Hi, all! Today is Embrace Your Geekness Day.
As someone who gets PAID to be a giant geek, I love the fact that geek culture is finally cool. There are so many more people I can share my interests and hobbies with these days, because all of my friends read comics and watch sci-fi movies and TV, so many more than when I was a nerdy teenager.
I asked two of our Geek Cartoonists in Residence, who write and draw our GEEKIEST comic strips-- Bill Holbrook (of Kevin & Kell, On the Fastrack, and Safe Havens) and David Reddick (of Intelligent Life) to talk about how important THEIR geekiness is to their work and the experience of getting to share their geekiness through comics.
Here in Pittsburgh I'm attending Anthrocon, one of five comics conventions I'll attend this year. At each one I purchase a table, either in the con's Dealers Room or in its Artists Alley. Immersing myself in the geek culture is hugely important, as I connect with my readers and receive feedback on my comic strips.
Cartoonists usually work in isolation, alone at a drawing table, which makes the con experience vital. Otherwise I might not know when characters are resonating with the readers, or when a theme or storyline isn't working. The creative process is a conversation that travels in both directions, between cartoonist and reader.
My geekness inevitably and naturally works its way into all of my work, and always has. As a convention-goer, a cosplayer and an uber-nerd for all the things I love, I get particular pleasure out of sharing and expressing the things I love in my comic strip "Intelligent Life." The characters exemplify parts of me in my own everyday life, but also allow me to indulge in those things reserved only in my fantasy brain.
Growing up, being a "geek" or "nerd" was a slam by Muggles who didn't get it. I immersed myself in D&D, Star Frontiers (who remembers TSR's "other" sci-fi rpg?), Isaac Asimov books on science and space and fiction, Carl Sagan and "Nova", magazines about space, Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, sci-fi movies, towels as capes, make believe worlds, video games, Saturday Morning Cartoons, All things Hanna-Barbera, drawing, writing, making my own comics and living in my own universe, that was always, and still is, far more interesting than the one around me. All of these things that I have always loved inevitably come out in my strip, even in subtle ways.
Skip, Gwen, Mike and Barry allow me to share all of this, in a variety of forms, both imagined and (moreso) from actual experience, and that's really something meaningful to me, personally. I KNOW these characters. Not only are they me, they are all the many people I've met, have known, or wish to know.
"We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality. We create it to be able to stay."
- Lynda Barry
May the Force Be With You, Live Long and Prosper, Nanu nanu and ALONS-Y!