Half the fun of fandom is all the neat stuff out there to buy. It's not enough that we sit and talk about "Rogue One" for hours. We need to express adulation through the purchase of related goods, as well. Friendly competition between who has the best swag is an integral part of being a geek, so much so that sourcing cool things is a passion for many. To wit, the internet is chock-full of every kind of creation you can think of, all made in homage to different series, shows and movies.
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That said, anyone's who's perused a convention hall or spent some time clicking through E-Bay has probably noted that there are some incredibly niche items available. We rounded up 15 of the strangest, most specific "nerdchandise" we could find and made this list, just so everyone could see how weird it actually gets on the internet. Enjoy!
15 SUPERNATURAL BOW TIE
If you want to wear your fandom, but not cosplay to a formal event, there's a wide variety of more subtle geek-wear available. These days you can find everything from Lannister family polo shirts to Harry Potter house ties, neither of which will announce your allegiance the minute you walk into a room. As a matter of fact, Hot Topic recently came out with a line of DC inspired prom dresses that don't so much scream Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn as whisper them elegantly.
But if you really want to make a statement, check out this "Supernatural" inspired bowtie. To the naked eye, it's just your everyday Kansas license plate bowtie. But if you wear this to a formal event, you'll make the "Supernatural" fans in the room do double-takes. Not only is it a genius nod to the show, it's exceptionally unique. And that's at least 30% of why you put it on in the first place.
14 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA/MUPPET MASH-UP SHIRT
Mash-up fan art is arguably one of the most popular ways to celebrate fandom. The internet and convention floors are full of unique, unlicensed creations that create hilarious combinations. We've seen images of Cersei and Jaime Lannister drawn as the Wondertwins, Han Sulu, and a Batman/Boba Fett mutant that's giving us some really confusing feelings.
But nothing could really prepare us for Matt Dearden's genius mash-up of Statler and Waldorf as Tigh and Adama. For the intelligent, discerning and hopefully large demographic that is the BSG/Muppet fandom, this shirt is a necessary part of your wardrobe. You can't look at it without imagining Admiral Adama and Colonel Tigh, standing in the core, watching Helo and yelling things like, "He's doing it! He's eating a tire!" "Astounding!" Now that you're in love with this idea, get excited to hate us. This t-shirt was only available for one day back in 2010 on the TeeFury website. Hopefully we inspired you to scour the internet for other mashups.
13 STAR WARS CHOPSABERS
When it comes to nerd-tensils, there are plenty to choose from. From color-changing "Lion King" spoons buried deep inside cereal boxes to "Star Trek" glassware at Burger King, you could probably set your table several times over with a host of cheap (but sentimental) promotional settings. But what about when company comes over?
That's where these "Star Wars" Lightsaber Chopsticks come in... handy. If you're on the minimalist end of the nerd spectrum, you're looking for more subtle ways to live your fandom. Perhaps you have a set of black dinner plates and soup bowls with Darth Vader ever so subtly etched onto the rims. If that's the case, you're gonna want to pick up these chopsticks. When next you order Chinese food, you will astound and amaze your guests the minute you break them out. If there's a blackout, you will be uniquely equipped to eat ramen. The question isn't why you buy "Star Wars" Chopsticks, it's why not?
12 SPOCK MONKEY
The nerd plushy market rivals the infinity of space in its vastness. You can literally get anything or anyone in stuffed form. We've seen life-size Tribbles, not-so-life-size dragons, golden snitches, and nearly everything else you can think of. Except hentai... no hentai plushies, thank goodness. But darned if they all don't pale in comparison to the enduring Spock Monkey.
In case it wasn't obvious, the Spock Monkey is what happens when a sock monkey and a Vulcan science officer love each other very much. He's not the cutest baby we've ever seen, but there's a certain appeal, to be sure. If you like him, you're in luck! There isn't one manufacturer for this little guy. That's probably because sock monkeys are fairly simple to make, and thus, a fairly popular craft item. There are any number of artists on Etsy that will sell you a Spock Monkey should you get over its slightly disturbing face and actually want to have one for yourself. This is a doll we're relatively certain exists because it makes for a damn good pun.
11 STAR TREK CAPTAIN'S CHAIR POOL FLOAT
Traditionally, outdoor furniture and toys have remained a bit of an untapped market when it comes to nerd-chandise. For some reason, geeks haven't been as historically comfortable sharing their interests as publicly as, say, sports fans. No one's really sure why. It's unfortunate, too. Who wouldn't want a little Yoda garden gnome or Wolverine claw plant hanger? At least for "Star Trek" fans, there's this very specific Captain's Chair pool float.
At a reasonably priced $29.95, this chair is modeled after Kirk's chair on the TOS Enterprise. It's astonishingly accurate for a blow-up toy. We were a little surprised to see that there were no built-in cup holders, because if anybody's a pool beer guy, it's James T. Kirk. We may write into the manufacturers and demand that the Enterprise D model come with one. Captain Jean-Luc "Rosé All Day" Picard would surely riot if there were none. Hopefully if this pool toy business takes off, there'll be a Romulan Ale Pong table hitting stores in time for summer.
10 PERIODIC TABLE OF GAME OF THRONES
Granted, anyone who has "Game of Thrones" merchandise featured prominently in their home is probably a little bit morbid. There is virtually nothing from that show that won't call up the graphic violence and ubiquitous death that is featured so prominently on it. And before any of you Jon and Ygritte shippers come forward shaking your "You know nothing, Jon Snow," cutting boards, Ygritte got shot by a child who would go on to stab her lover and then get hung as a traitor. So yeah, there's literally nothing GoT you can sport that won't call up at least a little bloodshed.
That said, hanging a Periodic Table of GoT Character Fates/Deaths on your wall is going... far. This poster (the description of which begins with "SPOILER") features nearly ever character on the show and in the books and what's happened to them so far. It would be a daily reminder in your home of the decimation of the Stark family, Drogo's deadly infection and Ygritte's tragic arrowing. This is not to mention the literal countless others. This creation took a lot of time and effort to put together and we're not sure we want to meet the person responsible.
9 HARRY POTTER BIRTHDAY CAKE MAGNET
There is nothing strange or even the least bit odd about wanting to have a little piece of Harry Potter hanging off your fridge or your key ring. Wands aren't exactly practical to bandy about in daily life -- they tend to break or poke people if you try to carry them with you everywhere. And you may not live in a climate that lends itself to the proud wearing of a house scarf. That's what makes tiny expressions of fandom so great -- they're convenient.
That said, this particular one is really, really specific. If you're not a big enough Potterhead to know what we're talking about, the cake is a tiny, adorable replica of the one Hagrid brings to Harry when he first rescues the Boy Who Lived to Hogwarts. Imagining someone daintily creating this tiny homage to Hagrid's first appearance is almost enough to make us insist everyone own one.
8 POTIONS MASTER DECAL
There's a middle ground between just watching your favorite movies and television franchises and going full LARP or cosplay. Some people don't want to wear their fandom on their sleeve or all over their homes at all times. Of course, that doesn't mean they don't want a daily reminder of their passions, however subtle. Luckily, there's literally something out there for everyone. If you like Kitchen-Aid mixers, Harry Potter and Severus Snape, boy are these the decals for you!
If you're someone (like us) that likes to engage in some casual daydreaming here and there, what could be more transportive while you're baking than looking down and seeing a "Potions Master" decal on your mixer? In the blink of an eye, you're not making royal icing, you're cooking up some Polyjuice homebrew in Snape's dungeon. If this incredibly specific scenario appeals to you, then it's off to Etsy with you!
7 CAPTAIN AMERICA DISH MAGNET
At this point, if there's anything this list should've taught you, it's that there is literally no corner of your life, save maybe toilet paper, that you can't infuse with your fandom of choice... and now that we think of it, we actually have seen Star Wars tp. Regardless, magnets make for pretty popular items because they're easy to attach to pictures. If you want endless faces of Jon Snow covering every inch of your fridge, there's an app for that. It's called Etsy. But one artist has taken magnets a step further and created something that's hilariously useful.
If you're not a garbage person, you rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Unfortunately, that can result in confusion when you're trying to remember if those same dishes are clean or dirty. Fear not! Captain America has come to the rescue! This magnet is reversible and features a "Clean" Steve Rogers on one side and a "Dirty" Steve Rogers on the other. Get it? Captain America is here to see that you never rewash your dishes ever again. *SALUTE*
6 HARLEY QUINN TEA HOLDER
If you've been living under a rock for the past few years, a 3-D printer is a device that takes raw materials and shapes them into specific shapes (see: replicator). A 3-D pen is similar, but on a much smaller scale. It ejects a liquid plastic and simultaneously hardens the material so you can create shapes quickly. Fast-forward a few hundred steps and welcome to the age of the Harley Quinn Tea Holder.
This little lady is a lot nicer than her predecessor -- she sits happily on the side of your cup and anchors the string of your teabag safely on dry land. Let's be honest, if you're a Harley fan, why wouldn't you want an adorable, squiggly version of her staring creepily at you as you sip chamomile? If you're a shipper, you're out of luck. Harley appears to be the only comic character that will be immortalized in tea holder form at the moment. Saying that, we bet if you write in to the artist, she'll see what she can do about a tiny Joker.
5 HOLY BAT-ASSEROLE DISH
There's a lot to be said for custom bakeware in general, but geek custom bakeware? That's a horse of a different color! Etched casserole dishes are a subtle way to surprise your guests or fellow potluckers with the secret message of your preferred fandom. They also make for nice display pieces if you have an open concept kitchen. That said, you might not want to do that with this particular one...
An obvious homage to the classic Adam West "Batman" television series, this "Holy Bat-Asserole Dish" makes us giggle in all the wrong ways. It's not that appetizing, but it's kind of genius in how bumbling an attempt to Batify something it is, much like the Bat Ladder and the Bat Shark Repellant that came in so handy for West's Batman. If you pick this up, stage a "Suicide Squad" screening just so you can bake brownies and use it make your friends jealous.
4 IRON MAN CERAMIC PIGGY BANK
Superheroes are notoriously good with money. Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Richie Rich -- they all knew how to get that paper and, more importantly, keep it. Given that college tuition is at an all-time high and not looking to get any better in the future, you should start teaching your kids fiscal responsibility sooner rather than later. Who better to teach them such valuable lessons than Iron Pig?
This ceramic porcine version of Marvel's resident billionaire playboy will stare at your child as they sleep and subliminally impart to them the importance of savings. If she or he gets confused about why their piggy bank is dressed like that, explain the cultural significance of both piggy banks and comics and why the mashup of the two is so whimsical and fun. If you don't have a kid, buy this anyway so you can giggle to yourself every time you look at it. Iron Pig just wants you to be happy.
3 AVENGERS WOODEN SPOONS
If Iron Pig was a bit too much of a departure from realism for you, fear not! Nerd-chandise falls on a wide spectrum, so there are plenty of less fanciful items out there that take your fandom as seriously as you do. The kitchen remains a good place to find those items, as we've already discovered. If turning Tony Stark into a pig offended you, perhaps we could interest you in a couple of wooden spoons with the faces of the Avengers burned into them by hand?
Imagine, every time you make spaghetti sauce, mashed potatoes or pasta salad, you could look at the face of Thor, bobbing up and down as you stir. If you love this idea, but aren't sweet on "The Avengers," this seller also makes "Dr. Who" spoons. Of everything on this list, these probably make the best gifts considering they have actual utility and each one is a little unique.
2 SUPERMAN PILLOWS
Pillows are great because they give us the opportunity to see what our fantasy heroes would look like if they were all round and squishy. They also give us the opportunity to sleep next to them, squeeze them and use them as our proxies in pillow fights. If those things strike you as pretty weird things to want, you've just nailed exactly why these amazing pillows made this list. Seriously, just look at them. If you didn't giggle a little bit you're clearly doing it wrong. Look again.
We're not sure where Square Kent and Square-perman came from, but we're so glad they're here. Their good-natured, here-to-help vibes make us want to sit down on them with a cup of Harley tea and try to give "Batman V. Superman" another shot. If they ever decide to stop making "Lego" movies, we submit that a pillow subculture be next. If you want this to happen, buy these guys and get to making a fan film.
1 PRINCESS LEIA HAT
First rule of fandom? Start them young. That's pretty easy these days. Anyone who's been to a convention recently has seen family cosplay adorably take over. Popular baby characters are obvious ones like Ewoks, R2D2 and Hobbits, but that doesn't mean you have to be a slave to realism. Just because your baby is baby-sized, you certainly don't have to restrict yourself to small characters.
Look at this baby, for instance. She looks utterly delighted to cosplay General Leia in a beautifully crocheted Leia hat. Not only does it have the added benefit of keeping her head toasty warm, it bears a striking resemblance to the original hairstyle. These are made in larger sizes, too. If you love the idea of 10% cosplaying General Organa during the winter months, order up one of these. If you're a brunette, from a distance this will totally look like your natural hair. Full disclosure: this isn't that weird. We just really like this baby.
What's your favorite piece of nerd-chandise? Let us know in the comments!