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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:







SELF-LOATHING: THE NEXT GENERATION

I have a deep, dirty secret I’m going to share with you all, and it may piss you off:

I hate comic book geeks.

How is that possible, you ask? Aren’t you, Marc Mason, a comic book geek of the highest order? You write about comics. You own thousands of them. There are even some statues and action figures involved. Your first comic memory is from age five, damned near thirty-three years ago. Plus: you run a goddamned comics-related website. How can I possibly make that statement without considering my own place in the comic book geek pantheon?

Answer: I can’t. And I know this. What it really shows is that I have an absolutely unlimited capacity for self-hatred (something I’ve known since I was about ten years old) and no ability to even try and hide that fact. So there it is: I’m a comic book geek and, yes, I’m plenty capable of loathing myself for it.

Why do I hate comic book geeks? So many reasons, and so many of them are obvious. They dress badly. Are known for poor hygienic practices. Generally obsess about things that are irrelevant and unimportant in the grand scheme of things as though the fate of the world depended on them. In short, unless they’re amongst their own kind, comic book geeks are outcasts, and usually for good reasons. Those outside fandom look upon comic book geeks and sneer and smirk and thank their lucky stars that their lives took them in a better direction. Frankly, they’re right.

Being marginalized sucks, but serious comic book geeks don’t actually realize that they’ve been marginalized. They exist in their cocoon and the world is their oyster. Perhaps that’s a quality to be envied, not decried, but I lack the ability to do so. My cold, dead heart doesn’t have that spark.

So, like some other people out there who belong to marginalized groups, I go out of my way to “pass” as something else. At San Diego, you won’t see me in a costume; hell, you won’t even see me in a comic book t-shirt. I own all of one comic t-shirt, and it doesn’t travel with me. My bag always has deodorant, breath mints, even a fresh shirt in case the humidity becomes too much for the one I’m wearing. I shower twice a day. I press my clothes. I also go out of my way to tip generously at restaurants, because I know the rep that con-goers have with the locals for being cheap pricks. And I top it all off with a strong sense of clinical detachment, especially when I’m performing my duties as press. No nerdism from me on the floor.

For me, spending time with any gathering of comic book geeks is like standing in front of a dark mirror.

Yet, I always slip. I get around my fellow geeks, and at some point, it all comes raging out of me, like a broken water main. It’s like I can’t keep the nerd buried anymore, and like the rampaging Hulk, it explodes out of me in a torrent. Whether the topic is comics, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, or the works of Larry Niven, it becomes uncontrollable, and suddenly, there I am: exposed.

But do my friends care? Of course not. They like me and respect me for who I am, and they have their own comic geek sides, too. Unlike me, though, they embrace it and accept themselves for who they are. And I love them dearly- I wish I got to see them more and spend more time with them. It might go a long way towards helping me deal with this shit.

So I’m stuck, wading through my issues in dealing with my self-image. Belonging to a club that, as Groucho would say, I very much wouldn’t want to join because it would have me as a member. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to stand tall and accept who I am, and the many sides that make up my personality. But for now, I will continue to struggle with a part of myself that I detest. It will be a long, uphill battle, and there’s no end in sight…

…The kind of repairs I require always come with a price.

Marc Mason

 



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