ANO On Assignment Part 2: Meet Natalie

I say thee awesome!  Photo by Ryan Shewchuk Photography

In my endeavors to find the nerdy corners of Sin City it became clear I would need some help; a guide of sorts to direct me to the local flavors a humble tourist might overlook.  This led me to contact a local expert; in the year or so I’ve been writing and telling you about all occurrences of nerdiness I have been lucky to run across some of the best events and people I’ve ever known.  When I tracked down a local expert I wasn’t fully aware of what I was getting into; it has been more than an honor to sit down and chat with one of the most truly righteous people I’ve ever met.  She is a mom, an entrepeneur, a nerd, a writer, a costume maker, and a very nice lady.  I’m talking about Natalie Midkiff; keep that name in your head this woman is going places.

My first impression of Natalie was turning around to see a tall woman carrying a large war hammer.  She was striking and immediately left a good impression on me.  Yes, she brought along her self-made (she knows how to weld like a bad ass) version of Mjolnir (some might even call it a very correct version) and a striking escort (a very personable fellow that goes by the name “Viking”).  I’d come to the right place (of course since I’d set the meeting that was a no-brainer).  Introductions were made, seats found, and I sat down for one of the most enjoyable conversations I’ve ever had.  The hammer was made by her to go with a Thor costume she’d worn for Free Comic Book Day (it also made an appearance at the Avengers); the costume itself has been designed by her but was ultimately built by her close friend Miraya of Firedust Designs.  This was a creative woman with a knack for celebrating everything nerd (she’s even worked on doing nerd make up – also her text message sound is a lightsaber activating).  I mentioned she is a costume maker, well she’s working on several other upcoming outfits as well (and not just for herself – she also takes commissions).  As a woman she tries to find a way to make the costumes flattering but not overly heavy on T&A; sexy not trashy (make a note, this is an important distinction).  Oh and trust me gentlemen, there are attractive super nerdy girls out there (like this one!); they aren’t mythological like unicorns as some might have you believe.

Remember how I told you she was going places?  Well she absolutely is (she had a screen test for a job after our meeting and I’m confident she nailed it).  She has the passion and drive that makes a true nerd stand out; at one point she started up a local group for nerdy girls to get together and have a place to share interests.  She has since left the Leet Ladies for personal reasons but has left them able to gather and continue to share their nerd culture – a trait she is quick to show off.  She’s not an elitist by any means, nor is she intimidating (well I suppose with a war hammer in hand ANYONE is intimidating), all she wants is for people to be able to be themselves and enjoy the things they enjoy.  For her, nerd culture isn’t about liking odd things and being ostracized for it, its all about having passion for something you really like and being able to share it with others.  Maybe she is a unicorn, if in this case a unicorn means someone who actually follows Wheaton’s law.  Speaking of sharing, her hobby and de-stress tactic involves backing nerd themed cup cakes such as Justice League themed ones for her son’s birthday (seriously who doesn’t want a mom this awesome?).

Justice has never looked so tasty.

She’s also super active in the local nerd community even when she isn’t starting her own groups.  She works at a local comic shop (Cosmic Comics), works for Fatbeard Studios, was heading to a screen test, participates in local hobby events (such as HeroClix tournaments), makes costumes on commission, raises a wonderful son, and somehow still has time to read comics and play video games.  Her pull list is massive (as she unabashedly and proudly admitted), but her top five are current runs of Batman and Robin, Aquaman (which is so good, seriously go read it), Deadpool, Thor, and Crossed.  Yeah, she’s someone who really knows their comics (she also reads Walking Dead but really who doesn’t these days?).  Video games are one place where she cuts time for all her other stuff but she still manages to get time in to play Skyrim (a favorite here at ANO), The Old Republic (a personal favorite of mine), and is looking forward to the next Assassin’s Creed.  She was even a beta tester at one point for some small games you might have heard of like Halo and World of Warcraft.  She also writes the movie reviews for the website her comic shop has (including Avengers and upcoming Dark Knight Rises).  Don’t forget to check out her twitter and instagram feeds as well to keep up with her.

If I had to pin her for one single nerd thing I’d absolutely have to cite her love for Gotham’s Dark Knight.  She’s a huge Batman fan, she’s almost always wearing some sort of Bat-gear (and always sports a Batman tattoo just to be sure).  When I asked her about The Dark Knight Rises she admitted to being very excited (especially about writing the review) and has the utmost faith in Nolan’s ability to deliver a killer final chapter.  She also has faith in Catwoman; afterall she had some misgivings about the Joker but points to how well that turned out.  If Nolan wants Anne Hathaway as Catwoman then she is Catwoman (she makes a damn fine point folks).  A bit sad to see the story finally come to an end, she has high hopes for the future; hoping to see more of Talia and Ra’s al Ghul down the line (and hopefully some of Batman’s son, Damien).  She also hopes they eventually redo Poison Ivy to try to redeem her from her last terrible on-screen presence (she has plans for an Ivy piece on her leg at some point).  Oh and her response to Batman being gay might have involved a DC murder spree, but we all know how that turned out (really, Alan Scott?).

She’s a true nerd folks.  She defines being a true nerd as being passionate about it, not just knowing everything about it.  You have to really love it.  Natalie was one of the most incredible and fascinating people I have ever met, spending two hours with her wasn’t near long enough and I’d love to sit down and chat with her some more if the opportunity ever arises.  Don’t be afraid to come up to her and say hi (you can find her at the upcoming Vegas comic cons in September and November).  She can even help direct you toward whatever your nerd fancy is, or at least get you on the right path.  Huge thanks to her for sitting and talking(and for the cupcake!).  I can’t wait to see where this girl ends up; wherever it is we’ll all be a bit luckier and better for it.  The world needs more people like her.

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About Jeremiah Cochran

The last minute addition to the party that really brings it all together. Let's face it how else could you get past that Balrog without your Gandalf? (Yes I just compared myself to Gandalf, deal) A fan of comics, video games, sci-fi, fantasy, rolling dice, and tapping cards. Essentially he's the nerd renaissance man. Also he can cook. And do laundry (sort of).

Posted on June 6, 2012, in Comics, First Look, Interview, Movies, Occurrences, Podcasts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great article, Natalie is an amazing woman. That being said, I would appreciate credit if you’re going to use my photo in your article(s).

    Thank you.

  2. Credit and link added. Thank you sir! And a damn fine picture it is.

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