AA: Start us off with some basic stats! Who are you, where are you from, what’s your job class?
SS: My name is Sam, I hail from the warm shores of Southern CA, but recently I’ve taken my five star Lyft rating to the east coast. Baltimore specifically. My job class? Freelancing, Marketing, and Public Relations level 13. It seems boring, but it’s really quite fun. Talking about SEO and ROI is weirdly thrilling.
AA: What is it you do for/contribute to Sub Cultured?
SS: I’ve written for SC, I’ve managed Twitter for them, currently I consider myself the SC layabout. It’s very glamorous, but tough work. Not for the faint of soul, or heart. Being hearty of body helps though.
AA: You’ve been writing for SC for a long while, how’d you get your start?
SS: I want to tell you there is an exciting origin story here, so I will.
Long before man put pen to papyrus I was there, sitting in the great nothingness between worlds. Waiting for a sign, a moment in which all my nerd knowledge and pop culture minutiae would be useful. It was after many eons in the darkness, a voice pierced through the veil. It was a site called IHOGeek, they were looking for writers, and I had dabbled in the putting of words to page. Here it was, my moment. Time and space collided in an instant, eons became seconds, seconds became infinitesimal moments of quantum thought.
So I applied, and Kimmie and Leia liked my stuff enough after a Skype interview to hire me. The end. This would be the site that would one day become Sub-Cultured so here we are. The story of my fake, obviously real-ly made up origins.
AA: Were you always comfortable with who you are, geek wise?
SS: Yeah, my geek has always been a weird part of who I was. Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Disney, all were parts of my early childhood. Comics, sports, video games, those came later, but it’s always been that way for me.
AA: Everyone seems to have a ‘geeky’ property, like Star Wars or Firefly, that they hold near and dear to them. What’s yours and why?
SS: What do I hold dear? I actually had to take a second and ask myself that. Star Wars was the first thing that came to mind, then Lord of the Rings. But I realized something, the thing that’s called me back time and time again. That keeps me up at night wishing that it could be adapted or that I could read new and exciting things from it. Asimov’s Foundation Books, are all of them good? No. Are they the pinnacle of SciFi and world building that some people make them out to be? Probably not, but they set my imagination aflame in ways that really only Star Wars does if I had to pinpoint something else.
AA: If you could have a hand in contributing to that property, how would you?
SS: I want to see it adapted on the silver screen. I think a series on HBO or Starz could do it justice if handled correctly. I would love to be a Show-runner or Casting Director for such a project.
AA: On bad days, what do you do to cheer yourself up?
SS: I watch Star Wars, or read Star Wars, or play the Fallout series of video games. Hopefully accompanied by really spicy chicken wings or ramen.
AA: Do you find it easier to cheer up others or yourself?
SS: Others, I’ve memorized several inspiring sports speeches for such occasions.
AA: When you’re faced with a challenge, how do you manage it?
SS: I slowly but surely apply a serious amount of ass-kicking to the challenge.
AA: Is there a superpower you wish you had?
SS: Telekinesis. It seems like many of the other things I would want to do with super powers could be covered by creative application of telekinesis. So I’d like to at least give that a shot for a little while.
AA: Are there people in the geek community that inspire you, be it a celebrity or a scientist? If you’ve met them, how was the experience?
SS: Someone DID, then they turned out to be sorta crappy in real life. I decided after that to try and find inspiration in other things. Or smaller actions I suppose.
AA: DC, Marvel, or Image? (Or Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock)
SS: Image. Because Sex Criminals.. Because I too am a Sex…..Criminal… wait.. no.. Enthusiast.. This came out wrong.
What do we find out about Alex? Find out in our next installment!!
Continuing our theme of Togetherness this November, our next staff interview pair is Kaitlyn and Kimmie. Read on to find out how Kaitlyn feels about her work on Game of Theories and how she became known as “The Red Pen Of Justice.”
Start us off with some basic stats! Who are you, where are you from, what’s your job class, and why don’t you remember the nickname I gave you?
Clearly I’m Kaitlyn, Content Editor lvl 10 hailing from the lowlands of New York. It’s Kait or Kaitlyn, The Un-Nicknameable. I don’t remember this moniker because you never gave me one. That or I’m a replicant.
You’ve been with us, in your words, just short of from the beginning. How and why did you end up joining?
In your “Meet Kimmie” feature, you mentioned how the site started as a reaction to some shenanigans over at a fledgling blog. Like most things, I believe I was bugged into applying to that site by Leia. By the time I had written a sample piece, the site had imploded and you two started what would become Sub-Cultured. By this point I had developed an immunity to Leia’s bugging, so it took her a few months of evolved tactics for her to convince me to apply to your team, which led to years of fun and new levels of Leia poking me to get my shit together. Hope I was worth it.
What is it that you do for Sub-Cultured?
A few months ago, I was crowned content editor and vassal lord. Basically, while still contributing reviews, opinions, interviews etc, I’m also the main editor for the team. Proudly, I also can say that I’ve written some episodes of Game of Theories and contributed and edited others. Also, when fans ask us content questions or offer critique on the youtube pages, it’s generally me responding to them (thus the mask of anonymity is cast off) Basically, if Kimmie’s tongue is twisting around ridiculous alliteration, I wrote it.
You’ve referred to yourself as “The Red Pen Of Justice.” How did that name come about and how has it applied to Sub-Cultured?
Arrogance, it came about from arrogance. But actually, the process of writing and researching for the Game of Theories’ scripts is something I find really interesting and I’d love to do a behind the scenes feature in the future because we’ve really developed a great system. I started calling myself that because I claimed red Google doc ink as my note color because A) red is brutal and B) I used to work at a college and did a lot of proofing and editing of papers for students. “Justice”…well from years of experience both with others’ work and my own, I think it can be clear when something is unclear and rushed through, so often my comments or notes are just “vague” or snarkily “wat,” because often writers know when they just shrugged and ended an incomplete thought with a period just to move on with their day. Not on my watch. I speak for the trees… err words. Of course, I will often argue substituting one word for another for an entire essay long-rant that no one asked for, but even Batman’s unquenchable pursuit of justice must annoy the League once and awhile.
I love writing and I think that crafting an argument and presenting information is equal parts art and logic, and I love editing because it requires a split mind between writer and reader, which is a challenge. For Game of Theories, for instance, once the massive amount of research is completed, the information has to be presented in an interesting and effective way, so the execution of writing a script is like a puzzle. It’s fun, and through editing I know I’ve become a better writer. I hope the team feels the same way and has improved with my feedback.
What is it like to work with a team that is mostly virtual? How do Wildlings get internet signals North of The Wall?
World Wide Weirwood Network, Duh. But honestly, spearwives are busy, yo. Balancing school, work, occasional bullshit time would render working on SC stuff pretty impossible if we didn’t have a really great system for working collaboratively on projects. Kimmie and Leia are like masters at the long form post for updates and are incredibly amazing at asking for and taking in feedback. They are the headmistresses, but Sub-Cultured is a team machine, and is really only possible because everyone is enthusiastic and supportive of each other. Collaboration isn’t about live and real-time work, it’s about respecting and working with different people and opinions, which also means working with different schedules and real life stuff.
You’ve mentioned before that you’re “going dark” for Star Wars. What does that entail and how have you been handling it?
Well I wrote a whole post about it but simply, I’m not an anti-spoiler fanatic, but I often avoid trailers for movies that I want to see. Speculation just really isn’t my jam.
In the case of Star Wars, which sits pretty high on my list of things that I care about, I have full faith in the franchise and where it is heading, and I want to sit in that theater and be completely surprised, and I just don’t think that is possible with a head full of internet leaks and images. I cried when I saw that first trailer, they don’t need to advertise to me any more than that.
Old Gods, Faith of the Seven, or Red God?
Ha, well despite my wildling nature, I love the Faith of the Seven in the novels. The depiction Maiden, Mother, and Crone (besides being an awesome name for an all-female metal band) is beautiful to me, and I love the similar depictions of the Fates in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
I’ve mentioned to you before that I think you’re a Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation. Dry and no-nonsense, but with a loveable streak. If you could describe yourself with a fictional character, who would come the closest?
Ha, well once you told me that and I finally watched all of Parks and Rec, I just don’t think I can shake the similarities. I would watch an episode and just shake my head because, I mean, I’m Ben Wyatt.
There have been a couple of questions alluding to Game of Thrones, so let’s just real talk for a second – Tell me what it is about A Song of Ice and Fire that drew you in and your work on Sub Cultured’s “Game of Theories” webseries.
I think I first read the series when I was 15. I used to sneak my copy of A Game of Thrones behind my religion book (I went to an all-girls Catholic school) and read in class. I’m fairly certain I had just finished The Dark Tower, and was looking for a new book to get into, so my mom handed me her copy and told me to prepare myself for a new obsession. My mother was also the one that started me on The Dark Tower, so obviously I was raised by awesomeness.
Which is your favorite thing that you’ve done for Sub-Cultured thus far?
It has to be Game of Theories, without any runners up. I learned so much from that project and working with Kimmie and Leia. Kimmie taught me about video editing, I learned so much about content sharing and how YouTube works. I learned where my strengths are and aren’t. I learned to get mad and talk it out, as well as when to check myself. Besides that, I know a FUCK TON MORE about A Song of Ice and Fire than I did before.
What kind of things are lurking in your To Do list for 2016?
I have some big editing projects coming up, but I’d also like to create some lasting and frequently updated columns for Sub-Cultured. Also Star Wars tattoo? Possibly possibly.
Everybody gather together this month at Sub-Cultured! Next featured in our “Meet the Staff” series is Kimmie Britt, co-foundress of our little corner of the internet. Find out how to not talk to her at parties and exactly what it takes to run a multi-media pop culture site.
KD: Ok, Kimleesi, let’s have it: Who the hell are you at Sub-Cultured anyway? You have a business card for us?
KB: Well, Kimleesi is fine for all intents and purposes, but I suppose I should clarify that my name is actually Kimmie Britt. Someone wife me up so I can change my stupid name already. I am a co-founder, as well as an editor, and general April Ludgate of Sub Cultured. Khaleesi of the Great Sass Sea. Titles, titles.
KD: I’ve been contributing to the site for years now, just short of “from the beginning.” The development from day one to now would probably surprise a lot of readers and certainly would impress anyone trying to create their own website. What are you most proud of about the growth of the website?
KB: Looking back, it’s pretty hilarious how different we were in the beginning. This whole shebang actually started because of a Star Wars message board, if you can believe it. A different website was looking for contributors and my friend (and eventual co-founder) Leia passed it along to me, as we were friends in the forums but not in real life – even though we lived in the same town. We worked fine with their team and met our deadlines as assigned until the Smallville finale came up. The editor of that outlet wanted to take the finale for himself because it was a hot topic, despite having no frame of reference for Smallville, as he’d never seen an episode of the show. I protested that as I had been watching faithfully for years, I more qualified to pen the review, which was shot down really quick. I closed my mouth and watched as his review was posted, and as you can guess, was horrendous. So I did the mature thing. Commented on his article that I disagreed, grabbed popcorn, and waited. I didn’t anticipate the gross overreaction, but it led me to call the editor out on his bullshit and lack of fact checking and decide that I had no interest in being a part of a team that wasn’t allowed to have opinions. Leia agreed, and we both bailed. While we were attending Dallas Comic Con, we decided that with our different skills combined, it wouldn’t be difficult to create a concept where we could share our opinions and any team or reader didn’t have to worry about being silenced. We surpassed the other site well within the first six months and have been growing ever since. But from where we first started? It’s so different.
KD: What’s the most challenging part of running Sub-cultured?
KB: Learning the difference between busy vs being lazy. There’s not as fine of a line you’d think if you’re being honest. Don’t make excuses for yourself. If you’re going to school or working a 50 hour week and balancing hobbies, that’s fair, you’re busy. But if you’re watching Netflix or dicking around instead of doing that thing you committed to, you’re being lazy. I think it’s the Type A in me that is always trying to represent herself well, because I always ask, “Am I putting 100% of my effort into this task? How will this thing come across?” If I’m not giving it my all, it’s being lazy, and it will show in the end product. There is also the team aspect, because part of working with a team is learning how others works, and I’ve been very isolated from that for a long time, so it has been a learning process. But the most challenging? Learning that not everyone works to the same standard and checking my disappointment.
KD: What’s the most fun?
KB: Is it horrible that this is the question I keep coming back to because I’m not sure how to answer it? It’s a balancing act, so the fun things that I get to do have a lot of work behind the scenes, and that’s how it should be. Obviously if you’re viewing the end result from the outside, that is the most fun. I think the best part are the interesting and talented people that I am extremely privileged to call my friends. The people that I have met through interviews, the meaningful connections that I’ve made, the project collaborations. Hearing from people I admire that they enjoy my work is very humbling and pushes me to keep going. Learning from people who are so dedicated to what they do and being inspired to work harder every time. Am I being too vague? A few examples include having a private interview with Stan Lee, giggling like schoolgirls with Ashley Eckstein, and spending my first ever trip to E3 in the company of Guinness World Records title holder Kat Gunn. I think those have been some of my favorite trips and experiences.
KD: What do you look for in a contributor?
KB: You will most likely disagree, but don’t feel like I’m too demanding or that my standards are too high. I like people with a great voice and interesting things to say. But the most important quality to me is finding someone who can back up all the talk with action. It’s all well and good to shout your resume from the rooftops, but if you’re not actually executing, they’re simply words. And words are wind.
KD: Can you talk a bit about your home office? I’ve seen it and it’s a content producer’s dream. How important is that space to you for your projects? How have you set it up?
KB: If you could only see the list inside of my head of all the things I need before it is complete in my mind! I’m still slowly building up my little mini studio as I learn new things and have the money (which is rarely lolol), and I’ve made it as transportable as possible, considering that I live a somewhat nomadic life. I’m generally moving again before I’ve really had a chance to get settled. Having a space that is my own is extremely important for me. I can work anywhere, mind you – I’m actually crafting this interview from a recliner in a bar, which probably says more about me than I intended. I have my office set up in four parts. The first is my computer desk, which is covered with a mix of pop culture figurines, condenser mics, audio interfaces, headphones, and wires. Wires literally everywhere. I do most of my writing, recording, and editing from that area. There have been 12 hour stretches where I have been so deeply involved in working that I haven’t moved from my computer chair. The second area is my main filming area, with my camera rig, a large screen, a plethora of lights, and a teleprompter that I built myself. Teleprompters are a lost art, man. If connecting with your audience is a goal, then you can’t do it by reading a script on a screen or taped up over your camera, it just wont work. The rest of the room is broken down into a more “casual” filming area, instruments and musical equipment, cosplay storage, books, and a makeup table. Every obsession I have is housed in my office. I’d say it’s on the cusp of being an intermediate setup and has most of the aspects that I want for now – aside from soundproofing, which is hella expensive.
KD: You’re a (lovable… sometimes… don’t fire me) perfectionist type. How do you know when you’ve produced something that is ready to go live?
KB: I always laugh when people call me a perfectionist, because I never noticed that I was until it was pointed out to me. Multiple times. I guess I just have a standard that I work to, which is that I won’t put out anything less than my best at the time – which means that if I’m not happy with it, it doesn’t go up. You’d laugh to see how many half finished projects I have hanging out in the bowels of my computer because I had to stop, admit to myself that I wasn’t prepared to execute it yet, and re strategize my time to include learning what I didn’t yet know. And don’t get me started on how frustrated I get when I don’t execute to the best of my ability or try do something I only know in theory. If I can’t execute the first time with only the theory, I become kind of a mini monster. But if you’re asking me if this is a problem or hinders me in any way? Then I would say no. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to double and triple check that you aren’t putting half assed or lazy content out. If a news anchor didn’t wear make up under those bright lights or a guitarist didn’t make sure his instrument was in tune while setting up, they wouldn’t perform, and that’s the philosophy I apply. I don’t want to read, listen to, or watch an inferior product, so why would random person give me leeway that I wouldn’t even give myself? It’s good to have a high standard, that means there’s less to pick apart and you represent yourself to the best of your ability.
KD: Let’s expose ourselves a second. Discuss how you and I first “met”.
KB: I mean, I’ve hit the point of no return by mentioning that I participated in Star Wars forums. Every day. A few times a day. Sometimes I didn’t put on pants, but that is neither here nor there. So it’s a natural assumption that I found a few people on those forums who weren’t actually idiots, and you were one of them! If I had known what I was getting into when I first joined that Star Wars forum…
KB: Is that a real question? I generally never shut up about him. Luke Skywalker is the main character of Star Wars, yes, but that is ALSO the name of my 120 lb Rottweiler / German Shepherd mix, who is honestly so big that he may as well be a person. Some people say that their dog is their best friend, but my dog is my family. The first thing I did when I moved out on my own, almost before buying furniture, was head to the local animal shelter. Luke had arrived at the shelter not even an hour before I got there, he was the first dog I saw, and I was the first person to see him. He was just the dopiest looking puppy, with these expressive eyebrows and the lankiest legs he had no control over. He looked like Bambi when he takes his first wobbly steps and I was done, I didn’t need to look any more. Of all of the decisions I’ve made in my life, adopting this dog is hands down top three.
KD: To swerve a bit, because it’s of a particular importance to me, talk to us about the Game of Theories webseries? What about A Song of Ice and Fire merited a whole web series, and what did you learn from producing it?
KB: I’ve learned that I am actually Jon Snow, because I know nothing. A Song Of Ice and Fire is so interesting to me. It’s like Ben Wyatt says in Parks and Recreation: “It’s not just for fantasy enthusiasts, they’re telling human stories in a fantasy world.” Is that only my second Parks reference? I’m surprised there aren’t more. Nothing is black and white, everything is connected if you pay attention, and holy shit is the devil in the details. Every time I come back to a Game of Theories script, it includes hours of fact checking and I always find something new that I didn’t catch the first few times around. It’s fun to connect with like minded fans who are just as enthralled with this text as I am, but unfortunately there are bad points about creating a webseries as well.
For example, when we put out our Rickon episode, commenters were very quick to point out that Shireen Baratheon was now dead in the HBO show’s canon. However, we explicitly state that our information comes straight from the texts of A Song of Ice And Fire rather than HBO’s Game of Thrones, and additionally, our Rickon episode was uploaded before that particular HBO episode aired and killed off Shireen’s character. Readers don’t actually know yet if this deviation in the show is canon, as it has not been written in any book. Making Game of Theories is one of my more time consuming hobbies. Between hours of script writing, fact checking, filming, editing, and waiting for voice actors, on top of having 50+ hours of my week sucked away in work, dedicated time to Sub Cultured, AND being a dog mom and a person who would like a modicum of free time every now and then to actually, you know, ENJOY life. It’s a lot for one person, and people need to be more understanding of that. Don’t be demanding of content or condescending towards content creators who don’t put out things as fast as you want them. Be appreciative that you have free content to watch that I made in my spare time because I am as big of a fan of this as you are.
KD: Ok so you’re bored at a party, how do you make it through the appropriate amount of time before you can leave gracefully?
KB: Simple, don’t go to parties. I actually manage to talk myself out of going out in public quite a bit. It’s a pretty useful skill if you’re interested in saving money! Honestly, I’m a super people watcher, but just mention dogs or books and I’m yours for the night.
KD: Let’s talk cosplay, what’s your favorite character to dress as and what are you plotting for upcoming conventions?
KB: Damn. Okay, so real talk – 2015 was very hectic for me as far as my personal life, which meant that I decided to take a hiatus from conventions and cosplay for the year. Going to a convention for fun and going on behalf of Sub Cultured are two extremely different things. 2016 looks like it will be a little different this time around, and I am excited to see friends from across the US – because thats what cons are, they’re a reunion with all the friends you wish lived closer. My cosplay list is entirely too long, as it’s been backed up over the last year as new media comes out. My priorities for 2016 are Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, And of course a new rendition of Daenerys Targaryen. She will never be off my list because she is my main boo, khaleesi bae, shekh ma shieraki anni. On my To Do list for 2016 is interview Jason Momoa, because I missed him this year. That is definitely a plot which will probably see me carried off in handcuffs. I should probably set aside bail money in advance.
KD: Ok, finally: what’s coming up for you and Sub-Cultured? Dream baby, dream.
KB: You’re giving me clearance to dream? Shit. Well, SC wise, I mentioned that I took a year off from attending conventions, so getting my shit together by January is going to be top priority in time for convention season. First and foremost is a redesign of the entire site, followed by our first podcast episode just in time for the Star Wars release in December. We have some content to solidify before January, such as Let’s Plays, Unboxings, and a secret. Anticipation, eh? I’d like to finish season one of Game of Theories, as it follows House Stark, by the new year and kick things off right with a huge Game of Thrones giveaway. Personally, I have a few solo projects that I want to start, as well as streaming and more cosplay. I miss playing music, so I would like to incorporate that into my everyday routine, but getting back into it takes more time than I’m willing to invest. I’d like to be more fluent in the instruments I do know how to play and additionally learn more, with drums being my priority. There honestly aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with my constantly moving brain, so I am always scheduling, prioritizing, and reworking. I should probably add some yoga in there too as a way to de-stress. Can I just dream in my sleep? I’m sure I don’t do enough of that.
That’s it from Kimmie for this Meet the Staff, and I’m next!
Continuing our theme of Togetherness this November, our next interview pair is Jen and Colby. Read on to find out how Colby feels about his cheesy namesake, and why he cried a bunch in Disney World. (It’s okay–Jen might have cried, too.)
JS: Start us off with some basic stats! Who are you, where are you from, what’s your job class?
CS: I’m Colby! I’ve lived all over Texas, but currently, I’ve put down roots in Austin. I’m currently working as a software engineer for a company that does social media marketing for local businesses called Main Street Hub.
JS: What is it you do for/contribute to Sub Cultured?
CS: I’ve done video content in the past (and perhaps in the future WINKYFACE), but at the moment, I do monthly articles, cover video game conventions, and stream weekly on our Twitch channel.
JS: Were you always comfortable with who you are, geek wise?
CS: I spent most of my childhood growing up in a farming community, and there wasn’t a lot of nerdiness around, so I wasn’t quite sure that’s what I was? Everyone I knew played video games and watched Dragon Ball Z. That was just the thing you did. When high school rolled around, people started partying and I went in to theater, so I never really felt out of place with my interests. As a result I think I’ve always been comfortable, but only due to luck, and eventually flagrant disregard of strangers’ opinions.
JS: Everyone seems to have a ‘geeky’ property, like Star Wars or Firefly, that they hold near and dear to them. What’s yours and why?
CS: There’s a few anime I refuse to let out of my heart like Toradora, Gurren Lagann, and Kill la Kill, but the one IP that’s been around since I was a kid and I enjoy immensely is Final Fantasy. My all time favorite is Final Fantasy VI (III in America), but recently, I’ve been watching speedruns of Final Fantasy VII and really remembering how great it was.
JS: Between your FF love and your consistent game streaming, what’s your all time favorite video game?
CS: I’m lucky in that I haven’t experienced depression to the depths that most of the people I associate with have, so I actually have a couple of things that I can do to shake off a bad day. I’ll usually induce crying, either by watching the season finale of House season 4 or some choice moments in Gurren Lagann. Beyond that, a good nap or dinner with someone I can talk to are also pretty helpful.
JS: Is there a superpower you wish you had? Any particular reason why?
CS: My current boss actually asked me this in my job interview and was surprised that I had such a detailed answer. I want to be able to teleport anywhere instantly that I can see. This includes through transparent glass, clear water, etc. With that, I can simulate flight and get anywhere I need to incredibly quickly, but I like that there are limitations. So if a super villain were to kidnap me, they’d really only need to blindfold me. I like the idea of really strong superpowers that are easily disabled if you’re not careful.
Also if you’re not paying attention, you could teleport to the sun. And wow, no.
JS: Are there people in the geek community that inspire you, be it a celebrity or a scientist? If you’ve met them, how was the experience?
CS: I actually really like this guy on Twitch named Vinny. He’s a streamer and musician that plays a pretty wide swath of games on his channel. He’s just a chill dude that seems incredibly genuine, tells stories well, and knows how to wrangle a chat. I met him very briefly at PAX East earlier this year and It’s one of the few times in my life I was suddenly and violently aware of how uncool I am in comparison to the person I’m talking to. Pretty sure I had no chill.
JS: If people were inclined to find you on the internet, where can they look?
CS: I knock about on Sub Cultured with an article here and there and you can always watch me stream on our Twitch channel. Outside of that, I made an app called Canvas Clash that’s out on iTunes and Android right now and also wrote a short book on how to get in to mobile app development called Getting Started With Apps, which is out on Amazon.
Thanks for reading about Colby, check out his interview with Jen later this week!
All through November, we will be covering the best ways to be spend time together, whether it’s playing a board game rife with betrayal, or cooking up something delicious. With that in mind, a lot of us work at Sub Cultured, but don’t know much about each other since we are spread out across the United States, so we devised a fun way to learn about one another!
Our first “Meet the Staff” features one of the founding members Sub Cultured, Leia Calderon, interviewed by myself, Jeremy Harris.
JH: Start us off with some basic stats! Who are you, where are you from, what’s your job class, what do you want to be doing?
LC: I’m a regular person living in Dallas, Texas for the foreseeable future. I’m in love with my day job of managing a comic store, but when I play video games with job classes, I always choose the mage!! Or the girl character, which is usually the same thing, haha. In tabletops, I tend to choose healing classes like clerics, or things I can do funny things with like bards! As far as what I want to be doing…I’m pretty content being in the comics industry, so I would like to definitely do that in some shape, way, or form, be it behind the counter, or maybe penning my own in the future.
JH: Favorite comic?
LC: Right now? Comics come out every Wednesday, so I always have a new favorite. Um, I’m really digging Jason Aaron’s take on Doctor Strange, I LOVE Patrick Gleason’s Robin: Son of Batman, and basically anything James Tynion IV writes for DC. Indie stuff, there’s so much! Obviously big stuff like Saga and Sex Criminals, and I’m dying for everyone to read Monstress from Marjorie Liu! If you mean, like, books I can’t live without type of favorites, um, Locke & Key, Maus, or the manga NANA and Boys Over Flowers. SO MANY!!!
JH: What is it you do for/contribute to Sub Cultured?
LC: I do a lot of back end type stuff, like handling some of our social media, editing articles, and I am a co-writer on our YouTube series, Game of Theories. When I can, I write about stuff in the comics industry.
JH: Were you always comfortable with who you are, geek wise?
LC: NO! I was always called a bookworm like it was a bad thing, and for some reason, perhaps because I was teased at school for my name and looks, I never talked about the video games I played until I was a teenager. After the age of 16, all of my fucks went out the window and I embraced who I was fully.
JH: Snape, good guy or bad guy, why?
LC: I think Snape had the potential to be a good guy, but he was a selfish bully with only his own interests at heart, so ultimately, while I do think his heart might have had good bits in it…I would definitely have to put him in the bad guy territory with Dumbledore.
JH: What is your favorite kind of mythical creature from any mythology?
LC: Dragons. There’s so much lore about them, and the thought that they COULD be telepathic, and in a range of jewel tones or earthy tones, depending on the book, and their eggs being beautiful or burning your hands, they’re just the best. Plus, they FLY, and if it’s able to grow big enough you get to ride it, and be partners with it. How could you not love the thought of dragons?
LC: Not as many as you might think. My experiences are mostly annoyance at my name being mispronounced, and the occasional high five at its geeky nature!
JH: In the whole world of geeky culture if you could only ever watch, read, enjoy one one property what would it be and why? This doesn’t have to be your favorite.
LC: Oh, it’s either Star Wars (pre-EU erasure), or Orson Scott Card’s Ender Verse. Both are so rich in detail, and while Star Wars has much more in its backlog, the Ender Saga made such a profound impact on my life, it’s kind of hard to imagine life before it, even if the author is a bigot of the highest degree. It’s really difficult to choose just one, but I mean, OBVIOUSLY STAR WARS, if I only have to choose one. It has my namesake, so I gotta be biased.
JH: Without spoilers what are your hopes for Episode VII?
LC: I just want to see Star Wars made with love. I want to feel magic in my blood, tingles down my spine, tears in my eyes from pure, unadulterated joy. If the trailers are anything to go by, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.
JH: Is there a superpower you wish you had? Any particular reason why?
LC: Telekinesis. Although my love for her has waned in recent years, Jean Grey was my favorite X-Men character, and while I disliked so much of her storyline, her mastery of the power made quite the impression on me in my formative years. I’ve no doubt I would use it to mess with people from time to time, but I’m pretty sure I’d utilize it in the laziest of ways like flipping the pages of a book when I’m not attempting to save people.
JH: How do you find it being a woman in the pretty typically male dominated and sexist geek culture?
LC: It’s gotten SO MUCH BETTER. I think as recently as five years ago, it was still very misogynistic, including my work place. There was a lot of challenging sort of exchanges from men to prove myself, but I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, and I truly believe comics and video games and stuff are for everyone. Overall, it’s only getting better, and more accepting.
JH: How would you use your experiences to help other women in and with the culture?
LC: I do what I can by trying to provide a safe space for us. I guess, as long as it’s obvious we can band together and face what adversity there is, we can help change things for the better. No one has to be alone, you guys!
JH: What’s the most personal thing you’re willing to divulge in this very public interview?
LC: Um, I am utterly terrified of severe thunderstorms. The mere mention or hint of possible tornadic activity just sends my anxiety into overdrive and I panic, haha.
JH: What alternate universe would you prefer to live in?
LC: Middle Earth. Anything could happen there.
JH: What’s the “best” fictional language?
LC: QUENYA! It’s the speech of the Valar, and the elves that answered the summons of Oromë in Silmarillion. Quenya was, like, Middle Earth’s version of Latin in that it wasn’t spoken as much and a lot of the more familiar dialects of Elvish, like Sindarin, were derived from it. Fun fact, Elvenkind is referred to as Quendi, haha! Aw, and I just…I remember reading it as a teen and loving the idea that it was spoken both through word and through gesture. I don’t know, I guess I always felt it was kind of romantic, a language of the angelic like Valar.
JH: Have you been to a Wawa? If not get on that. Fly to one if you have to.
LC: What the HELL is a Wawa?? Is it….a person?!
JH: If people were inclined to find you on the internet, where can they look?
LC: I am everywhere as ladyvader99. Like, for real, I’d be very surprised if you stumbled across a ladyvader99 that was not me.
Thanks for reading, and keep an eye on the site for our other interviews…I’m next!