About James Hannon
Growing up in the Bronx, author James Hannon never imagined he’d have the life he led, but FATE had different plans for him. It started out straight-forward enough getting an MBA in Information Systems, and working for years at huge corporations. But something was missing.
At one particular job around 1998, James became friends with a fellow programmer named Shelly Riff who was also a musician. And he had just joined a regionally popular band from the 60’s called Richard and the Young Lions. And they needed someone to do their website for them. James volunteered for the job, and got to work writing the band’s history for the website. And it was amazing. The characters involved and the behind the scenes was something out of a movie. And that’s when everything clicked!
James had been playing around with film-editing on his brand new Apple iMac and decided to create a documentary based on the history of this interesting band. It was called
Out of Our Dens: The Richard and the Young Lions Story
and it was released in July 2004 to an impressive reception and a few film festivals.
The spark was lit on a new artistic path, along with staying on the business path.
After all the promotion and fanfare died down, it was time for the next big project.
James was browsing a catalog from a nostalgic Bronx website, and they had a chessboard from the Bronx with figures for Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, etc. But the thing that caught his eye was that the Pawns were the Fordham Baldies from the movie the Wanderers. The Wanderers were his favorite movie, and he decided to do another documentary on the real gangs portrayed in the movie.
There were some problems with this idea though. Altho James was able to find plenty of former gang members, they didn’t want to talk to him. But thanks to 3 amazing former Ducky Boys gang members who believed in him, they forced their gang friends into talking to James. It helped that James grew up right in the middle of Ducky Boy territory.
But, there was another problem. Quite a few of the former gang wanted to be interviewed on camera. Even tho the statute of limitations on their “crimes” were long expired, they didn’t want their kids and social circle know what they did back then.
It took a while to figure out the solution, but it was decided to make this documentary into a book which would ensure the gang member’s anonymity, yet still tell their stories.
Soon after the release, James found himself looking for another project.
Completely separately, James had just joined the Star Wars costuming group the 501st Legion and was attending charity events dressed as TIE Pilot with his wife Jackie and the rest of the group. And as he did this more and more, he started talking to the other members about what brought them to this place in their lives. And the stories were phenomenal. So
Anatomy of a Cosplayer: Tales from Behind the Mask
was born and eventually release in August 2018.
James interviewed over 70 cosplayers from different genres and places in life and literally “literally wrote the book on Cosplay”
James has personally seen this hobby explode from a small niche of Star Wars costumers to the worldwide cosplay phenomenon of today. He has portrayed Stormtroopers, TIE Pilots, Gorilla Soldiers, Cylons, SuperVillains, and a professional-wrestler-turned-governor.
More recently, James has been working with NJ’s largest convention
Garden State Comic Fest
in multiple roles. Officially, he is the Charity, Sponsorship and Merchandise lead, but has worked at most aspects of the convention.
And currently James has created a YouTube channel called
The BoardGame Sherpa
whose mission is to help new users conquer their fear of learning new boardgames and find a whole new world of games that go beyond the standard Monopoly, Life, Risk and PayDay games.
And he is still looking for the next project!