Nerdy Stuffs offers comic books and community

Posted on Oct 3 2013 - 9:54am by Jessica Trondsen, Editor-in-Chief

Nerdy Stuffs is here to save the day of any student looking for a local pop culture community.

Kevin Knodell, Nerdy Stuffs' community outreach coordinator, stands in front of rows of comic books. Photo by Jessica Trondsen.

Kevin Knodell, Nerdy Stuffs’ community outreach coordinator, stands in front of rows of comic books. Photo by Jessica Trondsen.

With comic books, apparel, card games, action figures, table top games and much more, local business Nerdy Stuffs now boasts a new location down the street from Pacific Lutheran University.

It took approximately 24 hours this summer for the business to relocate from Spanaway to the lot behind the Mattress Ranch on Pacific Avenue.

Founded in July of 2012, Nerdy Stuffs quickly outgrew its former location with high turnouts at its multitude of community events.

“Our community was growing. Our inventory was growing,” Kevin Knodell, the store’s community outreach coordinator, said.

 In his position, PLU alum Knodell talks to local businesses and organizes programs. Of the store’s patrons, Knodell said he hopes “they know that we moved closer and that we didn’t move away.”

The store reopened in its new location on Aug. 17 with a free mini comic convention called Nerdy Con. The costumed crowd included a variety of local artists and writers, including comic writers Brandon Jerwa and Clayton Crain.

Nerdy Con was one way Nerdy Stuffs hoped to introduce itself to its new community as “not just a retail space,” Knodell said. “It can be, but it’s a social space too.”

With tables set up in the back of the store for customers to play games and follow demos, the staff of Nerdy Stuffs is happy to host its diverse crowd of young and old customers. 

“‘Nerdy’ would be the only demographic that really sticks,” Knodell said.

Nerdy Stuffs also consistently offers events in partnership with the Northern Pacific Coffee Company on Garfield Street. Every Thursday night since January, the two have hosted game nights at 7 p.m. at NPCC.

Nerdy Stuffs and NPCC also team up with CLAW, the Cartoonists’ League of Absurd Washingtonians, for networking and low-key gatherings known as Drink-n-Draws, where local beers and ciders are on tap for local artists and customers who come out to win prizes.

Saturday’s Drink-n-Draw raffled off two tickets to Jet City Comic Show, the Nov. 2 Seattle and Tacoma comic book event. Tickets for the show can also be purchased in-store for $8.

According to its website, http://www.cartoonistsleague.org/ , CLAW is a Tacoma “secret-society” cartoonist group that sponsors a scholarship for a student enrolled in school and interested in cartooning.

In 2012, the group raised $1,059.10 through donations for the scholarship.

With CLAW, Nerdy Stuffs sponsors the annual event 24-Hour Comics Day on the first Saturday of October.

Starting at 10 a.m., the event lasts 24 hours, during which participants are expected to complete a 24-page comic book.

Like any Nerdy Stuff’s event, anyone is welcome to participate, Knodell said. “There’s no such thing as too nerdy or not nerdy enough.”

Those interested can sign up on the day of, but completing the event “is quite a challenge to do,” Knodell said. “No sleep. No rest.”

The key to the event is to try to draw one comic per hour, Knodell said. “You’re not necessarily going for quality.”

CLAW founding member and local artist Mark Monlux is slated to attend 24-Hour Comics Day. Nerdy Stuffs sells his work.

Of the merchandise in Nerdy Stuffs, comic books are what drew in Knodell to work for the store. Knodell was a customer of Comic Book Ink before it closed and struck up a friendship with former Comic Book Ink employee, Carmen Melendez, who now serves as Nerdy Stuffs’ general manager.

Knodell attained a part-time position that eventually became full-time. “Other game and comic stores don’t have community outreach coordinators, but that’s what makes Nerdy Stuffs unique,” Knodell said.

As Hollywood takes on more and more superhero based movies, Knodell said he thinks “people should care about comic books, because it’s a storytelling medium that deserves a lot more respect than it is often given.”

Although Nerdy Stuffs sells several different kinds of comic books from local artists to Batman, Knodell said the card game Magic: The Gathering is one of the best-selling items at the store. The fantasy-adventure trading card game can be played by two or more people.

From his experience working at Nerdy Stuffs’ community events, Knodell said he believes “the artists and writers in the industry are some of the hardest working people I’ve had the good fortune to meet and some of the most creative certainly. I think they deserve people’s attention,” Knodell said. “And their money.”

Nerdy Stuffs is open seven days a week and offers a 10 percent discount on most items to those who present valid student ID. “We love our Lutes,” Knodell said. “We’re happy to call this neighborhood our home.”

Nerdy Stuffs can be found on Facebook and in-person at 12223 Pacific Ave S.