The NES was my staple console for the majority of my childhood. While I did not have many games at my disposal, games like Double Dragon and Double Dragon II were titles that I played just about every day on my own and with friends. I still consider Double Dragon II to be one of my favorite NES games and it influenced my tastes in games I play today. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series’ creation, Arc System Works recruited many of the original crew that made the original game to make a brand new sequel in the form of the 8-bit games I cherished as a child. When hearing about this news, I was excited and skeptical at the same time. The nostalgia side of me wanted it but would it be enough to maintain my interest in the current era of video games?
If Agents Mulder and Scully from The X-Files formed a New Wave synth band, what would they sing about? Kituria from Project Fandom and I unite forces on this all-important issue, and the predictions were nothing short of #nerdgirlmagic.
WE WANT TO BELIEVE.
Over the weekend, I was going through all of the media that I own. Granted, nowadays it is a very small amount because everything is on tablets or a hard drive. I used to be that dude who collected everything from magazines, to comics, to laserdiscs, to CDs, VHS tapes, Blu-rays/DVDs — yeah, moving sucked. As I perused my stash, I noticed that most of the physical things I held on to were from the ’80s-’90s. They were talismans of nostalgia, reminding me of when I was fully immersed in the pop-culturescape. Do you remember that feeling?
[I wanted to write this reflection the weekend of its release. I decided that I needed a little more time because the film hit home in too many ways and I needed some space from it to get a better handle on how I wanted to approach it. This will not be a typical review, nor will it be an endorsement — despite my endorsing the film whole-heartedly. I have no idea what this is, but I needed to get it out.]
Hip-hop is fandom. While it may not be explicitly geek/nerd culture, it is fandom of the highest order. If anyone chooses to refute this, they aren’t being intellectually or culturally honest. Never has this connection been so blatantly displayed than in Rick Famuyiwa’s 2015 gem of a film, Dope. [I have a lot more to say about this. Watch this space in the next month or two]
The above image is from the cover of my upcoming book: Diary of an AfroGeek.
Being an AfroGeek is all about being comfortable, and expecting, to hold immense contradictions. It is loving Firefly, Serenity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but having a strong feeling that Joss Whedon doesn’t love you back. It is about getting into passionate discussions about why and how Storm’s original mohawk incarnation was one of the more powerful political statements in comics, but being appalled at how uninteresting she became when she married Black Panther.
Do you know what’s truly outrageous? I’m 33 years old, have no kids, and still watch cartoons. There’s one in particular that I just started watching again, and after not seeing it for 16 years I was reminded of both the hilarity (shoulder pads!) and the groundbreaking diversity of cartoons in the 80s. If you didn’t guess it by the post’s title, I’m referring to Jem and the Holograms, an animated series created by Hasbro, Marvel Productions, and animation studio Sunbow Productions.
As a young girl growing up in the 80s, there were plenty of cartoons I could watch to justify my love for cuddly teddy bears and rainbow colored horses. There was also She-Ra, He-Man’s empowered twin sister. She represented two dreams of every little girl: being a princess and kicking bad guys’ butts. However, looking back at the variety of cartoons geared toward young girls, there wasn’t much cultural diversity, and there weren’t many realistic female characters that young NOCs like me could look to as role models.
Over the weekend, Jamie Foxx spilled some pretty spoilery secrets about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a potential Sinister Six spin-off movie. Foxx plays the supervillain Electro in the upcoming superhero sequel, and it got me thinking about the comic book movie legacy of In Living Color, one of my favorite shows growing up.
The year was 1990. I was a shy, nerdy 10-year-old living in Newport News, Virginia. Like my origin post said, I was practically raised by television because my mother was constantly working. When I wasn’t watching horror shows like Tales from the Crypt, you could find me watching anything that would make me laugh. My favorites were sitcoms like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Family Matters. Since there were no Asians to look for on television, I turned to these shows to find any kind of cultural connection — and to laugh uncontrollably. And no other show made me laugh harder than In Living Color.
When Warner Brothers announced that Ben Affleck was going to be the new Batman in the Man of Steel sequel, I had mixed feelings. Like Jenn said, I thought it was a very questionable casting choice considering his horrid display of acting chops in Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. Then again, I agreed with Keith that Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, and I think that he has been slowly gaining street cred since he won the Oscar for Argo.
Then I immediately became nostalgic and pictured every single actor who has ever played Batman on the big screen. While their memorable Batman roles came to mind, I also thought of other films they have done that I really liked. As a nostalgic nerd of the ‘80s and ‘90s, of course those roles popped into my head first. A prime example is Michael Keaton, the first actor to grace the big screen as Batman in Tim Burton’s films from 1989 and 1992, respectively.