Local Cosplay and Comic Community Mourn the Loss of Aquaman San Antonio.
I didn’t know Jonathan Vela as well as many others did, in fact we only met three times if I recall correctly. Still the news of his passing both shocked and saddened me greatly. Jonathan, who suffered a stroke two weeks ago, succumbed to complications Friday morning. Jonathan was undoubtedly known best to everyone as the cosplayer Aquaman San Antonio, but you see he was much more than that.
We first met at Alamo City Comic Con last year, and after taking a photo of him, he took the time to introduce himself and talk to me about what he does. Jonathan participated in charity events, raised awareness for autism, and visited children at hospitals. He liked to call it his amazing adventures. We exchanged cards and went our separate ways.
I ran into him again at Wizard World Austin last year in November, as he was preparing to conduct a panel called “Being Comfortable In Your Own Skin”, a discussion about cosplay being for everyone, despite your shape or size. He remembered me the way most people I meet remember me by, because of Geek Sushi.
Earlier this year, we ran in to each other at Comic Relief in San Marcos and had a conversation about comics. I realized that day we had more in common that I initially thought, because comics. I believe he was also in Houston for Comicpalooza in May, and still don’t know how we missed each other that weekend. Last weekend at Wizard World San Antonio, I ran in to Erica Clements who along with some other cosplayers were conducting Jonathan’s panel that he had scheduled on Saturday. This past Wednesday, again at my local comic book shop, another customer was asking about Jonathan, expressing his concern. Even Manu Bennett, best known for his role on Arrow, recorded a video for Jonathan wishing him well. People just didn’t know Jonathan, they genuinely cared for him.
A fund was started to help Jonathan’s family with the medical costs. Please visit his Give Forward page and give back to a true hero who gave so much to his community.
The one thing I will always take with me when I think back about him is how friendly and personable he was, and reading all the social media posts over the past two days, the impact and influence he had on many people’s lives is clearly evident. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could write to pay my respects and offer my condolences to his family and friends. It dawned on me tonight that I would do it by dedicating a song to him, one that I know he would have truly appreciated, and one that I know he would have truly loved. Rest in peace brother, and enjoy your journey to that spirit in the sky.