Comic Con is upon us and that means another round of awesome movie teasers, crazed autograph hounds hunting Stan Lee and more cosplayers than you could shake several sticks at even with an electrified stick shaking machine. And feeding the whole thing are nerds. Nerds of all shapes and sizes, young and old, because in 2012 we’ve really come to accept everyone has a bit of nerd in them. Some more than others.
If you plan on attending Comic Con, or just looking at some pics, you should have this field guide handy to identify the various species of nerds you’ll come across.
Nerd Life Crisis
AKA: The Old Nerd, 80s Nerd, Nerd Past His Prime
What to Look For: This guy will take one of three forms. His natural state, a dude in an X-Men t shirt, is actually quite hard to pick out of a crown, but notice his receding hairline and giant bag of action figures, rare back issues and Mighty Beans and you’ll start to realize this man, who may already have children old enough to drive, never gave up his dream of being a superhero.
There are two additional forms this nerd can take and they’re a little more bizarre than his natural state. If he’s an industrious old nerd he will have manufactured a cosplay costume the likes of which you can barely imagine, complete with moving parts, sounds and all the nerd cred to land him any piece of thick-framed-glasses-and-a-Jack-Skellington-backpack ass in the room. On the other hand, if he’s a nerd who never really got over that awkward nerd stage where you’re no good building things, then he may show up in a costume so dreadfully preposterous that to even gaze upon him will inexplicably make you feel embarrassed if for no other reason than you’re the same species and you feel someone is judging you because of him.
AKA: Born Nerd, Nerd 4Ever, Pointdexter
What to Look For: Life long nerds are oddly easy to spot – the awkward gait, the eye that looks ever so slightly askew, the disheveled hair and the penchant for lashing out with an inappropriate amount of anger when faced with mockery due to a lifetime of cruel torment that has left them with misplaced rage towards any perceived slight.
Lifers enjoy cosplay even when there is no event like Comic Con, hell, they may even be LARPers, which is so sad we’ll let you Google it yourself if you don’t know the term already. Whether D&D, Warhammer or Magic: The Gathering, you can be sure they enjoy some manner of immersive fantasy game and there’s a high likelihood that their cosplay costume is either going to be exceptionally well made or ridiculously obscure in some fashion.
AKA: Dragonball Z Fan, Dr. Who Fanatic, Trekkies
What to Look For: Potentially suffering from mild autism or OCD in some way, the Niche Nerd is a nerd who feels slightly superior to other nerds thanks to their particular passion. With no love for the genre as a whole, the Niche Nerd loves just one thing above all else – they read extended universe literature about what they like, including fan fic which they will call “non-canon” with no trace of irony and will actively debate others on the ins and outs of their fictional obsession as though debating real, scientific fact, all the while curiously oblivious of the fact everything they’re discussing was just made up by some dude somewhere.
Niche Nerds tend to travel in packs and are oddly dismissive of different flavored niche nerds. To assume a group of Star Wars nerds placed in a room with Trekkies will be friendly to one another is terribly faulty.
AKA: Hipster Nerd, Nerd with a Chip on his Shoulder, I Was Nerdy before it was Cool
What to Look For: Occasionally cross pollinates with steampunk nerds, the hipster nerd wants to take a traditional costume and improve it, because they for some reason know better than the guy who created the character they’re trying to pay homage to. So why dress as Captain America when you can go as Captain America and Tennille? Why be the Incredible Hulk when you can be the Credible Hulk by carrying an encyclopedia? You guys are clever, yo.
AKA: Posers, Marketing Plants, Sexy Cosplay Girl with a Pay Website
What to Look For: Often female but not always, the poser nerd has no nerd cred whatsoever. They are paid to be at comic con or a similar event because they look very good in that costume and will draw attention to god knows what. Maybe they’re selling a new kind of bottled water, maybe it’s just a cosplay girl trying to get you to check out her personal website, it doesn’t matter. Whatever their point, they really know next to nothing about the character they’re dressed as and don’t particularly want to talk to you.
AKA: Method Acting Cosplayer, Nerd with no Sense of Humor, Sociopath
What to Look For: Their costume making skills could run the gamut from intensely detailed to terrifyingly simplistic and craptastic but whatever the case, they will not see any of the humor in it because they are Iron Man. Or Ant Man. Or Fin Fang Foom. Doesn’t matter who they dressed as, they dressed as that person because they believe, in their heart, they should have been born as that person and they will now prove it by acting the part to a T. Please do not mock them or they will threaten you with fictional powers to the embarrassment of everyone involved.