The fourth of five children, Forrester was born in Phoenix and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though he and his siblings always got excited about Halloween, Aaron was the only one who took to performing, starting with a role as one of the von Trapp kids in a production of The Sound of Music at a charter elementary school in Mesa. "I have a background in being an exhibitionist in performing arts," he says.

His family moved to San Diego from Phoenix when he was still in elementary school, and Forrester continued performing in school and community theater. He fell in love with Southern California's theme parks, especially Disneyland and Six Flags. "I'm a theme park junkie. I've been to Six Flags more times than I can count. My best friend and I would go two or three times a month," Forrester says.

He discovered superheroes and comic books when he was about 7. He loved watching cartoons like X-Men, Batman, and Iron Man growing up, and one of the first things he ever bought was a cartoon cel of Iron Man.

The unfinished Iron Man torso
The unfinished Iron Man torso
Aaron Forrester with his father, Raymond.
Aaron Forrester with his father, Raymond.

Details

Aaron Forrester will appear on the "Comic Book Costuming" panel from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Phoenix Comicon. Visit www.phoenixcomicon.com and www.facebook.com/arizonaavengers for more information.

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Batman and Iron Man have always been Forrester's two favorite superheroes, because they're human. Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) don't possess supernatural powers, just lots of expensive, high-tech tools.

"They're self-made heroes," Forrester says. "Granted, they had a lot of money, but they've always relied on their intellect and ingenuity to make themselves 'super.' Superman had all these powers; even the Hulk has gamma radiation powers. But Iron Man and Batman have to rely on their own skills to try and do some good."

Forrester's family moved back to Phoenix in 2003, and the following year, the Mormon Church sent him on a two-year mission to Arkansas and Tennessee. "I learned a foreign language while I was there. It's called redneck," Forrester jokes.

He doesn't call his mission the best two years of his life, but they were "the best two years for my life." He says his volunteer work at an Arkansas hospital made him want to costume for charity. He got married after he returned to Phoenix in 2006, but the marriage quickly fell apart. It was one of the toughest periods of his life, and another impetus for costuming.

"I lost about 25 pounds from all the stress with my ex-wife," Forrester says. "She had some serious problems. She was schizophrenic and suicidal, and we tried everything we could to help her. She tried to commit suicide three times before the divorce. No matter how hard I tried, she gave up on the marriage."

Forrester was working more than 70 hours a week as a mattress salesman and wasn't eating or sleeping well. He made the decision to move back in with his parents about two years ago. He left his mattress sales job for Atomic Comics, where he rediscovered superheroes.

"It's the whole escapism from hard times," Forrester says. "Comic books have heroes, and they're making the ideal characters, like someone can be so completely incorruptible — above and beyond. You can have such a wonderful escape into another world."

The Iron Man armor suit has perhaps become Forrester's ultimate escape — instead of just reading about his hero, he can become him. Costuming has become his new mission, his own form of heroics. Ultimately, he wants to wear his costumes to children's hospitals and at charity events.

"My mom's an office manager for a pediatrician, so she's got all kinds of connections with local hospitals and children's organizations," Forrester says. "I'm very much looking forward to our first visit to a children's hospital, because I've seen how kids light up around their heroes. I know it's not much, but if it brings a smile, it's worth it to me."

This past January, Forrester established a costuming group called Arizona Avengers. He's been recruiting people to dress as other Avengers heroes and Marvel characters so they can start doing charity work together. In five months, the group has gotten more than 400 fans on their Facebook page. So far, Forrester's got Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Black Widow, and himself, as Iron Man. There's also someone to play Pepper Potts, the secretary and love interest of Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man).

There are some parallels between Forrester and Tony Stark. Like Stark, Forrester designed a suit of body armor from scratch, in an impressive display of craftsmanship. Unlike Stark, Forrester doesn't have a sprawling, billion-dollar lab with robot helpers, but he does make ample use of the garage and workshop at his family's sizeable Chandler home, where tools and parts hang from the walls and crowd various shelves.

And like Stark, Forrester learned much of what he knows from his father. "As long as I can remember, I've been turning wrenches with my dad," he says. "Anything that breaks — clutch job, transmissions, virtually anything you can think of repairing on a car, we've done."

Raymond Forrester is an aerospace engineer with a lifelong passion for racing and auto mechanics. The Forrester's current fleet includes a shiny silver BMW convertible, a black Porsche Turbo, and Aaron's custom white Mitsubishi Roadster convertible.

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6 comments
garage door repair irvine
garage door repair irvine

Maintaining a home can be very expensive. From running the electric to running the water, it all adds up. One of the most important and expensive utilities in the home is heating water. Having a proper hot water heater effects all different sorts of daily life. It is a fact than 10% of all utilities are spent on heating water, that's why having a proper residential water heating service is important. And a residential water heating service is there to help you figure out and choose exactly what is right for your home.

garage door repair irvine
garage door repair irvine

Maintaining a home can be very expensive. From running the electric to running the water, it all adds up. One of the most important and expensive utilities in the home is heating water. Having a proper hot water heater effects all different sorts of daily life. It is a fact than 10% of all utilities are spent on heating water, that's why having a proper residential water heating service is important. And a residential water heating service is there to help you figure out and choose exactly what is right for your home.

Jason
Jason

HOLY SHIT! You guys managed to capture Pedobear on film! Hopefully you guys stopped him before anyone was carried off.

Ruth Carter
Ruth Carter

Almost everything you wrote about the 2010 Epic Super Hero Battle was inaccurate...and you didn't give credit to the organizers, Improv AZ. I think you need to publish a correction in your next edition.

Terra Walker
Terra Walker

It's not a costume party:) There are groups of us that appear for charities, and Phoenix Comicon is the premiere pop-culture event in the southwest. You should join us sometime! It would be great to have another face.

 
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