‘Geeks’ Miramontes, Gourley turn hobby into small business

February 1, 2013 • Local News

Arely Miramontes and Kirk Gourley in costume. (Courtesy Photo)

Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark better beware — you no longer have to be a millionaire to get your hands on superhero gadgets.

If you want to be a superhero, or at least look like one, local couple Kirk Gourley and Arely Miramontes can recreate items from your favorite comic book or video game character’s arsenal.

It was fanboy meets fangirl when Gourley, 21, and Miramontes, 20, met and discovered their mutual interests in video games and all things superheroes and comic books.

Eventually, the pair began attending comic book conventions and expos and got into cosplay, or “costume play,” dressing as characters from comic book and video game culture. This summer, the couple plans to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con.

“It’s so much more fun to go in costume,” Gourley said. “It’s like Halloween, just more [auth] frequent.”

By day, Miramontes studies computer engineering at University of New Mexico-Albuquerque and Gourley is a medical scribe at New Mexico Heart Institute.

But at conventions, Miramontes is frequently Catwoman and Gourley wears a self-made Iron Man suit.

Miramontes, who grew up loving the Teen Titans comic book series and TV show, said part of the fun is the reactions they get from other attendees, especially children.

“They’re like, ‘Oh my God! You’re my hero!’” she said. “It feels good making their day.”

It was during such an event that Miramontes, dressed as Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman from “The Dark Knight Rises,” received many compliments on the goggles she made for the outfit.

“Everyone was just so amazed by them,” Miramontes said. “People kept asking if we’d be willing to sell them.”

So, since August, these self-proclaimed “geeks” have turned their hobby into a small business, Romantically Geeky, building and selling replicas of costume pieces and movie props, such as the Catwoman goggles, Iron Man’s helmet and Loki’s scepter from The Avengers movie.

“It’s just weird things that people would be interested in,” Gourley said. “If I would want it, there’s obviously someone else out there that would want it, too.”

They both have design experience and mostly figured out themselves how to make the objects. Most items are constructed using simple, affordable objects, such as foam, and don’t take too long to make.

“We like trying new stuff and ask for ideas of what people would want,” Miramontes said.

The couple also posts video tutorials on their Youtube page of how to make some of the pieces, as well as other videos.

“I just like to build stuff; I don’t care if someone buys it,” Gourley said. “I just like working with my hands and building stuff that looks cool.”

While it can be time-consuming, “as soon as I’m done with something, I move on to something else,” he said.

They’ve gotten several requests and Miramontes and Gourley said prices vary, depending on materials and labor.

Some of the major orders they’ve received are props inspired by weapons of Batman villainess Harley Quinn and the video game “Alice: Madness Returns.”

The prop, an over-sized pepper grinder, presents a new challenge, but Gourley accepts it gladly.

“If I can build an Iron Man suit, I can build one of those,” he said.

He’s actually in the process of perfecting his Iron Man suit, constructing a version that is more robotic with moving parts.

“I like being different,” he said. “I don’t like being the same thing.”

In addition to Youtube, Romantically Geeky can be found on Facebook and Etsy.

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