To read the first volume of Abed and Aria’s adventures at Comic-Con, be sure to check out Part One!
After a short lunch break, Abed and Aria made their way towards a “Mystery Panel: For Special Guests Only.” They were, for lack of a better word, ecstatic by this point, having been moved already by the passion of other nerds about storytelling, about gaming, and about reading. So what could the mystery panel be? Who were “special guests only?”
When they arrived at Hall H, the fabled land of the Mystery Panel, they discovered that it was a live quiz show for the audience. Although nervous at first, Aria raised her hand to answer one of the questions posed:
‘Aquaman!’ she said, confidently.
The room went dead silent.
Several heads turned to look at her like she was some sort of alien, some creature from an otherworld. Her hand, which she had shot up like a bullet, sank faster than her smile. The audience had begun to talk in hushed whispers…
They went quiet again as the announcer’s voice echoed throughout the room. After a moment’s pause, the tall, fancily dressed man then rose to his feet and cleared his throat.
I can see from your lack of attention,
That you’re not quite as nerdy as described,
But pretentious as you are, show some fraction
Of knowledge, of culture, I’d prescribe.
Look at this sea of ashamed expressions,
We, the people, are offended with raised hairs,
We sing of Kings and of Atlanteans,
And you walk in with your brother unaware.
So prepare for the boos of a lifetime,
Be prepared, because in this game you lose.
The answer was Namor, you are welcome here no more.
“Hey, her brother should ditch her!”
“Or at the very least, teach her.”
We know you feel worried,
But this girl’s mistake was horrid,
And it’s time we got her shooed,
You thought yourself one of us, the prepared,
Well, au contraire!
As the jeering and the humiliation worsened, Aria felt herself tear up. She rose from her seat, turned round, and raced out of the room with her brother on her heels.
As Abed followed her, however, he could not catch her. Before he knew it, he had lost his sister in the sea of cosplays and vendors wandering the halls outside. Soon he found himself a lost face in a lost crowd, and began pushing his way through in some effort to get his bearings.
That was when something suddenly tripped him by accident – or rather, someone. Abed looked up to find a young but tall boy towering above him, dark and wild-haired, decked out in the garb of Saw Gerrera from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
‘You seek your sister, is that correct?’ he asked, his voice sounding mid-puberty.
‘I’m afraid you might be out of luck. If she’s been chased away by the Gatekeepers… she’s probably not coming back.’
‘Who are the Gatekeepers?’ asked Abed, staggering to his feet.
‘They’re a ruthless crowd; people who stop you in your tracks at the first sign of curiosity. They’re people who act entitled to their fandoms and push out those who try to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, even if they are genuinely interested. They’re purists. Simple as that. And they are the reason I’m here today, and not at the Star Wars panel.
Abed raised a brow. Lil’ Saw Gerrera took a deep breath, then began to sing:
The vice of a man who designed his own Saw Gerrera cosplay,
Exiled my fandom, my love, for the character I first saw in Rogue One.
Why so mad?
They tell me he was better in Clone Wars, which they followed everyday.
And so they made me sad,
Because despite my wonderment, I would never be called a true fan.
They’ll attack, if you confuse Marvel and DC,
They’ll condemn you if X was your favorite Final Fantasy,
They’ll attack, they’ll give you hell,
If you think Carol Danvers was the original Captain Marvel.
And they have spies, for obscure facts you don’t recall,
The Gatekeepers, they’re going to build a wall,
When you think they’re done questioning your love,
They will launch an article condemning your race and sex, reminding you they stand above.
Dadadadat da dat dadadayya da
Dada datdat daya da!
‘That can’t be it,’ said Abed, cutting him off with a shake of his head, ‘When my sister and I walked into Comic-Con, we were welcomed with open arms. The Gatekeepers may exist, but they don’t define our culture. We are more than what they stand for: we are fans and artists, writers and theorists. That’s what Comic-Con is a celebration of. That’s what I’m here for. And that’s the message Aria and I will spread, so we can give back to the ones who would defy the Gatekeepers.’
‘You are starting a war that you do not understand,’ said Lil’ Saw Gerrera, ‘But I admire your resolve, boy. I admire your naiveté and faith… you remind me of myself when I was your age.’
‘AND A HALF!’
Ignoring his words of protest, Abed pushed on through the crowds to continue his search.
To Be Continued in Nerd Culture: A Comic-Con Musical (Part III)…