I may appear to be a fully-grown (over-grown in the middle these days, sadly) mostly-functioning adult but the truth is: I’ve always been and always will be, a ginormous nerd.
Being a “cool-challenged” left me on the outside looking in. I spent far too many nights home alone as a juvenile while my peers were fumbling to unhook training bras for the first time while exploring the joys of dry-humping. I had to hide my weekly haul of comics and action figures as I made my way back home to my “Batcave”. (In actuality a Harry Potter-esque room under the basement stairs.) Regular ass whuppings from the so-called cool kids were another reason to dial down my public love of all things nerdy.
But I never did. And so my torment continued for years. Decades later things have changed. And how.
Black Panther, a film starring a superhero, who is black, has made $631 million to date at the domestic box office. Television programs focused on characters that are vampires, werewolves, imaginary friends, heroes, villains, space explorers, time travelers, etc, abound. Retailers like Hot Topic are making millions selling young girls like my daughter licensed clothing and products of every variety. Mommy bloggers are the toast of Disney and regularly write, tweet and post about animated and live-action fare that was once considered strictly “kid stuff”. Star Trek is hotter than ever. Toy lines based on licensed characters are super nova.
And convention like San Diego Comic Con sell out months in advance and are the hottest ticket in town for entertainment outlets and especially movie studios, eager to push their next big product.
In short, everyone that ever busted my chops as a kid for being a nerd is now eating shite.
It is a golden age of fandom, my friends, so there’s no need to hide your love of Doctor Who or The Walking Dead. In fact, you should embrace the fan culture that speaks to you on a deeply personal and spiritual level, Like Hello Kitty, for example.
For the first time ever I’ll be attending all three days of Niagara Falls Comic Con this year and I can’t wait. I’ll see thousands of people who have formed an ad hoc community where everyone is accepted unconditionally.
Even Twilight fans.
I’ve met souls at cons who literally wouldn’t be alive today is not for the messages of hope they took away from their favorite series. Bullied tweens who feel stronger whenever they imagine themselves as an Asgardian fighting beside Loki (he’s more interesting than Thor any day). Timid teenage girls who feel more comfortable in their own skins after watching Murdoch Mysteries and Wynonna Earp. Adults who, after a lifetime of hiding it, are finally able to proclaim their love of Star Wars. I’ve met them all and more.
And I recently met the greatest, most devoted bunch of super fans in the entire Multiverse: Acolytes of the show, no make that the phenomenon, known as Wynonna Earp. Earpers don’t just watch this program, that’s not good enough for these over-achievers. No, they live it’s values and they even launch hashtags (#FightForWynonna is a movement) and buy billboard space in Times Square when they realize it’s parent company, IDW Entertainment, may not have the funds to produce a fourth season.
IDW didn’t do that.
The show itself didn’t do that.
Earpers did that.
Now that’s devotion, you Muggles.
Does all this mean I genuinely believe watching The Avengers films will give you a reason to live?
As the kids say, Hell’s no! But it can certainly light the spark that reignites your Hopeful Flame of Life (hey, I just made that up!) and gets you back into the world. And that’s the best argument for being a nerd I can think of at the moment.
See you in the lobby and the con floor, kids…