SpringCon is coming!

SpringCon 2012 is hitting the Twin Cities in a couple of weeks and I’ll be there as usual. Will definitely have some Kill All Monsters ashcans and Cownt stickers, but I’ll see if I can’t find something new to bring as well. I’ll probably have David with me for some of the time, so if you want to talk dinosaurs or Godzilla (or Pokemon), he’s your man.

The full guest list is up at the Midwest Comic Book Association website and it includes some awesome names as usual. In addition to the many friends I love seeing at that show, the MCBA does an especially great job at bringing in and honoring classic comic book creators. This year they’ve got Allen Bellman (The Human Torch, Sub-Mariner Comics), Jose Delbo (Jimmy Olsen, Wonder Woman), Bob McLeod (Action Comics, Conan the Barbarian), and Don Rosa (The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck).

They’ve also got other creators making their appearance for the first time this year: artist Jamal Igle (Supergirl, Zatanna), animator Joel Seibel (A Pup Named Scooby DooThe Angry Beavers), and writer Bill Willingham (Fables, Fairest). I have no idea how I’m going to meet Willingham without geeking out, but I’m definitely going to ask him to sign my copy of Fables, Volume 2 (the one that quotes a review I wrote on the back cover).

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll stop by my table and say “hi.”

The obsolescence of geeks and nerds

Image via Fresh Cargo
It’s apparent to everyone at this point that the geeks have inherited the earth, right? I mean, no one doubts that anymore. When I was a kid, it was an unthinkable concept. Sure, everyone loved Star Wars, but not everyone was obsessed with it. Reading comics or playing role-playing games had all sorts of social stigma that you didn’t want to deal with unless you were so into those things that loving them was worth the dishonor. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the war Star Trek fans waged to be known as “Trekkers” instead of “Trekkies,” as if that was somehow cooler. We don’t have to deal with any of that anymore. But in a world where liking geeky things is the norm, what does the “geek” label (or “nerd,” if you prefer; I use them interchangeably) mean anymore?
The Mary Sue ran an article on this, which is part of why I’m writing this. I was already thinking about it, but it was the Mary Sue piece (written by Becky Chambers) that pushed me toward my own keyboard. In it, Chambers decides that geekdom is defined by being interested in details. “All of these things are chock-full of tiny little details,” she writes, “just waiting for a curious mind to patiently examine them. Want to write code? Mind the details. Want to develop a good strategy in a game? Pay attention to the details. Really like that sci-fi book you just read? You’ll enjoy it even more when you look at the glossary and the galaxy map. They’ve got tons of details.” And she’s right of course, but I also think that she’s missing part of the picture.
Chambers is still focused on traditionally geeky stuff: science, genre fiction, role-playing, etc. The truth though is that everyone is geeky about something. This is an old observation, but sports fans are total nerds. I’m not just talking about the ones who join fantasy leagues either, but the ones who follow all the teams, know all the players, and can quote all the stats. I’ve felt a lot of social pressure over the years to be “into” sports, but have resisted because I just couldn’t get into the detailed minutia the way my sports-geek friends were. Going to a ball game with them was like going to the comic book store with That Guy; the one who wears the Captain America T-shirt and will not stop talking about which Green Lantern is the best. Chambers is correct that it’s all about the details, it’s just that everyone obsesses about something: comics, sports, movies, or scrapbooking.
Knowing that, I wonder if it’s not time to retire these terms as identifiers. Rick Remember recently tweeted, “I’m calling overdone on comic folks self-applying ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’.” I think I agree. When everyone is a thing, does that thing even need a label anymore?

Guest-blogging | That F’ing Monkey

I’ve been wanting to try guest-blogging at some other blogs for a couple of months now, but hadn’t gotten around to seriously thinking about it or approaching anyone yet before my buddy Ken from That F’ing Monkey asked if I wanted to chip in for three posts. Ken and his wife just had a baby boy and he knew that when his son arrived he’d need a break from the blog to focus on being a new dad. It was awesome timing, but I would have agreed even if I hadn’t already been thinking about it.

Ken’s idea was for me and him and Brandon (the other regular TFM contributor) to imagine that we were guest programmers on Turner Classic Movies and pick three films to talk about. We’d introduce them, talk about why we liked them, and give some background information and trivia if we wanted. I was totally into it.

I’ll let you visit TFM to read my posts (and Ken’s and Brandon’s), but the films I picked were Alfred Hitchcock’s silent version of The Lodger, the under-appreciated British horror classic Night of the Demon, and Tom Berenger’s hilarious Western parody Rustlers’ Rhapsody. Click the links or each picture below to go to the appropriate post.

My main criterion at first was simply that I wanted to choose from three different movie eras, but I ended up finding a recurring theme that tied them all together. I explain more about that in the Rustlers’ Rhapsody entry.

Anyway, thanks so much to Ken for asking me to participate. It was a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again.

LXB | Baseball Season

First of all, I’m sorry I’ve been a bad blogger the last two days. There’s no drama and I’m still employed, but I’m looking for a new day job and that’s taking up quite a bit of time. I love my current gig, but it’s not going to turn into what I hoped it would, so with the complete blessing and support of my awesome boss, I need to find something else. I’m going to try to double up on posts today and tomorrow to make up for Monday and Tuesday.

I’m still catching up to the League of Extraordinary Bloggers and my next late assignment is an open-ended one about baseball:

Take me out to the ball game! America’s past time has been prominently featured in pop culture for over a century, so this week, we’re talking baseball!

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’m not a big sports fan. I grew up in Tallahassee, so I have very fond memories of going to Florida State football games with my friends, but I haven’t stayed motivated to keep up with the Seminoles in a serious way since I moved from there. Now that I live in Minnesota, I’ve been to a handful of Twins and Saints games, several Wild games, and a Timberwolves game, but that’s about the atmosphere and hanging out with people I like. I understand the rules and cheer loudly for the home team, but I can’t get into the players and the stats. In other words, I’m a casual sports watcher.

That said, I do love me a sports movie and that includes baseball. Favorites include Major League, A League of Their Own, and Bull Durham. But really, when I think about baseball and pop culture, I always go first to good ol’ Charlie Brown. The Peanuts defined Americana for me as a kid and their neighborhood games romanticized baseball more than any film ever could.

 
 

The next thing I think of in reference to baseball is always the last 1:10 of Chuck Jones and Co.’s “Duck! Rabbit, Duck!”

Some of the other League members came up with some baseball references I can relate to. Team Hellions talked about a baseball-themed West Coast Avengers comic and reminded me of all those fun baseball games the X-Men used to play between epic story arcs. I used to love those issues where the team would try (and fail) to play without using their powers. Cavalcade of Awesome and Red-Headed Mule both put together dream teams of movie baseball players; an awesome idea. And Lair of the Dork Horde reminded me of the batting helmet ice cream bowls we used to get and collect in the ’80s (and those awesome-at-the-time handheld baseball video games).

How about you? What – if anything – does baseball mean to you?