I haven’t always been a nerd. Even now, I have reservations about labeling myself as such, not because I don’t want to be labeled a nerd; quite the opposite, actually. I’m not entirely sure that I’ve jumped all the way into the geek pool. I sometimes feel like I’m simply wading in the shallow end, and I fear being dismissed as a poser by the geek community while swimming confidently in the deep end. I read mostly trade paperbacks, and I don’t have a pull-list at my local comic shop. I love Star Wars, but I’ve seen the originals only a handful of times each. I can’t say that I’ve seen more than a few episodes of any Star Trek series, and the only Star Trek movie that I remember anything about was the J.J. Abrams one. I’m not entirely tech-stupid; I can hook up a receiver and know my way around A/V components. I can manipulate, move, and locate computer files; I have been learning Final Cut recently, but my abilities on a computer seem to hit a wall when things start to go wrong.
That’s when I feel the fire inside me start to build up, and then I have to spend an inordinate amount of energy to keep myself from throwing my computer through a window. (I’m on the first story, but it would still be ugly.) All this may seem to some readers to be a good thing. “He’s not a nerd,” you may say, but I must confess, as a the creative director and co-founder of a comic publishing company, that I view this as a source of shame. When in conversations with my more O.G. (Original Geek) brethren, I usually don’t attempt to conceal my dark past: a childhood spent playing outdoors with other kids, summers spent practically living at the neighborhood pool, and a normal 80s/90s youth where a computer and a few game consoles were present, but I spurned them often, opting instead for a good game of “Flashlight Tag” or a day riding my bike aimlessly. I really want to be able to participate in conversations on current Marvel and DC events, comparisons of the various Doctors Who series, or the anything in the “Buffy-verse.” I have accepted that I cannot, and, though it is sometimes tempting to attempt to fake it, nodding and smiling my way through a conversation, I find it much less unnerving to simply “out” myself and accept judgment. Mind you, I am not idly accepting my inadequacies; I read every day, comics or novels, I watch movies almost everyday, and I peruse the geek news sites daily (made convenient and enjoyable thanks to The Fanboy Scoop, what WHAT?!?!?!). And, Bryant, I swear I will get to Buffy one day, my friend; however, I feel that I will forever be playing catch-up, as the creators continue to output and I fight to stay current. Although the desire wasn’t always there, I have always been on the cusp of nerd-dom. Looking up to an older brother who falls squarely into the mold, I have been exposed to comics, video games, literature, and genre films from an early age. I wasn’t exactly converted, but the door had been opened. I have always had, not exactly, ADD, but definitely a focus issue where no one thing got too much/enough of my attention. I did after school activities for a season or two, and then I was ready to move on, try something new. Nothing ever really stuck, and I was fine with that. But in the last five years or so, I have grown more and more focused on the inner fanboy and have really enjoyed bringing him out. It’s my belief too that we all have little inner fangirls and fanboys, and all we need to do is find the books, the comics, and/or the movies that bring her or him out. As I wade deeper into the pool, I think back to the stories that gave me that initial shove into the water: Joss Whedon’s amazing and short-lived TV series Firefly, the beautifully illustrated and poetic comic series Sandman by Neil Gaiman, and the gut-punch of a story that is Garth Ennis’ Preacher are mine. What are yours?