Maybe. I don’t think so. The only reason I even mention it is because a friend of mine is doing it to draw attention to her blog. I never go to her blog but for some reason when she offered I went to at least look. I figured, maybe it’ll get you here. It worked! Anyway, I just wanted to post because I found this excellent article about the decline of geek culture, which I thought was very well written. You can read it here. I believe every word of it. Here’s why.
The article says the sub-culture of geeks is dead. Not disappearing, not hiding. Dead. It’s kinda sad really, because a few years ago, as a young teen, I was totally embarrassed that I read comic books. It wasn’t cool. At all. The fact that I peddled my bike, and later drove, to a comic store once a week to pick up my hold was really embarrassing to me. Basically no one ever knew where I was on Wednesdays. Sure, I had a few close friends who knew and my family obviously did (you can’t hid Batman boxers from your mom) but none of the girls I dated really knew and most of my casual friends had no idea.
You could say that I was being a coward. That if you had been in my shoes you would’ve been proud of who you were and stood up for it. If you say that though, you were obviously never a teenager. Kids are mean. I admire kids who stand up for what they believe in because it is really hard even as an adult. So I just felt it best to stay out of the way. Keep my head down and let my secret passions about comics be a late night thing. All of this is very similar to creepy old men but here is where things change.
I don’t even know when it happened. I remember I started to buy Batman t-shirts. I remember being more open about my comics with my friends and soon-to-be wife. Soon I had a job at a comic store and created a blog entitled “Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind”. I felt like people were getting what I had always understood. They saw what made Batman so thrilling. The Dark Knight made a bajillion dollars and everyone loved it. They came to me for questions about the third movie. I went to Comic-Con and my friends we’re actually jealous. It was the golden age of nerdity and I was king.
But every good thing must come to an end. Soon, I began to fill cheated, disturbed even. It seemed like suddenly everyone had Batman on their t-shirt. Suddenly everyone critiqued comics and the movies based on them like they were an expert. My years of knowledge could be found on Wikipedia in 5 minutes and my years of collecting could be bought or sold, creating these immediate fans who had no desire to actually read the stuff.
I knew a kid at school who really killed it for me. He would wikipedia stuff all the time and talk like he was an expert. He proudly told everyone that he was a nerd or a geek, yet he had never picked up a comic or been to a convention. He didn’t even watch any of the cartoons. That’s the easiest fan. He lived in the world as a geek but knew nothing except what Wikipedia taught him. It was so disheartening.
So I sold my comics. It may seem rash but it’s not. The collection of single issue bags had lost their luster, they almost felt meaningless. Of course I kept my trades and a select few single issues but the rest went the way of the earth. I had changed. Not because I cared less for Batman, DC, Marvel or the gang but because I can’t enjoy it the same way. The thrill of collecting is gone and replaced with hundreds of people loving Batman and collecting comics and being big fans but never reading an issue. My collection paled in comparison to some hipster with a lot of money and he didn’t even know who Matches Malone was!
So I muster on quietly now. Collecting trades as they come out and reading comics in secret again. I still wear the shirts but the horn tooting is quieter now. Those who want to talk comics with me must pass a series of questions to determine if they really care. My collecting comics isn’t about being the king nerd anymore, it’s about enjoying the stories. And maybe that’s what comics should always have been about anyway.