The Truth About Geek Culture’s “Mainstream” Status

Last night on Twitter, I was thrilled to find that my sentiments on nerd culture being “mainstream” were echoed. Allow me to elaborate further.

Timeenforceranubis tweeted about the topic. For those who are unaware, Timeenforceranubis is an African-American blogger who talks about the anime fandom, and in particular, the western fanbase. He brings up factors such as the clamor for more art, and contempt for fanbases for moe and ecchi anime. I have a very strong respect for his work, even if I may not agree with some of his viewpoints. I also believe that the points he brings up are relevant to the larger discussion. One that I now seek to have.

The truth is that the “mainstream” status of nerd culture is a manufactured image created by businessmen and not something that has actually been achieved. Indeed, the vast majority of “nerdy” interests remain niche. Animation is still generally seen as “kids’ stuff”, only a select few video game properties have achieved widespread recognition and approval, and while superhero films may be big in the box office, the comic books they’re based on remain fringe. In truth, geek culture has not been accepted. It has been assimilated. It has been subjugated. This is not an ideal image for a fandom as it gives a not-so-subtle message of “conform or get out”.

What this means is that nothing has changed. If you are a gamer, you have to enjoy Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto to be taken seriously, if you’re trying to talk about comics, you will get nowhere unless there is an accompanying movie adaptation, and above all else, you do not want to try to discuss anime with anyone. Never mind that western anime fans have constructed a hierarchy to place fans of certain shows on top. And when kids are still mocked at school simply for the fact that they like to read, the situation looks even worse as no geek can pass.

And that is the prime problem with nerd culture being assimilated. In this process, we only accept the people and things that are fit to be assimilated. That means that comic books, anime, and their fanbases remain out in the cold.

But we don’t have to buy into the media’s farce. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest things you can do to avoid fading into the crowd is to engage in discussion of the larger nerd culture, beyond the manufactured image of nerddom, and talk about what it really is. We are not a hive mind of drones that like all of the same stuff. We are individuals, each with our own unique interests and chosen media. We are not interested in assimilating into “normal” societal culture or helping to manufactured a false narrative. We are simply interested in discussing our hobbies in the same way that anybody else would. And remember that this is a two-way street, so if you attempt to derail someone talking about their interests with what the mainstream says we’re supposed to be interested in, then that makes us less likely to care about what you enjoy.

The Foolishness of #firerickremender

Let’s start calling political bullying by its name.

Last week, the release of Captain America #22 was met with controversy when the Falcon was depicted waking up next to Jet Black, the daughter of Arnim Zola. Although Jet appeared to be quite young at the start of Remender’s run, time flies by fast in Dimension Z, where Captain America spent twelve years, as did Jet. By the time the Dimension Z arc ended, Jet had turned 23. However, some readers who didn’t know the full story in the book misinterpreted the Falcon-Jet scene as a case of statutory rape. Afterward, people wanted Remender fired, and they wanted the rest of us to stop buying Remender’s books. There’s even a hashtag dedicated to getting Remender fired.

Look. I’m sorry, people, but you don’t speak for me, you don’t tell me what I can and can’t buy, and you have no right to whine to a conglomerate that doesn’t care about you and try to pressure them to fire one of their hard-working employees!

Getting into the comics industry is extremely difficult. There are certain hurdles that one must make it past. (I still need to write a resume, for example.) It’s not easy. Are we supposed to believe that your fragile sensibilities are more important than the difficulties surrounding the lives of others? Come on, all you tumblrinas! It can’t always be about you!

Furthermore, we are talking about a fictional story in a comic book. Trying to get someone fired over comics is hateful. It’s very simple. If you are participating in the #firerickremender campaign, then, sit back and think. Would you want to be the victim of a hate campaign?

Equating a fictional story to real-world crimes is highly insulting both to the story’s creators and real victims of crime. If I were ever asked “What more important, fictional characters or real people?”, I would promptly answer “Real people, of course.”

That’s all I’m going to say on the matter. See ya next time.

-Dan

The Characters of God Bless the Warriors – Innocent Devil – Supporting Cast

Here, I will provide quick bios for the supporting characters of Innocent Devil.

Nicole Loreen Diaz

Tyson’s childhood friend. Nicole is a bright, cheerful 15-year-old girl who enjoys spending time with others, but often has trouble expressing her feelings and is very shy. She enjoys animation, and often talks her friends, including Tyson, into seeing animated films with her at the movie theater. Although she is generally seen as a girly-girl and has a distinctly feminine appearance, she is actually very tomboyish and dislikes typically girly activities. She has a very strong friendship with Tyson, and likes him more than many of her female friends. She has long black hair and a somewhat thick figure and wears glasses, due to having myopia.

Sandra Claire Walls

Tyson’s older sister, who raised him and their sister, Annie, after their parents died. Although she seems lazy and unfocused, Sandra is actually a firm, strong-willed, and responsible, if not easily bored, 28-year-old woman who will do anything within her power to ensure the safety and well-being of her siblings. She works as a waitress at a family restaurant, and is able to successfully support both herself and her siblings. She is sometimes the butt of her siblings’ jokes. She is tall, with a lean physique, and has long, orange hair.

Annabelle Karen “Annie” Walls

Tyson’s younger sister. Annie is a trendy 13-year-old girl who enjoys social interaction. She enjoys fashion and shopping, and is also a skilled cook. She is also very kind-hearted and is willing to help anyone in need. Despite her mostly compassionate nature, she does sometimes show a ruder side, particularly towards her older sister, Sandra, whom she and Tyson often poke fun at. She has medium length, wavy brown hair.

Merisia Draconisol

One of Tyson’s classmates at Redwill Academy. Merisia is friendly to a fault and enjoys group activities. She is also very trusting towards others, which sometimes leads to her being easily deceived. Because of this, she is often very shocked and hurt when she discovers that she is being lied to. She dislikes fighting, and thus, she only goes on missions when it is required for a field examination. As a result, she has low scores in field practice. She has a human-like appearance, but with bluish-green scales and retractable claws.

What We Can Do To Bring More Women Into Comics

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/05/13/let-girls-take-the-lead/#comment-4650812

I was just browsing Comic Book Resources and came across an interesting article about letting girls take the lead in the comics industry. It is actually a guest piece written by a long-time comic writer named Barbara Slate. She talks about the benefits of bringing forth a more girl-oriented line as an alternative to male-dominated superheroes, and once upon a time, Marvel had done such a line, having acquired notable licenses to Mattel’s Barbie, and Disney’s Princess characters. The line, while overshadowed by Marvel’s male-oriented heavy-hitters like Spider-Man, Avengers, and X-Men, did actually prove profitable, and Slate herself worked on the line to help it thrive, until a dark period began later into the ’90s, when a moronic excuse of an entrepreneur who was not well-versed in the comics industry began to drive the company into bankruptcy, and although the girls’ line was profitable, it met an untimely end as a result.

Now, Slate suggests revisting the prospect of a more girl-oriented line separate from superheroes. Now, while I consider myself a feminist and do not generally agree with tactics of gender-based segregation, I can definitely understand the basic idea. The idea of bringing out more titles that are more generally more accessible to women is a concept that seems so foreign to many of comics’ current business practitioners, but can only serve to benefit the industry in the long run, and we definitely need to do more than simply cater to the same already-existing demographic of adult males in their 30s and 40s. Emerald City Comic-Con attendance was over half female, and I believe it goes without saying that women are half the world’s population. With that in mind, why wouldn’t you want to tap into that market? Even with all this in mind, there is still one more thing to consider. The problem does not start and end at how many titles are distinctly “for girls”.

I won’t deny that we need more titles that are more accessible for women. After all, that is the whole point of Slate’s article, as well as the point of this opinion piece. And also, as a man with a particular interest in more feminine stories, and also as a male feminist, I embrace the idea of more stories for women. However, I’m sorry to say that it’ll take more to end the current problem than simply doing a “girls’ line”, although I definitely welcome the idea. Another thing we can do is lower the price point for comics and increase the availability for the books. These days, you only see comic books sold at comic book stores that specialize in this media specifically, or certain book store chains. I can’t help but view this situation as somewhat problematic for the industry, as it limits just how many people are likely not only to find these books, but also how many people are likely to put down the money to actually buy them. After all, I might be able to shell out three or four bucks for what is, in the end, approximately twenty pages of story, but I can’t speak for anyone else in that department.

And finally, another big thing we can to make comics more accessible to women is something that Janelle Assellin has been suggesting since she worked at DC Comics as an editor for Batman. That is, we can make the male-oriented stories more inclusive. Bringing out works for male audiences that do not alienate prospective female customers should be a no-brainer. Say what you will about Assellin’s critique of the Teen Titans cover, but she is absolutely right on the grounds that just because a story is targeted towards a male audience does not necessarily mean that it should be designed only for dudes. In Slate’s article, she states the folowing:

“We all know why women are sexualized in boys’ comics. Boys like boobs. Therefore grown men who draw the comics will continue to draw big breasts because they like to and because they know that it sells comics. We may never get them to stop drawing humongous mammaries, but the industry leading publishers can and should have a counterbalance. Instead of just trying to “educate” the boys, give the girls the lead.”

While I will agree that a counterbalance may be necessary, I must take issue with the rest of this quote. The entire paragraph suggests that exclusionary practices are only human nature, that nothing can be done about it, which, whether Slate intends for it to or not, reinforces sexist notions about gender, that men and women are and always will be fundamentally different in their interests and hobbies, which has time and again, been proven untrue. And also, while I will admit that sexualization is indeed, a part of human nature, but by no means is it unavoidable. I may sound uptight by saying this, but at the end of the day, sexualizing female characters is a choice, in every meaning of the word, and it’s a choice that not every male writer is going to make, no matter how naturally it comes. Furthermore, even those male writers that do don’t necessarily operate under the hive mind of “How are we going to exploit female sexuality next?”. In fact, there are ways of exploring the topic of a female character’s sexuality that aren’t exploitative in nature.

Again, the problems with accessibility towards women don’t start and end with the existence of girls’ lines. Like it has been said numerous times before, we do need more books that are girl-friendly, but we also need to make the books more available and affordable, and, we also need to bring out more titles for men that do not exclude women.

Have a good day.

-Dan

The Characters of God Bless The Warriors – Innocent Devil – Villains

Here is a series of bios for the villains of Innocent Devil.

Devil King Ariacchios

The main antagonist. Ariacchios is a king of Devils and is responsible for Tyson’s transformation into a demon. He seeks to extend his territory across multiple worlds, and is currently targeting both Sanctania and Florania. He is ruthless and calculating, using whatever means he can to obtain victory and gain dominance. He has a human-like appearance, but with green scales across his entire body and is able to summon and control flames similar to Tyson.

Fallen Grim Reaper Salvati

A sadistic female devil weilding a blood-soaked scythe. She was once a messenger of death, but she became twisted by a thirst of blood and started claiming souls prematurely. She loves battle and murder and revels in the despair of her enemies and victims. Since she claims a person’s soul before death, her victims fall into comas instead of dying, and to save them, Salvati must be defeated in combat. She is adept at wielding a scythe due to centuries of experience and is also skilled in dark magic. Her appearance resembles that of a young woman with long black hair and black eyes.

Destructor Caesar

A vampire nobleman from Sanctania who grew corrupt and started to rule his domain with an iron fist. Caesar has made several attempts to expand his land by conquering neighboring nations as well as other worlds. The Sanctanian government has also made several movements to stop him. He is a cruel dictator who has enslaved his people, forcing young citizens to serve in his army against their will. He uses a combination of swordplay and dark magic in battle.

The Lifeeater

A cannibalistic devil resembling an anteater both in appearance and abilities. He answers to no one and fights solely for sustenance, consuming those that he kills. He uses both his claws and his long tongue as weapons in battle and also uses his tongue to draw his prey closer to him before eating his victims.