I’ve said repeatedly how much I love being a geek. To be so unabashedly in love with something is a great feeling. And when others are so unabashedly in love with that same thing, you feel like you’re part of something big and wonderful and sweet and intense.
It’s a portion of what real love with another human being feels like. It hits all the same spots in the soul. Maybe not as intensely as it does with the actual person you’d choose to spend the rest of your life with … or maybe it is.
I’m not here to compare geekdom to love. I’m here to compare geekdom to geekdom.
It has never been so cool to be a geek. In a world where big studios are making films of such size and scope that the public is willing to throw $200 million at them on opening weekend, it’s nice to be part of that target demographic. And that target is growing.
They make a movie, we pay to see it. They use that money to make a more expensive movie, more of us pay to see it. And on and on, the vicious cycle repeats itself until they falter and make a crap movie. That’s the name of the game, and we are merely the players.
No one would necessarily call the people who were big fans of Sex and the City and talked/tweeted/obsessed about it geeks, yet in a lot of cases, the level of devotion is identical.
As far as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is concerned, they have geeks of a certain flavor right in their wheelhouse. But that doesn’t mean that those geeks (or should I say “we geeks”) are the only flavor to be had. One can geek about anything. It’s just easier to merchandise in the superhero game than in lots of the other geek arenas.
No one would necessarily call the people who were big fans of Sex and the City and talked/tweeted/obsessed about it geeks, yet in a lot of cases, the level of devotion is identical. I’m not sure if, when SatC fans were shopping for shoes, they had the same kind of fancies in their mind of becoming like Miranda or Sandy or whatever the names of the other women were on the show as I have of becoming Iron Man or Thor when I shop for various accessories. Not usually shoes, but I got a Captain America keychain that made me feel not only feel patriotic, but super. And heroic.
For some reason, people feel compelled to compare interests a lot more intensely when it comes to science fiction and fantasy enthusiasms. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Farscape vs. Firefly. DC vs. Marvel. I don’t see the point. It’s not like the existence of one universe takes away from the existence of other. I may think that Doctor Who sucks, but that doesn’t make Star Wars any better. Star Wars is just good because it’s good. It doesn’t matter how much or how little sense Doctor Who makes.
Yeah, yeah. I just did it. I don’t even know why. Is it because it makes me feel better about liking something when I take something away from the other guys’ sci-fi franchise? Or is it because of what I said earlier? We love these franchises like we love our third girlfriend, the one who finally let us get to third base.
Maybe we are just defending that spot in our soul that these stories attach themselves to. Maybe, when I throw myself into an episode of The Flash, it’s because it hits that same spot in my psyche that making out with Melissa Jeffries in 10th grade did. And if someone can’t see how awesome that feeling is or can’t share my enthusiasm, I feel like he is lambasting one of the greatest make-out sessions of our age. I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want to make out with the Reverse Flash?
Hold on, that didn’t come out right. …
On a different note:
How cool is it that superheroes are so diverse these days? When many of the characters we know and love were created, the default was to make them white males. This is because white males were the ones making the comics. White males were the main buyers of comics.
We’ve seen a female Thor, a black Captain America, and more diversity among Green Lanterns than a palsy guy with a cane can shake a stick at.
And if any females or minorities were heroic characters, there had to be a strong, integral element of their character that was attached to that part of their identity. Wonder Woman had layers of bondage symbolism woven into her persona. Nearly all the characters of African descent had the word “Black” in their names (Black Panther, Black Lightning, Black Spider, Black Racer, Black Vulcan, Black Widow … wait; strike that last one). Well, maybe not all of them, but enough to form a noticeable pattern.
These days, even the archetypes are getting remade so we can see what they’d be like had they been created in a more diverse milieu. In the comics, we’ve seen a female Thor, a black Captain America, and more diversity among Green Lanterns than a palsy guy with a cane can shake a stick at. It would be great if, for a month or two, every character in the Marvel Universe and/or the DC Universe changed gender and/or ethnic background. It would be like remaking Soul Man, White Chicks, She’s The Man, and Tootsie all in one fell swoop.
I’ll leave you with that, along with the mental image of Whoopi Goldberg playing Superman.
Now, go see a movie.