In 1963, a powerful group of superheroes took to the comic-book page with the cry of "Avengers, assemble!"

A similar call went out three years ago from the northeast Columbus home of William Evans, who invited fellow fans of all things nerdy -- comic books, fantasy novels, "Star Wars" movies and so on -- to contribute to a website he was developing.

Along with Omar Holmon, a fellow poet Evans had met on the national poetry scene a decade earlier, he gathered a team of seven other contributors throughout the country to launch the site, dubbed Black Nerd Problems, in May 2014.

There, they created the media representation they wanted to see in the world.

"It wasn't even about diversity in pop culture; it was the way it was being covered," said Evans, now 37. "It was the way it got skipped over, or the way it was framed."

Although dozens of online channels dished up hot takes about the latest happenings in the nerd-sphere, few were tuned to the interests and perspectives of people of color.

Black Nerd Problems helps to narrow the gap with offerings such as a feature story exploring how "A Goofy Movie" (1995) "is the blackest Disney movie ever," a piece that remains the most popular post in the site's young history.

As readership has spiked -- between 140,000 and 170,000 unique visitors check Black Nerd Problems each month, Evans says -- Evans and others who helped create the site are searching for ways to turn it into a full-time job.

Black Nerd Problems now has 23 staff members throughout the country -- including a team of six editors -- with an output of four to five new articles and reviews a day. Each position is volunteer-only. Revenue to run the free site comes from ad sales, with some out-of-pocket contributions from Evans and Holmon.

Keeping the site running has required something of a superhuman feat of Evans, who is a supervisor in the Pre-Planned Services department at Mount Carmel East hospital. He typically works on Black Nerd Problems -- editing, writing and directing staff members -- two to three hours a day.

The married father of a 6-year-old daughter (who proudly dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween) also released his third volume of poetry in October.

"I don't sleep a whole lot," he said with a laugh.

Evans' efforts with Black Nerd Problems inspired K.T. Conte, a lawyer in New York City who recently released a science-fiction novel with a black teenager as the lead character.

Conte stumbled upon Evans' website earlier this year while scrolling through Twitter and immediately connected to its emphasis on characters that looked like her.

A self-described "bookish" person, Conte began to identify as a "black nerd" only after she realized how few minorities held leading roles in books, movies and television shows, and, among those that do exist, how many fell into stereotypes.

"We need more Black Nerd Problems websites out there," said Conte, 32. "Any space we can claim for us, to fully be ourselves and talk about the things we enjoy in our own voice, is refreshing, it's necessary, and it should go even further."

As Black Nerd Problems has expanded, quotations from the site have popped up on the covers of comic books -- most notably, Marvel's latest version of Black Panther -- and its staff members have earned recognition at major comic conventions.

At the end of September, Izetta Thomas and four other female writers for the site delivered the panel discussion "#blackwomendreaming" at GeekGirlCon in Seattle.

Thomas, who is an early intervention specialist for Columbus City Schools, counts her fellow bloggers among her closest friends.

"It means everything," she said of the website. "One of the wonderful things about Black Nerd Problems is the community we've built within ourselves."

When Evans first asked her to contribute in late 2014, she hesitated, thinking that she wasn't "quite nerdy enough."

He pointed out her obsession with the Fox show "Glee" and that she had a Harry Potter quote for every occasion. Thomas gave in.

She now writes two or three stories a month, with her topics having included a critique of the first black Powerpuff Girls character and a review of Black Panther figurines.

In the process, Thomas has embraced her nerd status.

"There's no one type of nerd," she said. "If you were open about some of this stuff when I was a kid, you were teased about it; now nerd is a cool thing."

Treva Lindsey, an Ohio State University professor of African-American women's gender and sexuality studies with an emphasis in pop culture, said websites such as Black Nerd Problems can function as a pseudo-family.

"It may have nothing to do with the comic-book world but may be a release from what is going on in their lives," Lindsey said.

A site dedicated to people of color, she said, enriches nerd culture as a whole.

"What a beautiful space to create where others can convene," Lindsey said. "Where spaces of creation become spaces of community (and) spaces of inclusion become spaces of innovation."

Now that the Black Nerd Problems community is tens of thousands of viewers strong, Evans said, he can't imagine life without the site.

"We're trying to be undeniable in that we're part of the infrastructure," he said. "We can't be ignored."

Black nerds, assemble.