To read the second volume of Abed and Aria’s adventures at Comic-Con, be sure to check out Part Two!
When Abed found his sister at last, she was seated away in a corner of the convention center with her head crouched over a small paperback book. He hesitated for a moment before advancing.
‘Hey, sis,’ he said, plopping down next to her, ‘What’re you reading?’
‘My favorite comic,’ she replied, lifting the book so he could take a look at the cover: Bone by Jeff Smith, ‘The one that helped me get through high school, remember?’
‘Yeah, I remember. What’re you willing to bet that had the quiz been on Bone, you’d have nailed all of those Gatekeepers to the wall?’
‘Oh, I could’ve easily. But… that’s not the point, is it? It’s not about me beating them. It’s about the fact that there are things I love and am passionate about as well… the fact that these comics have touched my life too, and they have no business telling me my feelings towards them aren’t valid. It’s hard enough when the outside world judges you for caring too much about stories, but to have the same kind of tapeworms within? No. I’m not going to apologize for being a nerd who doesn’t happen to be a nerd in all departments. I’m not – not to the Gatekeepers and certainly not to the outside world.’
She took a deep breath.
Here’s some facts about this book and I,
A love that’s been long defied.
Social anxiety made high school hard to bear,
But these books, they helped me fight despair.
I feel exactly that way about Cable and Deadpool,
I collected their Pop Funko bobbleheads and made them fight,
Because the truth of it is, their friendly rivalry eased the pain
That came with feeling I never did anything right…
Except our nerd love, that’s what it is,
Nerd love, a state of bliss,
There’s nothing weird about it in our eyes.
We shed tears for these tales we tell…
Go into them, none the wise…
It’s nerd love,
For stories that saved our lives.
There’s no need to justify,
Just read more books, watch more movies each day.
It’s like Jeff Smith wrote my best friends,
Who’ve stuck by me all the way.
It’s nerd love, why so surprised?
These characters help us get by,
Taking us on wild journeys when ends feel nigh.
They’ll be here in both poetry and prose,
Or moving pictures and games to delight our eyes,
It’s nerd love,
Why so surprised?
The two siblings embraced, comforted together at last. That was when they heard a round of applause from behind and turned to find Lil’ Saw Gerrera standing there with a gaggle of other Comic-Con attendees.
‘That,’ said Lil’ Gerrera, ‘Was beautiful. It makes me feel a whole lot more hopeful for our fight against the Gatekeepers.’
‘Agreed,’ said a woman in a Wonder Woman costume, walking over to help Abed and Aria up to their feet, ‘The Gatekeepers do not define us; the beauty of nerd culture is not in our entitled love for these stories and characters, but in our genuine connection with them. We choose to embody them, to fight for the values they represent…’
‘And what all our heroes represent is a message of openness,’ said Aria, nodding in agreement, ‘They tell us never to bully others, or to cast them out. If anybody’s got things wrong… it’s the Gatekeepers.’
‘It’s like Captain America once said,’ said Abed, ‘When the whole world tells you to move…’
‘Your job is to plant yourself like a tree and say…’
‘No. You move.’
The mint condition’s always minter,
In somebody else’s crate.
You dream about owning their comics,
Their rare issues of Doctor Fate.
But look at the Comic-Con around you,
Here you and they stand on a single magic floor,
They’re dressed as Mulan, as Shan-Yu,
You wear the colors of Batgirl, of Thor.
It’s one fantasy,
Darling, we’re together,
Nerds of a feather,
Take it from me!
Out in the world they work all day,
We get home, pop in our favorite Blu-Ray.
Gatekeepers be hating,
Well, we’re past waiting,
In our one fantasy!
We agree film adaptations can be crappy,
Compared to the books of old,
They made Ginny Weasley a bit too sappy,
And all the Percy Jackson actors a bit too old.
But then turn to Sebastian Stan’s Bucky,
The Marvel movies are pretty great,
Except that Brutasha subplot, that made us angry,
Hopefully now, they’ll set the record straight.
Gatekeepers can’t take us,
Outsiders can’t break us,
Out of where we dance free!
In every corner, with coffee and a good book,
Unleash our inner Tyrions at those who give us looks.
Tell them ‘Prepare for trouble,
Maybe make it double.’
We’re in every movie theater,
Hoping Tom Holland pulls off a good Peter,
From fans of Luke to fans of Rey,
Join us, the Force be with us, may,
We’ve got geek spirit,
Some maybe fear it,
But it’s our fantasy!
The room erupted into raucous applause together, and the two siblings stood there, tall and proud. This was the community they had come to join, away from the prying, judgmental eyes they had put up with their whole lives. These were people who got it – people who were magic. They were Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws and Slytherins, Hobbits and Jedi and Sith and aspiring Pokémon masters. And as they danced together, Abed and Aria knew: no matter what anybody said, they just might be some of those things too.
Featured photo credit: Rich.S. New York Comic Con2015 – Hulkbuster, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch & Capt America via photopin (license)