Will Japan follow America's lead on digital manga?
VIZManga's new digital platform.
February 14th, 2012
02:24 PM ET

Will Japan follow America's lead on digital manga?

In most cases of what's hip and new, the Japanese are ahead. Otaku worship their eye for culture for a reason, after all.

But it just might be that that same culture is what holds them back when it comes to a landscape that Americans are quickly becoming intimate with: the digital format.

As we move bravely into the digital age and face cries of "Print media is dying!" it's no surprise that manga is popping up on more iPads than ever before. And Americans love it: The more easy access we have to our favorite media sources, the better.

On the other hand, a country like Japan that is known for its deeply entrenched traditions may not be as easy to convert. After all, modern manga debuted there in the '40s, but its roots go as far back as the 18th century. It's not unusual to ride the subway in Tokyo and see people of all ages and stations in life with their faces buried in a hot-off-the-shelves copy of "One Piece" or "Naruto."

The feeling of holding that trusty book in one's hand is a habit, a groove of comfort. And replacing it with a tablet presents more complexities to some longtime fans than one might think.

Could the evolution of digital manga be a case where America's otaku take the lead, and Japan follows suit? FULL POST

Geeks interpret 'How It Should Have Ended'
February 13th, 2012
06:38 PM ET

Geeks interpret 'How It Should Have Ended'

It's the kind of question fanboys and fangirls ask just about every day.

If Darth Vader was so strong in the Force, how did the Rebels beat him in the original "Star Wars: A New Hope?"

If Gandalf had a giant eagle at his disposal, why didn't it come in handy at the end of "Return of the King?"

The geeks behind HowItShouldHaveEnded.com have been pondering these questions for years, and animating their own mini-fanfiction stories with alternate ending to beloved franchise films (the one where "Terminator" meets "Back to the Future" is another highlight).

Yes, geeks have their favorite science fiction, fantasy and horror films, but because we're geeks, we can spot plot holes a mile away.

CNN Geek Out spoke to How It Should Have Ended's Tina Alexander about the video series:
FULL POST

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MEMEopedia: 'Dinner with waifu'
A little wine with waifu.
February 13th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

MEMEopedia: 'Dinner with waifu'

Editor's note: Know Your Meme is a research lab from the Cheezburger Network that documents the history of Internet memes and culture. Once a week, they invite CNN's Geek Out! to go on a very deep dive with them, into the stories behind the memes they profile. Together, we'll learn how memes become the cultural expression of nerds.

“Dinner with waifu” is a biannual event that takes place on the Japanese textboard site 2channel on Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day, during which self-described otakus share their pictures of romantic dinner dates with favorite anime characters.

Endearingly referred to as a “wife” (more commonly referred to as a "waifu" on the English Web), these dinner dates are typically embodied in the form of two-dimensional computer screen savers and figurines that are carefully staged around a plate of food.

To otaku culture outsiders, this may seem like a sad dinner for a creep. But for many patrons of 2channel who participate in the threads, it's a ritual that brings the lulz and even a sense of relief that comes with knowing that no one is alone in being alone. FULL POST

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Amy Acker not so 'Angel'ic on 'Grimm'
February 10th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Amy Acker not so 'Angel'ic on 'Grimm'

Amy Acker first hit the geeky pop culture radar with her role as the awkward, bookish Fred, on Joss Whedon's iconic vampire TV series, "Angel."

"Growing up in high school, I was definitely a lot like Fred," she told CNN Geek Out.

"I would cry if I got a B on a test. I really cared about reading and books and doing good work in school," she said. "I would say Fred is one of the closest characters to me that I’ve played."

When asked to define her particular brand of geekdom, she said, “I don’t know if I’m more of a nerd, or just a dork."

But she clearly has a knack for something a bit more threatening. Just like Fred - who eventually transformed into the demonic Illyria - her character on Friday night's episode of "Grimm" (executive-produced by Whedon's "Angel" collaborator, David Greenwalt) is not all that she seems.

As one of "Grimm's" beasties-of-the-week, Acker went deeper into the fantasy genre than ever before. FULL POST


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How Kevin Smith learned to love the mainstreaming of comics
Kevin Smith, foreground, and his 'Comic Book Men.'
February 10th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

How Kevin Smith learned to love the mainstreaming of comics

“It’s a glorious time to be a geek,” Kevin Smith said.

The filmmaker's new reality series, "Comic Book Men," is set to premiere Sunday night on AMC after "The Walking Dead." The show is designed to pull the curtain back on comic book store culture. Though such a spotlight may be brighter than fans are comfortable with, Smith said it's time for comic book store owners, creators and readers like himself to make a few sacrifices.

“You gotta give up a little bit of innocence,” he said. “If you love something so much, it may bug you when other people jump on the bandwagon, but if you love something, you just want to share it.”

Original Media, the producers of "Comic Book Men," came to Smith for "geek programming" ideas, he said.

“What you’re gonna see is not what I pitched,” he admitted.

Originally, he saw a comic book store version of popular series like the History Channel's "Pawn Stars" in which comic books and nerdy collectibles were priced and sold.

Instead, "Comic Book Men" is about Smith's friends Bryan Johnson and Walter Flanagan, the inspirations for two of his comic book and sci-fi-obsessed movie characters: Randal in "Clerks" and Brody in "Mallrats," respectively. FULL POST

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