The Modern Geek

Glasgow Comic Con
and The Batgeek

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With the rustle of popcorn and a chorus of murmurs, the atmosphere is charged with an electric kind of joy – families, couples, and friends come to marvel at what Marvel has to unveil. The cinematic popularity of movies like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy has ignited a hipster-like interest in all of us; comic books are no longer solely listed in the repertoire of the typical geek. Instead, interest in comic books and particularly their characters, has become a global phenomenon. Whether you’re there simply for the aesthetic value (we can all agree we tolerate the suspicious and rather aggressive array of toned abdomens), the incredible storylines or endearing and empowering character traits, young or old, male or female, we are all entertained and enthralled by the Marvel universe.

Comic books originated in the 1700’s in Japan and 1830’s in Europe, but it wasn’t until the Golden Age of Comics, beginning circa 1938, that the term ‘superhero’ as we know it today, was formed with the debut of Superman in Action Comics published by the innovative ancestor of today’s DC Comics. This launched the success of comic books as an art form and so the modern day obsession with superheroes stems from the widespread appeal of these early comics. The beauty of the translation that we see from the original comic book to the cinema is that not only are the general public fascinated by the stimulating and inspiring world of superheroes, but also die-hard comic book fans can see their comics come alive, some experiencing nostalgia and given the chance to reminisce on the times they read the original comics as impressionable children in messy bedrooms.As Glasgow’s Comic Con begins 6-7 September, the city will experience first-hand the special guests, competitions, cosplay and merchandise that there is to offer for comic books fans and those alike. It’s always a fun and rousing event, where the atmosphere is charged with an electric joy similar to the one that we humbly experience in our nearest Cineworld, but a thousand times superior, so that instead of just sensing the thrill, we feel it tingle in our feet as we walk, proudly and smugly, in (we think) our very flattering Black Mamba outfit.

Many fans re-create and express their love for comic books and characters through different mediums – art, writing or drama. For example, artist Annmarie ‘Devo’ Devlin, who was iDEVOART1nterviewed by Sparked Magazine’s Nikki Marshall, is a Glasgow based comic book artist.

Other people create websites or blogs to keep up to date with comic book news and to share their passion with others, including Derek Murphy, who created the website where he shares and promotes fan art and merchandise and news and reviews for movies and comic books. We asked him a few questions to ascertain where his passion for comic books initiated and his thoughts on the modern-day Marvel movie world.

How long have you been a comic book fan for?
I have been into comics since I was a child via Judge Dredd comics. Like most kids at the time I watched the Batman movies and various superhero cartoons that were on TV. To be honest not much has changed, I still watch those movies and cartoons.What is the primary purpose of The Batgeek and what were your reasons for setting it up?

The primary purpose was to deliver the daily geek news I was reading online each day for other people. It was never my intention to start a website or selling comics online, it all started with an Instagram page I started as a hobby.  Within no time I had a few hundred followers and was really starting to enjoy speaking to them! Now the page has just under 10000 followers and I still love doing it.  I decided this year to start my website so I could start posting more in depth stories.

How do you feel about the sudden surge in popularity of comic books and characters due to the ever expanding marvel movie universe and the soon to be unleashed DC movie universe?

I think it’s fantastic, everyone I speak to knows so much about Marvel & DC now.  It gives me people to geek out with.

How often do you publish fan sourced articles for the website?

As much as I can. I’m big on fan made posters, trailers and art. I also have a few people that help out on the Facebook page, they do reviews on comics, games and movies which all get posted to the website too. A competition winner made the BatGeek logo a few years ago.

With regards to Comic Con coming up in Glasgow, what are your favourite aspects of these kinds of conventions and why?

For me I’m not that bothered about seeing the famous actors etc. I’m totally there for the comics, games and seeing everyone’s wonderful cosplay efforts.

It’s just a great day with loads of fun things happening.

What would be your advice for someone going to their first Comic Con?

Get there early, take your time to have a good wander about before buying anything and have your camera ready. Also take water as it gets hot.

What are your future plans/goals for the website?

In the future I hope to be able to start my own comic book shop on my website and spread the geek joy further!

And finally, who is your favourite actor (or voice actor) to play Batman?

Kevin Conroy for voice, that’s the voice I heard in my head when reading comics.

Michael Keaton has played the best live action Batman for me and that’s a big thanks to Tim Burton’s wonderful vision.

“Sometimes it’s only madness that makes us what we are.”
Grant Morrison, Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth

Mina Green


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