Sunday, 2 March 2014

Blessed are the geek

Some things in life are inexplicable. The example in my mind right now is 'how on earth can an animated cartoon character be considered sexy?'
Now this isn't exactly something that keeps me awake at night, but occasionally the question raises its head - this time as a result of having watched Despicable Me 2. I know it's weird and disturbing, but it has to be said that the animators did a particularly fine job in the creation of Lucy Wilde.

It should also be said at this point that this was a highly enjoyable movie with a host of fantastic characters (my favourite was the psychotic chicken) and highly recommended to anyone, even if they have had a sense of humour bypass.
But the existence of sexy cartoon characters is far from being a new phenomenon. Even Betty Boop had a bit of a following back in her day, even with the disproportionately large head that nobody seemed to dare mention.
I think I started noticing these characters pretty early on in life. There was Daphne in Scooby Doo of course, plus Penelope Pitstop, Wilma Flintstone, and possibly one or two of the girls in Captain Caveman. But it wasn't until 'Battle of the Planets' came on TV with Princess flashing her white knickers whenever she was jumping around kicking the crap out of the bad guys that I got 'funny' feelings. I guess I must have been at that age.

A little later came 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' bringing with it the first cartoon character to have even normally sane men going weak at the knees - Jessica Rabbit.

Comic books have long been the preserve of the world's geeks, who often turn completely obsessive about their hobby, possibly as a girlfriend substitute but it would be unkind and perhaps untrue to assume that all comic book fanatics are creepy loners with no confidence with the opposite sex.
More recently though, many of the characters from comic books have been coming to life (in a manner of speaking) with the rise in popularity of 'Cosplay'. This basically involves dressing up as a character from a comic book, video game or movie.
And I'm not talking here about the silly costumes people hire out for fancy dress parties, like the group of blokes I saw in town yesterday who were all dressed up in Bananaman costumes - presumably either on a stag do or off to rob a bank.
Cosplay involves people who like to dress up as a celebration of their hobby, and possibly because they're a bit of a show-off. Mostly they crawl out of the woodwork at conventions like Comicon where the costumes people have created have to be seen to be believed. A few are crude and amateurish, but most are marvellous creations which must have taken serious skill and many hours of work to make.
These events also bring about the realisation that not all comic book geeks are guys, but there are also a great many women who are also heavily into the scene. And some of them wandering around in costume are seriously hot which suddenly makes it seem OK to have a thing about Kasumi from the 'Dead or Alive' video games, because someone has managed to bridge the worlds of fantasy and reality, making one feel slightly less of a freak.