Our latest collection of drool-worthy designs, Talk Nerdy to Me, was inspired by Emerald City Comic Con, which is happening here in Seattle next weekend. I, for one, am always excited to see (and join!) the hoards of uber-creative cosplayers, comics aficionados, and nerdy folks hanging out downtown.
Our models for this collection are two glamorous Bombshells who own their geeky tendencies with style and wit. First up, meet Sarra Scherb!
Bombsheller: What do you geek out over?
Sarra: I grew up playing X-Men with friends at recess in elementary school. I had a Gambit poster on my ceiling from 3rd to 5th grade. Comics have been a life-long love, although I turned away from Marvel and DC as I hit puberty and began to realize that their depictions of women heroes discomforted me. I dove into indie comics instead, and later into webcomics. Now I keep up with a few quality Marvel titles (unsurprisingly they are usually written by women, or have realistic depictions of female characters), a good range of indie comics, and some incredible webcomics. I curated an exhibit about webcomics for a Seattle museum a few years ago, which was like reaching some sort of geek nirvana.
Some of the most carefully crafted comics out there are webcomics, because the creators can wield total editorial control over their pacing, content and story. Unsounded by Ashley Cope is hands-down the best epic fantasy comic going. It will fight you, and it will win. Family Man by Dylan Meconis is well-researched, deeply moving, sumptuous historical fiction set in the Enlightenment (…with werewolves). And nobody (nobody!) builds worlds like Evan Dahm and his massive epic adventures about characters who by-and-large don’t have mouths.
I have a squishy spot for open-world video games like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, and story/character driven games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I begged my boyfriend not to buy Skyrim as soon as it came out, because I knew that if it was in the house I’d never finish grad school. (He acquiesced, I graduated, and then I fus-roh-dahed the holy hell out of it.)
I also play Dungeons & Dragons with gusto, and read and write sci-fi, fantasy and surrealist fiction.
B: Do you have a nerdy/guilty pleasure?
S: I’m not guilty about any of my pleasures.
BUT, if “guilty pleasure” is synonymous with “embarrassing levels of geekery”, then….in high school I was so obsessed with Sailor Moon that I memorized the lyrics to the songs in Japanese and sang them loudly in the shower with the depths of emotion only a high school girl can plumb. My girlfriend and I wrote notes to each other and signed them as Haruka and Michiru, and a friend made us chokers with the Uranus and Neptune symbols on them. I mean, not that I’d ever admit that to anyone.
B: Why do you self-identify as geeky? What’s empowering about that?
Announcing to someone that you’re “a geek” in this era is shorthand for saying “would you like to gesticulate wildly and talk too loudly about a specific set of sci-fi and fantasy media with me?” It’s quick way of delineating what falls in your Venn Diagram, and invites others to overlap their bubbles with yours. Then you can do the sniffing-butts-dominance dance in which you prove your geek cred with each other, which can sometimes be really entertaining and lead to instant friendships. (And other times be tiresome and toxic. C’est la vie.)
What is “geeky” has really changed over the last 15 years: it used to simply mean that you were deeply interested in something outside the norm, possibly to the point of obsession. You could be geeky about statistics, or analog clocks, or semaphore flags, or gramophones, or searching for Ogopogo. But today it has codified into that shorthand of comics/video games/board games/sci-fi and fantasy books & tv/cosplay/anime. The primary reason for that narrowing scope is the fact that the latter can be monetized, while the former remains esoterica. While the new definition is a bit homogenous–hence the ease of Venn Diagramming with strangers–it also has brought together huge communities of people who are dedicated, creative, passionate, and enjoying the art of freaking out over something with thousands of others.
What I find empowering is the give-and-take that happens with geek media. There’s two sides: the consumption and the transformation. People consume the media: they read Game of Thrones, they watch Battlestar Galactica, they play Skyrim. And then they transform the media: they write fanfiction about the Sand Snakes, they cosplay as Kara Thrace, they code a Macho Man Randy Savage mod. The sheer amount of creativity that arises from the original media in geek culture is astonishing. “Geeky” media is filled with rich stories and worlds and characters that beg to be further explored, and geeks are just the obsessive people to do it. There’s no more fertile ground for self-expression, and for finding your own unique way of engaging, responding to and transforming the original material. That’s the power of the kind of escapist, what-if?, brain-bending stories that are told in “geek media.”
B: Do you have a favorite leggings design?
S: The #AReflectionOf designs are my favorites. I wear them to fancy art gallery openings and people ask if I’m part of the exhibit! I love that you can see the texture of John’s brushstrokes, and even the canvas underneath. They’re a perfect synchronicity between the art + fashion that sets Bombsheller apart.