The Day I Knew I Was A Geek

For a lifelong genre geek, the day yfullwidth.fe0cc1cbou realize that’s what you are is quite a milestone. After all, it’s a big thing to figure out where your passions lie. They become a filter that so many other things in life will pass through. For me, that day came in 1989 when I saw the original Batman film for the first time.

I was eight years old and already completely in love with movies and comic books. They were the perfect complement to my overactive imagination, and I couldn’t get enough of them. I was well on my way to becoming a geek already, but hadn’t crossed the threshold. My origin story hadn’t yet happened.

To my great disappointment, I wasn’t allowed to see Batman in the theater. The darker tone, so different than the 1960s TV show that the average viewer associated with Batman, concerned my parents. Cautious as they were, they feared it would be too real and too dark for a kid like me, who already spent way too much time indulging in weird daydreams. After watching the original animated Transformers movie, I spent weeks pretending to blow everything up, so they were probably justified.

Months later, though, my night arrived. Batman had been out of theaters for a while, crushing my little would-be superhero heart. Then one day, my older brothers came home with the news – Batman was now available on home video. They had seen it in the theater, were eager to see it again, and somehow convinced my parents to ease up for the evening. We were all shut up inside the house anyway, knocked down by a horrible flu that had been tearing through our town, so maybe it was the cold medicine talking. Whatever the reason, they gave the go-ahead, and before long I was sitting in the dark, munching popcorn as the movie began.

I still remember the excitement racing through my chest as that iconic Danny Elfman music swelled, the Bat symbol appearing on screen to dramatic blaring of horns. Though I tried to contain myself, I practically vibrated with anticipation. And I wasn’t disappointed. Through the first half of the movie, I was enthralled. This was exactly what I’d envisioned when I read about Batman, when I daydreamed about what it would feel like to be him. It was greater even than I’d imagined! But my moment still hadn’t come.

Then the Joker confronted Vicki Vale in the art museum, taunting her with his gleeful, murderous insanity. She was all alone in a room full of evildoers, with no way out. What would happen to her now? In her moment of greatest fear, the glass ceiling shattered and a giant bat swooped down to rescue her. Out the main doors they fled, Vicki running down the front steps to keep up with her savior.

“Get in the car,” he whispered in a low, gruff tone.

“Which one?” Vicki asked, and then her eyes bulged.

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The horns swelled, the camera angle changed, and there was THE BATMOBILE. IT  WAS THE FRICKIN’ BATMOBILE, MAN! AND HERE IT WAS, AND NOW THEY’RE CLIMBING INSIDE IT, AND NOW IT’S SHOOTING OUT FLAMES AS IT ROCKETS AWAY INTO THE NIGHT, AND THIS IS THE GREATEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF EVER!

I tell people sometimes that I can pinpoint the exact moment when I became a life-long geek. It’s true. My origin story started right then, as Batman and his great machine whisked Vicki Vale through dark forest roads and into the Batcave. My love for movies and comics has only grown since. It reflects in the way I write, and in just about anything I create. I still practically shake with excitement when a great superhero movie pulls me in. I love that rush, that sense of wonder and excitement and adventure. Those are the same feelings I want to capture for readers.

That’s why I’ll be a geek for life, and that’s why it means so much to me.

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