The Drunken Nerd Discovers Nerds Are Now Cool

With the success of comic inspired movies over the past few years, I’ve noticed something a tad unusual for us nerds…we’re becoming cool.

I know you’re probably re-reading that gasping again as the Omni-present voice in your head screeches, “WHAAAA! How could this be?” But fret not; being “cool” seems rather strange to us nerds, but it’s actually a good thing.

Like I was saying, with the success of comic inspired movies like, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and The Amazing Spider-Man just this summer alone, it’s hard to argue that after conquering Hollywood that nerdom is now a full fledge social phenomenon. Granted, comic fans have always been around and there’s always been some sort of Hollywood production involved with the fanfare. Whether it be the classic 80s TV series, The Incredible Hulk, with Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk or even the success of animated series like Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man during the 90s.  Yet, even with those compliments to the comic universe, nerds were still a low-key sub-category in culture that garnered a reputation for being anti-social. Now though, it seems like everyone is talking comics, games, or something nerdy.

Lou Ferrigno as ‘The Hulk’

And it’s not just comics I’m talking about either. I’d have to argue that with the success of sci-fi and fantasy in literature, we’ve seen an influx of new interests in mainstream American culture.  The Lord Of The Rings trilogy was huge, The Hunger Games even bigger, and the mother of all books to screen was Harry Potter. Each of these series had a small contingent of followers (just like anything geeky ever has) and then as soon as it hit the big screen, well you’re starting to get the point here. I’d even have to throw Game of Thrones into this conversation as well. I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear of the Fire and Ice series until HBO took the reins and made an extremely compelling series out of the acclaimed books.

For example, three years ago if I walked into a bar, stuck up conversation with an attractive female and dropped the word Batman, she’d probably have laughed, said, “What are you a nerd? How old are you again?” And…that would be about the time she’d begin walking away. However, if I were to drop the same six letter word now in a bar now, that same girl would join in the conversation. I know it’s shocking, but somewhere over the past decade being a nerd became socially acceptable, dear I say hip.

So, how exactly did we go from lame to cool? If I’m not mistaken there once was a time when holding a comic or a Harry Potter book in your hand made you socially infected, contaminated with the inability to look cool or fit in. Yet, Hollywood’s success at the box office has had a direct positive correlation on nerd culture; catapulting nerdiness into mainstream, making it possible for me to talk nerdy to a girl. After all, everyone goes to the movies, everyone wants to see the next big blockbuster, and everyone wants to talk about it-allowing geeks to step out of the shadows and into the limelight.

Although, it’s not just Hollywood pushing nerds out of the comic book store- I have to give some credit to the increase of hipster culture in just about every city in America. Hipsters have always been present throughout the decades and whether you approve or not, have to be given credit for bringing comic-conikazes to the main stage. Their admiration for all things “retro” and “low-brow” includes comics, video games, and fantasy/sci-fi, but more importantly the clothing and style of such interests. The hipster culture has created an outlet for nerd culture to shine. I am now able to wear my superhero tees without feeling like a man-child.


I can go into a bar wearing Captain America on my chest, proudly displaying my affection for Stan Lee’s genius while someone remarks, “Ah man, awesome shirt dude. Loved the movie.”  Let’s be honest to, hipsters have always looked like nerds (whether or not they are trying to be), so it may seem like a stretch, but the rise of the hipster has directly affected the rise of the nerd as well.

It’s quite an amazing elevation for nerd culture, from going to basically bullied outcasts to the now “in” thing. The migration from timid nerds to cool nerdsters has happened slowly over the past decade, but has become ever so apparent in today’s culture. Nowadays anywhere, you go you can see someone wearing a Spider-Man shirt or hear two jocks talk about what LOTR was the best. A progressive sharing of hobbies/interests born from the geek universe has snowballed nerds into mainstream America and its due largely to success of movies. It may sound bit unnerving to some out there, seeing how some of us nerds enjoy being below the radar, but I say enjoy it while it lasts. It may be a novelty for everyone else right now, but this is still our passions lets enjoy the experience of being cool for once. Besides, it’s not every day I can use the pick-up line, “Hey want to see my comic collection?”


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Neil Strebig


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