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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rosa's Column: Nerds are from Endor. Geeks are from Ferenginar.

I'm a nerd.
I'll freely admit it. I lettered in Academics in high school, won state championships with my speech team, and went to a nerdy east coast university...where I was relieved to find out that I am not a geek. People often use the terms "nerd" and "geek" interchangeably. There's a difference though. As a nerd, I found it perfectly acceptable to watch marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spend $90 on a bag full of fantasy books from Powell's Bookstore in Portland, and wear slacks, a white button-up shirt, and a black vest to the premier of the re-release of Return of the Jedi (it wasn't actually a costume, just a roguish way of dressing...pipe down--I was 19). As "not a geek" I never owned a Star Trek uniform or watched a season all the way through, I never played role-playing games, and I never read a Physics text for fun (I barely read them for class).

What does this have to do with Comicon? Trust me--we're getting there.

In my nerd-view,  Cons are geeky. I rolled my eyes every year I heard mention that my sister was going to a Sci-fi con or Sakura-Con...and I worried about how I would sound thankful when she bought me things like Area 51 beanie babies. What do geeks do with those things? Certainly a nerd like me didn't know, and had no idea how you make a whole convention out of that subject matter. I laughed and pointed when I saw people with giant papier mache "war hammers," or any type of animal extension (be it tails or cat ears). Comicon was no different in my opinion--a geekfest for...well...geeks. Those who knew that there were multiple Green Lanterns, what was really up with Hellboy's affinity for kittens, and were basically like Corey Haim & the Frogg Brothers in The Lost Boys--minus all the cool vampire killing.

I'm sure there was a little insecurity attached to my reluctance--what if my nerdiness was called in to question by, of all people...geeks? Sure I had watched the X-men cartoon as a kid, seen all the movies, beat two of the Xbox games, and even played a little of the old school Nintendo game...but that seemed like just enough to be a poseur--I'd never even cracked a compendium. I still wondered why Gambit wasn't a big part of the movies...he was the coolest guy on the cartoon! It somehow seemed that going to Comicon would expose my ignorance and I would then be ridiculed by these people that I had already written off as being a whole different species of humanoid. It turns out that my fears were all self-imposed (and that I was being kind of a jerk about Comicon attendees).

Thanks to my love of almost anything Joss Whedon, I picked up his X-Men series, followed by the Season 8 Buffy series, and eventually I ventured into the work of Brian K. Vaughn in the form of The Runaways and Y the Last Man. I felt this at least gave me a little cred...but wasn't really the tipping point that made going to Comicon seem worthwhile. As it turns out, I had to do no more work than to enjoy one of the most popular franchises of all time: Star Wars.  I've seen the original trilogy hundreds of times, and while browsing the internet, found some cool propaganda posters done by an artist that was...uh...going to be right here in Baltimore at Comicon? Would he be selling these posters at Comicon? I could potentially save on shipping and get the posters autographed...plus, going to Comicon meant that I might find new comics that would increase my pop culture value (this is the value assigned to all people who have the potential to be on a trivia team...random knowledge is of extreme high value)?

My interest was piqued...

...To be Continued.
The poster that started it all. 

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