Tag Archives: geeks

Another Origin Story?!

Man of steel oneI’ve read a lot of comments on various forums in the wake of the latest trailer for Man of Steel, and a lot of them had the same thing to say: “Why are they doing his origin story again!?” At first, I wanted to echo the sentiment. Come on, Superman is arguably the most popular character that was created in the 20th century. EVERYONE knows who Superman is and where he came from, right?

Then, I decided to do a quick survey of  my non-comic-book-reading friends and family. I simply asked them to tell me what they knew of Superman’s origin story. Some people got it exactly right. Most got it partially right. A few people got it completely wrong.

So, there’s part one of my argument for another origin story. New people are getting introduced to the Superman character all the time. A lot of people will buy tickets to watch  Man of Steel simply because “The Director of The Dark Knight” is attached to every trailer and movie poster. We who have seen a Superman cartoon, read a Superman comic, or even seen a Superman movie are in the minority here.

We are currently living in a geek golden age, so it’s hard to not be selfish when we get movies about things we love, but movies are made for a much wider audience than just we geeks.

I would argue that Superman is one of the greatest literary characters ever written. I know that some people hate Superman because he is a “boy scout” or whatnot. But, seriously, he ushered in a new era of modern mythology. His story is pretty timeless–a special person finds out that he is special, and has to figure out what to do with his specialness. Sometimes the story is about what a god does when he is among humans. In any event, it’s interesting, thematic, and he has a cool cape.

When other great works of literature are adapted for the screen, I see very few people complaining about it. When Les Miserables was coming out in theaters, I saw a whole lot of excitement. When Pride and Prejudice  gets adapted for the screen (again!) I also don’t see a lot of complaints. Retelling and re-imagining stories and characters is about as old as storytelling itself. Just because the new Man of Steel film is retelling an origin doesn’t automatically make it invalid.

Comic book guyDoes the geek response to Superman’s origins perhaps stem from the insular nature of the geek community? You know on The Big Bang Theory (which I hate, by the way, but that’s another article for another time) when the characters looks really put out because another character doesn’t understand the love for Dungeons and Dragons or comic books? I’ve seen that happen in real life. I’ve known people who have gotten mocked because they really wanted to get into comic book but didn’t know where to start. There was the big controversy about people denouncing “fake geek girls” because they didn’t know every detail about your favorite superhero. Or, how about people who want to start playing Dungeons and Dragons, but the jerk DM acts like the new player has to know every obscure rule in the core rulebook before they can play?

Geeks can be jerks. Plain and simple. A lot of geeks of my generation and older got openly mocked for enjoying comic books or Dungeons and Dragons. But, it’s the cool to like those things now. The Avengers was a huge movie hit. Batman movies have done really well. And now that geeks are on top, we’re starting to get selective as to who can be “one of us.”

And it needs to stop. You may have been picked on by other people for what you liked at one time or another, but that doesn’t give you the moral high ground in every situation going forward. If you are bullying people for not knowing a whole lot about your chosen hobby, you need to stop. You’re being a jerk. I don’t care if you had your head dunked in toilets. I don’t care if your towel was stolen while you were in the gym shower. Or any number of awful things happened to you simply because you liked something that other people didn’t. I’m sorry those things happened to you. I really am. It still doesn’t mean that you get to awful to other people.

PadawanHere’s a thought; know some potential geeklings that want to get into something you’re really knowledgeable about? Are you a master DM that knows a person that wants to try some RPGs? Got a friend that doesn’t know where to start with reading comic books? Mentor them. Be their dork Jedi Master. Show them around. Introduce them to your friends. Defend them if they get mocked. Just be a generally awesome person.

So what does my rant have to do with Superman’s origin story? There have been many times when after a friend saw a superhero movie, I was asked to help them find good comics to read. Now, I could’ve mocked them for not knowing what to read, and thereby felt like an alpha geek; instead, I helped them find some good comics, and now they are a part of a hobby I love. I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to see Man of Steel. And if you’re a comic book geek and reading this, maybe you can introduce someone you love to graphic storytelling.

How is that not better for the hobby? We need to move our hobby from being so geekily inbred. We desperately need new blood. New fans can equal great things in the future. They might go on to develop new hobbies that you love. But, only if you’ve not slammed the door in their face before they reached for the knob.

In other words, Golden Rule time, everyone. Be kind. You’ll never know where you simple act of not being a jerk will get you. And, for goodness’ sake, enjoy the fact that so many geeky properties are getting so much attention. It won’t last forever.

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Fate of the Justice League Movie

According to some online sources [here and here], the fate of the upcoming Justice League film (and by upcoming, I mean a few years from now) depends on the success of the new Superman film, Man of Steel. So any DC fans out there who have been eagerly anticipating a Justice League film to compete with Marvel’s The Avengers, whether you believe in a god or not, should probably start praying. Not to mention, plan on seeing Man of Steel whether it sucks or not.

Superman himself doesn't look too sure about the WB's decision.

Superman himself doesn’t look too sure about the WB’s decision.

Now as I’ve said before that I’m looking forward to the new Superman flick. I think it will be phenomenal. Excellent cast, director, producer, and Hans Zimmer. I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of it, but that’s just me. It’s gonna take a lot more than just me for this this to be successful enough to convince Warner Bros to greenlight a JLA film, as well as any other DC superhero films to follow (ahem…Aquaman!). And given the success of past Superman films, the JLA film’s fate seems a bit shaky. I don’t think there’s been a successful one since maybe Superman II. Even Smallville was a bit rocky at times. That whole season with “Doomsday” made me want the CW to cancel the series. So banking on Superman to save the day might be a longshot.

I haven’t really had much faith in a Justice League movie happening in a while anyway. The only successful character on the big screen has been Batman (obviously), no one else can touch him. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns bombed, Green Lantern flopped, and no one can get a Flash movie going. Wonder Woman can’t even get a pilot on TV, let alone a movie. Green Arrow’s doing alright on the small screen, but the Oliver Queen/Super Max movie is pretty much canned. And Aquaman gets no respect whatsoever in any media, except for maybe the New 52. So yeah, I haven’t really had much hope or anything to give me any hope in a JLA film in a while. Plus, DC and Warner Bros seem to be scrambling to get this film made just because the Avengers and all the other Marvel films did so well and they wanna make money too.

Wait….didn’t Warner have the Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, and The Dark Knight Trilogy? Those were all done well and time was taken with each of them, so why rush JLA? Geeks and nerds aren’t going anywhere and superheroes aren’t a passing fad. They’ll be around. But if you piss them off by making their heroes look like crap, they won’t be as dedicated and won’t be as will to fork over their money. Think about that.

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Take the time and build the back-stories on some of the characters that people don’t know as much about. You’ve done enough with Batman for now, let him rest. You can’t have Bale, but you’ve got Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’ll do pretty damn well, even though I really want him to be Nightwing or Batman Beyond. Fix Green Lantern – recast, let Ryan Reynolds be Deadpool and find someone else. Give Aquaman and Flash their due and find someone that can make Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter work on the big screen. Honestly, I’d save Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter’s films for after the JLA movie.

Again, I have faith that Man of Steel will be huge. Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan have never let me down, and I’m really hoping for a super-sweet Superman/General Zod fight. I’m sure they’ll deliver it. But banking everything on a Superman film is like shooting fish in a barrel. Batman did do well because it’s easier for people to connect with Batman. Yes, he’s a millionaire, but underneath it all, he’s still human. Superman just acts human. Deep down, he’s essentially a god and people have a tough time connecting with that…unless you’re egotistical like Kanye West.

I may have said the majority of this before, but it needs to be reiterated as Warner Bros gets closer to making the final decision. Pull your heads from your collective asses and things properly. It’ll pay off more in the end.

But anyway, here’s the Man of Steel trailer. You should go see it. Not to up the chances of JLA being made but because it looks frickin’ awesome!

 

[featured image source: Alex Ross]

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Time to be a Dork

I’m pushing 30, and I can’t think of a better time than now to be a geek, a nerd, a dork, or whatever you want to call it.

Seriously, right now, the dorks are winning.

NERDS!!!

I remember a time, around 15 years ago, where I couldn’t really proclaim my love for Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, or comic books. Of course, I went to a Christian school where things like that (magic, wizards, etc.) were frowned upon. I actually got in trouble once for having the manual to Civilization II in my backpack.

But really, I only had a couple of friends that would admit that they were into geeky things.

Fast forward to today.

Batman and a collection of Marvel superheroes are sitting at the top of the box office.  The San Diego Comic Convention is bigger than ever. Gen Con drew in over 41,000 people. You can’t go out without seeing someone wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt. Comic book characters on are TV. Major networks are taking chances of fantasy and sci-fi shows. Game of Thrones is one of the best shows on TV. Doctor Who is back and more popular than ever!

When I read a comic book in public, I RARELY get scoffed at. In fact, more often I get asked  if it is any good. People generally aren’t afraid to try roleplaying games. Video games are a booming medium. Everyone plays Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, or World of Warcraft.

This is a far cry from when I had to huddle in friends’ basements, rolling dice in the lonely, dreary shadows. Now, someone can put a good idea for a tabletop RPG on Kickstarter, and it can make 12 times its funding goal. There are so many cool geeky things out there, and there’s no way I have the disposable income to buy even a quarter of their awesome-ness. And that doesn’t even include the different geeky events around the country that I want to attend!

Viva la Dorka!

There are some even greater things that are coming out of this dork boom. People in general are getting more interested in science and math. Going to space is cool again. Comic book and video game art are inspiring younger  generations to create awesome things. Movie and video game music has never been better, and I bet you’ll see kids picking up instruments because of Halo, Skyrim, or Rock Band.

So, enjoy this geek boom while it lasts! It’s a good time to dork out.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,