Published on April 17th, 2015 | by Holly Ringsell0
Be Excellent To Each Other
With Avengers: Age Of Ultron rolling around in a matter of weeks, it seems the appropriate time to discuss something I’m seeing increasingly often in the nerd community.
With the frequent release of superhero movies, tv shows, games and comic books, we’re seeing a huge influx of new fans. People might catch Daredevil on Netflix, or Avengers, and enjoy it enough to want to find out more — they want to know where these characters came from, or discover more of the universe created around them.
Why are these people so often met with vitriol?
If it’s not shouts of “fake geek girl,” it’s questions sneered with derision. Their motives are questioned, or they’re ridiculed for not knowing the things even the most diehard of us would know. Newcomers start their enquiries with “this might be a stupid question but…”, and thats if they’re brave enough to enquire at all. Who would blame them? When your attempts to enter a hobby are met with venom and spite, it’s no wonder many end up giving up altogether.
Why Is It Happening?
Perhaps it’s that typical “I heard of them before they were cool” mentality that so many of us are guilty of, (myself included.) Or maybe it comes from somewhere a little more bitter — a lot of us have spent the larger parts of our lives defending our hobbies, whether thats comics, cosplay, movies, gaming, or all of that combined. We’re repeatedly told its ‘uncool’, and often even ‘childish’, so its no surprise that we bite back when the people previously lobbing insults at us change their tune. It’s only natural to want to deny them something we’ve almost had to earn, but new people delving into the world of geekery is more important than you think, and something we should all yearn to make easy and welcoming for them.
The Importance Of Newcomers
More people getting into geekery results in more money being spent on said geekery. This means that, hopefully, indie stores are able to thrive. As the owner of Dark Side Comics, I can tell you this as a fact – We deeply love our regulars, but we also depend on newcomers. We need kids, adults, and everyone in between, coming in to catch up on their Captain America history, or find out about Ant-Man before the movie release. They might only pop in once a month, or once every few months, but their custom is absolutely invaluable to us — plus, newcomers often become regulars, and the cycle continues. The more newcomers, the more revenue circulating the independent industry, the more comic stores are able to remain successful.
Leading on from above, more income means more awesomeness. As the audiences grow, the volume of amazing stuff being created grows with it. The success of our superhero films means we’ll get tonnes more in future, as well as offshoots of those in the form of TV shows, such as Marvel’s Daredevil and Agent Carter. In turn, that expands our comic universe too, with more and more talented writers and artists being bought on to fulfil demand. More people watching and reading results in more excellent stuff — and who could turn their nose up at that!? If you’d told me even ten years ago, that we’d be getting a Captain Marvel, Black Panther or Inhumans movie, I’d have laughed uproariously… Yet now it’s a reality. Who knows what else Marvel, DC, and everyone else have planned? DC have their upcoming roster of Justice League-centric movies. There’s already talks of Image’s Sex Criminals being transformed into a TV series, along with Chew and Vertigo’s Preacher… How long until we get a Deadly Class TV series, or a Saga movie? A Hawkeye TV series, a Ms Marvel movie? A Gotham Academy cartoon? There’ll no doubt be hits and misses, but it sure is fun to hang along for the ride.
Friendly Hobbies Are Good Hobbies
Lastly, our hobby should be fun. We should be nice and understanding and welcoming to one another, because that breeds more niceness and understanding. Comics and geekery should be a safe space for men and women, kids and grown ups, people from every corner of life, whether they’re lifelong comic fans, or brand new movie fans. A friendly hobby attracts friendly people, and builds an awesome, supportive community. Plenty of us are loners — we’re not incredibly social, we don’t enjoy the conventional means of entertainment, and by building bridges with more like-minded people, we develop a place we can all be comfortable in. Whether you’re introverted, extroverted, shy, outgoing, into comics, games, movies, or any combination of those things and more, you’ll be able to connect with people about the things you love. By shunning newcomers, you’re doing nothing but shrinking the pool of awesome, and that includes both media and human beings.
Share your comics. Visit your local comic store. Support them. Take your friends. Simultaneously marathon Netflix series with your friend across the pond. Take trips to the cinema. Go to events at your comic store and meet more people, new friends. Offer to explain the difference between Marvel and DC to newcomers, but do it in a kind, gentle and informative way. Read more, absorb more, learn more.
In the immortal words of Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan… Be excellent to each other.