Comic Con starts today in San Diego. I’ve never attended a Comic Con — well, apart from the upstart New York one a couple years back — it looks as if perhaps I may never get to experience San Diego Comic Con in the form that made it legendary in the first place. At least if I’m to heed the worry that Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey expressed a few days ago:
Will mainstream fame destroy Comic-Con? Will the nerds succumb to the narcissism enabled by too much Hollywood love? Will the geek raison d’être be diluted as the films that fill the hallowed halls of the San Diego Convention Center starting Thursday drift further and further from the comic book, sci-fi fanboy core?
I hope not, but there are signs that erosion is already well underway. So I do have fears. And so should you. If the obsession and passion of the freaks and geeks soften, something precious will be lost to all of us. Seriously.
I think it’s a valid question that applies to all things geeky, not just Comic Con, and becomes more and more obvious in a movie year like this one, when the multiplexes are full of movies that theoretically have geek appeal — monsters and mythic warriors, magicians and hero’s journeys, adventure in other realms — yet somehow fail to actually capture what made stories like those click in our geeky minds in the first place.
Is it all the fault of the geeks themselves? Sharkey suggests that not long after Hollywood came calling, bringing all its star power to “kiss the ring” of hard-to-impress fanboys and girls, the “cool” kids — that is, not the geeks — began to overwhelm Comic Con. Sharkey’s solution?
The perception of the convention as still belonging to the geeks lingers, while the reality is that the cool kids are taking over. Before that happens, I am hoping for a coup d’état (coup d’geek?).
Is it too late for that? Has Hollywood ruined Comic Con? Can it be taken back, or is it forever lost to Hollywood glitz and glamor? Perhaps Hollywood will eventually realize that merely appropriating geekitude isn’t enough to create successful movies that geeks like, and will abandon Comic Con on its own?
What do you think?
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