It’s so easy, being trendy.

When I say things like comic books, video games, or movies like: Batman v Superman, Captain America: Civil War, or Hellboy, or TV shows like: The Flash, Arrow, Jessica Jones, or cosplay—you know I’m talking NERD. And today, it seems like being nerd is not only cool, but it is easy. Call me old-fashioned, but there are several things that bother me in the trending nerd culture like: how the Marvel and DC universe is being altered to be screen worthy, how a the saturation of merchandise is devaluing the collectables and making new nerds lazy consumers, how the increased popularity has affected the intimacy of the nerd experience, and how cosplay is a waste of time. These all have combined to create a contemporary nerd that doesn’t care about the craft of the story and art; only the characters they view on the big screen.

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DC’s new logo of 2016

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Marvel Now! 2016

Marvel and DC Makes Superheros for Viewers not Readers
I remember when Hollywood would produce a new action or rom-com film every other month and that was the normative. Now, it’s the superhero films that are putting butts in seats. They’re making billions upon billions of dollars. Seeing the growth of these films, it makes you wonder, when did this all start? Was it with the, Spider-Man (2002) movies or the X-Men (2000) movie, or was it the rise of the Marvel-Disney movies with Iron Man (2008)? It would seem that all or part of these movies are what changed the comics and the video games based from them.

With the popularity of the X-Men and Spider-Man movies, Marvel created a comic universe to service the movie lines, The Ultimate Marvel Universe (1610). Which had all new stories with Marvel Comics greatest heroes and villains. It had new origins for Spider-Man, The X-Men, Captain America, The Hulk, Doctor Doom, The Fantastic Four and so many others. The Ultimate Universe had some of the arguably-greatest X-Men, Avengers and Spider-Man stories.

Was it DC Comics changing their comic line to the New52 or was it the unrecognizable change in Superman in the films? From loveable boycott in the Richard Donner’s, “Superman” (1978) films to the recent Zack Snyder’s, “Man of Steel” (2013)? It’s a mix of the popularity from the movies and growing number of moviegoers. You can’t deny that these films have made money. The first Spider-Man grossed over $403 million dollars. While these movies have only made more sense from a Hollywood perspective. Changing them from the original story only damages the characters, it alters them from how they were intended, into a corporate entity.

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Bryan Singer’s – X-Men (2000)
Marvel Comics: Ultimate X-Men (2000)

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Zack Snyder’s – Man of Steel (2013)
DC Comics: New52 Superman by Jim Lee (2011)

Oversaturated Market Makes New Nerds Lazy and Collectables Worthless
Merchandise is everywhere and it’s not the same as it was in the 80’s or 90’s. It’s a growing trend, and I say trend and not a fad, because fads come and go. I recently went to Target and Wal-Mart and I couldn’t tell you how much superhero merchandise I saw. You have toys and memorabilia, such as the Funko Pop or Slideshow figures. Things that used to be difficult to get a hold of, now is found on the end caps and on the shelves for everyone to purchase and view. Add to this, you also have other types of memorabilia in the form of nightgowns, undergarments, watches, cups, dinnerware and so much more. The current superhero trend is removing that magic and thrill of the new collectable or centerpiece for your coffee table by placing everything nerd easily in one location for the consumer. It’s taking away those awesome stories of going to store in the middle of nowhere and finding that one issue you never thought you could find. It’s making being a comic nerd, lazy. It’s like most fans don’t even bother. That was never the point of collecting when it came to comics or figures. It was always about personal preference. Yeah, there was those few who had to collect everything but you hardly ever saw two nerds with the same type of collection. Much like comics, no two nerds collect the same comics.

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Funko Pop! Toys

Did Cosplay Really Help? No…It Just Pissed Off Comic Artist
Did the new trend come from the rise of a cosplayer? Cosplay has been around since the 1930’s but didn’t gain the name “cosplay” until 1984 — Cosplayers like, Ya-Ya Han who gained popularity at Anime Expo in 1999. Perhaps it was, Jessica Nigri starting her career in 2009? When her cosplay of “Sexy Pikachu” she wore to San Diego Comic-Con International went viral on the Internet? With her gained notability she was able to make a living from cosplay and many more followed. They may have been the reason for others to attend conventions and treat the visits differently.

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Jessica Nigri and Yaya-Han

Cosplayers bring many to conventions but are they people who love comics or people who love cosplay? Two years ago, comic artist Pat Broderick thought the the latter in saying, “If you’re a Cosplay personality, please don’t send me a friend request. If you’re a convention promoter and you’re building your show around cosplay events and mega multiple media guest don’t invite me….You bring nothing of value to the shows, and if you’re a promoter pushing cosplay as your main attraction you’re not helping the industry or comics market..Thank you.”. Cosplayers do bring in fans and new fans but again, they aren’t promoting the craft, only the trend. They don’t show you how to make your own costumes or gather people to comic writers, artists or new comics, they only promote themselves.

Nerd Culture has Gotten Overpopulated
Previously when the most people went to comic or anime conventions it was to see your favorite artist or writers of their favorite comics. Writers like: Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Flash & Fantastic Four), Dan Jurgens (Death of Superman, Zero Hour, The Mighty Thor: Lord of Asgard), Chris Claremont (New Mutants, Uncanny X-Men Legacy of the Lost, X-Men: Days of Future’s Past) and artists Jim Lee (X-Men, Batman: Hush, Wildcats), Tim Bradstreet (Punisher, 28 Days Later, Hellraiser) and Alex Ross (Marvels, Justice, Kingdom Come) were all possible attendees.  Conventions even had some of your favorite t.v., movie, cartoon or video game personalities. People like: William Shatner (Star Trek), Kevin Conroy (Batman: Tas), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Cree Summer (Rugrats). With the cosplay and Hollywood making more and more comic films, comic conventions started to gain more and more popularity.

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San Diego Comic-Con panel with Avengers cast.

Trying to buy a ticket to the San Diego Comic-Con is nearly impossible after the first week of release. When you do get a ticket or badge, you have to book a hotel room (depending on how long you’re staying. two, three or four days) then you have to reserve a parking spot. Then you have lines upon lines and smells you’ll have to endure. You may see some amazing cosplayers and trailers no one but you and the few attending have witnessed; then you’ll have choose which trailer or panel is worth your wait. This is a going trend with most conventions outside of San Diego. Smaller conventions may not have as much flare as San Diego, New York, Chicago or Dragon-Con but they are still very expensive, crowded and filled with lines.

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There’s so many things it could be but I miss the days of going to different comic shops or general stores in and actually finding something comic related. Not something based from a movie or tv show. Finding those relics made me appreciate comics more, and it made me love comics more: because it wasn’t just handed to me. It wasn’t just laid in front of me. I had to work for the items and go out of my way to find something, incredibly special.

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Written by FTO : NERD TALK
Edited by Jodi Ryalls

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5 thoughts on “It’s so easy, being trendy.

  1. The market dictates things like this. You get crowds don’t put as much emphasis on collectables as older crowds do. The experience matters more than the trinket they take home. Getting their arm signed by Stan lee and posting that on Instagram is better than taking a signed comic home. Space and lifestyle are also defining how folks are keeping things.

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    1. I think I get that pretty clearly. If you read what I wrote I went into Thy fact that Hollywood, Warner brothers and Disney is the fault of this but the cause is because of money. It’s because they want the “experience” or notability. They want to blast it online instead of keeping it to themselves. Because showing off your nerd cred is much better knowing your nerd cred.

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  2. You make some valid points. I agree that cosplay and comic conventions have become more about the show than the comics and the people behind it. I slightly disagree about the availability of comics and collectibles being a bad thing. I’ll explain my pros and cons:
    Pro: Fan base grows. (I tweeted about this, but here is more details) Being able to purchase comics and merchandise in more places than before helps others to discover, read, and show their fan-hood.
    Con: I agree with you on those just buying the merchandise just because it’s “IN” now. They really don’t care about the comics that the movies are based off. The good thing is you can tell who those people are in a five minute conversation. Ok, maybe more than five minutes, but you get the idea.
    Pro: Indie creators have more of a chance of getting noticed than before. Yes, I know it seems like indies are riding the coattails of the big dogs (DC and Marvel), and some might be. But, indies are becoming more noticeable, which helps those artists and writers who have had little chance of getting their work seen.
    Con: The saturation of indie titles. One can get lost in the shuffle. It’s the good and bad of the industry.
    These are just my opinions, and some may agree or disagree with them. Yes, there are the lazy/fake nerds(geeks) out there, but it is a good time for real fans to show off our fandom.

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