Booth babes need not apply
The presence of fans dressed as X-23 (left) and Loki's female form (right) at Comic-Con signals the broadening of geek culture.
July 24th, 2012
04:33 PM ET

Booth babes need not apply

Editor's note: When he's not teaching the Internet how to fist-fight, why being weird is awesome or how to self-publish your own books, Joe Peacock tours the world, showing his extensive "Akira" art collection. He also cosplays as a six-foot-two-inch, 310lb Powerpuff Girl to fill the hollow pit that is his need for the wrong kinds of attention.

There is a growing chorus of frustration in the geek community with - and there's no other way to put this - pretty girls pretending to be geeks for attention.

San Diego Comic-Con is the largest vehicle, but it's hardly the only convention populated with "hot chicks" wearing skimpy outfits simply to get a bunch of gawking geeks’ heads to turn, just to satisfy their hollow egos.

Now, before every single woman reading this explodes, let me disambiguate a bit. I absolutely do not believe that every girl who attends conventions and likes "Doctor Who" is pretending to be a geek.

There are lots of geeks who are female. Some of these female geeks are pretty girls. I find it fantastic that women are finally able to enjoy a culture that has predominately been male-oriented and male-driven.

The presence of female geeks means that the fiction we're reading is broadening and, frankly, getting better in quality. It means nerdy films and television shows aren't relying on damsel in distress stories and objectification of women to draw readers. It means content is broadening and becoming smarter and more accessible. I want more of that.

And be it known that I am good friends with several stunningly beautiful women who cosplay as stunningly beautiful characters from comics, sci-fi, fantasy and other genres of fandom. They are, each of them, bone fide geeks. They belong with us. Being beautiful is not a crime.

Flaunt it if you got it – and if you're a geek, male or female, and you're strikingly handsome or stunningly beautiful, and you cosplay as a handsome or beautiful character, more power to us all. Hot geeks are hot.

What I'm talking about is the girls who have no interest or history in gaming taking nearly naked photos of themselves with game controllers draped all over their body just to play at being a "model."  I get sick of wannabes who couldn't make it as car show eye candy slapping on a Batman shirt and strutting around comic book conventions instead. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comic-Con 2012 • Fandom
The best comic convention you've never attended
The floor at last year's HeroesCon.
June 22nd, 2012
04:50 PM ET

The best comic convention you've never attended

Editor's note: When he's not teaching the Internet how to fist-fight, why being weird is awesome or how to self-publish your own books, Joe Peacock tours the world, showing his extensive "Akira" art collection. He's on his way to HeroesCon right now.

This weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, there is a comic book convention. It's called HeroesCon, and it's unlike any modern con you've ever been to.

There are no massive halls filled with video game companies hawking their latest wares. There are no movie studios promoting the latest summer and fall releases. There aren't any barely clad booth babes, and the volume of bandwagon cosplayers who don't actually read the material they draw their costumes from is kept to a minimum - and what cosplayers you do find there are high-class, high quality actual real life comic book fans.

Oh, and just about every single artist, writer and editor in the comics industry will be there.

I first heard of HeroesCon in 1994, during Dragon*Con in Atlanta.

It was my senior year in high school, and I was told by an artist in artist alley that if I loved comics, I needed to see HeroesCon. My convention buddies, Mike and Jay, hopped in a car with me that summer and we made the four-hour trek to the con. Once we got there, I was in heaven. HeroesCon was everything it was promised to be.

"HeroesCon is like the comics industry's family reunion," says Dexter Vines, inker for Marvel comics and a fellow member of Studio Revolver in Atlanta. "Heroes is a perfect storm of comic book convention and hanging out with friends. Every pro I know goes every year. You have editors from Marvel and DC driving and flying down on their own dime just to hang out. No other show I know has that."

A quick search on Twitter for #heroesCon finds hundreds of this year's attendees counting down the minutes until the con starts, and several dozen who can't make it this year lamenting that fact. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comic Longbox • Fandom
Bridging the geek divide with Dad
Joe Peacock with his dad in 1996 in Jonesboro, Georgia. This is what an actual, aged poloroid picture looks like.
June 11th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Bridging the geek divide with Dad

Editor's note: When he's not teaching the Internet how to fist-fight, why being weird is awesome or how to self-publish your own books, Joe Peacock tours the world, showing his extensive "Akira" art collection. He's searching the internet for the perfect gift for his dad.

I first saw the legendary animated film "Akira" when I was twelve years old.

The year was 1989, and it was released in the US very sporadically. There was a student-run screening at the University of Georgia that I found out about via a flyer at my local comic book shop. I asked - nay, begged - my father to take me. Despite the fact that it was on a school night and took place nearly two and a half hours away, he knew this was a big event for me. So he agreed.

He picked me up from school and drove me to Athens, Georgia. We had pizza and visited the local comic book shop to kill time until the screening at 8:00 PM. Normally, my father would be in bed around the time that the film would be half over, since he got up at 4:30 AM every single morning - but for that night, he toughed it out. The film ran two hours and nineteen minutes, and IT. WAS. BEAUTIFUL.

Life-changing, even. It didn't matter that the screening was from a ratty multiple-copied VHS tape a student at the University of Georgia's film club scored at a comic convention. It didn't even matter that the film wasn't subtitled or dubbed. I knew enough from the American edition of the "Akira" manga to derive the overall plot, and the static on the top and bottom edges of the screen was hardly noticeable.

We rode in silence for a short while on the way home. I was agog from what I'd just seen - my favorite manga brought to life in full color 24-frame-per-second fully hand-painted animation. The epic battle between Kaneda and Tetsuo in all its frenetic glory. Explosions. Motorcycle chases. Cataclysm.

I studied the fan-made, fold-over program cover to cover at least thirty times. I studied my insanely expensive, imported "Akira" shirt featuring Kaneda holding his laser rifle that I'd spent a month's worth of lawn mowing pay on.

I was in heaven.

It was about twenty miles into our journey that my father turned to me, cleared his throat, and asked, "Joe... what the HELL did we just watch?" FULL POST

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Filed under: Fandom • Father's Day • Otaku
Joe Peacock: Hey, geek posers, welcome to the party
Joe Peacock says "geek" is what happens when passion overrides your need to be accepted or fit in.
May 30th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

Joe Peacock: Hey, geek posers, welcome to the party

Editor's note: When he's not teaching the Internet how to fist-fight, why being weird is awesome or how to self-publish your own books, Joe Peacock tours the world, showing his extensive "Akira" art collection. He has 13 cats and loves you.

We know who you are. You shine like a beacon. Geeks aren’t blind: We see you, geek poser.

We know it’s suddenly cool to be smart and passionate. Those qualities earned us derision and exclusion from our peers at one point, and the term "geek" was thrown at us like it was meant to stab us in the heart. But now, it's become something of an honorific.

These days, people actually want to be us - kind of.

I’ve seen geek posers whip out their iPhones while wearing the Secret Wars or Domokun t-shirts they bought at Target for $9.99, telling their friends what a great time they're going to have at DragonCon or San Diego ComicCon, as if those are the happening parties of the day. They say things like, "Deep down, I'm a geek" or "I just  have to embrace my inner geek" or "I bet you didn't know I'm such a geek!"

It reminds me of the late '80s, when teenagers would wear Vision Street Wear or Vans shoes with a Bones Brigade T-shirt because they saw Christian Slater do it in that totally rad movie “Gleaming the Cube” (which, if you weren't alive then, you may know as "A Brother's Justice" - one of the few examples in film history in which a simple title change made a movie go from utterly awesome to completely crappy).

Or the early '90s, when everyone was wearing Z. Cavaricci pants and Cross-Colors jackets because MC Hammer was all over MTV singing "U Can't Touch This." Or when every white kid over the age of 13 was wearing flannel with corduroy and Doc Martens because Pearl Jam was the hot band of the day.

For some reason, "geek" has become the label that the mainstream has placed on a culture that mixes comic book fandom, sci-fi and fantasy movies, and tech consumerism. And those things all together have become very popular. So the trend is to call yourself "geeky" if you like them.

But that's the problem. Those things aren't the sum total of geekdom. Geek isn't a scene. It's not a fashion. It's not a lifestyle. It's a life – my life. Geek is who you are. When geek posers are off doing the next trendy thing and "geek" is, like, so 2012, we will still be us. FULL POST

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Filed under: Fandom
Joe Peacock: 'It's 2012! Ignorance is inexcusable!'
January 20th, 2012
04:41 PM ET

Joe Peacock: 'It's 2012! Ignorance is inexcusable!'

Editor's note: Fans of "Akira" probably know Joe Peacock as the owner and curator of the Art of Akira Exhibit, which tours fan conventions around the world. He is also the Creative Director/Crayon Monkey for, a blogger and author.

There were many effects and stories to come out of Wednesday’s huge internet blackout in protest of SOPA/PIPA. But I was struck, specifically, by  how stupid people can be, and how it has polluted our Internet. It made me realize that as geeks, we have a responsibility to help clean up the mess.

If you missed it, this was spectacularly illustrated by a dedicated Twitter feed collecting and retweeting peoples' utterly ridiculous reaction to having no Wikipedia for a day. There were even people who thought Obama banned Wikipedia.

If you’re like me, this sort of thing fills you with outrage. “It's 2012!” you’re yelling. “Ignorance is inexcusable!”

And you’re right.

As Seth Godin points out, not knowing how to do something is the most easily solved problem any of us has these days. The entire sum of human knowledge is available on a 4-inch device that fits in your pocket. If you own a computer, everything you could ever want to know is one click away.

And that’s why we as geeks get aggravated with people taking the time to leave Wikipedia, fire up Twitter, and proceed to demand to know why Wikipedia was down, when Wikipedia put a link directly on the front page explaining why. FULL POST

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Filed under: Brainiac