Fair being fair, I thought I'd partake in my own memory-gathering exercise.
The questions I put out there reflect some of what I've pondered of late when it come to how the notion of nerd-dom has changed, and as we watch the world embrace the same culture we reveled in, the same geek-type-stuff that once left us hated and feared by the very world we sought to protect, what it was like in The Before Times.
In putting finger to keyboard, it's a bit hard to think back on the past with genuine honesty. The period we're talking about - when we got into comics and the fog of raw emotion that dominates your world in middle and high school - is one with which we all grapple. My primary emotion during those years was "confusion". Any tertiary emotions stemmed from whether my confusion was increasing or decreasing.
There are folks who read this site who will quibble with my assessment of how things went down, but that's the way of history. I have tried to adhere to reality, but I know the years have painted over some of the truths, wounds have healed as the memories recede and the decades in between has provided a barricade from the days when everything felt like an open wound.
This may be the longest I've ever worked on a single post in all my years of blogging. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, this has also turned out to be one of the longest posts I've ever written. So, if you're going to read it, go get your coffee now.
And, without further ado...
|Howdy, y'all. It's me. Your friendly blogger.|
Your name: Ryan (yeah. I'm doing this, too.)
Your current occupation: I am an Assistant Director at a Digital Library consortium. My job is essentially "make the things work/ run a team of devs and sys admins/ other duties as assigned"
Your current place of residence: Austin, TX
Your current personal family status: Married, no kids, two dogs, extended family up in my business (everyone lives in town these days)
What was ground zero for you getting into comics/ science-fiction/ fantasy? About what year was that? Do you remember what was going on in your life?
|These are the raw materials we were working with|
It's probably important to mention, first, that my earliest memories of superherodom are tied to Adam West in Batman, which I reportedly watched in reruns before I could even speak. As per sci-fi/ fantasy - my parents bought into Star Wars lock, stock and barrel. My dad took my brother and me to see the first movie during its original theatrical release (take that, parents who aren't sure their two-year-olds can take Uncle Ben's charred skeleton!). My Mom, who still likes Star Wars, had us in Star Wars wallpaper, figures, bed spreads... all that.
But, yeah, I suspect I was imprinting on all of that stuff like crazy.
The Admiral took me to see Superman during its initial run (1978), but that took much later. I vaguely remember watching (and playing) Gatchaman/ G-Force, as well as Super Friends in the late 1970's, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. We had lots of capes around and a few Batman and Spider-Man toys.
The first actual comic books I read included Woody Woodpecker and Bugs Bunny, maybe circa 1981, and I didn't like them. It felt like the rushed, cheap work it was. At some point, I got a Clash of the Titans comic book, and I liked that a lot. Between the funny pages and that comic, I now knew not all comics were necessarily as hacky as the knock-offs of animation.
But none of this was exactly nerdy. Just a kid consuming nerd-adjacent juvenile pop culture detritus. However, that was not to last.