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GRRLTalk: Kristy Puchko

By Kristy Puchko

It's GRRLTalk, where we sit down with some favorite ladies to learn all about their relationship to fandom. Today, let's get to know SYFY FANGRRLS writer Kristy Puchko!

Kristy Puchko, Contributing Writer, FANGRRLS

What are you currently FANGRRLing over? Why do you love it?

My FANGRRLing of late has gotten very crafty. I've started making embroidery portraits of fictional characters, like the bear from Midsommar, David Rose from Schitt's Creek, and "Jessica" from Parasite. The most recent ones I've done celebrate my love of monster movies and comics. I recreated a movie poster for the kaiju comedy Colossal and captured the gut-busting ghost Izabel from Saga. That last one was especially challenging, as I had to figure out how to make disemboweled guts out of pink embroidery floss. Making fabric-based fan art has become a meditative way to celebrate the shows, movies, and comics I love.

What was your first fandom?

Probably The X-Files. Its blend of horror and science-fiction was totally intoxicating to me. I watched the show religiously and fell hard for Mulder and Scully. I shipped them before I knew that "shipping" was a thing. I cut out articles and magazine covers about X-Files and its stars, hiding the more provocative ones from my mom. I listened to Songs in the Key of X relentlessly, relishing every moody, spooky track, memorizing every lyric and spoken word. I even made my own fan tees with puffy paint and Sharpies. I also researched UFOs and supernatural phenomena at my school library. This was pre-Internet. So, it was slim pickings. Still, I remember the day I pulled out a massive dictionary to look up a word Mulder has used that I didn't know: necrophilia. That blew my mind ahead of junior high homeroom.

When you were a kid, what was your most prized geek possession? Do you still have it?

Around 13, I became obsessed with The Crow, as many a teen girl of the '90s did. I watched it over and over, regaled anyone who would listen about the tragedy of Brandon Lee, and began devouring the comics and art of James O'Barr. I even made class projects around it, designing a Crow fan site in computer class and a Crow-themed screen print for art class. Then, a friend gave me an action figure of Brandon Lee as The Crow. It was one of the incredibly detailed ones, and the first collector's pieces I ever owned. I absolutely treasured it. It was a major point of pride on my bookshelf, brooding beside one of my O'Barr books. It's not on my current bookshelves. I suspect he's tucked away in a box in my mom's attic along with my high school journals and a dried out collection of Wet n Wild nail polishes.

Who was most instrumental in getting you into geek culture?

Probably my cousin, Jim. He introduced me to The Hobbit, played a variety of fantasy inspired-games with me, and invited me to my first tabletop role-playing game, MERP (Middle-Earth Role Play. It's like Dungeons and Dragons.) He was always very passionate and inviting about the geeky thing he was introducing me to, which made it exciting and fun.

What are you geek-curious about?

Anime. I've seen some and would like to watch more. While it's very accessible with streaming, it's a bit overwhelming to know where to start. I don't know what shows are most newb-friendly.

Do you collect nerdy stuff? If so, what?

My home is decorated in a variety of nerdy knickknacks. I have a small army of Funko Pops, featuring characters from Game of Thrones, Crimson Peak, Saga, Rick and Morty, and Adventure Time. I've got action figures from Saga, iZombie, Star Wars, Wonder Woman, and The Golden Girls (a New York Comic Con exclusive!) Then, I've got some gorgeous, framed prints from a variety of artists that celebrate Ghostbusters (both versions), Crimson Peak, Star Wars, Logan, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Catwoman. Plus, I'll be putting up my pop culture embroidery soon!

Do you cosplay?

Sort of? I've made my own costumes of characters I love over the years. However, I'm by no means operating at the incredible levels of the costumes I see at comic cons. I mostly cos-dabble.

In college, I made a pretty solid She-Ra from some painted and handstitched thrift shop finds. I've been Fiona from Adventure Time, making my own felt hat/wig. For theme parties, I've become a Hogwarts student and did my spin on "Gwen B. Stacy." (Think Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse's busted Peter B. Parker, but a Spider-Gwen version.) Plus, I've done a couple spins on Vincent Price cosplay for a friend's annual dinner party festivities.

What's something geeky that you will always spend money on?

I love a good geeky shirt. I have a lot, which are fun to wear to cons and film festivals. It becomes a sort of not-so-secret handshake, where someone can be like, "You like Doctor Who? I LIKE DOCTOR WHO!" Plus, it's a fun way to introduce my little nieces to new-to-them geeky stuff. My shirts have been their introduction to Adventure Time, Bob's Burgers, and Steven Universe.

If you could do a TED Talk on anything fandom-related, what would it be and why?

It'd probably be on problematic yet empowering portrayals of womanhood in horror, like Catwoman in Batman Returns and the feuding frenemies in Death Becomes Her. They're messes. They're arguably villains, yet we love them — in part — because they provide a power fantasy women are too often denied.

What's one moment in nerd history you'll never get over (good or bad)?

The announcement that Jodie Whittaker would be the first woman to play the Doctor. I remember where I was when that happened. I was in a hotel room in Mississippi, getting ready to run to some film festival screenings. I saw the news on Twitter and burst into tears of joy. I'd been writing about how Doctor Who was absolutely ready for a female lead for years. Yet, it wasn't until that moment I realized how much it meant to me. She's been wonderful. Plus, it's exciting that my nieces get to be FANGRRLS growing up in a world with a lot more options for female role models, be it Furiosa, the Doctor, Elsa, Gwen Stacy, or Hermione.

If a studio/company came to you and said they would make anything you want (movie/show/comic/product/etc), what would it be and why?

Saga. It's an absolute fool's errand. The comics written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples have incredibly complicated stories with a wide galaxy of characters, which makes it an absolute beast to try to convert into a film series. TV could work! But to do it live-action, a studio would have to cut scads of creatures, do major redesigns, or spend an absolute fortune on CGI. Then, there's the issue of all the violence, sex, drugs, and politics that factor in, making its audience more niche and the risk of return on investment bigger.

Yet for all these caveats, I love that world and those characters and its style so deeply that I want desperately to see it adapted. I want to see my favorite lines delivered by charismatic actors, who bring the pathos, humor, and hope of the series alive. I want to see how a perfectly executed comics series could translate into another medium. I think as an animated series, it could be something extraordinary that's true to the books yet uniquely its own.

But, obviously, my pitch needs work.

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