Think with me for a moment about the last time you were looking for something,—and I mean frantically looking for something—and the suddenly realized it was right in front of you the whole time. If you’re at all like me, that was disturbingly recent. And if you were me, it happened last weekend at Emerald City Comican on a very deep level.
If you recall from last week’s post, I went to Emerald City Comicon questing to reclaim my inner geek. Well, I found it, but in all honesty I discovered that I hadn’t actually lost it, just lost track of it.
Turns out being a geek isn’t about having played the latest Halo game (I still squee over grav hammers, which I guess is kind of unusual?), nor is it about knowing all the backstories of every comic book hero (I correctly ID’d roughly 80% of the superheroes I encountered. I can accept a solid B.), and you don’t have to recognize all the artists in the exhibition hall — or, you know, any of them. As Rachel Edidin said in the panel Looking Past Your Target Audience, “Geek is a self-selecting group. It is not a test.”
So what makes you a geek? Ultimately, you do. Generally though the first step is appreciation of some form of alternative content, generally one involving a supernatural struggle against impossible odds. To get deeply analytical, geek content (the games, the series, etc) all depend upon a core belief that life is hard. There are struggles, battles, turmoil; some are emotional, societal, and often they can be violent Geek content is never subtle about this struggle. It’s right out there in the open. There are enemies to fight, a world to be saved! But the protagonists always have the power (usually supernatural in some way, and yes unnaturally intense training counts) to overcome these odds. These stories are an acknowledgment that life is hard, and an encouragement that we can go forward anyway.
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