As a comic book, video game, technology, and basically what was once ridiculed as being geeky or nerdy enthusiast, especially in a more geek friendly society. I don’t really think about what image these hobbies and lifestyle are portrayed in the eyes of those who aren’t really part of it. Basically because I’ve kind of surrounded myself with people who to some degree enjoy the same things I do. As anyone usually would, and with such a diverse world and group of friends it isn’t beyond me to think that EVERYONE knows which era Kamen Rider W is from, who Ben Reilly is, or what islands Mugen is from in Samurai Champloo. That being said, if someone said to picture a geek I don’t think I can really create an image that represents the entire populous of those who are actively involved in for lack of a better word Geek Culture. Yet apparently there are people out there that still have this as their go to idea of a geek, and even more so within geek cultures there’s certain stereotypes that still permeate.
By saying I’m someone who is a “Geek Culture” enthusiast, I don’t meant that as soon as I find out something is geeky I jump at it and throw my money at it yelling “Shup up and take my money!” It just happens to be a where most of my interests are categorized. As a youngling I kind of followed the usually geek stereotypes. I was socially awkward, I didn’t understand style, and I felt alone and disliked. Not really because I loved playing video games, watching Star Trek, watched anime, or read Spider-man comics , but because I was just socially awkward. I mean it didn’t really help that I had no idea what other kids in my class were into, but I really had nothing to talk to anyone else about and I kinda just knew that. I grew up in a time where pop idols and boy bands were cool, and then everyone wanted to be gangsta. Hearing the phrase “Sup blood.” was a normal thing and putting your hands behind your head and <a href=”http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/naOyG_1VZS4/hqdefault.jpg”>touching the bottom of your fists together</a> meant something (I went to a Catholic school, it was odd). Meanwhile I was in the corner getting caught for having EGM2 in my folder under my homework.
As I got older (high school on) I started meeting more people that shared more of my interests, and I did diversify in my interests (I started playing music and skateboarding.) Eventually I was basically surrounded by others who I guess would be branded as geeks, I work at a game company, I have a weekly D&D night, I write scripts and film with other geeks, I have a potato Sunday with a few friends where we play video games and watch whatever show is currently in season. All in all I kind of forget that there is a definitive image of geek, gamer, nerd, (whatever) some people have, especially after meeting geeks of different shapes, sizes, complexion, build, level of activity, etc. Yet have need for movements like this one: http://wearecomics.tumblr.com/ and more power to it.
Knowing who I hang out with and being in a diverse and accepting environment really helps cultivate such cultures to thrive and just be out there. Yet it also helps us forget that there’s people out there that may ridicule or bully others for not having those interests. And apparently the image I believed to be extinct was still prevalent in some places. That reading comics was for kids, guys who play video games as adults become single middle-aged men living in their parents’ basement and that only the attractive and undesirable were left in this world. Its weird to think that people still think this way, but just as stereotypes of race, gender and sexual preference are still in the world, apparently so are stereotypes about people with certain interests.
There are many stereotypes for various interests and activities. Anime nerds, video game geeks, tech geeks, book worms, role players, tabletop fans, science nerds, athletes, gym goers, club goers, ravers and even people at country clubs. In the end, its just important to have an open mind. Which seems to be the main goal of the We are Comics movement, broaden the horizons of others and let them know that the people that read comics aren’t just Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons or an army of Kevin Smith clones. Its you, its me, its everyone of every demographic. Yet we also can’t judge anyone else by their covers.