In today’s Women in Geek interview, I’m talking with Vicky Connolly! Vicky works at Escape Velocity Comics, and she’s actually one of the women on the Denver Comic Con panel that inspired this series. I’ve been interviewing women in a ton of different geeky lines of work, so if you’ve missed out on my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Megan Gotch, Christina Janke, or Marissa Reynolds go here to check them all out. Now here’s Vicky!
What do you do in geek culture?
Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?
Working at Escape Velocity is my day job; the website is just something I’m doing for fun.
How did you get started in this?
I worked at a video game store first. The store had a comic book section, and I managed that. Working there didn’t really work out for me, so I quit. I ended up applying to Escape Velocity, and several months after applying I got a call asking if I wanted to work for them.
What got you interested in this field?
I love sci-fi, so that’s always been something I’m drawn to. I also played lots of video games as a kid.
What is your ultimate goal with this? Go with the flow. start the blog, dream to work with Image Comics.
Who are some of your female geek role models, and why? Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day, definitely. I also really love Gail Simone and how she’s always so in touch with people and issues.
Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance?
A lot of times customers will ask me stuff like, “Do you actually read comics or do you just work here?” Sometimes customers will flat-out ignore me and go to my co-workers, even the guys who just started, simply because he’s a guy. Most people just genuinely don’t understand how sexist they’re being. I really have a ton of supportive customers that just like to hang. I’ve also found that the energy you put off can also be helpful. I try to not make people feel dumb, and put out positive energy. People usually respond pretty well to that. Ultimately, people will be people, but you have to find the good parts.
What is the best thing about your line of work?
The people and conversations I have. If I was working in any other retail job, I’d just be another peon, but here I really feel like I matter. If you’re not there, it’s noticed. Escape Velocity is really a welcome and loving community.
What’s a big misconception about comic book stores? One of the biggest misconception I encounter is that people assuming comics are only for kids, and while we love kids, 90% of stuff in my store is not meant for kids. It’s a lot of collectibles and valuables.
There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?
People skills! You need to be able to not always fire back when people says something you disagree with, and learn to get along with people. It’s a close knit crowd, so it’s all about people getting to know you. At the end of the day, people to like you. Networking is important, so stuff like attending cons is a huge thing. You also can’t care what other people think about you. Some people just aren’t going to like you, no matter what you do, and you just have to move on.
Since entering in this line of geeky work, have you met friends or found any new communities to be a part of?
Absolutely. I’ve gotten to know 50+ local artists and I had the opportunity to do that Women in the Geek Industry panel at Denver Comic Con. Really, my whole community is made up of nerds!
What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?
I have interests outside of nerdy things. I love comics, ironic tees, and all that but I also love stuff like learning about history and western civilizations, gangster novels, and trail running. I’ve got a lot of interests outside of nerdy stuff.
Any parting thoughts?
Nerds need to stick together! There are a lot of changes out there with the cosplay community and stuff, but there’s a reason we go to cons. We love the same stuff. Let’s stick up for each other and not get caught in the drama.