This year, the 2017 Denver Comic Con descends upon the Mile High City for a three-day pop-culture extravaganza held at the Colorado Convention Center from June 30 through July 2. Not only does Denver Comic Con present an opportunity to meet some of the biggest celebrities, artists and authors in a multitude of pop-culture genres, it also allows attendees to see and meet some of their favorite characters in the flesh through the power of cosplay.

Every year throngs of cosplayers from beginners all the way to expert cosplay artists debut their self-created costumes to the awe of fellow attendees at Denver Comic Con. Among the sea of comic book, television show, film and anime characters is Karl “Captain K” Brevik. Brevik is a Colorado-based cosplay artist, professional actor, writer and voice-over artist. He puts the “play” in the word cosplay, which is derived from the combination of “costume” and “play.” For artists like Brevik, cosplay is equal parts costume creation and character embodiment.

Karl Brevik

Brevik has been cosplaying since he was a small child crafting ninja stars with his father to transform himself into Leonardo from The Ninja Turtles. “As long as I can remember, dressing up has been a big thing. I treated Halloween as a week-long thing. Then, a month-long holiday with a different costume every day. By the time I could show up at conventions, it definitely didn’t feel like I was doing anything outside my box,” Brevik said.

His first convention experience as a full-fledged cosplayer was at the 2013 Denver Comic Con, where Brevik dressed as Han Solo from Star Wars alongside his brothers who appeared as Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker. “I remember getting in line and it taking forever to reach the end because people kept taking pictures. It was the best. It wasn’t about getting the attention. It was about the joy and excitement we got to share with fellow fans,” Brevik said.

Karl Brevik

Karl Brevik as J. Jonah Jameson of the Spider-Man comics. Photo by Jason Pendelton Photography, courtesy of Karl Brevik.

Since then, Brevik has continued to stun audiences with his cosplays at various conventions around the US. One of the first characters of Brevik’s to gain wide notoriety was the cosplay of J. Jonah Jameson from the Spider-Man comics. “The costume is fairly simple on paper. A good vest, wrinkled shirt, loose tie — but it gave me the freedom to storm about and playfully harass Spider-Man fans in character. Soon, I was hosting panels where cons listed me not by my name or cosplay moniker, but as the chance to meet Jameson himself,” Brevik said.

Karl Brevik

Karl Brevik’s Sexy Gandalf cosplay. Photo by Chiseled Light Photography, courtesy of Karl Brevik.

Brevik’s next share of cosplay fame came in the form of his Sexy Gandalf cosplay, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the enigmatic wizard from Lord of the Rings. “I am proud of the fact that he has since become a major figure in the community to represent equality and body positivity. If there is some form of cosplay injustice, you can count on Sexy Gandalf to bring it to light,” Brevik said. He now hosts panels at conventions where he takes on topics such as: character acting in cosplay, using cosplay to benefit communities, body positivity and equality.

Karl Brevik

Karl Brevik and Carey Elwes, center, among a group of cosplayers portraying the cast of characters of The Princess Bride. Photo by Amanda Ridenour, courtesy of Karl Brevik.

Not only has Brevik received positive feedback on his cosplays from the convention and cosplay communities, but he has also been commended by several celebrities for his dedication to detail and commitment to bringing joy to others. At the Salt Lake Comic Con in 2014, Brevik met actor Carey Elwes while dressed as the actor’s character — the Man in Black also known as The Dread Pirate Roberts — from the film, The Princess Bride.

“He took at least 10 minutes nerding out with me about the details to my costume and getting to know me as an actor and a person. By the end, he passed on the title of, ‘The Dread Pirate Roberts,’ since he wasn’t doing anything with it anymore and couldn’t think of anyone better for the job,” Brevik recalled.

Karl Brevik

Karl Brevik as The Dread Pirate Roberts from the Princess Bride. Photo by Weneals Photography and Retouching, courtesy of Karl Brevik.

Elwes and Brevik have since met two more times, once in 2016 when Elwes appeared at Denver Comic Con and again this year when the Paramount Theater requested Brevik to provide pre-show character entertainment for Elwes’s Q&A appearance and screening of The Princess Bride. Elwes quickly recognized Brevik at the front of the audience and pulled him on stage. After the show, Brevik was presented with the opportunity to meet Elwes again. This time, Brevik presented Elwes with a book full of memories, thoughts and appreciation from himself and other fans. Elwes was so touched by the gift, he asked Brevik to autograph it for him.

Karl Brevik

Brevik and Elwes at Salt Lake Comic Con. Photo by Salt Lake Comic Con Media, courtesy of Karl Brevik.

When Brevik isn’t busy bringing joy to fans and celebrities alike, he uses his cosplay skills to brighten the lives of children in need through his non-profit, CareActor Select. The organization sends out local character actor volunteers to children’s hospitals, youth programs and other places where superheroes, wizards and elves can bring much-needed healing and joy.

His inspiration for starting CareActor select came from an encounter with a four-year-old boy who lit up at seeing Brevik dressed as Nintendo’s Mario. The boy’s ear-to-ear smile and shinning eyes at Brevik’s portrayal, both in costume and character, made it clear what an inspiration cosplay can be to young people.  It was then that he knew his cosplays held a power beyond entertainment. Brevik’s mission then became clear: to bring professional-level character actors and performances to those who need it most.

“We visit kids in hospitals, shelters and schools. Our goal is to help kids believe in heroes again,” Brevik said. “We have come to believe in the power of positive energy and have seen the results of kids in the hospital who believe their favorite characters are alongside them.”

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This year, Brevik has quite the lineup of cosplays planned for Denver’s biggest pop-culture weekender, which includes Denver Comic Con and the second annual Club Cosplay Comic Con After Party. For the Friday of Denver Comic Con, Brevik will revamp his Spike cosplay from Buffy the Vampire Slayer alongside a group of friends who will portray other characters from the television show. On Saturday, Brevik has a double-header as he will appear as both The Dread Pirate Roberts and Remus Lupin, alongside his brothers as Sirius Black and James Potter from the Harry Potter series. Sunday is yet another double-play for Brevik as he will appear as Weird Al Yankovic and debut his Matt Murdock cosplay from Daredevil.

Club Cosplay Denver’s Comic Con After Party will take place at the Summit Music Hall on June 30. Brevik will appear as Sexy Gandalf at the party and he will also be debuting a parody of a yet-to-be-revealed music video live on stage. Sexy Gandalf will be accompanied by local cosplayers Ginny Di and Cherry Bombshell Cosplay for the performance.

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I always talk about how the cosplay community in Colorado feels like a family, but Club Cosplay is the group that I count as my brothers and sisters in that family,” Brevik said. “It’s about giving the community we love so dearly a great time. You never know who you’re going to run into. Denver Comic Con celebs made appearances last year and I know it’s only going to be bigger this year.”

Over the years, cosplay has boosted both Brevik’s confidence and creativity. “I really feel suffocated if I’m not performing or writing or something. Cosplay allows me to create and share those creations with others. It also helps me to go out and make the world smile more,” Brevik said.

Denver Comic Con and Club Cosplay attendees will definitely continue to smile and be enthralled with the magic that Brevik brings to each of his cosplays. Each one is stunningly crafted showcasing the great time and detail he puts into each costume. You can find Brevik this weekend at either event and show your appreciation for his art in person. Give him a friendly smile, a high-five or, in case you encounter Sexy Gandalf in your pop-culture partying, a sly little wink.