Can you name the original Guardians of the Galaxy?
We’re talking the 1969 comic book — not the 2014 movie, folks.
Stumped? You might not have done too well at the recent Nerd Love NOLA “Dungeons & Dating” at Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop, 631 N. Carrollton Ave.
On the bookstore’s back porch, self-described nerds and geeks from all over the city answered trivia questions about their favorite aspects of sci-fi, fantasy, gaming and comic books.
Nearly 40 people showed up, surprising even the organizers, Eris Walsh and Brian Guillory.
Both in their mid-30s, the single Walsh and married Guillory are business partners who decided they wanted to create a “safe space” for people who prefer “Dr. Who” over Drew Brees or a “Star Wars” marathon over drinking on Bourbon Street.
The idea arose when one of Walsh and Guillory’s friends told them he’d started dating a woman who, like him, was a self-proclaimed nerd, but that otherwise, the spark was missing.
He was afraid to break up with her because he was worried he wouldn’t find another like-minded love interest.
“I was like, ‘There are other geeks out there,’?” said Walsh, who also runs a blog called “She-Geeks” aimed at the female of the species. “You don’t have to go out with a person you don’t connect with, just because they’re also into ‘Star Trek.’ You can still find the perfect person.”
And so was born Nerd Loves NOLA and a trivia night called Dungeons & Dating.
The questions were tough, covering comic books, fantasy literature and chemical formulas.
Attendees were broken into teams named Gryffindor, Suicide Squad, The Avengers and the Rebel Alliance.
Tubby & Coo’s awarded books as prizes, while Mid-City’s Monkey Monkey Coffee poured java and Izzybelly sent over a plate of cupcakes shaped like the face of a comic book character called Deadpool (if you were a geek, you’d know).
“Nerdy people aren’t always comfortable going to bars to meet people,” said Candice Huber, the owner of Tubby & Coo’s, “and if you’re not in college anymore and you don’t want to go to a bar, there’s really not a lot of places you can go to meet people.”
The event drew twice as many attendees as expected. On the other hand, men outnumbered women six to one. Organizers admitted that wasn’t a huge surprise.
“It was a fear that we had from the very beginning,” Walsh said. There are plans to make Nerd Loves NOLA events more interesting to women in the future.
Still, those who attended felt it was a good start.
“It seemed like a small-scale event would be interesting because anything large-scale would just seem commercial,” said Andy Griffith, 25. “This just seemed like any trivia night, just with slightly different peers. The concept of nerd and geek culture, just sci-fi, fantasy, everything — it was a nice twist.”
Guillory thinks it’s just the beginning.
“As this community grows,” he said, “more venues like this are going to be created.”
Added Walsh: “We have a huge geek and nerd community in New Orleans, as is evident by Chewbacchus (the do-it-yourself marching group) and how much it has grown in the past five years.
“We want to give all these wonderful people an opportunity to meet each other and mingle.”
Tubby & Coo’s is at 631 N. Carrollton Ave. For information about other Nerd Love NOLA events, call (504) 598-5536 or visit facebook.com/nerdlovenola.