Ask the Bastards #19: The Walking Dead, Amazing Spider-Man #700 and That Awful Term “Geek Chic”

- 01-06-13Featured Posted by Matthew Jackson

Hello once again, boys and girls, and welcome to the very first 2013 installment of Ask the Bastards, the weekly feature where you the readers get to ask us, the writers of NerdBastards, anything you want about the world of geekdom. This week we’re talking about nerd subculture (because you people won’t stop asking us about it, like we’re experts or something), The Walking Dead, the end of The Amazing Spider-Man comic and more, so click on through to the other side, brothers and sisters.

Got a question for Ask the Bastards? Be sure to Like Us On Facebook or Follow Us On Twitter. We put out the call for questions every week, so watch for your chance. And to see what questions we’ve already tackled, feel free to browse the Ask the Bastards archive HERE.

Why in your opinion have nerds become popular as a subculture to the extent that it is now effecting pop culture i.e Geek Chic? – Sarah R.

Honestly, I think “nerd” or “geek” are really tough term to define nowadays. Does it mean someone who’s a techie? Comic book fan? Gamer? Or could you be a nerd because you love sports, play sports, and when you’re not playing sports you’re “fake” playing them through fantasy leagues? I think what makes you a “nerd” or a “geek” is your passion, sometimes bordering on obsessive, for whatever subject interests you.

But if we’re talking about the common understanding of nerds and geeks as those into video games, comics, and the like, then I think our society is just becoming more interested in those things altogether. Society creates culture, right? And if we as a society love the fuck out of superheroes, then we’ll begin to see superheroes permeate all aspects of our culture. It could also be said that those creating the elements of our culture (movies, television, books, etc.) were the people interested in superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, etc. when it wasn’t as prevalent, and are now bringing those former passions to the masses. And we’re just gobbling it up. - Sarah Moran

Geek Chic is just another label affixed to the subculture for companies to identify where their business is currently coming from. Honestly it’s just a phase, much like how grunge dominated the early 90s’ and boy bands ruled with an iron fist into the new millennium, something else will eventually take over. If you like the same things I do you’re cool with me. If you don’t, I don’t care ’cause you’re still cool with me.

“Nerd” and “Geek” are just terms in a dictionary to me and nothing more, the fact that it has become a more mainstream concept to people does astound me though. There will be something that kills the trend though and my money is the current trend of Redneck-based reality TV currently in development. Nothing against the term or the culture, it’s just what I notice is become more popular right now. -Nick Bungay

It’s nothing new. This has been going on since the dawn of mankind. Think about it, do you think the parents of the medieval period liked and approved of the music, writings, or games of their children? Nope, much like many of the parents of kids that liked Rock and Roll in the 50′s and 60′s hated it with a passion. Then those kids became parents and hated their kids stuff. It’s just another phase of the circle of life . . . (Queue Lion King music while I hold baby Yoda to the sky) – Mark Poynter

Video games are fun, comic books make great action films, knowing about computers equals money. It’s taken a while, but people are just catching on to what the “nerd” culture has known for ages. I don’t think most of the people who call themselves “nerds” or “geeks” are still as deep into the subculture as the core is, but it manifests as a popular culture. Let’s face it, the shit we do is interesting and it was bound to attract people. - Jason McAnelly

I think it’s just advertising really. If you think about it, geeks are accepted in general. It’s only sexy geeks that are accepted. The Avengers are popular because it’s high action and pretty people. Same with X-Men. Comics have always been sexy and full of action but Hollywood has made that available to a wider audience and that’s what they’re selling. The cerebral aspects of comics are not the focus. While we might see a Sandman movie, eventually, we’ll never see Sandman shirts for sale at Target. You can’t sex up that story without compromising its integrity.

Plus, as Sarah said, the idea of “geek chic” provides a very narrow definition of what it is to be a geek. It typically refers to the superhero genre only. Tech geeks, book geeks, history geeks, science geeks etc…. are not represented as much, if at all. It’s all about making something sexy and sellable, not about being genuine. - Regina Lizik

There’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about nerds “taking over the world,” and believe me, it’s just talk. If your barometer is the popularity of superhero movies and zombies on TV, than yes, the nerds have taken over, but let’s keep a couple of things in mind: NCIS and American Idol are still the most popular shows on TV, more people know who Kim Kardashian is than Felicia Day, and that special anniversary issue of The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t sell-out in 15 minutes at the comic book shop when it comes out. Nerdy Seth Cohen may have been able to bed Valley Girl Summer Roberts on The OC, but that’s still the exception rather than the rule. And a fictional exception at that. - Adam A. Donaldson

I’m not willing to tag this as anything new. Is it more culturally acceptable to play Dungeons & Dragons now than it was 20 years ago? Probably, and yes we can probably thank World of Warcraft and things like it for enhancing the world’s view of such things. But at the same time, think about how many people have read Tolkien over the years. Think about how huge Star Wars has been since 1977. Think about the rise and resiliency of the comic book industry. Sure, we may be enjoying a “Geek chic” (and I hate that term) age thanks to stuff like The Big Bang Theory, but I don’t think we were ever as much in the background as people seem to think. We’ll phase in and phase out, but the truth is pop culture has always had a place for this stuff. - Matthew Jackson

How do you guys like the Walking Dead series compared to the graphic novels? Lisa M.

I enjoy the show. It’s a fine drama. There are lots of tense moments and eye widening examinations of the human condition. The zombie kills and the precarious “oh shit” moments the characters find themselves in are pretty spiffy too. With that said, I can’t stand the alterations that have been made from page to screen. Every time some new character is introduced, or when the story digresses from the comic, I’ll scream at the TV saying “THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS!” It’s rather infuriating.

Here’s an appropriate analogy: It’s like going to your favorite restaurant expecting to enjoy your favorite dish, but the chef decides to “kick it up a notch” and feeds you something different. While the tweaked dish is new, fresh, and may even taste better, it’s not the meal you came for. Such is the case with The Walking Dead.

I understand Robert Kirkman’s desire to keep fans on their toes and service the shock value that the comic is known for. I also appreciate the writers trying to improve upon things. I also understand that show needs to make changes/enhancements in order to have multiple seasons. If the series played exactly as it did in the comic, the show would be over in 2-3 seasons. So, I get it. However, the comic treated me to with a particular experience. I simply want to relieve it.

It’d be one thing if the comic was mediocre and open to improvement, but the series was/is so goddamn good. Kirkman really nailed it. Didn’t he?

The again, the brothers Dixon weren’t such a bad decision… – Luke Gallagher

Having been a fan of the comics long before the TV show existed, the comics are my first love. I’ve really enjoyed the TV series and, as adaptations go, I think it was brave of them to not try replicating what’s exactly in the book for the screen. How many times have we seen completely honest and accurate adaptations fail? Comic books and television are different mediums. Material should be treated differently for each.

That said, there are definitely things I haven’t loved about the TV show. For instance, Andrea was my favorite character in the comic. She was so smart, took bullshit from no one, and commanded respect as easily as Rick or Shane. Plus, her relationship with Dale was beautiful and heartbreaking. The Andrea of the TV show is a different woman, and that’s okay because she’s been through different experiences, but she’s no longer the Andrea I loved. I felt she became a little whiny in Season 2 and she’s been acting straight up dumb during her time in Woodbury this season. Who I am loving on the show is Maggie, a character I wasn’t ever really invested with in the book. So there are things I love and things I don’t, but both versions are The Walking Dead. I mean, how often do you get the chance to follow a story one way and then follow it down a different path and have both be so damn good? - Sarah Moran

Both are well worth the cost and effort to get into. – Mark Poynter

Have to agree with Sarah on most counts. Especially Andrea, who is an absolutely amazing kick-ass mutha-fucka in the comics. I went in the opposite way, however, reading the books only recently. I must say, the character of the governor in the comics is just bland as hell. I’m happy what the show did to improve him and make him more than just a generic psychopathic bad-guy template. Also, I don’t know how the show will pan out, but the comics are dark as fuck. I had to stop reading at one point cause it was messing with my dreams, seriously. I dunno if they’ll be allowed to pull some of the same shit in the TV show (they already skipped on the Michonne tragedy from the comics), but if they get close it will really connect the two. Both have amazing pros and cons. - Jason McAnelly

I love them both equally. I try to view the television and film incarnations of my favorite books/comics as entirely separate. It’s not always easy. I really cannot stand HBO’s version of Sookie Stackhouse. The key is whether or not the show maintains the soul of the original story. It’s clear that is something that is very important to AMC. I trust them. They might change certain storylines or characters but it’s often because what works on paper does not work on screen. - Regina Lizik

I really dig the show, and I love that Kirkman and company have seen fit to change it from the comics, because as Kirkman himself has said, it’s important to preserve the “anything can happen” tone of the comics for the show, and we wouldn’t have that if we could predict every new plot development. That said, despite my love for the show, I love the comics more. There’s something about the atmosphere that Kirkman and Adlard have created there, and continue to create, that just gets under my skin more. - Matthew Jackson

Could you do without the busty girls? It’s rather sexist. – Willem G.

Thanks for this question Willem. We’ve heard this before and we probably have a reputation for that kind of thing, but in truth we have dialed it back over the last year and cut down on some of the more crude humor as well. We want to be everyone’s source, not just frat guys. With that said, if you look around at our competition, many of them celebrate “sexy” cosplay and the like as well.

As I said, we want to be everyone’s source, but we still have to be true to ourselves. Sex is a part of our culture and we aren’t bashful or ashamed of it. I’m not saying you are, but if you feel that our coverage is sexist, that is unfortunate, but I think it’s safe to say that we, as a group, do not agree. I know personally, I don’t agree with all of the content that lives here, but if I thought this site or my peers were sexist, I wouldn’t write here. – Jason Tabrys

Jason stole my answer *stomps angrily*. Look, I don’t want us to offend, or make anyone uncomfortable, I really don’t. In fact, it saddens me greatly when someone responds to us with a heavy heart in regards to something we’ve posted/featured. I want everyone to be happy and entertained. Sadly, that’s not possible. Our content is not for everyone. No matter what we do, we’re going to offend someone. We try out best to avoid it, but it’s inevitable. We keep on trucking with the hope that our content entertains the most people.

In the case of sexuality, it’s sensitive material. It can alienate people, yes, but…it also sells REALLY well. Our highest traffic comes from posts that feature beautiful, busty, nerdy girlies. As a business owner, I have to drive my business towards what sells, and believe it or not, sex sells. Those are hits that I simply cannot ignore. What I can do, however, is feature sexualized content in a way that minimizes objectification and piggish-ness. I think we handle it very well. Yes, we can be a little too jovial at times, but we try really hard to be kind and respectful. – Luke Gallagher

As a busty woman myself I’ve never found women with large breasts to be sexist. Boobs shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of. Were our site to only ever feature women in a large breasted capacity, I could understand how that could be taken as offensive. But I like to think I and our other female writers here – who I believe have a varying degree of breast size – spend plenty of our time expressing opinions, thoughts, and other ideas that we are judged for more than our sweater puppies. Though, I will divulge, mine are fabulous.

Maybe what we should look into is including more beefy men on Nerd Bastards. Any takers? – Sarah Moran

I actually like this question, as I have been asked this in person once before. Like Jason has said the site has dialed back a bit over the last year and we’ve done our best to accommodate everyone with what’s supplied to the site. Be it a story on the latest Hollywood project or which comic is pissing off their fan base we aim to please, but some topics can tend to lean towards the female form. For example our weekly Sexy Cosplay of the Week feature does single out female cosplayers, but we try to write in as tasteful a manner that we will deem suitable for the reader.

They’re are people out there that cover the exact same things we do and are less then kind, but if I think what I’ve written is sexist I’ll scrap it. Everyone can and should be treated equally, it’s the right thing to do. -Nick Bungay

I once again agree with Sarah. Boobies are AWESOME and should be everywhere all at once. – Jason McAnelly

I hear what you’re saying, but real men appreciate that breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and are usually just grateful when a willing woman shares them with him. Thank you for your question. – Adam A. Donaldson

This question bothers me. This question is exactly why I don’t post photos of myself in my Renaissance costumes. This question is exactly why I only show my face in my Twitter profile. I know someone will say “You’re just trying to be sexy.”

This question reduces the cosplayers on this site to their breasts. It feeds into the idea that a woman cannot be smart and sexy. As a culture, we need to stop believing that when a woman takes off her clothes, she becomes less.

We need to stop reducing women to their bust size.

We don’t post pictures of people just because they have boobs. It’s about the costume first and foremost. Last week I posted an image of a cosplayer dressed up as Mary Jane wearing a Spider-Man costume. I didn’t post it because she had breasts. I posted it because I thought it was an ingenious idea. Being sexy is about more than T and A. Geek sexy is when someone is so passionate about something that they spend hours crafting the perfect ensemble. Geek sexy is when they research the nuances of a character for months to create a flawless cosplay. Geek sexy is the hours they spend on their make-up and hair to perfect the look.

Cosplay isn’t about clothes or boobs or muscular thighs. It’s about sharing an experience.

Most cosplay outfits showcase the physical body. Women’s physical bodies have breasts. If you think showcases breasts is sexist, I suggest you never attend a Renaissance festival or visit a site devoted to RenFair wear. Breasts are everywhere at RenFests.

The next time you see a cosplayer on our site, look at more than just her bust. Look at her as a whole person. Look at her the same way you would look at a male cosplayer. Look at her as a fellow geek.

That being said, I’m all for some boys in tights. Bring on the sexy male cosplayer of the week! – Regina Lizik

IT’S TERRIBLE! SHE HAS BEAUTIFUL EYES AND HER HAIR SMELLS LIKE CINNAMON! - Matthew Jackson

What Are Your Thoughts on Amazing Spider-Man #700 – Jeff B.

I don’t think it paid enough respect to the preceding 699 issues and I think it felt more like a beginning for this new book and not an end for this classic book. I’m not thrilled by the new direction either, but I doubt it’ll hold. -Jason Tabrys

It wasn’t the kind of send of I would have like to see from Peter Parker, he should have been given a more heroic death. Instead he was merely brushed off, leaving his morals in the hands Doc Ock and his legacy left unfulfilled. He’ll be back eventually, but until then my money will be spent on other comics sadly. -Nick Bungay

Yeah, although I’ll concede that Dan Slott doesn’t deserve death threats, this is probably the stupidest direction to take Spider-Man in since the original Clone Saga, and that’s saying something. It’s a very 90s editorial decision on the part of Marvel, and that’s not a compliment. But as Tabrys said, it’s not going to last…. – Adam A. Donaldson

I have never, ever understood this impulse comic book fans (or any fans, for that matter) have to threaten violence against a writer for doing something risky with a character. These characters have been around for decades, and even if you don’t like the present incarnation of them (or lack thereof), they’re really not going anywhere. And as far as removing characters from the landscape for a while, I actually enjoy it sometimes. I really liked what Grant Morrison did with Bruce Wayne, even though I didn’t think I would. That said, I’ve never been a big Spider-Man fan, and this whole development feels too campy for my liking, so I wasn’t all that impressed with the way it was done. If you’re going to get rid of Peter Parker, do it like Bendis did in the Ultimate series. That had me crying.  - Matthew Jackson

If the Universe is infinite, how can it have a center? If the Universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? Charles B.

Answer A. Yes there is a center, where else would the Universe’s Creator put the caramel?

Answer B. The airline seat next to it, someone is gonna have to pay for two tickets soon or get off the plane. - Mark Poynter

The universe expands out from the center. It’s like rising yeast. Don’t you know anything about astrophysics? Am I talking to myself here?! – Adam A. Donaldson

Er…. there is no center to the universe. Every point in the universe appears to be the center, due to the infinite nature of the universe. Which also means that if you so choose to name yourself as the “center of the universe,” you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. - Regina Lizik

“What is that your business? You’re here in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not expanding!” – Woody Allen, Annie Hall - Matthew Jackson

What are your favorite non-superhero-based comic/graphic novel film adaptations? – MacDara D.

I don’t really have any that are currently out there, but there is one I’d like to see. If you’ve ever read the series Chronicles of Wormwood you’ll know where I’m coming from. A film about the antichrist who wants nothing more then to be left alone to live his life among the human race, instead he must fight the temptations of Jesus and the Devil to get him to start Armageddon. While it isn’t really for everyone I believe that this is a series that deserves some type of film adaptation. -Nick Bungay

My vote goes to Sam Mendes’ Road to Perdition. If you liked what Mendes did with James Bond in Skyfall, then you should checkout Perdition since the director plays with a lot of the same themes and styles. It was also his follow-up to American Beauty and no one knew what to do with it at the time. A good second choice is A History of Violence, which belies David Cronenberg’s own claims that comics are kids stuff since he should know better. I would also like to say Scott Pilgrim, but I wonder if that plays a little too close to the line MacDara’s drawn here. – Adam A. Donaldson

I really dug RED, even though it deviated very, very far from the source material (which Warren Ellis was more than happy to let it do). Road to Perdition is also an excellent flick. And then of course there’s The Crow, which I really don’t consider a superhero story as much as a supernatural revenge tale. It’s a beautiful graphic novel, and a beautiful, bittersweet movie. - Matthew Jackson

Where do babies come from? Mike K.

I failed that class, but my fiancee has told me she’ll tell me how one day. I’ll update you later. -Nick Bungay

The Doctor . . . wait, I thought you meant Jelly Babies. – Mark Poynter

The deepest pits of hell. Seriously, all that drool and other stinky bodily fluids? What else could spawn that? - Jason McAnelly

Well, Mike, when a brother Lannister and a sister Lannister love each other very much… - Matthew Jackson

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