I find that one of the fundamental paradoxes of being a geek is the disconnect between the desire to share our interests with the world, and the pride we take in our own obscurity. For example, you take a TV show that a geek might enjoy, your Fireflies or your Arrested Developments or your Futuramas or your…well, basically anything FOX ever cancelled…and you will find that a geek will want to make sure the message of this show’s awesomeness is spread far and wide. At the same time, however, the geek does NOT want the show to become too mainstream—after all, where would the fun in quoting it be if everybody else in the world was also quoting it? Because of this, even though it may make a geek happy to see one of his or her interests get the recognition it deserves, he or she may feel a little disappointed if it becomes popular, and feel the urge to insist that he or she was interested in it before it was cool. You may all have jumped on the bandwagon for the popularity, but the geek was there with it from the beginning. (Or they jumped onto the bandwagon back when it was only populated by fellow geeks, not you boring normal people.)
This brings us to this past summer, the release of “The Dark Knight”, and with it, the teaser trailer for “Watchmen”.
As many of you presumably know (although you might not if your only exposure had been the teaser trailer or the more recent full trailer), “Watchmen” is the most popular graphic novel ever. (Of course, popularity by graphic novel standards isn’t nearly as off-putting to geeks as “real” popularity.) Written by Alan “Still Pissed Off About The LXG Movie” Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, the book is set in what I presume to be the same alternate 1985 in which Biff Tannen is mayor of Hill Valley and Nixon is President. Also, there are superheroes and deep symbolism and subtext and stuff.
When the teaser trailer came out, the cry among the people was unanimous: “Huh, I should get around to reading that before the movie comes out.” As a geek, I find this incredibly irritating, the sheer amount of people . You know why? Because I’ve been saying “Huh, I should get around to reading that” for YEARS. I’VE been considering jumping on this bandwagon LONG before any of you have!
But, no, now people will just think I’m reading it because of the movie, not because I’m trying to understand more of Adam Bertocci’s references. Wannabe fans like you who only jump in because Hollywood is paying attention ruin it for wannabe fans like me.
Anyway, long story short, after years and years of procrastination, I finally got around to actually reading “Watchmen”. My thoughts? They are mostly along the lines of “Holy crap, they could end up watering this down a LOT for the film, and even if it had only a TENTH of the scope, intensity, and impact of the graphic novel, it would STILL be the most gripping film of the year.” That’s the gist, anyway.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to forward the latest “xkcd” to people before it’s ripped off and made into a Hot Topic T-shirt.