Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Out of the loop

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm

This is a relatively new phenomenon for me.  I mentioned an inkling of it it before in this post, but this is a little different.  I’m not talking about keeping up with continuity (which I continue to struggle with) but having a limited idea of what’s happening in the industries I pour my time, energy, and money.  It happened when I went comic shopping with Kettner about a week ago.  He was showing who was working on what project and what was good and not.  I recognized a lot of the creators, but I didn’t know which writer was on which book.  This is shit I used to be pretty up on.  What new titles are coming out, which books are surprisingly great, which comics are disappointingly terrible, and so on.  I had another shock like this when I was listening to the 1up videogame podcast ( a week late, I might add).  In it, they were talking about a lot of games.  I could obviously follow the conversation (I am a geek, after all) but it was amazing to hear which games had already come out while I was figuratively sleeping on the job.  I mean, I was in Best Buy a while back when I saw the Wii Sports Resort with the new controller add-on had come out.  I made a purchase like some kind of normal consumer at a store instead of my usual, up-on-the-news self.  These are just a few examples.  The time when the nice but non-geek at work asked me about new games and I stared blankly at him.  The time I realized I wasn’t familiar with the Mark Millar Kick-Ass comic when I saw the trailer for the movie.  So, what happened?

Well, for one, I stopped having a mindless job with a computer.  When I went back to school full-time, I stopped working in the dreaded office environment.  So, while I used to waste hours of my non-productive day scouring the super highway for every morsel of data that might be interesting to me, that was no longer all I had to do with my time.  I had school work and the like, of course, but also better stuff to do with my free time.  Besides time spent with actual human beings, I spent my time playing games, reading books, and creating stuff instead of reading blogs or rumors about games, books, or other people creating stuff.  While more fulfilling, I think, it definitely increased my ignorance on the geek industries working around me.

Also, I got kind of down on the actual businesses involved in making my geek media.  When I left the weekly comic grind a few years ago, I was less than inspired by the work being produced.  And while I still love games, I was getting annoyed by the banality of the limited imagination of most big game producers.  This is not to say I didn’t read or play anything.  Just, I wasn’t all that interested in MPD numbers, the weekly DC series starring obscure characters, or why Bioware’s Dragon Age was taking so long to come out.  It just didn’t interest me to know this kind of shit.

Who am I kidding?  I'm dying to know everything about Dragon Age that I can squeeze from my computer.

Who am I kidding? I'm dying to know everything about Dragon Age that I can squeeze from my computer.

And finally, it’s nice to be surprised every once in a while.  It’s fun to forget about something entirely, then turn the corner in the store and see something you can be excited about.  In this age of information, it’s becoming a rarity.  I remember going to bookstores, hoping that a new whatever was out but having no convenient way of finding out.

So, of course, I’m actually pretty in-the-loop about most things.  I still keep up with upcoming movies more than anyone I know, really.  And, with the success of my current rpg playing, I’m back on that more than I was.  As for video games, I do still listen to a weekly podcast on the subject (though a shitload less now that 1up has paired down its operation).  Comics…yeah, I’m still out of it on comics but that’s easy enough to get back into when I have the inclination, time, and money.  No worries there.  It’s just that I feel like I used to obsess over the details of the news in my geek world.  Now, I don’t.

I think that’s probably a good thing.

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  1. Hello,
    Your web site is great!
    I’m publishing my first book and I wanted to give back. I have two dad’s whom are cancer survivors. For every book I sell $1 Donation to the AACR American Association for Cancer Research. Please visit my blog and spread the word so I can help find a cure for cancer.
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    Lori

  2. I think a lot of this has to do with your disenfranchisement from geek culture. I certainly felt that way about comics in the early to mid nineties and only now have the inclination to read any new stuff. It had nothing to do with me becoming less of a geek, its that geek media had changed in a way that I found unpleasant and more than a little disgusting. The Spider-man of my youth had been replaced with Cable. Now, thanks to writers like Bendis and Brubaker and a return by several artists to a less grotesque understanding of human anatomy I feel more aligned with what’s going on.

    I used to feel guilty about this (particularly when I met you, SB). I wondered if I was actually a geek. The fact is, I’m still more excited about geeky fare than any other genre. I exercise my fantastic imagination on a daily, if not hourly basis. I like all the same things that geeks like, just a much smaller set. (Except for records, where I seem to enjoy a much larger set than your average record nerd.)

    I know I’m a snob, but I don’t care. When I read fantasy novels or play a video game or rpg or watch a movie I’m looking for that thing that I’ve never thought of before, a novel way of looking at the world, a metaphor, a what-if, some speculative science or sociology, something that makes the world seem a little larger and more magical and unknown, which is the way geekery made me feel as a kid. And as pretty as it is, Gears of War doesn’t do that for me, but Mario Galaxy did.

    So the question is, as we get older, are we destined to drift away because “its not as good as it used to be”? I suspect that we will become less active consumers of the bottom 90% of geek muck, but ardent supporters of the 10% that still gets us excited. I hope that I always play games, but I suspect that (once we settle on one) the games we play will be longer and we will feel less need to jump around to the newest thing. We’ll read fewer comics, but we’ll still enjoy comics as a medium just as much. Media that require less investment (like movies) won’t suffer much, but stuff that requires greater investment (like novels or RPG’s) will have to prove themselves to be worth not just a couple bucks, but sucking up the precious little time we have to escape from fulfilling but mundane lives.

    What do you guys think?

  3. I think having a fantastic imagination daily keeps people going.
    My son is a 20 year old whom is a 3-D game designer. Imagination is the gaming world is everything. The games help people to escape from their real lives. For me I enjoy a good movie.
    Lori

  4. i feel another post a while back, touched on this subject( I think it was the one about- is there any franchises out there we are excited about and keep up with)
    i agree with you noah, i think its that we get older, and our tastes change for the better or for worst.
    I never was a huge comic guy, believe it or not so i cant really comment on that. But i do spend a good portion each month keeping up with new illustrators and visual styles, for work though. Having said that” video games” i am biased since i am surrounded by that industry all day at work. movies- well i never can tell where the line of film nerd ends and career minded interest begins.

    the odd thing is when i think back to being in college and first having internet, and going to movie sites for the first time. its so weird to think of a time when this kinda info was not available unless you got premeire,variety or read it in the newspaper.

  5. I think what you’re talking about is really a combination of things. Sometimes, our tastes improve, sometimes we lose interest, sometimes we’d like to think our tastes had improved, but really, we had just been left behind because we like the old things better, or maybe just because we are old.

    You’re missing out, though, if you’re not reading current MArvel, or haven’t been for the last few years. Starting with Bendis’s Avengers Disassembled, through the new Secret War to House of M to Civil war to Secret Invasion to Dark Reign, down to the individual characters’ stories, Marvel has slowly been creating a single story arc and much more cohesive universe. And it’s been a really good story. I think its the best time, story-wise, in comics ever, especially on a mass shared univverse scale. I mean, yes, there have been low points and some creators that very obviously weren’t of the same caliber as others, but for the most part, Marvel has been a good, fun read with some fantastic artists.

    DC, on the other hand, has just been getting crappier and crappier.

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