Believe me readers, I know the idea that “the geeks shall inherit the earth” isn’t unique to me, or even this year, but I have been struck more and more by the fact that geek culture is increasingly popular culture. Indeed, with the steady release and popularity of superhero movies, it seems that these two terms are already synonymous. To be sure, there are geeky nerdy things that still belong to cult audiences – steampunk, for instance – yet the terms themselves don’t seem to be as derogatory as they once were (though much of that probably depends on whether or not you are self-identifying yourself as one or the other, or if someone else is doing it for you).
As for me, I “embraced the nerd within” a long time ago and feel no shame sharing my geeky nerdy musings with all of you. That said, I did spend many nights in college feeling like I didn’t quite fit in with certain groups, and I know that bullying is still a problem, regardless of one’s age. (I am also aware that many of my geeky nerdy tendencies hew to the more mainstream fandoms; for example, I’ve never really been into anime, and I am absolute crap when playing video games.) Yet with things like Barnes&Noble’s recent “Get Pop-Cultured” event, I’m hopeful that future generations of geeks and nerds will grow up with a little less stigmatism than those that came before.
Take this weekend, for instance. The Mysterious Mr. C and I were driving around his hometown while we were on vacation and we saw a sign advertising a Comic Con at the local library. Intrigued, we decided to check it out and though we were in and out fairly quickly, it was still impressive to see.
There were a number of vendors selling comic books, action figures, and original steampunk creations, as well as artists promoting their own work. There were panels on drawing comics and how to cosplay, and rooms where you could play Minecraft or Magic, or watch anime films. There was face painting, kiddie crafts, and an abundance of costumes – for a contest, naturally! Members of the 501st Legion were also there for photo ops, as was a T.A.R.D.I.S. replica. Even the Furries had a table! The event really was all encompassing, and the place was absolutely packed!
While the Comic Con may have been conceived of as a way to get more people into the library, I thought it was wonderful to see so many people – children, teenagers, and adults – celebrate their geeky nerdy sides. It also brought home this idea of geek culture becoming popular culture. After all, when a Comic Con moves from the vast exhibition halls of San Diego to a local library in a town of 37,000 people, you know something is starting to change.