Beware the Valkyries

Leia Calderon

Leia CalderonWhat’s your name?
Leia Calderon (yep, like that Leia, and yep, rhymes with Alderaan)

Which shop do you work at?
Keith’s Comics at Firewheel

What do you do for your shop?
I am the manager and as such, I handle our ordering, pulls, special event planning (like our first ever Ladies Night on December 19th!), our ebay store, and general tomfoolery as a counter girl.

How long have you worked there?
In total, going on six years, at this particular shop, one year!

What are some of your favorite comics?
Ongoing titles right now: Batman, Wonder Woman, All New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Young Avengers, Pretty Deadly, Walking Dead, Saga, Sex Criminals, The Wake, Rat Queens, and Sandman Overture!

Who are some of your favorites in the comics biz?
If we’re talking writers, I love Justin Jordan, Brian K. Vaughan, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, …and my artist list is ridiculously long, but Fiona Staples and Chip Zdarsky is at the top of my list right now!

Who are some of your favorite comic book characters?
Marvel’s The Runaways, Damian Wayne, America Chavez, Storm, Doctor Strange, Alana & Lying Cat from Saga, and Magik.

What is your most prized comic book or collector’s item?
One of my favorite items in my collection is an Amazing Spider-Man #300 that I stole from my dad and a Joker commission from Fiona Staples.

Which comics do you recommend the most often?
If they’re looking for something more conventional, like superheroes, The Long Halloween, Azzarello’s Wonder Woman run, or Fraction’s Hawkeye, and if they’re not into tights/capes, Hellblazer, Hellboy, Saga, Sandman, or Y: The Last Man.

What kind of events does your shop participate in or host?
We have “fandom days,” and will dress up as characters from TV shows, random days where we all cosplay, and most recently, we just planned our first ever Ladies Night, which will take place on December 19th.

Favorite webcomics/webcomic creators?
The Devil’s Panties by Jennie Breed, KateorDie by Kate Leth, and Ctrl+Alt+Del are the only ones I read regularly!

If you could only read one graphic novel for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Just one!?! Agh, probably…Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s such a hauntingly honest story, and I’ve been reading it over and over again since I was 12, so I think I would be okay reading it forever.

What other things are you a fan of (TV shows, novels, movies, ect)?
I am a huge fangirl for so many things, ha ha ha. I’m currently balls deep (am I allowed to say that!?) in Doctor Who, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Masters of Sex, and I’m reading about 6 books at the moment (Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and Dark Tower re-read, among others!), and trying to find time to log in hours in Pokemon Y, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, and Suikoden!!

Do you collect anything?
I collect commissions of the Joker from various artists. I have about 30 right now that I need to get framed!

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? What would you use it for?
Telekinesis for sure. I would like to think I would use it to do kind things, like getting someone’s cat down from a tree, or something, but part of me thinks I would definitely screw around with people a little bit.

Do you believe there is other life in the universe, and if so, what do you imagine it looks like?
I really try to not think about it most of the time, cause I’ll freak myself out, but I always come back to the same quote: “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” – Arthur C. Clarke

Do you go to any conventions?
I LOVE CONVENTIONS! I try to go to about 10 a year, which is quite a feat with work and trying to make costumes, and have a social life. My favorite one is New York Comic Con.

Are you a cosplayer? If so, what characters have you cosplayed?
I like to think of myself as a beginner cosplayer. I’ve cosplayed Steampunk Jubilee, Black Bolt, The Mad Hatter (Batman villain), Death, made a TARDIS dress, and I’m working on Thanos, Poison Ivy, and Wonder Woman.

Outside of the day job, what other cool stuff are you working on?
I write and co-run a blog aimed at geek culture called International House of Geek (www.ihogeek.com) that has mostly op/eds, and I guest on a local webcast called Fangirls: Dames of the Roundtable (dallasfangirls.blogspot.com).

Tell us an uplifting story about working in your shop!
Every time I can pair someone up with something new and have them come back in gushing over the story, or grabbing the next issue, I feel like I’ve done some good. It takes a brave person to step outside of their comfort zone, reading wise, and I’ve forged some fantastic friendships thanks to mutual love of a comic book. It’s probably not something jaw dropping fantastic, but it makes this gal feel all warm inside!

What do you love about being a Valkyrie?
I’ve always felt alone in the comics world, and knowing that there’s this wonderful group of women JUST LIKE ME is uplifting and makes me feel like I belong.

How can we find you on the vast expanse of the internet?