Once upon a time, an awkward, nerdy producer at CNN.com 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 CNN.com, 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,
Editor's note: Lauren Orsini is a reporter for the Daily Dot, the hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web, the paper of record for what happens online. Follow her on Twitter @laureninspace. You can find more images of "Homestuck" cosplay on photographer Ed Tan's Flickr account.
In an age of computers, smartphones, and instant gratification, studies lead us to believe that our attention spans are the shortest they’ve ever been.
If that were completely true though, a 5,000 plus page webcomic shouldn’t be able to attract millions of fans, much less inspire them to raise a million dollars in under a week.
“Homestuck,” cartoonist Andrew Hussie’s longest and latest project, is a video game inspired saga set in the Internet age. In the story, rife with Generation Y pop culture references, teenagers unite through an online game in order to save the world.
“I like Homestuck because it is one of the first pieces of media that genuinely appeals to me as a person who grew up in a very Internet based generation,” wrote Deanna Bennett, 20, in an email responding to my Tumblr request for "Homestuck" fanatics.
“Homestuck is meant to live online. It combines a lot of Internet humor that a lot of mainstream cartoons and comics are trying to desperately to tap but are failing and missing every damn time.”
Sounds like fun, right? But choosing to read it is a big commitment—in the form of hours and hours of free time. Fans compare its length to a that of a Greek epic. It has more than 100 main characters. And instead of comic panels, its gigantic pages are a mix of still and animated images, intimidating walls of text, Flash movies with original music, and even short video games.
“Homestuck is perhaps the first modern work to make full use of the Internet as not just a distribution tool but as a fully realized artistic medium,” wrote Clark Powell, 20. “Text, music, artwork, interactive, and animation are all combined in ways that have never been attempted before. On top of that, Homestuck is a piece of work whose very narrative is something of relevance to a new generation; it is, after all, a comic about the Internet, video games, and pop culture, if it can even be called a ‘comic.’”
Recently, the convoluted comic (and Hussie’s tendency to coin his own vocabulary for the script) prompted PBS’s Idea Channel to speculate that “Homestuck” just might be “the Ulysses of the Internet.” But as host Mike Rugnetta suggests, with great effort comes an incredible reward—the psychological theory of effort justification indicates that fans who stick it out will certainly grow attached. FULL POST
After hearing so much about San Diego Comic-Con, you may be considering attending next year. If so, here are a few helpful pointers:
Start planning early - like, now:
No trip to Comic-Con can be spur of the moment. Tickets go on sale months ahead of time–and usually sell out instantaneously. Once you have those tickets, you will want to lay out your plan of attack for the time you're there, not to mention figure out your accommodations, a separate battle.
Lines, lines, everywhere a line:
The lines at Comic-Con, especially for Hall H, make theme park lines seem like a breeze. This year, the line-to-line-up for Hall H serpentined past the convention center and around the back of the gigantic hotel next door - at 6 a.m. People sleep out there. Unless you have no interest in any major panels, you will wait in line seemingly endlessly. See this as a chance to get to know your fellow Con-goers.
Bring along a Con-veteran:
It can be a tremendous help if you have a friend with you who has been there and done that. It can get difficult flying blind. Especially with rumors of crowds pushing the 200,000 mark, if you don't know where you're going you may have no choice about where you end up.
Plan your day wisely:
"Never do anything before 11," said Geek and Sundry's Felicia Day. "And make sure you have dinner with the people you really want to catch up with. You can go from thing to thing and be so frenzied about it. Make your Con about things you really love, because there's so much to distract you."
Stake out specific panels:
The nichiest of niche panels exist at Comic-Con, such as the "Ball Jointed Doll Collectors Group" or "The Chilling Archives of Horror Comics 'Zombies' Panel." Look hard enough and you may find one for you, with a much shorter line to get in.
Prepare to geek out:
"You get to meet your heroes. It doesn't matter if you're here or if you're Peter Jackson," remarked "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith. "I bet Peter Jackson saw someone and said, 'Wow, you're here, too. Cool.' "
Whether it's going to a panel for something you like or finding a toy or comic book you've been looking for, prepare to squee.
See you at Comic-Con 2013!
As some of the earliest attendees arrived and checked into their hotels, the areas surrounding the San Diego Convention Center were full of workers, tirelessly finishing displays, exhibits, banners and other preparations needed to kick off San Diego Comic-Con.
The annual event, which draws hundreds of thousands to downtown San Diego, has overtaken the area. Local businesses, movie studios, TV networks and video game companies are competing to take their piece of the Comic-Con pie.
CNN Geek Out's cameras were there to capture the scene and the finishing touches, as denizens of the business community did anything they could to welcome many new potential customers.
Are you at San Diego Comic-Con? Share your photos and video of the sights and sounds.
During San Diego Comic-Con - the largest annual gathering of the comic book faithful in North or South America - the convention, with its banners, murals, and shrink-wrapped vehicles, spills out into the streets of the city's Gaslamp district like lava from a brightly-colored volcano.
Promotional art for upcoming films, TV shows and video games is plastered everywhere you look. Even some of the hotel keys and elevators in the city become the equivalent of movie posters.
“It’s overwhelming how big everything is and certainly buildings all over San Diego are ‘wrapped,’” said Jon Barrett, Los Angeles bureau chief for Entertainment Weekly.
“It’s not just the people at the convention, everybody in San Diego is enveloped by this promotion. So much of the circus is on the streets.” FULL POST
It takes one to know one. When it comes to topics of interest to nerds, geeks, and superfans, we know how true that is. Geek Out! features stories from a nerd's perspective that you can still share with your "normal" friends and family.