Photo: Jessie Kirk Photography
Ever wondered about the people who bring GeekCraft Expo to life? Pull up a chair and read the first of four interviews that will bring you into our inner circle, and get to know the folks behind the geekiest craft show in the world!
We're starting with co-founder and Director Daniel Way, writer of such incredible comics as Deadpool and Wolverine: Origins. Read on to discover how his experiences as a convention guest shaped GeekCraft Expo, and his plans for the future!
GeekCraft Expo: How did you come to create the Voltron-like entity that is GeekCraft Expo? Bonus question: which part of Voltron are you?
Daniel Way: Y’know, I’ve asked hundreds of crafters and makers how they got started, and the funny thing is, most of their answers have been pretty much exactly what I’m about to tell you: I had an idea about something that I thought would be really cool, I found out that it didn’t exist . . . and so I made it myself!
(Well, not by myself . . . I mean, there’s no possible way that I could have done this without the others!)
Anyway, I’ve been a comic book writer for about . . . wow, 18 years, at this point so I’ve been to tons of comic book conventions. And at these conventions, there are only really two things that I ever buy: short-run, self-published comics and handmade, geeky crafts because they’re the most creative, the most inventive and, without a doubt, the most unique things available . . . like, anywhere. Plus, you’re usually buying this stuff from the people who actually made it and that’s just the coolest thing ever.
I’m sitting in my studio, which, at the time, was in the back of a comic shop (nerd cred!) and one of the comic shop employees came in and showed me a hand-knitted Thanos gauntlet . . . had the jewels and everything. I guess the person who’d made it was hoping to sell them on consignment at the shop? Anyway, I put the thing on (because c’mon, we all wanna be Thanos a little bit) and that’s when I realized that . . . it was lined! Like, with thermal insulation!
I’m geeking out on this thing and the guy who showed it to me is like, “She left another one, too, but it doesn’t have the Soul Gems on it.” And that’s when it hit me—these weren’t toys, this was a pair of extremely well made (by hand), fully functional ski gloves!
(For all you non-geeks: Thanos wears gauntlets all the time; it was when he added the six Soul Gems to his left one that the Infinity Gauntlet was created.)
And that’s when some kind of short-circuit happened in my brain: I suddenly had the thought that it would be so cool to go to a . . . like, “thing” that was JUST geeky handcrafters and makers—Artist Alley, but without the comic book convention, y’know? So I start looking around online . . . and it didn’t exist!
So, y’know . . . GeekCraft Expo.
As far as the bonus question, I really wanna say “the sword” but . . . I think that’s just because I wanna go back and revisit my intense frustration at watching, as a kid, Voltron take beating after beating . . . .only to finally whip out the sword and end the fight in two seconds! Why did they always wait?! WHY?!?
Wait . . . holy $@!#, I just got it: Voltron is the defender of the universe, not the attacker of the universe. Wow.
GCE: Why does the world need a show like GeekCraft Expo?
DW: Haha, I have no idea . . . at the outset, like I said, it was basically just for me! I needed it!
But the thing is, every crafter and maker that you meet at GeekCraft Expo is a local, small business—they live where you live, their kids go to school with your kids, their taxes fix your roads. Supporting any small business is vital, but these folks really need your support because . . . look, there is just no justifiable reason for someone to spend days making a 32-bit pattern Toad cutting board out of tiny blocks of hardwood—and then sell it to you for 65 bucks—but isn’t it amazing that they do?
GCE: You are also a well-known comic book writer. How did your experience in the world of comic book conventions influence GeekCraft Expo?
DW: Basically? I wrote down every bad experience that I’ve had with conventions—lack of communication, lack of promotion, lack of assistance, lack of, basically, giving a $@!# about their guests or even knowing who they are apart from them being a means to make money—and resolved to make GCE not like that.
GCE: What are your favorite geeky pastimes?
DW: C’mon . . . I’m a comic book writer; my whole life is geeky.
GCE: What is your ultimate goal for GeekCraft Expo?
DW: Easy: to not have to crawl around on the floor, taping down electrical cables anymore. Or dig through trashcans in order to separate recyclables from non-recyclables . . . or [shudder] compostables . . .
GCE: What is your favorite convention snack?
DW: Donuts! Like, good ones, though.
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