg Whitehair
Amazon Princess - Wonder Woman
Mark J. Mendola
Brittany Rose
Jacalyn Slingerland
Aaron Sutton
Cee Suts
Brad Spiotta
Becca Barnum
Lyana Macaluso
Beckie Scibran Reynolds
Alexander Sloan McBryde
Daniel Reynolds
Tom Litz
Jessica Cooke
Bryan Patrick Stoyle
Darren Cooke
Steven Lukasik
Dave Barkewitz
The Brampton Iron Man

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The Mental Health Association of Erie County
The Compeer of Greater Buffalo, Inc.

Buffalo Bisons' Superhero Night

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