Nerds on the move
December 21st, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Nerds on the move

Dear readers,

Once upon a time, an awkward, nerdy producer at convinced her bosses it was time to jump on the geek bandwagon – but do it differently.

Instead of producing stories that included little context for the passion people have about comic books, sci-fi, cosplay and all things geeky, we would examine the “why” of nerd culture. We would report on the people and the creative obsessions that drew them together. And, so a blog was born.

Now on, you can regularly read stories surrounding nerdy pursuits and geeky events, from webcomics to Dragon*Con. Starting in the new year, we’ll be integrating the geek beat into the Living section at large and archiving Geek Out!

Thank you for reading the blog, posting your comments and sharing your views. We will continue to explore the many sides of nerdy culture on the site. We invite you to be a part of our ongoing conversation.

My greatest appreciation,
Ann Hoevel

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Filed under: Brainiac • Comic Longbox • Fandom • Master User • Otaku
Clark Kent quits newspaper job in latest Superman comic
Clark Kent turns in his press pass in the latest issue of the Superman comic book series.
October 25th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Clark Kent quits newspaper job in latest Superman comic

Add Superman to the list of reporters leaving the newspaper business behind.

In the comic book series' latest issue, which went on sale Wednesday, an outraged Clark Kent quits his job at The Daily Planet after his boss berates him.

"I was taught to believe you could use words to change the course of rivers - that even the darkest secrets would fall under the harsh light of the sun," the superhero's alter ego says in a newsroom outburst. "But facts have been replaced by opinions. Information has been replaced by entertainment. Reporters have become stenographers. I can't be the only one who's sick of what passes for the news today."

In Wednesday's issue, Kent tells his editor he's been a journalist for barely five years.

But for decades, his job as a reporter at The Daily Planet has been a mainstay of Superman's story.

Word of the superhero's career move drew attention from media critics and others who've watched the newspaper industry's struggles.

"It seems very overly dramatic," said Erica Smith, a former newspaper employee who's tracked U.S. newspaper industry layoffs and buyouts on her Paper Cuts blog since 2007. "It doesn't seem to me to fit either the industry or the character."


Bonding with Batman could make you stronger
Study participants were shown either a scrawny or buffed-up version of these comic book characters.
September 18th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Bonding with Batman could make you stronger

It was hard to keep track of all the superheroes hitting the big screen this summer: Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises." Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor in "The Avengers." Peter Parker in "The Amazing Spider-Man."

And each character seemed to have bulked up for their latest comeback.

"Over the last few decades, superheroes' bodies have become extremely muscular with body dimensions that are impossible for most men to attain," write the authors of a new study that analyzes the effects of superheroes on male body image.

Past research has shown that seeing muscular figures can make men feel badly about their own bodies, similar to the way seeing stick-thin supermodels can make women question their weight.

But the same effect may not hold true for our favorite comic book characters.

The study, published this week in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, suggests watching superheroes can actually increase males' self esteem – and might make mere mortals stronger.

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September 1st, 2012
04:55 PM ET

The 2012 Dragon*Con parade

Atlanta (CNN) - Angie Dowling attended her first Dragon*Con with her father when she was 5 years old. Now, more than 20 years later, she’s the parent squeezing her children through the crowds to secure a prime viewing spot for the parade of science-fiction and fantasy characters.

“Getting to experience the parade with them is even more incredible because they’re looking at it through fresh eyes with that youthful excitement,” said the 29-year-old English teacher from Marietta, Georgia. “They absolutely love it. They give themselves over completely to the experience.”

From Chewbacca and the Hunger Games to quarians and steampunk dogs, there was something for nearly every fandom on Saturday at Atlanta’s annual Dragon*Con parade, one of the most kid-friendly events of the year’s biggest fan convention in the southeastern United States. About 14,000 spectators attended last year’s parade, and organizers expect that number to grow this year.

Regarded among many as a more fan-oriented alternative to San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con has grown since its inception in 1987, taking over more of downtown Atlanta each year as organizers add panels to accommodate growing interest in all things fan-related. While Dragon*Con’s panels and parties attract fans of television, film, video game and comic-inspired subcultures from all over the country, the parade is open to the public free of charge, drawing families from all around metro Atlanta who wouldn’t necessarily identify as nerds or pony up for weekend passes that run as high as $140. FULL POST

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The paperback island in a sea of manly storylines
Manga posters at this year's Paris book fair.
August 17th, 2012
05:08 PM ET

The paperback island in a sea of manly storylines

Editor's note: Danica Davidson is a writer whose articles have appeared on, Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. She also writes English adaptations of Japanese graphic novels. She has recently finished her first young adult novel.

I’ve heard many women talk about different forms of prejudice they’ve faced in the comics world. As a journalist I've always found myself the only woman out of the who-knows-how-many journalists, publishers and writers participating in phone conferences to talk about new comic books.

Sometimes the men on these calls seem uncomfortable and not sure what to make of me.

But at anime conventions, I feel right at home beside other female manga fans. Attending these conventions, I’ve never gotten a sense of “You’re a woman so you don’t really belong here.”


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