TTG: What inspired you to recycle comic books into different items?
L: It was around 5 years ago. I was looking for a way to celebrate comic books and the artistry that goes into them. As fans, we often forget that artists and writers spend their entire lives on these books and we put them in cellophane bags and store them in dark closets to accrue money. Statistically speaking, the amount of books that are going to gain value are few and far between so I thought: What better way to celebrate these books/characters/artists than to turn them into useful pieces of geekery?
In this capacity, you can wear a piece of your favorite superhero or heroine out to a movie, use them as coaster, or a wallet or even magnets on your wall. The idea is to take something that would spend it’s entire printed life in a bag and give it a new purpose as something you can take with you and appreciate daily.
TTG: What was the first comic/item you “PopCycled”?
L: I have a friend who is really into Batman and she loves finding stuff with Batman on it. I want to surprise her with a necklace with Batman or the Bat Symbol on it. I go to my local comic store and while they tried to be helpful the ultimate response was: “They just don’t make Batman stuff for girls”. Not to be daunted by something as simple as “they don’t make it” – I decided to make my own. I bought some Batman comics, did some research and made a necklace for her. It came out perfectly!
Shortly thereafter, friends saw what I did and asked for stuff of their own. That’s basically how we got started.
Ironically when I first started this venture, it was to focus on making cool geek stuff for women. Really give them a place to find all kinds of new and amazing items that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Then something unexpected happened. Men started asking for stuff they could use. Keychains, wallets, business card cases, coasters, etc… After talking to my husband, we decided that it was only fair to do that as well or how were we better than the companies that ignore women? Everyone loves art and items made from real comic pages. Why should we deny them a chance to fall in love with a piece based on gender?
TTG: Do you ever keep some of the PopCycled items you made for yourself?
L: Do I have to answer this honestly? I’m kidding. Actually, I’m very attached to every item I make. I love nearly every item I make and want to keep them all because they are so cool. When I first started this as a profession, it took everything in me to sell the items because so much of my creativity and time went into them. After a while though it became a lot easier.
That said, yes I have kept a few items for myself. Over the years I have made a few items I just could not give up and they have made it into my personal collection. I know for a f act I have at least 4 pendants, One compact mirror, two coaster sets, 3 business card cases and a few keychains that will never see the commerce floor.
TTG: How much fun is it traveling to different cons and setting up your booth?
L: I love traveling to different cons! Meeting new people and making new friends is one of the best fringe benefits to this entire venture! Once a month I travel to a new city, stay in a fun hotel, see all sorts of cool geeky things, sell my artwork and make money doing something that I love? How can you not love that?
As far as my booth, it’s an evolution in process. I spend hours figuring out the best setup to help people find items and look appealing at a glance. I’ve been complimented more than once that we have the nicest setup at a convention and I can’t say how gratifying that is to hear considering how hard I work to make everything we do accessible. Especially considering no one can tell what we do just by our name. They have to explore and discover all of this awesomeness themselves.
TTG: How did it feel to win The Geeky Award Best Use of Recycled Material / Craft?
L: I was shocked when it happened! The item I submitted was a custom order from a fan who had been following us for years. He adores Poision Ivy and wanted to create a coaster set from her first appearance. The funny part is, this book is quite valuable, so long as the original poster that came with it is intact. So he went and found a copy that was just the book and gave it to us to create his coasters. He loved it so much, he asked for the original pages back and framed the pieces – so on his wall he has cut up comic pages framed and a set of award winning coasters on his coffee table.
How cool is that?
For us, it was awesome. We love the Geekies and love that its an award show celebrating the best and brightest in geek culture (yes, we are a culture). To be the first person to ever win this award much less to win at all has been amazing and truly humbling that our work goes beyond kitschy cool and something that is legitimately impressive. I love it.
TTG: Side Question – If you could have only one superpower in life, what would it be?
L: Well I know my husband’s answer would be Super Speed. He loves the Flash.
For me…I’d say talking to animals. I love my dog so darn much and I’d love to actually have a conversation with her and all the other critters I meet. Also super strength. I love Wonder Woman and would love to be able to work out with her, bench pressing cars and splitting boulders in half!
A HUGE thank you to Laura for doing this! I own many pieces from her and every time I see her at a convention, I always leave with something new! Keep up to date with Laura and Popcycled Baubles by following her on Twitter, Facebook, and of course, her Etsy shop!