The Growing Popularity of Nerd Culture
There was a time when nerds were isolated kids with high IQs who sat alone at lunch. Today, though, nerd culture is all around us.
A common stereotype we face is the nerd who got the short end of the stick. The nerd who’s bullied for enjoying certain things or never made many friends because of them. The nerd who spends nights in his basement playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends or the nerd who reads comics in a corner away from playing kids.
This isn’t reality. Real nerds are all around you, enthusiastic about their interests and dedicated to the industry, constantly creating content for other fans and becoming creators themselves. They’re preps and goths and jocks. Being a nerd isn’t a clique itself, but a trait that anyone can share.
Marvel Studies began in 1939 and introduced Captain America in the March of 1941 during WWII. Now, Captain America is one of the most popular characters in modern media and Marvel movies maintain an average of $115.7 million per domestic opening weekend, according to Forbes.
Though superheroes have obviously seen a sharp increase in interest, they are not the only comics that have been turned into popular movies or television shows. Alien vs. Predator, Archie (Riverdale), Big Hero 6, Hellboy, The Walking Dead and Kingsman were all comics before they were reinvented for the big screen.
The first Pokemon game was released in 1996 in Japan, followed by the release of the eternal card game. Since then, it has taken the world by storm through various video games, television shows and movies.
After all these years, one would think that the hype would have died down. Yet, Nintendo is still coming out with Pokemon content to this day. Most recently, they have released several games for the DS and the Nintendo Switch, including Ultra Sun and Moon, Detective Pikachu and Pokemon Rumble. What really rekindled many people’s love for the company was Pokemon Go, an augmented reality phone game that spiked in popularity immediately. While the game’s popularity fell off, the franchise did not.
The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was an unexpected one. The nerdy role-playing game from the 70’s and 80’s has made a quiet resurrection and someone you know probably plays it. From the surface, it does look incredibly nerdy, but when you give it a chance it’s incredibly addicting. It’s no wonder so many people are playing it right now.
Multiple podcasts have come out with people playing the game with their own characters, including a podcast called “Critical Role,” with celebrity Matthew Mercer as the game’s Dungeon Master (the game organizer and participant). Among other celebrities who play D&D are Joss Whedon, Dwayne Johnson, Felicia Day and Stephen Colbert.
When anime first emerged as a popular force in television during the 80s and 90s, older shows like Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball and even Studio Ghibli movies set the tone for modern anime. Today, though the shows are mostly in Japanese, fans from across the world indulge in the genre.
It goes without saying that if an A-list celebrity deems nerds culture great, then so will the masses. After seeing Michael B Jordan in Black Panther, fans quickly fell in love and after admitting to loving anime, fans fell to it quickly after (additionally, Kim Kardashian admits some of her fashion is derived from anime.)
Science fiction (sci-fi) is the infinitely flexible genre. It’s the future and, as such, anything can fall under the category. From adventures in the great beyond like “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and “Alien” to dystopian futures like “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” sci-fi films and books never fail to fascinate.
In the end, nerd culture is about those who enjoy the outlandish things becoming content creators themselves, from actors to writers and game creators. People are always taking in content, whether we know it or not, which influences how we see the world and how we see people. And right now, content creators think nerd culture is pretty great. Now so will we.