Kimberly Matsuzaki and Daniel Way know their way around a Comicon. Professionally, Matuszaki’s background is in video games, and Way’s is in comic books. Way wrote “Deadpool” and worked for Marvel for 14 years. Now he works independently and he and Matsuzaki started GeekCraft Expo, billed as “Etsy-Meets-Comicon” curated craft markets.
GeekCraft Expo RDU will be held Sunday, May 14 at the Durham Armory. A kick-off party is Saturday night, May 13 at Fullsteam Brewery.
Matsuzaki said she and Way are definitely nerds themselves, and GeekCraft Expo has “the kind of stuff we want in our house.” Things like a wooden cutting board depicting a Tetris game or a necklace made with a 20-sided die. GeekCraft Expo will have handmade items featuring everything from Pokemon to Star Wars to retro video games, and Dr. Who to all kinds of comic book characters.
There are four people behind GeekCraft Expos in the Triangle, Seattle, Brooklyn, Madison, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon — Way, Matsuzaki, Elisabeth Allie and Jenny Valle. Valle and Way are in a rock band called Gamma Gamma Ray, which will perform at the GeekCraft Expo RDU Kick-off Party at Fullsteam on Saturday night. The party will also include geeky trivia and nerdy prizes.
This is GeekCraft Expo’s second year at the Durham Armory, and it has more crafters than last year. Matsuzaki said that doing social media for video games in her 20s was a dream job at the time, but as she got older that phased out.
“But I’m still a geek at heart,” she said. “I transitioned to a stay-at-home-mom with Violet [their 3-year-old daughter] and GeekCraft Expo was a way of staying involved and using my knowledge of geek.”
In an interview in Durham, Way and Matsuzaki said that while there are craft shows and comic book conventions, the two don’t intersect. Way said that after 14 years at Marvel, he works in television and film but comic books are his first love, and he produces them independently now.
“At comic book conventions, you’ll see crafts, but here and there,” Way said, and not marketed like speakers and cosplay. “It occured to me it would be cool for a craft fair to have all the cool crafts we see at comic book conventions,” he said.
Matsuzaki said it’s the reverse at craft fairs, where you’ll see geeky things occasionally, but there’s no focused market for both.
“I’m a geek and I want this handmade stuff, not just a T-shirt from Target that everyone has,” she said.
“For a long time it wasn’t cool to buy this stuff, and now it is. But buying it at a mall or Target, that’s cool too — geeks are inclusive,” Way said.
In 2017, television shows like “Big Bang Theory” celebrate nerd culture, and video games and comic culture pervades among fans of all ages. The film industry churns out summer blockbusters annually featuring characters once only found in comic books.
So is there a commonality in something being considered nerdy or geeky?
“There are various types of geekiness. You love something and just do not care what anybody thinks. It’s more of a passion — through all those years of it being so uncool, but persisting,” Way said.
The GeekCraft Expo on Sunday is also Mother’s Day, so could be an event for nerdy moms to enjoy, Matsuzaki said. Craft Habit of Raleigh will be at the expo to lead a free craft event for kids to make buttons from comics.
“It’s a shopping mall for nerds,” Way said.
GO & DO
WHAT: GeekCraft Expo RDU
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 14
WHERE: Durham Armory
220 Foster St., Durham
DETAILS: Free admission. geekcraftexpo.com
KICK-OFF PARTY: GeekCraft Expo RDU’s Kick-off Party will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 13 at Fullsteam Brewery, 726 Rigsbee Ave. in Durham. There will be geeky trivia and nerdy prizes as well as a performance by Gamma Gamma Ray featuring “Deadpool” writer Daniel Way on bass and vocals.