Monday, February 13, 2012

Do comics, sci-fi & fantasy always equal GEEK?

Artist Al Bigley just sent me an article from our local Fox TV station titled Geek Chic: the Growing Charlotte Trend. Basically, the article says anything related to comics, sci-fi or fantasy genres is part of the Geek culture and anyone involved in it is, well, a geek. Just as with any general labeling of group, I think this use of the term is more inaccurate then accurate. Looking at a literal definition of geek, I don't bite heads off of chickens and I know no one else who does (there are some folks I have my suspicions about though). Looking at the definition I grew up with in the 80's, the image of a poorly or tackily dressed, ridiculously scrawny, socially inept, nerdy super-genius (think Revenge of the Nerds or Anthony Michael Hall and John Cusack in 16 Candles and you get the idea) doesn't honestly fit myself or the vast majority of people I know. We are at best mere geniuses, and most of us have athletic backgrounds- basketball, football, soccer, baseball, etc. A lot of military folks I know are into comics, Star Wars, and other things. Yet there is nothing geeky about the force, skill, and precision with which they can deliver an old-fashioned shock-and-awe!
I have met Andy Smith a few times before- he was always cool- not a nerdy brainiac. A very funny guy, Andy is also very aware of the world around him. If you ever get a chance to hear it when he subs for nighttime host John Hancock on WBT 1110AM, you will enjoy it. Along with one of his friends they call it the Andy & Jason Show.
Al's response to the article was, "Ugh!" and I agree. Al is certainly no geek. He does such a broad variety of work with his art that comics probably doesn't even make up a fourth of his workload- and he is also a personal trainer! If he "hulked out" he'd probably kick your butt!
so, yeah, being called a geek because I enjoy comics does get under my skin. But as a former journalist, I also understand a writer's need to group everything together in one simple neat package because without grouping them all together and labeling them there is no story- or at least no story with much focus. So what do you think? Is Charlotte a "geek city?" Are you a geek because you have some connection to comics or sci-fi?

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