Your Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman
Story by Haresh Kumar
Photo Courtesy of Haikel Zambri
Not all heroes wear capes, some wear masks instead. Since young, Haikel Zambri, 25, has always looked up to our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, so much so that he even cosplays as him.
Apart from the occasional stares from passersby, Haikel says that what he gets out of cosplaying is something much more meaningful. He is well known in his community by his online alias, TheSinisterSpiderman and currently has 14.3k followers on his Instagram page.
His username was derived from him starting out and cosplaying as a black-suited Symbiote Spider-Man. His shots also have a dark and eerie feel to them, adding more character to the identity that he has created.
Haikel also believes he has the power to change other people’s moods. When he puts on the mask he changes into a completely different person and he seeks comfort in playing a part to inspire others, especially kids.
“When kids see me in my suit, some of them are in awe and some are star struck. They would run up to me for a hug, I just love it. Over time I realised that being Spider-Man has helped me to be more sociable and open to people,” says Haikel.
“Some have even told me that they admire the things that I do and have been secretly following my journey all along.”
But even for Haikel, it was tough in the beginning. When he was going through a difficult phase in his life, his close friend – who was also a Spidey - sat him down and told him: 'Be a hero for a day in someone else's eyes,' and that very quote has kept him going ever since.
“When I first wore my suit, I laughed and thought to myself: ‘Am I really going to do this?’ But I’m glad I did. The feeling that I get when I put on the mask is great even though it took me awhile to get used to it."
His passion for the art was initiated in 2014 when he went online to buy a Spider-Man mask. He had visited countless numbers of websites on cosplaying, and that sparked his interest in the art.
“I made my first public appearance as a Symbiote Spider-Man at the Singapore Toy, Games and Comics Convention 2015. I met a few ‘spider friends’ on Instagram and they taught me the ropes on how to embody the character,” says the 25-year-old.
“We had so much fun at the convention and we wanted to keep in touch, this eventually led to the birth of a huge local community called SpiderverseSG. Today, I can proudly say that I am one of the few who founded it.”
“My followers and friends play a huge part in driving me to post more pictures, but at the end of the day it’s all about the smiles, memories and friends that I make in the process that means the world to me and gives me a sense of comfort. Putting on the mask is indeed one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made," he says.