Being a nerd used to mean that you lived in the secret corners of society, far away from "normal people." You were looked down on for your obsessions and people felt like you needed to put away childish things and live in the real world.
Sometime between 1999 and 2005, something amazing happened. Whatever you call them - nerds, geeks, etc. - became mainstream. And because large corporations realized that nerds buy stuff, they started making more stuff for nerds. And when that happened, then suddenly these things were available to everyone. And suddenly, being a geek wasn't looked down on - it was embraced!
I enjoy this immensely, because I remember liking some geeky stuff back in my grade school and high school days but not making it very well-known. Back in grade school my little brother loved the Pokemon TV show and had the first set of U.S. trading cards. I watched the show, too, and got into it a lot ("Prepare for trouble..." "...and make it double!") - though even then I knew that Pikachu was way overrated.
In high school I read a lot of comic books. My older brother and I would do comic shop runs on Wednesdays and buy pretty much every Batman comic, plus our favorite title of them all, Young Justice. There was a guy at our church, Tom, who had a bunch of trade paperbacks that he'd let us borrow, and we'd pour over '80s and '90s classics like "Contagion," "Year One," "Knightfall," and "The Long Halloween."
When Batman Begins was released in 2005, I was thrilled to bits. It was the kind of Batman I had grown up reading about in high school - not the ridiculous character he'd become in Batman movies of the mid- to late-1990s. By this time, however, Batman wasn't the only superhero in the theater. I saw several of the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies in the theater, and enjoyed the first two X-Men movies. But once Iron Man came out in 2008, I knew things were going to be different.
I really enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), even if there are so many characters now it's hard to keep track of them all. (Welcome to Comic Book World!) It's fun to share that enjoyment with my students, as well, who wear Avengers clothing to school. Just today I remarked to a kindergartner how amazing his Avengers shoes were! Great Marvel content is also leaking into streaming services. I just finished Daredevil, which was incredible, and I'm looking forward to future Marvel titles on Netflix!
Marvel dominates the big screen, but for me, DC rules the television. With shows like Arrow and The Flash entertaining me on a regular basis with their season-arching storylines (less rushed than a Marvel movie), the audience gets a chance to know and love the characters. I am also looking forward to next season's DC offerings, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow.
I love each of my fandoms, and it's funny to see when an actor actually crosses over fandoms! Such is the case for Arthur Darvill, who will be in Legends of Tomorrow, but I know him from Doctor Who. The sme thing applies to Marvel: David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who, will play a villain in Marvel's Netflix series A.K.A Jessica Jones.
While Doctor Who is a recent discovery of mine, it has grown into a great source of joy. I love hearing about stories from the past 50 years and how people debate the show to no end. It's always interesting hearing another person's opinion, especially if it differs from your own. No matter what people say, though, I'll always be the biggest fan of the series while Russel T. Davies was in charge (series 1-4, in case you're curious) and featured the 9th and 10th Doctors.
Of course, I haven't mentioned my biggest fandom to date, Star Wars. The Star Wars fandom was in hyper sleep for a few years after Episode III was released, but ever since Episode VII was announced, the anticipation grew. Finally last month at Star Wars Celebration, the release of the new teaser brought the Star Wars fans out in the open and no one could ignore it! It's only going to get worse, and I'm going to love every minute of it.
All these things being said (and I haven't even mentioned things like video games, online games, and board games!), there are people out there that figure that they can skewer other people's loves just to please themselves. There are others who want to deflate the hype balloon because they feel it's too much. And still others who love one or more of these fandoms, but it sure doesn't feel like it because all they do is complain about everything!
Why waste time ruining yours and other people's happiness? It's true that the movies or comics or shows aren't going to satisfy every single fan on this earth. So with that said, enjoy what's given! If you're not satisfied, don't hand over your money. That's the biggest problem: geeks and nerds complain about something, but they still pay for the stuff! If you pay and complain, the bigwigs aren't going to care what you think. They have your money, and that's all that matters. If you have a problem with something, don't give them money! They'll make changes then.
While everyone has their own opinions, keep in mind that others have their own opinions. Don't insult! Appreciate this wonderful time that we are experiencing as nerds and geeks. Who knows how long it will last? Eventually the wave may crest and we might be retreating back into the shadows, waiting for the next mainstream hit to bring us out again.