- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Coming Sunday: A look at the collections and costumes of sci-fi enthusiasts.
It’s sometimes said geeks will inherit the earth. Look around, the takeover might already be happening.
Between the boys on “The Big Bang Theory,” geek chic fashion trends, computer technology and super hero movies breaking box office records, geek culture has gone mainstream.
While the trend has become an international sensation, local geeks have their own ideas about why they’re suddenly running in the cool crowd.
Comic book heroes attracted Qarman Adams, a sophomore atElizabethtown High School, to the world of geekdom.
Her uncle got her into comic books when she was younger and needed something to do in a new community. Later she watched “Justice League” and “X-Men” cartoons.
Iron Man is her favorite because he created his own superpowers and, in a way, gives her the feeling she can be a superhero, too.
Adams’ interest grew and one year she went to Dragon Con, a gathering of comic and sci-fi enthusiast in Atlanta, with her uncle. She wore a Supergirl costume.
Her uncle told her she was going to hear from someone nameStanley. She kept saying, “Stanley who?” When she sat down for the panel she saw the speaker and realized he was saying Stan Lee of Marvel comics. Then she got excited.
She is happy to see interest in superheroes is growing.
With better technology to make movies, everyone wants to see the films and then they become more interested in the comics, she said.
Now the mainstream audience has been exposed to comics and likes them, too, she said.
“I think it’s good that it is finally getting the attention it deserves,” Adams said.
She laughs at her friends when they play a game of capture the flag and she has to explain to them why Iron Man can’t be on the Justice League team.
“They still have some learning to do,” she said. Iron Man can’t be on the Justice League team because he is featured in Marvel comics and the Justice League is a part of another comic book company, DC.
Meanwhile, fans like Bill Nichols of Elizabethtown, see comics as a source of inspiration and imagination.
Nichols is a comic book writer and illustrator and the editor of “Sketch,” an online magazine devoted to creating comics.
His interest began at an early age when his father bought him a comic book every time he went to town.
“It fires the imagination,” he said. “In a comic book you can go to the moon in a page,” he said adding it opens up a realm of possibility.
Comic books and science fiction literature also have quality writing behind them, he said.
Superheroes can create a dream to aspire to.
“You can never be Superman but you can help people,” he said. Some people, he said, take that it a bit too far, living vicariously through their favorite superhero, but most are just inspired to do good.
Comic cons, short for conventions, also have become a media frenzy and something celebrities want attend, he said.
A lot of what’s popular now comes from comics, he said. People in love with “The Walking Dead” might not realize it originated in the comic world.
Through continued exposure, people are realizing comic books aren’t just for teenage boys, he said.
Sci-fi isn’t just for kids either, fans say. They aren’t drawn to the genre for its special effects and space adventures. In fact, it’s the opposite.
For Marnie Clagett, of Elizabethtown, it’s about the story and characters that are so well written she can’t help but be invested in them.
With so much “junk” on television and in film she said people are looking for good things to watch.
For example, “The Avengers” was so good viewers started looking for more from director Joss Whedon and discovered the space western “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” she said.
Television in the United States is so focused on advertising Clagett thinks it has affected the quality of program, she said. That’s why she and others turn to British television and “Doctor Who” for quality entertainment, she said.
“I’m not going to waste my time with ‘The Bachelor’ when there’s something like ‘Doctor Who’ on today,” she said.
She admits the premise is kind of dumb — a guy travels in time and space in a phone booth — but the writing is so good she couldn’t help but watch it. She’s found herself sobbing through the show because the characters and what they feel is deep and connecting.
“It’s so far removed from reality that it’s easier for us to connect to that on whatever level you need to connect with it on,” Clagett said.
People might assume sci-fi fans are all about science but as a Christian, Clagett finds the shows, whether they intend to or not, explore many religious ideas. They are all searching for something, she said.
A sci-fi fan isn’t really into the special effects, she said. Sometimes it can ruin a film, as in “Episode I: Phantom Menace,” she said.
“Give me the story, give me the acting that’s what I really care about,” she said.
Sci-fi fan and Western Kentucky University student Jonathan Sullivan, of Elizabethtown, said the attraction to all things nerdy is a blend of fact and fiction.
“Big Bang Theory,” a hit television sitcom following four nerdy scientists, he said, is kind of like one of those things that’s not really a sci-fi thing but people can look at it and say, “I know someone just like that.”
“I know there’s no real life Sheldon, if there was the world wouldn’t be able to handle him, but there are aspects of him so if you warp enough of your buddies together you could create a Sheldon,” he said, referring to one of the show’s characters.
Sullivan also enjoys science, and through sci-fi there are great stories that go wild, taking away limitations of science, he said.
“Anything that says ‘you can’t do this,’ you can take it away and say you can,” he said. “It’s a way of escape and getting to jump into a different world for an hour and a half.”
Some actors, like Simon Pegg, have made a career from their experience in being a geek. Pegg has appeared in the J.J. Abrams reboot “Star Trek” and zombie cult film “Shaun of the Dead.” He recently wrote a book called “Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid.”
He sums up what a geek is and why they now shine in the limelight.
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection,” Pegg was once quoted. “It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey loves fantasy literature. His bats are named for swords: Orcrist from “The Hobbit” and Hrunting from Beowulf. He’s also known for placing books around the clubhouse and pulling out a “Star Wars” Stormtrooper helmet and has said he would like a cameo role in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Megan Fox has her own Sci-fi following from the Transformer films but her geek preferences are comic books, anime, video games and “Lord of the Rings.”
Tom Hanks not only went into space in “Apollo 13” but he also loves “Star Trek” and anything that has to do with space. He’s known for knowing the title for every “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode and Moviefone.com said he was their No. 1 Twitter geek.
The classic rock band Led Zeppelin has been influenced by “The Lord of the Rings” books with songs titled “The Battle of Evermore,” “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Ramble On.” Robert Plant named his dog Strider after one of the characters in the books.
“To deny the facts would be illogical” ~Spock
The top five films with the biggest opening weekend box office totals of all time are “The Avengers,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Hunger Games.” All are based on comic books or sci-fi and fantasy literature. In fact, more than half of the top 100 fit into the sci-fi or fantasy genres.
On television, “Big Bang Theory” ranks in Nielsen’s top 10, even when it’s on hiatus and audiences are watching reruns.
Some television shows not only feature geeky characters but are also followed closely by the nerd culture. Many received Emmy nominations this year including multiple nominations for “Big Bang Theory,” “New Girl,” “Game of Thrones,” “Sherlock,” “Once Upon a Time” and “The Walking Dead.”
The Harry Potter series of seven books has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. “Lord of the Rings” has sold 103 million copies.
Digital sales for comic books last year were $25 million; print sales totaled at $680 million.
In 2012, 130,000 flocked to comic con. It started in 1970 with about 300 people. In 2000, it had gown to about 50,000 and the numbers kept going up from there.