Hiding Near You: Geeky Hooker’s Pop Culture Crochet Critters

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Get your hands on Geeky Hooker’s crochet characters from comics, movies, TV, classic art and literature and more.

Critters are hiding, waiting to be found at Comic-Con. They’re not the kind you’d hire a pest control company to get rid of. They’re crochet creations — characters from your favorite comics, TV shows, movies and more — seeking adoption. The mastermind behind these critters, as she’s so lovingly dubbed them, is Cindy Wang, aka Geeky Hooker. Wang has been hiding critters at Comic-Con since 2011, which just happens to be the same year she learned to crochet, a hobby that started out of boredom. Six years later, this Geeky Hooker has made a name for herself as the talent behind the creative and oh-so-fun crochet critters of Comic-Con.

Starting from Scratch

The collection of critters Wang has produced is lengthy. To name just some, there are characters from Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, Doctor Who, Marvel’s stable, such as Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, and of course Disney and Pixar are in the mix as well as DC Comics superheroes Superman and Batman. She creates the critters freehand with her own designs, but should she make anything from an existing pattern, she’ll credit the original source.

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Superman crochet critter by Geeky Hooker.

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Chewbacca, Princess Leia and Han Solo from Star Wars.

As for inspiration, “Most of the time it’s something that I’m a fan of, but sometimes it’s as simple as ‘Oh, hey, that looks cool — I’m going to try to crochet that,’” Wang told Crixeo. And there’s never a theme for her Comic-Con creations, because “that makes it fun for me — I get to call the shots,” she said.

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Hellboy crochet critter by Geeky Hooker.

I Will Do Anything, But I Won’t Do That

Wang may appear to be open to crocheting anything, but there’s one thing she is emphatic about not making: Pokémon. “I refuse to make Pokémon! Not because they can’t be done. Not because I don’t think people would like them. Because that’s a fandom rabbit hole that I won’t touch with a 10-foot pole,” she said. “I know if I make one, I’ll get people asking me to make the entire Pokédex.”

There’s also no chance you’ll find her critters for sale, although fans have asked and she did try it once.

“Adding the pressures of time and money takes the fun out of it, and I like being able to crochet on my own terms. I don’t want to have to make 50 Batmans,” Wang said, adding that it’s also not profitable. “I briefly sold my critters at a local art boutique just to test the waters, and while I had an overall positive experience, profit-wise people are only willing to pay so much for a small three-inch doll, regardless of how much labor is involved. I’m guilty of this too when I shop.” She would rather stick to making critters for fun and giving them away for free — but in order to get one, you’re going to have to find it.

Hide-and-Seek

The idea to leave behind critters at Comic-Con was part of a “perfect storm of events,” Wang said. She had recently heard about Catlanta, an artist in Atlanta, Georgia, who leaves cat magnets for people to find, and having just started her crochet hobby, Wang had critters lying around, some inspired by her upcoming first trip to Comic-Con.

“When I got bored practicing making generic little dolls, I turned them into little superheroes instead,” she said. “I ended up with a bunch of lumpy little superheroes that I didn’t plan on keeping because they were just practice runs. I had an upcoming trip to San Diego Comic-Con and an idea from an artist in Atlanta. Everything came together pretty nicely from there.”

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Walter ‘Heisenberg’ White from ‘Breaking Bad.’

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Rey and BB-8 from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’

Hiding critters is now a yearly event, and Wang is stealthy. “I’ve only been spotted once, that I know of,” she said, adding, “You’d be surprised at how people just don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them. There were so many times where I thought I fumbled around too much to set up a hiding spot, but people would walk right past me without a thought.”

During one specific drop, Wang could have found herself in trouble: “I left a little Deadpool in a paper bag outside of a hotel, which I’m sure would’ve looked super shady if anyone spotted me.”

As for finding the critters, clues are posted on Facebook and Twitter. She tags them all with her contact information and asks the adopter to send her a photo when it’s been found.

The process took time to catch on. “I started out getting a lot of dead ends, almost to the point where I considered stopping the drops, but the response rate steadily increased over time and now I’ve been at 100% for the last two years!” Wang said. “Getting the responses is the entire reason I do the drops to begin with, so as long as I’m getting reports back on where my critters end up, I’m happy.”

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Hobbes from the comic strip ‘Calvin and Hobbes.’

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Painter Frida Kahlo crochet critter by Geeky Hooker.

Learning the critters’ whereabouts is also sentimental. “It’s like seeing old friends again,” she said. And sometimes Wang gets a follow-up photo, such as this favorite showing Baymax hanging out with a cat at the vet’s office.

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Baymax makes a friend. @zoobaby2003

A New Crochet Adventure

Wang has new, exciting critters that you won’t have to play hide-and-seek to find. Drawing inspiration from 16 novels and plays, she’s created a book — Literary Yarns — that demonstrates how to crochet your very own Elizabeth Bennet, Ebenezer Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes, Huck Finn and more figures from literature.

But why not a book on superheroes?

“Because getting sued by Marvel/DC would be no fun,” she jokingly responded. “Comic book/pop culture characters were my original pitch, but there were licensing issues with that.” While she worked with her editor, the idea to use culturally relevant characters from classic literature took form.

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Sherlock Holmes, as seen in ‘Literary Yarns.’

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Napoleon from ‘Animal Farm,’ as portrayed in ‘Literary Yarns.’

The book won’t teach you to crochet from scratch (Wang recommends PlanetJune for that), but all you need are basic skills and it will “teach you how to transform characters from classic literature into fuzzier and squishier versions of themselves.” It could also change the way students approach classwork. “I like to think maybe someday a student will turn in one of these instead of their English reading assignment in hopes of getting a partial grade for forgetting to read the book,” Wang said.

And there’s still hope that a superheroes book will surface so everyone can have Iron Man or Captain America on their shelf: “I would love to get something officially licensed someday!”

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Marvel’s Captain America crochet critter by Geeky Hooker.

Geeky Hooker, remaining anonymous as is her preference, will be at Comic-Con 2017 in San Diego, California. This year, “I’ve changed my usual Batman design to turn him into vintage Batman, and vintage Penguin is a new one,” Wang said. Should you find a critter, make sure to let her know because, as she said, it’s the whole reason she does this. Wang received the ultimate follow-up as a wedding gift from her sister: “She managed to contact a bunch of people who had picked up my critters over the years and compiled a book of thank-yous from them all.” That’s priceless. end

 

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