The 6 Geekiest Things I Own
This may not come as a big surprise to some people, but I am a huge dork. The condition was really bad in high school, seemed to mellow slightly in college and has now settled into a nice, acceptable level of being a geek. And I’m happy with that. I’ve made my peace with my awkward, dorky state of mind, and an adulthood that’s heavily influenced by video games and Spider-Man. This life clearly doesn’t appeal to everybody, but damned if I’m not loving it. So this list will be a celebration of my geekitude.
And you will never find a more wretched hive of nerd and geekery than my apartment.
That is to say, my apartment in Rome, New York is filled with all manner of geeky artifacts and memorabilia. Some of it has been collected over the years, and some items were spontaneous purchases that I couldn’t pass up. I’ve got a lot of the items on display just for the sheer geeky thrill of it. I love every scrap of nerdy crap and I thought it would be funny to share The 6 Geekiest Things I Own with everybody.
And yes, I don’t get many female visitors to my apartment. The place could probably use a woman’s touch.
6. My Posters: My apartment looks like a teen-age girl’s bedroom with all the posters I have hanging on my walls. They’re my #1 decorating choice, apparently. But rather than teeny boppers, Justin Biebers or whatever the kids are into these days, most of my posters are of superheroes. Shocking, I know. But with the rise in popularity of superhero movies, a lot more cheap yet cool-looking superhero posters have been printed. Sometimes I’ll find them in Wal-Mart or at some speciality shop, and I’ll snatch them up for a few bucks.
They’re inexpensive, look cool and add a lot of my own personality to my apartment. I’ll pass on artsy paintings, knick knacks or whatever the hell else normal people put up on their walls. I don’t have any family portraits or collages. And I’ll take geeky posters over blank, personality-less walls any day.
My two coolest posters are one of the Dark X-Men and one of the Internet comedy show Red vs. Blue. The Dark X-Men was a storyline from a few years ago in Marvel Comics, and on the team is one of my favorite comic book characters, The Mimic. He’s a very obscure, rarely appearing character, but he had a big role in the Dark X-Men. So I’m fairly confident that this is the only poster ever to feature the Mimic. It was a promotional poster hanging up at my local comic book shop, and I asked them to save it for me instead of just throwing it away.
Red vs. Blue is this hilarious web series that parodies the video game Halo. The creators basically set up their own Halo matches in the game and then filmed their characters walking and standing around. Then they went back and added dialogue and some animation. The jokes are hilarious, the characters are as funny as anyone else on the Internet and the whole series (several seasons long at this point) is a delight. I went to a video game convention in Boston a few years ago and got to meet the creators of Red vs. Blue! And not only are they the creators, but they also do the voices! I had to buy the poster, but they autographed it for no additional cost.
5. My Boba Fett Hat: I love hats. Anyone who knows me also knows that I’m almost always wearing a hat, even indoors. And what started as just the usual baseball cap as a kid has evolved into a love of weird and funky hats. Fedoras, top hats, stocking caps, newsboy caps, I wear them all. My geekiest hat is a baseball cap made to look like Star Wars character Boba Fett, the most feared bounty hunter in all the galaxy!
I bought the hat at MGM Studios in Disney World during a family vacation in 2009. Every time I’ve gone to Disney World, I’ve bought a funny hat. The first time in the late 80s I got a Figment the Dragon hat. The second time in the 90s I bought a big, floppy, green Goofy hat. And so in 2009, I scoured all of Disney World to find a really good hat – but most of the options sucked! They still had that Goofy hat, and only had a few other options, like a Fantasia wizards cap or Stitch in hat form. I didn’t like them, or they didn’t fit on my big head.
Then on one of the last days of the trip, I found the Boba Fett hat and bought it immediately. Because Boba Fett rules and I love hats.
4. My Superhero T-Shirt Collection: Superheroes also come in T-shirt form these days. Comic book conventions always have a ton of shirts to sell, along with places like Hot Topic or Wal-Mart even. There are also tons of websites that sell superhero-themed clothing. Being the comic book geek that I am, I’ve been building up a fun collection of superhero logo shirts and just some funny superhero joke shirts. It started with a T-shirt of Multiple Man, my favorite superhero. Multiple Man doesn’t dress in the typical cape and spandex outfit, he just wears jeans and a T-shirt. So I went looking online and found some company that had actually made a real version of the T-shirt he wore in the comics. I ordered one immediately, and my collection took off!
That company later got closed down because they didn’t really have the rights to print superhero T-shirts.
Today I own shirts for Multiple Man, Bizarro, Deadpool, Green Lantern, Blue Lantern, Zan of the Wonder Twins and more. I also have a bunch of funny comedy shirts.
Unfortunately, I’m a fat guy. (A fat comic book geek? Stop the presses!) And despite the typical girth of my nerdy people, most of these shirts come only in small sizes. Which means I can’t really wear the majority of my collection. Still, if my dreams of getting back to the gym and losing weight come true, I have a mighty fine collection of superhero apparel to wear!
There’s also the option of having a print shop just make me superhero T-shirts in my size, but that’s not as authentic, and not as much fun to collect. Still, I love the Red Lantern T-shirt my brother had made for me for Christmas one year.
3. My Double-Bladed Purple Lightsaber: Another souvenir from my last time to Disney World. Everybody’s familiar with lightsabers from Star Wars, right? And how you can buy your own plastic lightsaber from toy stores, where you swing the handle and the extendo-blade comes out? Well this is one of those types of lightsabers – except that I forged it myself!
There we were, my brother and I, wandering around Pleasure Island/Downtown Disney. We visited the Lego Store and the candy shop, and were walking through another toy store when we saw it: a build-your-own lightsaber booth! I remember gasping and grabbing onto my brother in utter shock and surprise! Could such a thing truly exist? It was almost magical!
For those who don’t know, Jedi in the Star Wars Universe build their own lightsabers. It’s a rite of passage. So here was my chance to build my own lightsaber, just like a real Jedi! The building station started out with just a plastic stick to create the handle. Then you had to add a casing around the stick, add some rings, buttons, doodads and bells and whistles. If you paid extra, you could create a double-bladed lightsaber like Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. So of course I did that.
Then you got to pick which color extendo-blade you wanted to use. I picked the geekiest option: purple.
If we remember our Star Wars, bad guys like Darth Vader and Darth Maul had red lightsabers. Good guys like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi had blue and green lightsabers. But there is only one motherfucka in the whole Star Wars universe who was badass enough to get his own unique color.
Samuel L. Jackson!
2. My Homemade Henchman 21 Costume: Have you ever heard of those fans who dress up like superheros and attend comic book conventions? Or maybe Trekkies who dress up like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock to attend Star Trek conventions? Surely that is the height of geekery. Fans so in love with their shows or comics that they’ll sacrifice their own modesty to dress up in a silly costume and walk around in public.
I’m one of them.
My costume of choice is Henchman #21 from the cartoon show The Venture Bros. I made it myself.
I listed Henchman #21 as one of the 6 Greatest Henchmen of All Time. He’s a supporting character in The Venture Bros. cartoon, which is a Johnny Quest parody that airs on Cartoon Network. It’s a comedy/satire that both makes fun of and lovingly embraces the familiar tropes of boy adventurers, secret agents, superheroes and arch-villains that live in giant, evil volcano lairs. Henchman #21 is the inspiration for this site. Like his name implies, he’s just one of many costumed henchmen who serve the villainous Monarch. He’s one of the funniest characters on the show, and one of the most popular.
So when it came time for me to attend my first comic book convention in Baltimore in 2009, I picked him to be my costume. I knew I was going to dress up in costume, that was a given. When you go to a comic book convention, you’ve got to go all in. You can’t be afraid to revel in your geekery. I brainstormed a few ideas of who I could be, but once I settled on Henchman #21 I knew it was golden. Geeks love The Venture Bros., and the people at the convention loved my costume! So I had a blast walking around and getting my picture taken with tons of people. The same thing happened when I wore it again to a convention in New York City in 2010.
Now, the remains of the costume are hanging on my bedroom wall.
It wasn’t cheap to make, buying all the clothes, the fireman boots, and the arts & crafts materials needed to make the wings from scratch. I also made the mask, sewed the belt and belt pouch and found some yellow dish-washing gloves at Wal-Mart. The costume was slightly falling apart when I wore it to New York City, and I made a second set of wings so that I could preserve that original pair. Some parts of the costume are in my closet, while other parts like the black shirt and pants have worked their way into my normal apparel. But I knew I had to save the wings and the mask.
Someday I’ll remake the costume to attend another convention. I know what I did wrong and I know what I can do next time to make it better. Henchman #21 will fly again!
1. My Geek Wall: My real shrine of pop culture and geekery takes up an entire wall in my apartment. It’s not one big singular thing so much as a mish mash of various objects that I’ve put together into one decorative center piece. The epicenter of my apartment, if you will. I moved into this apartment a few years ago after living with my uncle for three years. He was nice to live with, but I never felt settled. This place is my first real apartment on my own. I bought a dresser for my clothes instead of just a suitcase, I put posters on the walls and I really settled everything in. Then I built this.
Evolved from two simple book shelves is the brain center of my geekery. Click to zoom in, take a look. Years worth of collections, everything from DVDs to comic books to action figures can be found on this wall. I’m not even sure where to begin.
Let’s start with the action figures. Yes, I collect action figures. But I’m not one of those geeks who insists they need to stay in their packaging for posterity, or whatever. I like to take them out of the box and put them on display! A wide selection of some of my favorite superheroes have claimed the top and the top shelf of the left bookcase, including the giant Sentinel robot that stands tallest. They’re joined by my Multiple Man and Scarlet Spider figurine collections, as well as a Lego TIE Fighter and a digital clock that I unplugged.
On the top of the right bookshelf (more of a DVD shelf, actually), are World of Warcraft action figures. They’re larger and better sculpted, more like little statues actually. They get their own spot. In the middle of those is a boot-shaped mug from this western dinner theater thing I attended on a family vacation to South Carolina many, many years ago. I held on to it all this time, and recently liberated it from my junk drawer at my parents’ house.
Both book shelves are filled. Books and comic books on the left, DVDs and TV show collections on the right. Strange how I don’t watch DVDs anymore, but they’re fun to have on display. If you look closely on the DVD shelving in the middle, you’ll see a Lego Batmobile. Oh yes.
Barney the Dinosaur in the bottom corner? I won him in one of those claw games outside the supermarket.
Giant inflatable bowling pin? Flirted it away from this girl working the Kingpin Lanes booth at my first Rome Home Show. It’s this annual bazaar in Rome where different companies show off their wares, and my first year at this newspaper job there was a booth for the Rome Sentinel. I volunteered to work the booth for a few hours of overtime and chatted with the girl across the aisle at the bowling alley booth. She had these inflatable bowling pins and she gave me one!
Let’s see, what else…the little table on the side is piled up with more books. Most of them are Repairman Jack novels. Fantastic series. I’ll tell you all about them one day.
On the wall above all of those we have some very exciting objects hanging. First is the big, round South Park clock. It doesn’t work anymore, but it’s fun to have hanging. The pictures on the left are of Multiple Man and Deadpool. They were drawn for me at the Baltimore Comic Con by professional comic book artist Art Baltazar, who draws DC’s Tiny Titans series. The pictures hanging on the right are Multiple Man again, and Angel. They were drawn at a comic con in Syracuse by Chris Giarrusso, artist behind the Mini-Marvels comic strips. You can meet a lot of professional comic book artists when you go to conventions. And for a fee, they’ll draw characters for you.
In the center is a copy of Uncanny X-Men #19 from the 60s. It’s the first appearance of one of my favorite comic book characters, the Mimic. My girlfriend Alyssa bought me that for Christmas last year, so I framed it.
And those big splotchy circles on my wall are either lense flares or dirt on my camera. Don’t mind those.
What are some of the geekiest things you own? Don’t be ashamed! Revel in your geekery! Post them in the comments.