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Early last week an otherwise-respected comic book artist took to Facebook to rant about the perceived insult of women attending comic book conventions dressed as comic book characters. Others have since soundly disassembled whatever point he was trying to make, so I wasn’t sure if much value could come from one more person on the Internet condemning the tirade for being ill-conceived, juvenile and sexist. But then I just did, so there you have it.
That aside, this is hardly the first time there’s been an inordinate amount of hand-wringing over whether certain people are enough of a geek or nerd or fan or whatever to qualify for … I have no idea what — some mythical geek clubhouse, I guess. If it’s your job to be a comics encyclopedia, I suppose there’s some basis for this. But most of the time, it’s just teeth-gnashing over fans not being “fan enough.” The people fretting about it are apparently disturbed that someone is falsely enjoying, or not enjoying enough, what they enjoy. Honestly, I don’t understand it. Is it that these people are embarrassed to like what they like, and they think they’re being mocked for liking something silly? Whatever the reason, it no doubt says more about them than the person who may or may not like or know about something with enough fervor.
It’s not that there is absolutely no truth whatsoever to this concern. Invariably there’s at least one or two people on the planet who truly are not as into comics as they seem. Maybe they’re trying to be friends with a group that’s really into comics. It could happen. When you’re young, sometimes you think you like something, try it for a while and then realize you don’t. Or maybe there really is some truly sinister person who gets off fooling others into thinking they like comics. It’s kind of a weirdly convoluted and ultimately empty game to play but sure, OK. People can be weird. It’s not that these people don’t exist. It’s that they’re really not that significant. And they have absolutely no effect on me at conventions or anywhere else. I can even breathe the same air as them with no adverse effects whatsoever.
And the simple fact is that comics cover so much ground now, it’s impossible to be an avid fan on all of it, whether it’s superhero comics, crime comics, horror comics, slice-of-life comics or editorial cartoons. There’s literally too much for one person to consume.
So with that out of the way, I hope you studied because here is your entrance exam into the geek clubhouse: If you’re reading this, you passed. Yes, that’s it, you’re in. All you have to do is be interested enough to read. That’s how you love comics enough.