Embrace your inner nerd

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Before you glaze over this and make the quick assumption that Comic Con is more a celebration for nerds only, keep reading and, I assure you, you will see how this popular event has evolved from a gathering of freaks and geeks to a festival for everyone.

Kurt Hanson, deputy editor of the Universe, poses as a zombie as he attends the first Salt Lake Comic Con. Photo by Sarah Hill
Kurt Hanson, deputy editor of the Universe, poses as a zombie as he attends the first Salt Lake Comic Con. Photo by Sarah Hill

It is an easy assumption to make: Comic Con is for nerds. That was my thought when I first heard that Salt Lake would host a Comic Con. And then I remembered I was a nerd. I bought tickets five minutes later and intensively planned for my cosplay design. I proudly decided to be a walker, or for those of you who don’t watch “The Walking Dead,” a zombie.

I feel I personified this rash assumption of a “nerds only” zone, especially when I freely admitted I spent hours on my layers of undead makeup for Friday’s event. Plus, there were costumed characters surrounding me in get-ups I’ve never imagined. From the most popular Batman and Robin to the obscure extras from comic book fandom, nearly every character in pop culture was there.

But this is what Comic Con has evolved to, a celebration of pop culture. Most assume Comic Con involves just the celebration of comics, and in its early years, this was true. But now, popular celebrities of television and film, like Henry Winkler, best known as The Fonz from “Happy Days,” are featured guests, because it’s a lot more acceptable to be a nerd.

Think about it. “The Lord of the Rings” may be considered the nerd bible, but the film adaptation was an Academy Award-winning trilogy. “The Return of the King” even won Best Picture, the first fantasy film ever to do so.

And don’t say Harry Potter wasn’t a staple of your childhood. The epic saga of the boy wizard is a centerpiece of Comic Con geekery. I couldn’t walk more than 30 feet without seeing someone in house robes or waving a wand as they struck a pose.

Embracing and flaunting your obsession makes Comic Con what it is, an expression of our greatest fascination. It’s a chance to be someone completely different. It’s a time to use the force like Darth Vader. It’s a time to wield a sonic screwdriver. For me, it was the time to have blood pouring out of my face as I pursued my lust for brains, a chance I don’t often have.

Nerds rule the world. The quicker the acceptance, the quicker you realize you are a nerd. And that’s ok. We all have a fascination with something that we might call nerdy. Embrace it and flaunt it at next year’s Comic Con.

View our slideshow of the Salt Lake Comic Con action here.

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