The secret to superhero success: Nerdiness
Peter Parker, seen here on the cover of "Peter Parker #2" from Marvel, is a little bit nerd and a little bit superhero.
March 15th, 2012
10:39 AM ET

The secret to superhero success: Nerdiness

What if someone is not “normal?” There's a word for those who don't quite fit in with the in-crowd and whose esoteric interests have stirred an array of bewildered looks from those who simply don’t understand.

One might say "nerd." These days, some are daring to say "superhero."

Over the past decade, superheroes have sprung from the pages of comic books and into the world of television and film with an explosive, cultural KAPOW! But before the box office hits superheroes were the stuff of comic books, graphic novels and the nerds who loved them.

Nerds and superheroes are permanently woven together in the tapestry of comic book fandom. Superheroes resonate with fans because there is an element of nerd and outsider identity within their character structure. Clark Kent is an alien; Professor X is a mutant; Tony Stark, a singularly ingenious engineer - all unique, different, and set apart from any "normal" community.

“Many traits that people associate with those who fall outside the norm fall into this reject category, but us nerds embrace these characters not because it’s “geeky,” but because we understand the stories behind the characters and relate to them,” said animator Paul Chapman. “I mean, Peter Parker is a nerd who becomes a superhero… maybe we all just need to tap into our own powers.” FULL POST

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National Pi(e) Day: Recipes for pies
March 14th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

National Pi(e) Day: Recipes for pies

It's an all-out pie palooza because March 14 is National Pie Day!

Clever you, you've already figured out that today's date, 3/14, also corresponds to a famous mathematical constant you learned in school: 3.14, also known as pi. So it would stand to reason that today of all days is a great day to celebrate something of a similar name, pie.

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed that yes, America, we should have a Pi Day, although it was celebrated beginning in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The staff and visitors would march about a circular space and eat fruit pies.

Many iReporters sent in photos and recipes of pies for the occasion.


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Pi Day: How 3.14 helps find other planets, and more
March 14th, 2012
11:41 AM ET

Pi Day: How 3.14 helps find other planets, and more

Happy Pi Day! A favorite holiday among geeks, March 14 commemorates one of the most fundamental and strange numbers in mathematics. It's also Albert Einstein's birthday.

This is a great excuse to bake pies, as many iReporters have (send us your pie-report!). But there are also lots of reasons to celebrate this number: Pi  appears in the search for other planets, in the way that DNA folds, in science at the world's most powerful particle collider, and in many other fields of science.

Here's a refresher: Pi is the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle. No matter how big or small the circle is, if you calculate the distance around it, divided by the distance across it, you will get pi, which is approximately 3.14.  That's why Pi Day is 3/14!


I just read the best comic book of 2012, and it's 'Saga' No. 1
Writer Brian K. Vaughan and red-hot artist Fiona Staples unite for Saga No. 1!
March 13th, 2012
03:57 PM ET

I just read the best comic book of 2012, and it's 'Saga' No. 1

Hello again, fellow comic readers!

A tale as old as time unites with a story as fresh as a newborn through conflict and intrigue in this week’s pick, “Saga.”

Writer Brian K. Vaughn is known in comic world for books like “Ex Machina,” “Y the Last Man,” “Runaways,” “Ultimate X-Men” and “Pride of Baghdad.” Fiona Staples is an brilliant artist who has been producing excellent work for years now and really deserved a big breakout hit. Their latest offering this week is "Saga" from Image Comics, and it delivers on all fronts.

Other comics offerings would be satisfied with just having a story of star-crossed lovers who had to actually cross the stars to find each other. That is Saga’s entry point, and it only builds from there.

Daniel Dean of Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, agrees that it is one of the year’s best offerings. “I know it's only three months in, so this might affect how seriously you take this statement; nevertheless: This is the best single issue I've read in 2012.

“There are more ideas jockeying for place here, more things going on, more characters I want to spend time with than in an entire year's worth of output from other books I shan't name.”

Betrayal, treasure, war, science fiction, magic, monsters, gunfights, monster fights, a live birth, bounty hunters, robots and spaceships are all at work. This comic even has a monkey in it.

Any time we get a new book from Vaughn, I find it a welcome thing; he manages to infuse each character with an instantly engaging blend of personality and detail that suggests not just lives lived but a world inhabited.

“You could talk about how we're dealing with a milieu more far-out than anything he's worked with, and yet we're still intensely grounded in very human drama and emotion,” Dean said of "Saga’s" broad appeal.

“I could even talk about how ‘Y the Last Man’ was a benchmark title for Vertigo in a post-‘Sandman,’ post-‘Preacher’ world and how I thought ‘Ex Machina’ was even better or how I recommend ‘Pride of Baghdad’ to people all the time.”

But why just talk about it? Check it out for yourself - if you still can. Image Comics just announced that the 'Saga' No. 1 first printing is sold out, meaning the copies you'll see on your local comic book shop's shelves today are all there is until Image decides to generate a second print.

I think "Saga" is going to be one of those books we'll be hearing about for the rest of the year. It's just that good. Let me know what you think if you read the book. Disagree with me and Dean? Prove it!

So, until next week, go forth and read, my people. And the reading will be good!

Here are some of the other comics scheduled to hit the shelves March 14. Your local retailer will probably have these and others, so make sure to check with them for more details.


'Game of Thrones' inspires 'SXSWesteros'
The cast and crew of HBO's "Game of Thrones" at San Diego Comic-Con 2011.
March 13th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

'Game of Thrones' inspires 'SXSWesteros'

First, there was South by Southwest, the annual music and interactive festival in Austin, Texas, which just kicked off its 2012 event Friday.

Then there was "South by Star Wars," a Tumblr, Twitter account and hashtag that, in its third year in 2011, imagined an alternate version of SXSW, if it took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

Here's a sample tweet that pokes fun at the various panels at SXSW and one of the most popular "Return of the Jedi" characters: "Only 10 min til big Keynote by Admiral Ackbar: 'It's A Trap' is just another way of saying 'It's An Opportunity.' "

The popular meme, used by SXSW attendees and nonattendees alike, now has a sequel: "SXSWesteros," based on the George R.R. Martin book series and HBO series "Game of Thrones," which takes place in the land of Westeros.

One example of a "SXSWesteros" tweet (referring to the oft-repeated "Winter is coming," in the books and series): "But Really, Is Winter Coming? – New Meteorological Techniques from the Citadel."

Jay Bushman, the mastermind behind both "South by Star Wars" and "SXSWesteros," spoke to CNN Geek Out about where these ideas came from:

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