Like most startups, the breakthrough idea for “The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks” was a combination of ingenuity and luck.
The geek culture website bought 1,000 stickers and headed to the 2012 New York Comic Con, the largest pop culture convention on the East Coast. They decided to take photos of cosplayers, or people in costumes, hand them stickers and post the photos on the website.
It seemed like a simple way to drive traffic. But it really took off when, unbeknownst to the “geeks,” they took a photo of Maxim model Susan Coffey dressed up in costume. They had no idea it would be the only photo taken of that model at the entire conference.
Coffey found the shot, uploaded it to her Facebook page along with the website’s logo in the corner and, naturally, her more than 100,000 loyal followers visited the site.
At the start of the conference, “The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks” website had about 600 total page views. By the end of the weekend, they had more than 100,000.
“Since then it just keeps building and building and getting bigger and bigger,” said Chris Martinez, one of the site’s founders.
Now, www.evilgeeks.com is hitting its one-year anniversary and hosts hundreds of reviews, discussions and rants stemming from a small groups of friends’ love of comic books, video games, TV shows, movies and even toys.
“If you’re into the same kind of stuff like comics and video games, we’re a complete one-stop reading place for you,” Martinez said. “We are the total package.”
The website’s five main contributors are all Colonie Central High School alumni, spanning the classes of 1997 to 2003. They all met in school or thereafter through their passion for geek culture.
What started as just Martinez and co-founder Nick Paigo posting a few times a week has now turned into a steady stream of about 20 posts every week. Each writer has his own superhero-like pseudonym; Martinez is “C-Mart” and Paigo is known as “Big Evil.” Other writers include Matt Gleason, or “Biff Tannen;” Tony Vassilakis, or “Arthur Harkness;” and Tom Stevens, known as “Martian Luthor Kang the 117th.” Guest writer Eli Stavrinadis, or “Greekimus Prime,” offers his insights from Long Island.
Since its takeoff and success at the New York Comic Con, the Brotherhood has mused on topics from reviews of “Doctor Who” to a top five countdown of the best fictional fathers as an homage to Father’s Day. Their site has different standing sections, including a comic “Panel of the Day,” or video game reviews called “What’s Killing My Social Life This Week?” Another popular spot is the “Guilty Pleasures” segment, where the writers admit to secret hobbies they love.
Each writer collectively contributes to the sections, though some have specialties. The site even focuses on artwork. Stevens created a coloring book of DC Comics characters.
“Comic books is our common denominator,” Gleason said, adding he likes to focus on more of the 1930s through ‘40s movies and stories.
The Brotherhood has also added in a podcasts section, where they conduct interviews and reviews lasting anywhere from one to two hours. Recently, the group discussed their love of the “Duck Tales” series.
“No week is ever the same,” Piago said. “Sometimes we set the topic, sometimes it’s random … more things that just interest us.”
Through an ever-growing Twitter following, Piago said they have been receiving requests from comic book writers to review their work on their podcasts.
Most recently, the friends attended and sponsored the 6th Annual Albany Comic Con on Sunday, June 16, at the Wolf Road Holiday Inn and did a live podcast of their experience at the event. And, of course, the group took photos of cosplayers again and handed out stickers with their logo. This time, they also had their own posters.
“Fans at any convention love ‘swag.’ When you can just hand them out to people, it helps,” Piago said.
Increasing their following continues to be one of the Brotherhood’s main tasks. Martinez recently visited California, spreading the stickers around everywhere he could. Piago said as they monitor the page views, it’s clear that many are coming from that area.
Piago said the site has about 3,000 regular followers, and another 2,000 who have “commitment issues,” who don’t sign up for the email list.
The website doesn’t bring in any revenue. Piago said they want to continue growing their fan base before they start to seek advertisers. But mostly, at least for now, it seems like the site has a strong potential to grow as the friends remain passionate and excited for the future of their geek-loving culture.
“We’re real. We’ll tell you if we like something, if we don’t like something. We have a real man on the street sort of vibe,” Piago said.
Adding in an entertaining element, Vassilakis said, also makes their site stand out.
“We put our own personal spin on most things. It’s a laugh,” Vassilakis said. “(My posts have) a more comedic effect. We add that sort of flavor to the articles we put on there.”
The group said they’re always looking for new writers and artists. The site can be found at evilgeeks.com.