Editor's note: Rob Salkowitz is a business analyst and consultant specializing in the future of entertainment, media and technology. This is an excerpt from his latest book, "Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture" (McGraw-Hill, 2012) which focuses on the nerdy audience at the largest comic book trade show in the Western Hemisphere. Follow him @robsalk.
I don’t think it will come as a big shock that, for most of the history of comics fandom, conventions have not been distinguished by high numbers of females of any age. That began to change in the 1990s, when strong and emotionally authentic female characters like Xena: Warrior Princess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the cheerful Goth-girl personification of Death in Neil Gaiman’s popular "Sandman" series activated the recessive fan gene on the X chromosome.
The trend accelerated with the mainstream popularity of manga, which had developed numerous styles over the years to appeal to all genders and was sold in bookstores, beyond the boys-club direct market comics shops. The rise of the Internet poured gasoline on the fire, creating spaces for feminerds to come out of the woodwork and share their passions. Many of today’s best online comic and fantasy-genre news sites and discussion groups were started by, and remain powered by, women.
Today, there are increasing numbers of proud girl geeks of all ages; I count myself fortunate to be married to one. Crowds at conventions and even some comics stores now reflect a much more equal gender balance. As for the comics industry itself, not so much. But that’s a different conversation. FULL POST
A man opened fire in a crowded theater during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, killing 12 people and wounding 59. Along with the alleged shooter’s family and the NRA, I expect nerds and other outcasts will get some unwanted attention today.
My stomach dropped when I heard news of the mass shooting for the same reasons everyone else's did.
But as a nerd and CNN's resident expert on geeky subcultures, I readied myself for pointed questions which I expected to get from outside the geek community: "Why 'Batman'?" "Is the shooter a nerd?" "Why is it always the loner?"
There's a precedent for labeling people considered nerds or geeks or outsiders as potentially dangerous individuals who might snap. After the Columbine shootings, Goths were given a wider berth than usual. Post school shootings, video gamers get to field a slew of weapons-related questions. Now my gut tells me comic book fans and movie geeks might face closer scrutiny even though there's no evidence the alleged shooter was either. FULL POST
"Big Bang Theory" actress Mayim Bialik finds it interesting that she was seated on the far end of the show's San Diego Comic-Con panel last Friday, next to the producers.
"It's my best kept secret," she joked to reporters a few hours later. "I belong much more with them."
As a neuroscientist, she feels a kinship with the brains behind the machine, as well as a connection with many of those who attend fan conventions.
“I love our cast and I love actors, but I also love comic books and sci-fi," she said, "so I am the one [on the cast] who is most 'Comic-Con friendly.'"
And the question on everyone's minds at Comic-Con when it came to her character, Amy Farrah Fowler (for which she was nominated for an Emmy on Thursday), was where her relationship with Sheldon (fellow Emmy nominee Jim Parsons) might go next. FULL POST
"Fringe" has taken so many twists and turns over four years, it's anybody's guess how the series will end for good this season. One thing's for sure: we'll glimpse more of the future.
"Last season, we got a taste of what to expect," "Fringe" star Anna Torv told CNN Geek Out. "2036, here we come!"
We briefly met Peter and Olivia's grown-up child in 2036. What did Aussie Torv think of her TV daughter?
“She’s really sweet. And she’s Australian, so that totally works."
Of course, it's bittersweet when any show is coming to an end, and it becomes all the more real when there's a final San Diego Comic-Con panel to see it off. But Torv is looking on the bright side.
"We’re fortunate that we can end the show knowing that we’re ending the show," she said.
"Our writers are going to be able to do it justice, serving the viewers and serving us as well, because we’ve put a lot in. And we can make it count, knowing we can finish the game."
In 1969, William Shatner thought his iconic show's run was over.
“I finished ‘Star Trek’ late one night and everybody said goodbye and off I went, saying, ‘That’s the end of that show.' It was just a good show and that was the end of it."
Little did he know that the fans had other ideas; they wouldn't let the show fade into obscurity. "Star Trek" conventions began in earnest.
As the years went by, Shatner wondered what motivated these fans to go to conventions year after year, so he embarked on a sociological, anthropological study of "Star Trek" fandom that became a book and then a film called "Get a Life!" The works are based on a famous "Saturday Night Live" sketch in which Shatner went off on a tirade against "Star Trek" fans. The documentary is set to premiere on Epix on July 28.