For many, many years, the stereotype of geeks had often been looked down upon, frowned upon, and sometimes cause you to be the target of bullies. That goes especially for those of the comic, and anime fandom. However, that way of thinking has slowly begun to shift over the last two decades. Now, that is not to say it has completely stopped. There are still many people in society, who have that way of thinking still. But for the most part, being a comic, or anime geek, has become more acceptable and perhaps even to the extent, more popular. There are many signs of this.
For example, the growths of some of your major conventions like San Diego Comic Con, and Anime Expo. When San Diego comic con first began back in 1970, they pulled in about 300 people (Rowe, 2017). In 1998, they surpassed 40,000 people, and then in 2015 (contributors, 2018), they surpassed 160,000 attendees (Weisburg, 2015). Now, let’s look at Anime Expo. When Anime Expo first began in 1992, they pulled in 1,750 attendees (contributors, Anime Expo, 2018). In 2004, they surpassed 25,000 attendees (Expo, 2016), and then in 2016, they surpassed 100,000 attendees (Expo, 2016). That is an incredible jump in numbers. Slowly over time, more and more people are becoming less afraid of letting people know they are a geek. In fact, there are many that are even proud of being a geek. This openness of being a geek, has even begun to show among the stars of Hollywood, and the music industry.
Robin Williams, Keanu Reeves, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosario Dawson, Ryan Reynolds, Maisie Williams, Avril Lavigne, Eminem, and many, many more have come out as either comic book geeks (Mitchell, 2017), or anime geeks (Peters, 2018). The list just keeps growing, and growing. Also, many stars have even begun attending conventions as fans. At least some of the stars mentioned above have been spotted at conventions, either as themselves, or in cosplay (Hamblin, 2016). While the numerous reveals of celebrities opening up about their inner geek, along with the increasing growth of this geek fandom, has brought joy to many geeks alike, there seems to be a new problem on the rise. The problem that seems to come with most things, that grow in popularity. The problem being that everyone seems to want in on it.
It is nothing new when people want to be like the cool, or popular kids, or like their favorite celebrity. In the past, being a geek was never considered to be one of those cool, or popular things. However, with geek popularity being on the rise, that issue has begun to apply to being a geek now. There are people who claim to be a geek now, even when they are not, mainly for the attention or because they think it is the thing to be. This has begun to bring an upset to many, in the overall geek fandom. Now, this is not to be confused with the people wanting to be a geek, and wanting to actually get into a variety of fandoms, because they are authentically interested. This is aimed at the people who only want to be a geek for disingenuous reasons. They will say they are into a certain fandom, or cosplay from a certain fandom, but have never seen any of the media (movies, shows, or books) from said fandom. Many articles have begun to pop up about this problem. Although, many of the articles found seem to mostly be aimed at what is known as the ‘fake geek girl’. There have been some signs of the ‘fake geek guy’ popping up as well. While many geeks do their best to overlook this problem, it is slowly becoming harder to do so overtime. The problem of these ‘fake geeks’ is not only the bad mark, or name they may end up giving real geeks of certain fandoms. It is the overall damage it can have on geek camaraderie. For many geeks, especially those that remember the times of when being a geek was something you kept a secret to not get bullied, or looked down upon for. Finding someone who was genuinely interested in the same fandoms, was extremely difficult, and a joyous occasion when it happened. But now in this age of high geek popularity, the worry comes of not finding someone who likes the same fandom as you, but someone who is actually genuine about their love for the same fandom as you.
The geek fandom has come a long way over time, and not only in the states, but all over the world. The examples above, are only a few of the signs of how much it has grown in numbers, and popularity. As more times passes, it is highly likely it will continue to grow even more and hopefully for the better.
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.” – Simon Pegg
contributors, W. (2018, July 5). Anime Expo. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anime_Expo&oldid=848957574
contributors, W. (2018, July 7). San Diego Comic-Con. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=San_Diego_Comic-Con&oldid=849180409
Expo, A. (2016). About Page. Retrieved from Anime Expo: http://www.anime-expo.org/about/
Hamblin, A. (2016, July 21). Comic-Con: 10 times celebrities went undercover. Retrieved from San Diego Union Tribune: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sdut-stars-undercover-at-comic-con-2016jul21-htmlstory.html
Mitchell, N. (2017, September 21). Secret Geeks: 15 Celebs You Never Knew Were Comic Book Nerds. Retrieved from CBR: https://www.cbr.com/hollywood-celebrity-comic-book-nerds/
Peters, M. (2018, January 31). 10 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Loved Anime. Retrieved from Comicbook: http://comicbook.com/anime/2018/01/31/celebrities-who-like-anime/
Rowe, P. (2017, July 15). Comic-Con by the numbers. Retrieved from San Diego Union Tribune: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/comic-con/sd-me-con-numbers-20170715-story.html
Weisburg, L. (2015, February 21). Comic-con badges sell out in record time. Retrieved from San Diego Union Tribune: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/tourism/sdut-comic-con-badges-sell-out-record-time-2015feb21-story.html