The geek heroes of 2011
December 30th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

The geek heroes of 2011

This year, there were many geeks who made good, and some who did extraordinary things, big and small, for nerd-kind.

So we present, in no particular order, our geek heroes for 2011. FULL POST

How I became a J-pop fangirl
AKB48 is enormously popular in Japan.
December 30th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

How I became a J-pop fangirl

Every form of geeky fandom can be a slippery slope of obsession.

The franchises and worldly outlooks that inspire devotion by so many are riddled with gently linked, coincidentally tangential fandoms. As a fan, it's easy to fall down a rabbit hole and wind up with a brand new passion. For example, a Doctor Who fan may suddenly be drawn to Steampunk. A board game fan may be drawn helplessly into the mystique of Cthulhu.

And a fan of anime may one day experience a great surge of joy while dancing around the house, listening to The Pillows. This is how it happens - how you become a J-pop fangirl. FULL POST

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2011's pop culture squees, 'sad trombones'
Colin Ferguson, left, star of "Eureka," at Dragon*Con. Andrew Garfield, right, delivered an impassioned speech at Comic-Con.
December 30th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

2011's pop culture squees, 'sad trombones'

We're pretty sure 2011 was a great year to be a geek. But with all of the amazing things we've witnessed in the nexus of nerd culture and mainstream pop culture, there were plenty of potential geek out moments that didn't quite work out. And then there were a few things this year that were just a mixed bag.

So, here's a look at some squees and corresponding "sad trombones" for this year's pop culture with a nerdy bent:

Squee: "Doctor Who"

Things got off to a rip-roaring start in the sixth season of "Doctor Who." We encountered the ominously creepy Silence, an “impossible astronaut” with murderous intentions towards the Doctor, and the constant foreshadowing of a fixed date when the Doctor must die. The episodes that followed maneuvered the twists and turns of Steven Moffat’s layered plotlines, and Matt Smith continued to reveal deeper and darker sides of our beloved Doctor. But perhaps the most brilliant gem was the Neil Gaiman-penned episode, “The Doctor’s Wife,” where the TARDIS comes to life in a beautifully poignant character, and we realize that she is the Doctor’s only constant.
FULL POST

'Star Trek' vs. 'Star Wars:' The ultimate showdown
December 29th, 2011
05:53 PM ET

'Star Trek' vs. 'Star Wars:' The ultimate showdown

No look back at the year in nerd culture can be complete without one of the most interesting developments in quite some time for fans of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek."

William Shatner took to his YouTube channel in September to declare, once and for all (reminiscent of the movie "Fanboys"), that "Star Trek" is superior to "Star Wars." In the midst of that, he took a few shots at Carrie Fisher (who appeared at Dragon*Con at the same time he did a few weeks earlier).

Fisher defended "Star Wars," and Shatner did not go unscathed either. "Shat" had a retort to Fisher, as well. George Takei, meanwhile, urged peace between the "Star-people," since they have a common enemy: "Twilight."

This debate for the ages inspired us to settle it once and for all, with you, dear Geek Out readers, as the judges. FULL POST

Comic books' 'unprecedented creativity' in 2011
Infinite Kung Fu, one of Sager's favorite comic books this year.
December 29th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Comic books' 'unprecedented creativity' in 2011

Editor's note: Christian Sager is the creator of "Think of the Children" and "Border Crossings." He has also written essays about the comics industry, punk subculture and national identity.

It’s easy to buy a bad comic book. I don't know a fan of the medium who hasn't at least once brought home a dud and been disappointed. But the comics industry is not lacking when it comes to talent. Comics are in an era of unprecedented creativity, and 2011 saw some fantastic work.

These are what I think are the best comics of the year, coming from publishers big and small. Top Shelf Productions  really earned its name this year, in my eyes, with four outstanding books. Acknowledgment should also go to Portland’s Periscope Studio, whose members produced several of the books on this list. Where possible, I've linked individual creators’ names to their Twitter profiles or individual blogs so you can follow their work into 2012. FULL POST

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