Q&A #59: Alert Nerd’s True Geek Confessions

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments. This week, we’re participating in Alert Nerd’s newest mega-blog crossover event, posing a question about our most unpopular, hidden geeky opinions:

What is your True Geek Confession?



Anika

I write fanfiction.

Lots of people do, but the majority I have come across do so behind closed doors, so to speak. Some post stories to closed communities, some post only under pseudonyms like JeanScott4Ever or Kirkisit16 (I have used many handles but not to hide my identity), some will publicly admit to maybe sometimes reading fanfiction, but they claim to be Serious Writers who would never author one. As if Serious Writers never write fanfiction. Or more to the point, as if writing fanfiction is not really writing.

And that isn’t even the only stigma associated with it. I say “I write fanfiction.” and twenty people read “I write porn about Captain America.” Twenty other people read “I write porn about Captain America and Iron Man.” and twenty more people read “I write porn about Captain America getting pregnant with Iron Man’s baby.” Rather than confirming or denying any of that (either seems pointless to me, honestly), I’m going to let my work speak for itself. To protect the identity of anyone who may have read or discussed these previously, I have reposted them to Google from wherever they were first shared with the world (Fanfiction.net, LiveJournal, various Shipper communities, etc.). All of the following stories were written by me over the last ten years, the most recent just last week.


(I also make fanvids.)

Canon Confirmed: scene inserts or stories that hold to canon. Plot, characterization, and details are all in line with the original fiction. Ex. Carol Danvers and Jessica Drew compare notes about Peter Parker’s bumbling attempts to flirt.
The Darkness Has No Armor (Star Trek: Voyager; Kathryn Janeway, Tom Paris)
Falling Into Place (Justice League Unlimited; Shayera Hol, Batman)
Farewell to Naboo’s Angel (Star Wars)
It’s Not Easy (Avengers; Carol Danvers, Tony Stark, Peter Parker)

Canon Plausible: scene speculation or stories that play with, and can contradict, canon. Similar to Marvel’s What If? line of comics. Ex. Carol Danvers is dating Tony Stark.
Covert Ops (Avengers; Carol Danvers, Peter Parker)
Remembering a Hero (Avengers; Clint Barton, Wanda Maximoff, Carol Danvers, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers)
Wilted Flowers (Harry Potter; Barty Crouch Jr., Lily Evans)

Canon Busted: crossovers, “crack”, or stories that cannot be canon. Not because the characterization is different, but because the circumstances are too different. Ex. Carol Danvers is dating Oliver Queen.
Doubt (Justice League Unlimited;X-Men)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Avengers; Batman; Green Arrow; Teen Titans; Young Justice; includes original characters)
That’s What You Get for Being a Bad Child (Avengers; Green Arrow; Young Justice)



Caroline

I unironically love Cable. Nathan Dayspring Askani’son (Priscilla?) Summers — the time-travelling, glowy-eyed, metal-armed, significantly-older-than-his-dad-Cyclops, gun-toting supersoldier who frequently gets himself confused with Jesus — is one of my favorite characters in comics.

All right, maybe I let a little irony sneak into that description. I am infinite, I contain multitudes (which, I’m pretty sure, is also one of Cable’s powers.)

I’m not laboring under the illusion that I’m the only person who likes Cable, or even the only person who likes him without irony. In fact, I suspect some of the character’s most ardent fans are the type of people who wouldn’t recognize irony if it painted itself purple and danced naked on a harpsichord, singing, “Irony is here again.” (And yes, I stole that like from Black Adder, which I also love unironically, but I doubt I have to file that among shameful geek confessions).

What I don’t think I’ve ever run across is a fellow loves Cable in quite the way or for quite the reasons I do. I don’t have any interest in his early-90s origin with its aura of Rob Liefeld. I’ve never read X-Cutioner’s Song, supposedly the definitive Cable story, and I’m not in any real hurry to. As a Marvel fan who was fortunate enough to miss most of the ’90s, I first ran across the character in the crossover X-Men Dream’s End, a collection I bought because it was marketed as explaining Colossus’s backstory for Astonishing X-Men. The Colossus story (and most of the rest of the book) turned out to be pretty mediocre, but I was struck by one, now mostly forgotten, storyline. Cable had been assigned to work undercover as a bodyguard for Robert Kelly, the anti-mutant Senator who was introduced in Days of Future Past. Kelly was having conflicted feelings about his former prejudiced views.

The politics of the story really didn’t make any sense, but it did feature a moment of unlikely bonding between the Senator and the mutant soldier. As Cable’s backstory had it, he had been created and sent back from the future in order to defeat Apocalypse. At this point, Cable believed that Apocalypse had died — and Cable’s father Cyclops along with him — and the mutant was completely at sea about what to do with his future. For all the not-so-great storytelling that was involved, that scene got me hooked on Cable. I was fascinated by the situation of a guy whose life’s mission had been accomplished, leaving him with no idea what to do next. Subsequently I read the Search for Cyclops miniseries (which I might think is another thing that only I love, if I didn’t know TheOtherJeff), the David Tischmann/ Igor Kordey series where Cable hangs out in the Amazon and fights Peruvian radicals (yeah, that one’s just me), and even a little of Soldier X (before I couldn’t take it anymore; Blaquesmith is not a good character, y’all, even I have my limits).

I eventually discovered Cable & Deadpool, which really does (deservedly) have an active and passionate fanbase. I feel like those are mostly in it because they love Deadpool. Or homoeroticism. Or Fabian Nicieza’s writing. Or complete insanity. As much as I enjoy all those things, I came (and stayed) mostly for Cable’s Messianic arrogance, his determination to behave like the lovechild of Professor X and Magneto, and his devotion to an agenda that I affectionately call “exploding things for peace.” I could never entirely shake the feeling that Cable’s approach made about as much sense as anything else in the Marvel Universe. Sometimes, the guy with the metal arm, the glowy eye, and the ridiculously large gun just might have a point.



Jennifer

What is there left to confess? I’ve already admitted my love of Marvel’s swimsuit specials, giant company-wide crossover events, Bernie Rosenthal, Cat Beast, and Daken, not to mention Cyclops. Since adolescence, I’ve always been the weird kid in the corner who openly likes things everyone else would consider a guilty pleasure, from Hanson to YA literature to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals to comics themselves, and I’ve even liked some things that all of nerddom seems to hate, like Star Trek: Voyager and Jar Jar Binks. (Granted, I had only just turned 13 when The Phantom Menace came out, so I lacked the full understanding at the time of why he was so problematic). At this point it’s hard to find something contrary I enjoy that I haven’t already shouted from the rooftops. I don’t want to talk about things I dislike — I always prefer gushing about things I love to ranting about things I hate — so I can’t go to the opposite end of the spectrum. What’s a proud misfit to do?

Then a few days ago, like a mystical omen, I passed by the Daredevil movie while flipping channels, and I realized what my answer had to be: I like the Daredevil movie more than any Daredevil comics I’ve read.

It’s not that I think Daredevil is a good movie. Even in its superior director’s cut form, it’s a mediocre movie at best. But I find it incredibly entertaining. I love Jon Favreau’s take on Foggy Nelson, my favorite Daredevil character; I love the special effects used for Matt’s powers; I love the haunting portrait of Matt’s childhood origin. The little shout-outs to comics creators (not to mention the cameos from Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Kevin Smith) make me grin, and I think Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan are a suitably terrifying Bullseye and Kingpin. I also really enjoy Ben Affleck (which I guess is a geek confession in and of itself), and I think he does a pretty good job with the material he’s given, as does Jennifer Garner. The actors’ real-life chemistry saves scenes that would have been unwatchable otherwise. And I love, in the director’s cut, the glimpses of Matt as a lawyer, a role I find much more interesting than his role as Daredevil. Sure, the soundtrack is overwrought, the plot meandering, and the dialogue abysmal, but I always seem to watch the movie when it pops up on TV, and I enjoy it every time.

I’ve read Daredevil comics before, but none of them have ever stuck with me in quite the same way. I enjoyed Kevin Smith’s run well enough, picked up an issue or two of the Bendis and Brubaker runs. I can acknowledge that the character has been blessed with some fantastic writing and art. But for the most part, I couldn’t care less. He’s just too brooding and crazy and relentlessly dismal for me. Without the charm of Ben Affleck and the insanity of Colin Farrell, it seems, Daredevil isn’t a character who particularly pings for me, and thus I remain an odd little duck.



Sigrid

I really dislike Captain Kirk. Really dislike, an unreasonable amount for a fictional character. But it galls me to no freaking end that he is lauded and idolized as some sort of male role model. Kirk exemplifies almost all of the traits I find utterly tiresome in guys. The arrogance, the combative competitiveness, the ego, the oozing smarm. He also embodies traits I dislike in people in general — the over-reliance on intuition to the exclusion of rationality, the lack of orderliness, the thinking he’s the center of the universe. Juvenile ego-drenched masturbatory wish-fulfillment of sociopathic selfishness.


Now, because he’s the hero of the stories, his irritating methods and traits are rewarded, giving viewers the impression that being like Kirk is a good thing. Ugh.


What is your True Geek Confession?

  • Dan

    Anika: I just don’t get fanfic. I’ve seen really well-written fanfic and I’ve seen really poorly-written fanfic. I just don’t get it.

    Caroline: As a character, Cable is awesome. He’s sort of John Connor and Kyle Reese wrapped in one glowy-eyed package. With mutant powers. However, as a simple of what happened to comics in the ’90s, I still harbor some resentment towards the guy.

    Jennifer: …

    Sigrid: Everything you said about Kirk is true. However, I would offer that he only succeeds because of Spock and Bones. The Id needs the balance provided by both Ego and Superego.

  • Great answers, I love us. I mean, the ‘Daredevil’ movie is still deeply deeply terrible, but I love Jen’s enthusiasm for it.

    Dan — You don’t get wanting to read stories about the same characters you already like? Isn’t that what comic books are? (OTOH, I said exactly the same thing to Sigrid about Kirk — he only really exists in the context of Spock and Bones, that’s why I think he works!)

  • sigrid

    @Anika I am shocked, *shocked*, to find fanfic being written in this establishment! :grins:

    @Jen I’ve only ever seen the director’s cut dvd of Daredevil, and I really liked it!

    @Caroline … 😛

    @Dan I did say it’s an unreasonable dislike . . .

  • I have a feeling everyone else’s answers are going to inspire enthusiasm or ire, while mine is just going to inspire “…”

    (Not that you have any room to talk, Dan — you’re the only one other than me who enjoyed the Fantastic Four movies!)

    I enjoy our answers. :) And Sigrid, I agree that Kirk is an obnoxious character — but, as others are saying, he works in the context of his world. I always love the Spock and Bones-type characters in various media, but they need a Kirk as a foil. He’s a necessary evil!

  • Anika

    @Dan, I’m not sure what there is to get?

    @Jen, I actually haven’t ever seen the Daredevil movie. But I own Elektra. And also, I love the first Fantastic Four movie — I made 2 fanvids for it 😉

    @Sigird, as I said when you first mentioned it: I LOVE CAPTAIN KIRK. Except, I will add the caveat: NEW Kirk. Shatner!Kirk is ok. Pine!Kirk is LOVE.

  • Dan

    Caroline: Only comics written by Grant Morrison and Chris Claremont. :)

    Jen: Other than the fact that I think the casting was pretty horrid across the board and the costumes were heinous, my biggest beef with the DD movie was that they (as I recall) tried to give him somewhat super strength and agility.

    Sigrid: Fair enough.

  • CoreytheDevil

    @Jen I’m glad you spoke up for the Daredevil movie, Jennifer, it gets bashed far too much for what was a decent little flick. I think my favorite part in the movie was the interaction between Matt and his dad while they were “montaging” out. I found some of the shout-outs to be a bit eye-roll worthy though.

    @Caroline Cable is awesome, especially when he shows up out of nowhere like in Messiah Complex. Sure, he reeks of the 90’s, but I think he came out of with grace.

    @Sigrid I love Kirk just because a guy like him would be ultimately despised in the real world and how you can tell that Bones just enjoys cutting him down. By the way “Juvenile ego-drenched masturbatory wish-fulfillment of sociopathic selfishness” is my new favorite phrase!

    @Anika I don’t read or write fanfiction, but you’re right about all writers essentially doing it. The one insult that I see get thrown around on message boards that never made sense to me is when someone says that a series is “glorified fanfiction” when they don’t like the story or writer.

    As for my Geek Confession, I really like the Hank Pym/Jocasta relationship in Mighty Avengers. The whole series is about Hank finally coming into a role that he excels at while shaking off all of the doubt and regrets that have held him back. Yes, its weird that he’s dating a robot that has his ex-wife’s brain waves that was created by a robot he made. The rest of the team get creeped out by them but they don’t care and that’s why I like it. Hank and Jo aren’t self conscious about what people think about them, they’re happy together.

  • Selena

    Sigrid: Before Archer came along, Kirk was my least favourite Starship captain, though I suspect Doylist reasons of a William Shatner nature might have been involved. Mostly because I did warm up to the guy somewhat in ST XI when he was no longer Shatner, and humanized somewhat (he loses a lot of the fights he’s in in this film, and gets shot down by Uhura). Have you ever seen the DS9 episode Trials and Tribble-ations? In it, Jadzia Dax proves once more her superior taste by having had sex with McCoy (“he had the hands of a surgeon”) and fancying Spock, but regarding Kirk as negligable when the DS9 folk time travel to the TOS crew.

  • @Corey Yes, I think everything with Matt and his father in the movie is pretty great!

    Also, I kind of enjoy the Hank/Jocasta thing, too. It’s screwed-up, but the text acknowledges it (in a way some texts don’t acknowledge how screwed up relationships are), and it’s perfectly in keeping with Hank’s history. It’s also a nice parallel to the Cassie/Vision thing going on in Mighty Avengers!

  • @CoreytheDevil — I think ‘Messiah Complex’ was the last time I really enjoyed Cable’s role in a story. I enjoy the current Cable series but there’s not a lot to Cable’s characterization aside from fatherly protectiveness. He doesn’t have the layers that he did in the era I liked most.

  • handyhunter

    I agree with everyone’s choices. Fanfic, check. Mostly of the crack variety. I think some pro-fic is fanfic too (like Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men), it’s just called something different when it’s published. Fanfic is not synonymous with bad writing.

    Cable: Sometimes the only thing to do is to ask yourself, “What would Cable do?” Who doesn’t love a gun-toting Jesus?

    Daredevil the movie: ♥ ♥ I loved the theatrical version too, before I knew there was a director’s cut.

    Kirk: I fast-forward through his very very very long intro in the ST reboot (which is the only ST I’ve seen). Whyyyy is he/this type the main character of the movie? (rhetorical question) I really disliked him when the first time I saw the movie, to the point of wondering why I was watching it, but then Uhura showed up…

  • Jennifer, Daredevil was part of my true geek confessions as well, but I loved it without the qualifier of “I know it was bad, but I loved it anyway.” I guess my movie taste is just that bad.

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  • It’s always entertaining to me when I (accidentally) out myself as a fanfic writer to someone who’s never heard of the concept. I once explained it to an English teacher (not mine–a family friend) and I winced the entire time, waiting for the “oh, so you write porn with my beloved characters” response and instead she seemed to think it was a neat idea. (i did downplay the abundance of sex-related fic)

    i’ve also outed myself in a group where half the people knew i wrote stuff and on person stumbled into some crazy RPF and that was his introduction. he wouldn’t stop talking about it, so i felt obligated to “defend” myself and the community at large. he spent the entire weekend trying to come up with a scenario cracked-out enough that I hadn’t seen it, or didn’t think it existed. he failed 😉

  • Menshevik

    Anika –
    I wrote fanfiction too. What can I say? It’s fun. I even wrote fan poetry (sonnets and such). Haven’t written anything for several years though.

    Caroline –
    sorry, I never liked Cable, to me he’s one of the characters that best embodies what was wrong about 1990s comics. The only time I tolerated him was when he was a baby 😉 and later when he was used in a more supporting capacity during Chris Claremont’s second run.

    Jennifer –
    like you, I am the kind of person who likes stuff that other people consider at best a guilty pleasure. I have (seriously) written fan-fiction stories about Val Cooper and Trish Tilby (not as a couple, though). I like the Ang Lee Hulk movie. I think Bernie Rosenthal should still be Captain America’s girlfriend/fiancee or maybe even wife. (I do have a tendency to take supporting characters more seriously than most, hence not just my penchant for the aforementioned three, but also for Marlo Chandler, Sal Arsala (from Hawk & Dove), Cissie King-Jones after she stopped being Arrowette, and Madelyne Pryor-Summers). I thought the Daredevil movie was okay, but I’m afraid there is a comic Daredevil that I like a lot more: the Ann Nocenti/John Romita, Jr., version; it is actually one of my all-time favourite runs in the entire history of superhero comics.

    Sigrid –
    you and me both. Which is why I really enjoy Zapp Brannigan. Who in some cases is actually not that much dumber than Kirk (just look at the combination of arrogance and stupidity that let Khan catch the Enterprise with her shields down in Star Trek 2). As an aside: I never found Star Trek that awesom to begin with, possibly because here in Germany I first saw “Raumpatrouille” (Space Patrol), a seven-episode series that first aired the same year as the first season of Star Trek, 1966. That series had faults of its own, but looking at it you see how antiquated Star Trek’s take on male/female relations was even in the mid-1960s. Female officers were in the minority there too, but they were presented as every bit as competent as the male ones (in one episode there was a situation when someone was needed to repair an very advanced robot, and the only one up to the job was the security officer, Tamara Jagellovsk)…

  • Monica

    Fun post!

    Anika – I find your fic categories interesting. I’ve never thought about seperating fic based on how canon compliant it is. I feel everything I write is about equally canon compliant, but I’ve never written a crossover or AU.

    Oh hey, I just realized I’ve read Remembering A Hero. I like the idea of Clint taking Wanda to Cap’s funeral.

    Caroline – I’ve only read Cable in Cable & Deadpool, and I read that for both of them (and the homoeroticism, and the insanity, and Fabian Nicieza’s writing). I do love that Cable will help people whether they want help or not, and has relatively little angst about it.

    Jennifer – I wasn’t able to finish Daredevil, but I enjoyed Elecktra. Go figure.

    Sigrid – The low point of the new ST movie, for me, was Kirk passing the test through uninspired, pointless cheating. The fact that the movie rewarded him for it (after punishing him, but still) really galled me. I know it was canon that he cheated to pass the test, but I expected something that would highlight some skill, not just arrogance.

    I’m not sure what my Geek Confession would be. I can’t think of any deep geek secrets, or really anything that I wouldn’t post to the internet. I think this means I need a spicier geek life.

  • I love everybody’s contributions to this thread, and I just want to be the first to take a moment to speak out in favor of porny fanfiction. I mean, I wouldn’t want an uninterrupted diet of the stuff, but it exists for a reason ;).

  • Anika

    @Monica — Haha, it’s a Big Deal in my circle:

    Them
    But Scott Summers and Kara Thrace can’t be in the same story. They don’t know each other! They can’t know each other!

    Me
    Okay, true. But if they DID, they would TOTALLY be BFF!!

    And thanks, I like the idea, too (obviously).

    @Sigrid — have you noticed that no one other than me seems to like Kirk? Some say they don’t dislike him in context, but no one (except me!) actually likes him!

  • sigrid

    @Anika Cavorter likes him. :grins:

    @Caroline Here, here!

    And just for the record, let me be clear: I have written a metric ton of fanfic, ranging from the canon-compliant general audience, to the raunchiest porn, to absurdist crossovers. Like re-writing scenes from The Thin Man using Tony Stark and Steve Rogers as Nick and Nora Charles.

  • Cash

    Having already confessed to being a Legion of Super-Heroes fan, I can’t think what’s left to confess.

  • As usual, one of the things I love the most is the total diversity of your responses! I will be reading Anika’s fanfic immediately! :) Caroline, one of the things I love the most about your confession is how you discovered Cable in the first place — there’s something classically geek yet delightfully unexpected about that!

    I actually kind of love Jen Garner as Elektra. But I would probably love Jen Garner if she played…anything. (Cable?!)

  • @Sarah I’m another person who thinks the ‘Daredevil’ movie is boring but kinda digs ‘Elektra.’ It has a lot to do with Garner who’s really good at doing what she does.

  • Monica

    @Anika – Aww, don’t listen to the haters. I don’t write crossovers, but I get the appeal! I have read a few I like. I tend to skip over them if I don’t know both fandoms, though.

  • Oh, I forgot: I also have to give props to Colin Farrell as Bullseye, because he’s the only one who seemed to know what movie he was in.

  • I recently got that whole Cable in developing countries run from a bargain bin (they were like 10p each) and thought it was excellent.
    It made me search out some Soldier X and yeah, Blaquesmith really sucks. I never tried Cable and Deadpool because I really don’t like the character. He’s like that Ker-ray-zee friend-of-a-friend that “you’re just gonna love” who turns out to be really really annoying.

    I also totally agree with the Kirk Bashing and Daredevil defending.

    I guess my confession would be not liking Neil Gaiman or Grant Morrison’s stories on the whole. This is a cardinal sin for an English comics fan apparently.

  • * The Deadpool character that is.

    Oh, and my other confession would be drawing geeky joke cartoons with comic characters.

    http://gallery.valhallahan.co.uk/#0.22

  • @Valhallan — if you like Cable, I’d say to give Cable/Deadpool a shot. It continues the story arc from that Tischmann run on a grander scale — the first couple trades are particularly good, and then the Civil War crossover + the immediate aftermath. After issue 36 or so it becomes mainly a Deadpool book, but prior to that, well worth looking into for the Cable stuff.

  • lilacsigil

    Jennifer – I also like many parts of the Daredevil movie, but I highly recommend most of Bendis’ run (he wrote it before he got all BENDIS!!!!-y). He writes a totally awesome Foggy, and Maleev’s art is great (Foggy in a bowler hat!). It’s not a good run for picking up single issues, as it has long, long storylines and reads much better in trade.

    Sigrid – we are SOUL TWINS, united by intense dislike of Kirk. He’s a prancing, smirking, sleazy fool who never seems to show the awesomeness with which the narrative keeps bashing us over the head.

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