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Elliott Serrano Presents:



They’re not so different from us, y’know. In fact, there’s a lot we have in common. So sometimes I wonder why we hate each other so much.

Oh…who am I talking about, you ask?

Israelis and Palestinians? No, as I am neither.

Democrats and Republicans? They should get along, but c’mon, it’s an election year.

Cubs and White Sox fans? We’ll see reconciliation on the West Bank before we see it between those two factions.

Who I’m talking about is Comic Book…and Sports fans. Seriously. The similarities might amaze you…

Think about it: when those of us who spent their allowances on X-Men comics were getting shoved into lockers, we were being derided for knowing seemingly inconsequential details like what issue Kitty Pryde went into the future to see that mutants were all but exterminated by the Sentinels. (Uh, that was Uncanny X-Men #141, by the way.) Dorks! Losers! They’d exclaim, proclaiming that our obsessing over these numbers amounted to a waste of time. And yet, ask them what historical minutiae they’d committed to memory, what did you get? The year the Magna Carta was signed? Nope. Who discovered the atom? Uh-uh. Press them for the most significant events in history and you’d get numbers as well. Mind you, not issue numbers but stats related to how any touchdowns Joe Montana threw in some game against the Rams, or Roger Clemens’ ERA the previous season. To them, those were numbers worth memorizing and reciting. But really, in the end, aren’t they all just numbers? And what about the way we dress? The media has a penchant for portraying comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy fans as a bit…colorful. And sure, go to a comic or sci-fi convention and you’ll find many a fanboy and fangirl dressed in attire emblazoned with their favorite character, or if they’re especially devoted, in full costume. (And yeah, it would be nice if some of these folks, namely gamers, would BATHE before going out in public, but I digress…) But go to a Bears game, or better yet watch it on television, and you’ll find just as many folks dressed with their favorite player’s jersey, or if they’re especially fanatical, BARE-TOPPED AND PAINTED IN THE TEAM’S COLORS! AND IN FREEZING WEATHER NO LESS! At least those fangirls who dress in the Princess Leia slave-bikini-outfits aren’t parading outdoors in sub-zero temperatures.

Oh, and speaking of Star Wars fans…

(Cue the John Williams score.)

I remember that wonderful spring month in 1999…before the dark times…before The Phantom Menace...

I was in a three-block long line that stretched around Chicago’s McClurg Court multiplex that day. A line comprised of Star Wars fans who wanted to be among the first to see the much-awaited Episode One. (Mind you, this was right before Moviefone and Fandango ended the ritual of camping out for movie tickets; and before we all discovered what a let-down the prequels would be.) There amongst my brethren, I sat on my tiny folding stool and waited for the box- office to open so I could get seats in ‘McCourt’s’ legendary Cinema One, the largest motion picture screen in downtown Chicago. A festive atmosphere permeated the air and people of different races, creeds and religions sat together and related their experiences with Luke Skywalker and Co. (Isn’t it funny how when you’re a kid you wanted to be Luke but as you got older you wanted to be Han Solo?) Childhood memories were shared and compared, anecdotes were told and repeated. Good times.

Then a tour bus drove by and a number of passengers shouted out ‘Losers! Get a Job!’ at us. Then a CLTV camera crew showed up. In those days, the hype machine surrounding the Star Wars prequels were in high gear and the media was eating it up. The image of SW fandom lining up around movie theaters weeks below the actual premiere were quite common on your local evening news broadcasts. So this local cable news reporter shows up and I hear him making a comment to his camera guy about how ‘these Star Wars fans take obsession to a whole new level by lining up around the block for a movie.’ I shouted out ‘You wouldn’t be giving us crap if we were lining up for Bulls tickets would you?!’ (This was back in the Jordan Era, mind you.) The reporter looked over at me, shrugged, and next thing you know, I’m talking to the camera on CLTV.

Which just illustrates my point: while sports fans don’t get fanboys/girls lining up for tickets to Star Wars/Star Trek/Lord of the Rings/et al, they sure don’t seem to have a problem with those who stand in the cold or camp out for Cubs/Sox/Bears/Bulls playoff tickets. And yet, how different is it? Aren’t they just different sides of the same coin?

We all have our little obsessions, our funny affectations, our silly fantasies. For some of us it’s that we’d like to hang out on the sideline with Tom Brady while others would rather be skipping across the timeline in a TARDIS with Doctor Who. Some of us fantasize being mentored by Obi-Wan Kenobi while others would prefer to get life lessons from Phil Jackson. If you ask me, they’re all just variations on the same theme and not all that different. Can’t we just accept them as such and in turn, accept each other?

I think so.

Now if we could only do something about wrestling fans…

E. Ruben Serrano is a writer/columnist/graphic artist who has attended both the San Diego Comic Con and Cubs Convention. While he gives the ballgirls at the Cub Convention points for style, the fangirls at SDCC win on commitment to character…and those impossibly high stiletto-heeled boots.

E.R. Serrano

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