There has been a lot of media attention given to geek and nerd culture lately and I certainly could not be happier. No longer are there only a few conventions. Now they are huge attractions that draw hundreds of thousand people to the large ones (San Diego, New York) and new ones popping up all over the country. Wizard World alone has added several smaller cities in the last several years that have been met with big success (St. Louis and Portland for instance).
Several thoughts are circulating on the factors that have brought the geek culture to the mainstream. I believe that multiple things made this glorious revolution possible. In comics, Marvel and DC have amped up their movie output which certainly exposes more folks to the characters and brings them around to hopefully exploring them in the comics. We could have an entire entry on the success or failure of each companies cinematic efforts. I definitely have strong opinions on that but will save that for another post (look out Green Lantern, the movie). Technology and video games have also brought an audience for the classic comic characters. Who hasn't loved exploring Arkham and knockin' a few bad guys around?
Mainstream actors have also helped our cause. Nathan Fillion, is a great poster child for geeks and has been honest about his love of comics and science fiction. He now has a huge following that includes more than those Serenity and Buffy the Vampire Slayer lovers. Now, I can honestly say that I was a Brown Coat wannabe long before he was penning books as Richard Castle. And believe me I loved it when Buffy kicked his priestly butt way back when. All that aside, I have my DVR set so that I never miss a moment of Beckett and Castle flirting over the weekly dead body. Now that is quality television that both my wife and I can get behind! Nathan Fillion's coolness goes even farther for those of us who have sung along with Dr. Horrible and watched the animated Green Lantern Corp and Justice League defend the innocents again and again. My hopes is that we get more Canadians with this much geek cred.
But in my humble opinion, four nerds from Pasadena have done a tremendous amount to bring geeks to the mainstream! They have shown us how once in awhile the geek actually gets the girl and keeps her ( at least for a season here and there). The Big Bang Theory has brought an element of cool to all those subjects that before were never talked about on TV. Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj have truly gone where no one has gone before: Prime Time with their geek flag flying high. Do you think middle American knew much about the inside workings of a comic shop before these four started talking over the stacks? How about the advantages of specific costume choices at your next Halloween party or Renaissance Faire?
The specificity that the guys delve into their subject matter brings joy to my heart. They bring attention to both DC and Marvel Comics. Although, I think they tend to favor the DC universe (But Stan Lee got his appropriate reverence!) Their wardrobe and home decor alone has got to keep DC Direct humming! I mean when this show finally folds up, the Ebay sale on all the collectibles should help finance CBS's next big venture. The icing on the cake has got to be the addition of the girls! The fact that they have expanded the role of the three women is brilliant! For once, the geek gets to ride off in the sunset with the pretty girl. Granted, with Sheldon, Amy Farrah Fowler will have to tempt him with comics and a warm beverage but they are still together and happy in their own way.
The biggest eye opener for muggles has got to be that TBBT shows these geeks in their natural habitat. And most importantly, that habitat is pretty normal. They go to the grocery store, they cook dinner, they drive to work. And somewhere along the way, they can organize a coordinated attack in Halo, kill a party of orcs in a dungeon, defend the Rebel Alliance against The Empire, and find that missing issue of Action Comics that completes their series. All the while maintaining a job and a relationship. Just remember that Friday is always Vintage Video Game Night and to get your laundry done on Saturday.