Superman is dead, alive, from a different dimension, and born again. It’s exciting and you can’t wait to read about it or share it with the world. Unfortunately you are on the bus, with a trendy 20 something to your left sipping upscale coffee and swiping through the latest entertainment news. Your fresh new edition of Superman is crisp in your bag but you know the looks you will get for being an adult reading a comic on the bus.
Okay, that’s not fair. I love expensive coffee and certainly fall for celebrity click bait, but you get the picture. That feeling of anxiety when you openly show your nerd.
It comes in all forms – “When are you going to grow up?” or “Aren’t you a bit old for that?” Or etched in my mind is when I had authentically surprised a co-worker with a copy of Detective Comics on my desk only to have her say –“I didn’t think they still made comic books”
Well pull out the comic my friend and brandish your dice with pride because YOU ARE THE MAJORITY. Sure we know geek culture has become widely more mainstream. Although it IS farther from Big Bang Theory and professional cosplayers. It still carries a stinging sense from others around us.
Well, like the scornful bullies of our childhood years, they just wish they could be part of the IN crowd. The proof, well it starts in the box office. The top earning movies in 2016 include Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War with the top spot taken by Rogue One grossing $520,568,505. Five times more than the movie La La Land that got an Oscar nomination for best picture of the year.
With the box office dominated we can take a deeper look to the source from which our stories grow, comics. Once thought extinct by coworkers and strangers alike they have brought in over $580,000,000 in North America alone. Including digital and brick and mortar stores these sales are astounding as a medium when you realize that including international sales they are comparable to Hollywood sales figures. A needless comparison since we know Hollywood is all about geek movies anyway.
Finally we can look at the digital stories held by heroes and hopefuls, video games. Perhaps one of the most largely accepted geek mediums, but still not accepted with open arms in casual lunch table conversation. At least not when you mention Pokémon Go, there are those who still roll their eyes at the sound.
Continuing to use revenue as baseline of success, because that’s how things work, the video game industry brought in over $610,000,000 in 2016. This includes hand held and app style games. Inclusion of app style games is the key to showing their mainstream dominance. Words with Friends, Peggle, and certainly Candy Crush are a small smattering of games that have crossed the phones of countless users. While some may not consider these video games, that is exactly what they are. So next time someone rolls their eyes about Pokemon Go, ask them who won their last game of Words with Friends.
We aren’t all funny, we aren’t all sexy, and we aren’t all famous internet stars, but we are certainly the majority. To find someone who never downloaded Flappy Bird, laughed out loud at Deadpool’s deadpan lines, or stopped to look at the cool art on the comic books resting so perfectly in the spin rack, is to find a person who can throw the first stone. So feel confident in your hobby, be proud of what you like, and don’t be afraid to share it with the world. The only stones being thrown will be from Ogre’s with a +5 strength bonus that Saturday night.