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What Kind of Geek are You?


One idea that we’re always trying to put across in this blog is that geeks come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be a trekkie to be a geek or a fanboy. Or even male… although they all help.

You just have to know lots of things about one topic.

We’re not alone in that approach. Cartoonist, comic and podcaster, Scott Johnson, shares it and so it seems do the people who have so far bought his collection of geek caricatures.

Scott has created a poster that contains cartoon-style images of 56 different types of geeks, from Jedi geeks and Linux geeks to travel geeks and Lego geeks, all carefully colored, all wittily drawn … and many oddly familiar.


“[The idea] came from another project I worked on called the “Heroes for You” project,” Scott told us. “It was a great way to get creative with people and let them build out their very own hero archetype.

“It quickly dawned on me that there are so many geek niches out there, that it might be fun to illustrate that and give them some voice. Then the obsession set in.”

The number of geeks was determined by the size of the poster page rather than any fancy algorithm, GTD folder number or binary count, and since offering the poster for sale, customers have suggested other types of geek that Scott could draw.

“Many of them are fan suggested,” he explained. “My favorite has to be the Tron Geek, not only because it is based on a real guy, but the real guy ended up buying the ink work on eBay. That was a real trip.”

Initially, most of Scott’s buyers came from MyExtraLife, his blog and daily sketch site. His users had followed the project since it started but in true geek fashion, it was Digg that supplied the 56 Geeks poster with the really big boost.

“The day things showed up on Digg, and various other blogs and places around the web, suddenly things got crazy. I estimate we’ve sold right around 500 or so posters at this point, but I have to admit I lost track. Only because I suck at tracking things.”

In addition to selling the poster Scott also received requests to draw unique geeks for customers who didn’t recognize themselves on the print or who wanted a special gift. That led him to offer commissions as a service. For $42, buyers can now get to design their own geek type, add their own likeness, choose their own clothes, colors and hairstyle and receive one 8×10 inch print and five 4×6 inch versions. In addition, they could also find themselves added to a second edition of the 56 Geeks poster.

In theory, that shouldn’t be long coming. Scott says he always has eight commissions in his in-tray with new jobs coming in as quickly as he turns them out.


But with such a huge number of different types of geek making it onto the poster, are they really all geeks? Just what marks a geek out enough to make him — or her — worthy of the title?

“I know people who would never be considered geeks that have appointed themselves geeks anyway… so it’s a bit of a badge of honor these days,” Scott says. “But if I had to give it a definition, I’d call a geek someone who is really, really passionate about something, and is super-good at it, or knows everything about it, and is not ashamed of it.”

If there’s a bottom line to all this, it’s that there’s really no limit to the sort of person who can define themselves as a geek — or who wants to. And that’s fine for Scott who says that he enjoys drawing his geeks and is glad his customers “can find their inner geek and give it life.”

Or rather almost no limit.

“I did have someone say that I should do a porn geek,” Scott told us. “No idea what I would draw there.”

Take a look at Scott’s geeks up close on his Flickr stream and tell us what you

[tags] geek culture, 56 geeks [/tags]

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