Everyone please update your spell-checkers and dictionaries:
geek·ism n. 1: The belief that certain persons or members
of geek heirarchy or fandom groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their
perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, trivia knowledge, or
fan-based resources. 2:The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a fandom group
or geek class; Control, rule, or domination by such a fandom group or geek class.
geek·ist n. : someone who believes in rule by an elite
group of geeks
I’m declaring war, here and now, on those Geekus Superius who
think that they deserve to control the Geek Nation. I’m talking about
the fundamentalist geekists, those “Old School” comic book fans,
who are flooding the Internet with messages of hate and despair regarding X2:
X-Men United. Their dogmatic insistence that strict comic book continuity
and character history be observed has created an undercurrent of bile for the
best comic book movie since Spider-Man.
Granted, Spidey still tops the list, for one reason only: you really need to see
the first X-Men movie before you see this one. And the number of switches and
changes to the franchise from the comic book series are pretty big. But that’s
not the point of X2. It really wasn’t the point of the first X-Men movie.
The point was to put comic books on the big screen. And in X2, the film is an
All of that gets swept away on the Internet, however. Among the list of grievances
filed by the geekists were the following:
- Nightcrawler is supposed to be furry, not just blue/covered in angelic
- Mystique was supposed to be Nightcrawler’s mom, so why wasn’t
- Storm was underused and where did her accent go? And why isn’t she
the team’s leader?
- Wolverine doesn’t cry; this alone is heresy and grounds for a Jihad.
- Why wasn’t there more Colossus? And why wasn’t there a ‘Fastball
- Why wasn’t the Beast (Dr. Hank McCoy) blue and furry? Or just an
- The character of Jason was supposed to have the last name of Wyngarde,
not Stryker, and he didn’t secrete fluid from his brain, either.
- There was NO mention of the Shi’ar aliens at all, and besides, Jean
doesn’t become Phoenix until much later. This lack of respect for the
holy texts is grounds for Jihad.
- Lady Deathstryke’s origin was horribly butchered and she was under-utilized.
- The lack of characters introduced, such as Gambit, The Morlocks, Some Guy
from a Single issue of an Alternate History Series, and Banshee, was an unforgivable
mistake and calls for Jihad against Bryan Singer.
There were others, but I selected the top ten worst offenses. You can read about
the rest of their Purist Manifesto at www.Ieatmorepastethanyou.org and see the
hatred for yourself. Or, if their website is down, search through any online discussion
forum for movies, comics, or anything else geeky. You’ll find at least one
geekist waxing disdainful about the movie, and unfortunately, their conversion
rate is on the rise.
What they don’t seem to realize is the difference in intellectual properties.
All forms of media are not the same. In fact, comics are the worst of the bunch.
On the surface, they would seem to be cousins to the movies, but as Lone Star
Press’ Bill Williams is fond of saying, “comics have an unlimited
special effects budget.” To draw fur on a character is a few brush strokes
with ink. To put blue fur on a person for photographic purposes takes hours. Even
if it’s done on a computer. And it won’t ever look like the few brush
strokes that it took to render in the comics. Ever. They are two different mediums.
Stories are told differently, too. Comics don’t rely on anything more than
a visual component and the reader’s brain. In our minds, we make the action
come to life. We rearrange the word balloons automatically when we read them out
of order, we envision action that occurs between the panels, and we assign voices
and inflection based on our personal experiences. My Wolverine doesn’t sound
anything like YOUR Wolverine. You wanna know who my voice for Logan is? It’s
Clint Eastwood. Corny, I know, but he’s got just the right amount of gravel
in his voice for what I imagine a cigar-chomping Wolverine to sound like.
Movies, on the other hand, require absolutely no thought to absorb. You can think
about them during the movie if you like, but that always detracts from the experience.
Most of the time, the movie does its job and washes over you. Everyone speaks
in the order they are supposed to. Scenes play out in real-time. The physics of
our world are simulated in order for us to believe what we are seeing. We don’t
experience movies the same way as we read a book, or a comic book.
I was once a Geekist. I know where they are coming from. It seems so easy to translate
a character or story directly from one thing to the other, especially when you
are standing in a comic book shop and you are surrounded by references and people
that back your viewpoint up. Guys in costumes seem like a natural thing. People
talk when they fight. It happens all the time. But step out of that box, and it’s
a different world out there. If you gave that list to my mother, who doesn’t
read comic books, she wouldn’t have the slightest idea what any of it meant.
Nor would she care. It’s a different world outside of comics. At one screening,
during the Hulk trailer, a girl in her twenties asked her boyfriend who that green
guy was and what his powers were. As strange as that may seem, there are people
out there who have never seen the Hulk before, in comics or cartoons. Hey, some
people were outside playing baseball or upstairs playing with dolls while we were
glued to the television set, eating bowl after bowl of Count Chocula.
I think the solution here is a little tolerance all around. For the geekists,
it means not crucifying everything that is not canonical, straight from the comics,
or purist. For the geeks, it means coming to the realization that some of us are
so used to being marginalized, that even now that they have a chance to come out
of their caves, they will dig themselves further in. We have to show them kindness
and understanding. They have to stop being dogmatic and shrill. Only by working
together can we, geek and geekist, overcome our differences and walk the earth
in peace and harmony with our fellow man.