DEFINING THE WORD NERD/GEEK: INDUSTRY REGULARS GIVE THEIR THOUGHTS (PART 1)

Nerd. Geek. What do these words mean to you? They mean many things to different people. To me it’s someone who is very passionate about a particular subject to a degree that others aren’t. This could be anything from comics, movies, and TV to cars, music, and food. In the past these were words to insult those different from the cool kids. I distinctly remember hearing “Nerd!” right before being hit in the head with a red rubber ball. Not so anymore. Nowadays we geeks and nerds are considered the cool people. Who are some notable geeks or nerds? Bill Gates, Tina Fey, Simon Pegg, Mayim Bialik, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Hardwick, Elon Musk, Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sara Underwood, and Olivia Munn for starters. So I thought I’d ask some notable personalities in various fields 3 questions and their opinion on the word “Nerd”. We’ve also included links to where you can follow them. Here’s part 1.

   

Trisha Hershberger, Steve Zaragoza, and Meg Turney: YouTube Stars

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“We auditioned for it after a random assortment of acting/hosting gigs.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“If you are into anything to the point of obsession, that makes you a nerd over it. I nerd out on video games, comics, and D&D. Steve nerds out on movies hardcore, and Meg nerds out on video games like there’s no tomorrow!”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“See above. Be confident in who you are and what you like and don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot.”

Follow Trisha on YouTube

Follow Steve on YouTube

Follow Meg on YouTube


Dan Panosian: Comic Book Artist at DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Boom, and Dynamite

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“Batman and Conan comic books really made me want to illustrate comic books. I enjoyed drawing and thought it would be fun to work in that industry but I didn’t know exactly how to go about it. My father liked comic books too – so I imagine it was also my way of pleasing my dad. When he passed away I really had to figure out if I was doing what I loved doing or what he thought I would love doing. Turns out I love drawing comic books. Lucky me.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“I don’t think a nerd is someone that is into comic books or Star Trek necessarily. To me, a nerd is someone that has confidence issues and has difficulties relating to the majority of society. Liking Star Trek or comic books isn’t all that unusual today.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“Nope. ;)”

www.urbanbarbarian.com


Jason Pearson: Comic Book Artist/Writer at DC, Marvel, Image, and Dark Horse

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“It was my calling.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“Nothing defines a nerd. A nerd defines him or herself.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I don’t.”

facebook.com/jasonpearsonart


Billy Tan: Comic Book Artist at DC, Marvel, and Image

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“The ability to make a living doing what you like.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“Not sure what defines a nerd but they are the pro of pro in their area of interest.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I don’t consider myself one.”

facebook.com/Billy.Tan


Chris Eliopoulos: Comic Book Artist/Letterer at DC, Marvel, Image, Valiant, and Dark Horse

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“Drawing as a kid.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“A person that finds intellectual joy in things society deems frivolous.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“Because I like certain things like cartoons and Star Wars enough to seek out more information and devour it.”

chriseliopoulos.com


Ty Templeton: Comic Book Jack of All Trades at DC, Marvel, Moonstone, and Bongo

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“Comics was a fall back position to making music or acting. Over the years, I found myself inking comics backstage during the show, or working on a script while on the bus, and it turned out that the comics were making me more money. After I got married, and had to support the family, the comics became the job, and the music the fall back position. I still play music from time to time, but it’s no longer my living. I know it’s odd to have a 2nd choice career that’s still a first choice for most people, but then, you ain’t heard me play a jazz riff on the piano.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

I think a nerd is someone who is unduly focused on the very specific, which has an appeal to a very focused and specific group of people. Nerds are insular, whether or not it’s about subgroups of pop culture such as SF movies, or LOTR fansites, or hyper-educated subjects like cutting edge physics or 17th Century modal string etudes, the nerd knows things that only a very, very few other people know. That’s what defines a nerd to me.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I know more about Batman, The Avengers, Mad Magazine, Pogo, The Simpsons, The Beatles and Monty Python than could possibly be healthy for the proper functioning of my mind. It’s not just that I know all the songs, the episodes, the issues and the movie dialog, but I know the birthdays of the creators, the birthdays of their children, and the unreleased clips of their abortive 70s project that never got funding. Getting me started on a Beatles conversation is a long process that you will regret, I promise. Oh, you should probably add Star Trek, Planet of the Apes and Spider-Man to the mix.

Since I’ve gotten to work with Batman, The Simpsons, Mad Magazine, The Avengers, Star Trek, Spider-Man, and The Planet of the Apes, I’m living the nerd dream.

But to be honest, I don’t really embrace the term “nerd”. It’s a bit out of date…a nostalgic throwback to the 70s and 80s. Since the “computer nerds” took over in the 90s, the term I tend to embrace is ‘geek,’ which I know, used to mean homeless circus freak who ate live birds in front of the audience. But nowadays it tends to mean what nerd used to mean.”

Ty the Guy

www.tytempleton.com www.comicbookbootcamp.com Is my school in Toronto that is held in various locations all over the city.


Chris Giarrusso: Artist/Writer at Marvel and Image

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“I always loved comics growing up, which led to me pursuing a career in comics.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“When I was a kid, nerds were social outcasts marked by awkward appearance, interest in things like comic books and science fiction, and high academic performance. This was in a day and age when it was not cool to be a nerd like it is today. Nobody was proud of being a nerd. We did not enjoy being teased for looking or dressing awkward or for excelling academically.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I was the total package as described in answer #2.”

www.chrisgcomics.com


Jamal Igle: Artist/Writer at DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Crusade, and Action Lab

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“I was always surrounded by comics since both of my parents were into them. It was just always something I wanted to pursue. My first job in the industry was as an intern at DC Comics.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“Nerds tend to define themselves by how intelligent or book smart they are. They also embrace those things that up until the last 25 years or so, were considered odd or abnormal by the “mainstream”.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I purposely seek out obscure knowledge, books, television, old films etc. I’ve never seen being nerdy as a bad thing, nor have I ever tried to downplay it.”

www.jamaligle.com


Pete Woods: Artist at DC, Marvel, and Image

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“The fact that I loved comics when I was a kid and that I had no other marketable skills.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“An obsessive dedication to a singular subject like comics, film, pop culture, technology, etc.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I don’t consider myself a nerd, I consider myself a geek. Geeks have a wider range of interests and often turn those interests into a lucrative career. Geeks are more capable of taking the ribbing associated with their interests and lifestyles and seeing the humor in it.”

www.artofpete.com


Arnel Baluyot: Artist at Ninjabot

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“Comics were the very first thing that inspired me to pick up a pencil and start drawing. I’ve never stopped drawing since.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“In my opinion, the definition of a “nerd” is an individual who loves something with a passion in spite of what the rest of society thinks. Examples would range from people who just love the world of comic books, or perhaps folks who enjoy the adventures of their favorite science fiction shows on TV/Film.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I’ve been one all my life. The very first time I saw Star Wars I knew that I was just in love with that sort of thing. From the pages of the comics I would read when I was a kid, to the movies that would just capture my imagination, it’s just something that I couldn’t live without.”

www.theninjabot.com


Alfred Trujillo: Artist at Zenescope, Big Dog Ink, and Moonstone

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“I started out by drawing epic stick figure battle scenes at 5 years old. I made my first comic at 7 years old, but I started out professionally by showing my art to editors at conventions and impressing them.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“I think that I love grumpy cat, that my favorite band is Kirby Krackle and that I married a super hero.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I think nerdiness is in the heart and it is great as a driving force to do what I love.”

www.alfredtrujillo.com


Jolene Houser: Artist at Arcana, IDW, and Vivifica Studios

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“I always drew. As a kid I really wanted to be a animator for Disney but I soon found out I wasn’t very good at drawing the same thing over and over again. In my teen years I read a lot of manga which bled over to reading Gen 13 and Witchblade. Which the women in those comics actually looked pretty. (Early 90s comic women looked a lot like men with balloons strapped to their chests) After reading those comics it made me see that I could do comics in the US. I went to my first San Diego comic con in 2004 (I had been attending only anime cons since I was 16) there I met many friends and connections that I still know to this day. My first published work was in a graphic novel called ‘Dusk’ written by David Doub. After four years of collaborating with him I was able to be in IDW’s Womanthology. I’ve been published by a few other companies since then like 215 Ink/Fubar Press and Arcana. Breaking in is a big ladder to climb and you never really stop climbing unless you give up.”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“What defines a nerd to me is someone who has a deep rooted passion for a topic or thing. Most of the time it’s comics or video games but there are football nerds and fashion nerds.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“I’ve always considered myself a nerd because I’m a bit of a tomboy. I always loved playing video games, Dungeons and Dragons, reading comics/manga, watching cartoons (I love animation) and reading fantasy novels. So all of these things rolled into one I’ve found Nerd to be the best way to describe me.”

www.vivificastudios.com


Jay Bosworth: Owner of Maximum Comics comic book stores in Las Vegas, NV

   

1) What started you off in your field?

“I loved to read both Marvel and DC comics as a kid! My dad was always telling me nothing will come of wasting time and money on comics. Now I get to tease him about it all the time–total motivation!!”

2) What do you think defines a nerd?

“A nerd is typically someone that doesn’t feel like they fit in with the cool crowd, but still have a desire to belong. Intellectual, creative and introverted, nerds tend to gravitate to stories, movies, games etc that have elements of fantasy to them–whether it’s dragons, laser beam eyes, or wars fought in the stars, the commonality these share are of escapism and a desire for change in some way.”

3) Do you consider yourself one?

“While I am not intelligent, I am creative and I have always felt apart from that cool crowd. I love X-Men for the whole “world is against us” vibe. I have always wanted to create a space for those nerdy, geeks among us to come and feel welcome, not judged and to discover that there is a place they can truly call their own.”

www.maximumcomics.com

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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