Welcome to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.

The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to panel@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and we’ll add them to the list…

This week’s question comes from Mike Storniolo and is as follows:-

“What do you think about the stereotypical “geek” term often associated with comic fans? Are you proud of it or is it something that bothers you? Is it accurate?”

Vince Moore:

In one sense, looking at the face sitting next to this answer, you might think I would have a problem with derogatory names of any sorts. And you would be right, I do have a problem with derogatory terms. But being called a geek is so minor a thing compared to what such witty minded souls who feel the need to denigrate others with hurtful names could say. Also I’m sure there’s a contingent of fans out there who feel like the riot grrls did, that by claiming the name geek as their own they can redeem it and turn it into an empowering term. Whatever, I say. Does the term geek fit me personally? You betcha, Red Ryder. One look at my home would prove it. So I guess I’m proud of being a geek in my own way.

Vince Moore is the writer of Platinum Publishing’s upcoming book, Kid Victory & The Funky Hammer.

Alonzo Washington:

I’m back! I have been traveling for two weeks. I attended a diabetes convention in LA and I was at the San Diego Comic-Con. Talk about geeks. I saw plenty of them. I felt like I was at the Million White Man March. However, not all comic book fans are geeks. Although, most of them are. You have those who love the elements of the fantasy of comics book and then you have those who try to be the comic book characters. They tend to be obsessed. Those are the geeks! I don’t mind the term. Although, it does not apply to me. I am one of the coolest comic book creators in America. However, I enjoyed the nerd fest this year more than last year. They had a couple of panels about Black comic books. I enjoyed crashing them. I saw more women there than usual. Not just the nerd women. It was quite interesting. Although, I mainly saw nerds all day long. Nerds and Comic Books go together. ZO Out!

Alonzo Washington is the creator of Omega Man and a noted black rights campaigner.

Alan Grant:

Geek isn’t in my US dictionary. Though I’ve used the term many times in stories, I don’t really know what it means. I read someplace that Bill Gates is a computer geek. I guess it’s a pejorative term coined by one group in order to denigrate or humiliate another group. Who cares (especially if like Gates you have $50billion)? What’s to be proud of, or ashamed of? If they called comics fans “murderers”, or “thieves”, or “paedophiles” then I’d be bothered.

Meantime, next time somebody calls you a geek, ask them what they mean.

Alan Grant, writer of Dredd, Batman, and the slightly mad Doomlord, can be seen currently with Arthur Ranson on Judge Anderson in the Judge Dredd Megazine, and the superb Com.X trade collection of The Last American.

Fiona Avery:

Geek. I’m proud of it. I’m not so fond of the word nerd, but I like geek. A geek means you’re enthusiastic about the little details of something no one else gives a rat’s ass about. While the majority of the world sits around picking their noses watching Oprah or Fox News and being told what to think, geeks are out scouring underground writing, games, websites, media outlets and basically living on the underside of the world — delving into questions most people aren’t asking. They question everything. They’re pedantic to a fault. Nothing escapes a geek. If we had more geeks in the United States, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now. Vive les geeks!

Fiona Avery created No Honor at Top Cow, and currently writes Amazing Fantasy for Marvel, issue #1 available this week.

Stephen Holland:

Nah, doesn’t bother me. I think “geek” has long since been reclaimed with a certain amount of pride by those who were originally targeted. It’s just another one of those words used by the insecure to enable them to feel superior to those they don’t know or don’t understand – like those used by racists, xenophobes, homophobes, male chauvinists etc..

As to whether it’s accurate, hell no.

I don’t know where you shop, but one glance around at the customers here, and you’ll see that it’s just a broad cross-section of interesting individuals. Some people are quieter than others in all walks of life. Some people are more zealous. Nothing wrong with being quiet, and absolutely nothing wrong with being enthusiastic either.

I think the term “whatever” was invented for these “water-off-a-duck’s-back” circumstances, you know?

Stephen Holland runs Page 45, a comic shop in Nottingham UK with Mark Simpson & Tom Rosin. You calling him a “geek”? Are you?! 😉

Donna Barr:

“Geek?” That’s what I use for people good with computers. They use it too.

It’s used for drawn book readers, too?

Donna Barr has books and original art at www.stinz.com, webcomics at www.moderntales.com, www.girlamatic.com, and has POD at www.booksurge.com Nothing she won’t try, at least once.

Jesse Leon McCann:

If someone thinks comic fans are geeks, to hell with them. What is this, high school?

Jesse Leon McCann is a New York Times Best-selling Author. He’s currently editing the fourth Simpsons TV Episode Guide for Bongo Comics/Harper Perennial, and writing stories for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Cartoon Cartoons.

Kwanza Osajyefo:

Do I care? This whole “geek” thing comes from the outcasts of mainstream society. We decide to socialize in these hobby shops but people only notice the obnoxious doods arguing whether Hulk can whip the Thing’s ass. It is hard to miss the fat kid in the Punisher shirt that hasn’t discovered deodorant yet.

Is that accurate? Yes. Does that make me or them geeks? That’s relative. To Angelina Jolie I am not a potential sex toy, does that mean I am not shaggable? Apparently not. My girl calls me a geek all the time, but strangers don’t think I am one at a glance.

My point being that in our industry all that matters is that people buy comics, not WHO buys comics.

Kwanza Osajyefo is the founder of funkyComics, home to Jim’s Ninja and a number of other forthcoming comic book properties.

Vito Delsante:

I wouldn’t say I’m offended by it, but I think that there are better terms for comic book fans. I’ve been called worse things for better reasons. I think that as long as there isn’t a negative connotation to it, no one will be hurt by being called a geek. Hey, I saw a lot of gals wearing “I Love Nerds” and “Talk Nerdy To Me” t-shirts all weekend in San Diego. There is a certain kind of “hipness” to being unhip.

Vito Delsante’s creator owned mini-series, “The Mercury Chronicles”, with artist Jim Muniz, is now in development with Image Comics and will hit stands late this year. “Batman Adventures Vol 2: Shadows and Masks” (DC Comics) is out now! He will next be seen in Reflux Comics #3 (August) and in X-Men Unlimited #5 (October).

Brandon Thomas:

Personally, the “assumed” image of the comic reader doesn’t bother me. Anyone with a marginal level of intelligence knows there isn’t some perfect mold we all fit into, and everyone is also aware of what happens when one assumes. But the face of the game is definitely changing, I think, and taking on a more “mainstream” appearance, if such a thing exists, and you only have to attend one of the big summer cons to take notice. Teenage girls. Old men. Black people. The funny thing about stereotypes is that they’re usually wrong, or at the very least, terribly exaggerated, and they’re particularly hard to kill. Bottom line, you know and I know the truth about comics. Why give a incedamn what anyone else thinks?

Brandon Thomas is one of the writers of Spider-Man Unlimited #3, scripter of Youngblood, creator of Cross and long-time Ambidextrous columnist.

Jason Brice:

When I worked in a comic shop about ten years ago, my wife would refuse to visit me at the store because of the “boy” odor. We were were unable to eradicate it, despite much effort and some expense.

Jason Brice is SBC’s Big Kahuna, the boss-man, the publisher, and the main man to send all legal injunctions to. He papers his house with them.

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