Every superhero and comic book character has their origin story. For some, it’s a bite from a radioactive spider. For others, it is the murder of their parents by a mugger that drives them to seek justice. Others are visitors from another planet that use their powers to fight for truth, justice and the American way. And then there are the far more simple, average origin stories. While I’m clearly no superhero, nevertheless: this is MY origin story. Or, to be more accurate, the origin of Geek To Me Radio.
When I was a kid growing up in St. Louis, I always loved comic books, superheroes, toys, cartoons, movies and video games. (Yes, that is me as Penguin, Orko and Joker from left to right in the picture above.) My family didn’t have a lot of money, I wasn’t athletic, I wasn’t popular, I didn’t pay attention to music or fashion and I was never what anyone would consider “cool.” I only had a few close friends who were also deemed “nerds” by the “popular” kids. I was the one who always got picked last for kickball but also the one who excelled at math races and spelling bees. I was bullied, picked-on and ridiculed all through grade school, junior high and well into high school. My escape was comic books, movies and video games. I would imagine what it would be like to have super powers and not be so ordinary and what it would be like to be able to help other people and do extraordinary things. I played with Transformers, Thundercats, G.I. Joe and He-Man toys, my Star Wars and Super Powers figures and my M.A.S.K. vehicles. My brain was like a sponge when it came to these subjects and I absorbed everything I could get my hands on. I may not have been able to tell you what band was at the top of the charts or who threw the winning touch down on Monday’s football game, but show me a picture of Cyborg or Nightwing and I could tell you exactly which issue of New Teen Titans it was from, who drew it and what was happening in that issue. (To this day I can flawlessly sing the theme song to virtually any 80’s and 90’s cartoon and TV show. LOL!) With all of the movies I went to see, I was like a human IMDB and could tell you which other movies a particular actor had been in and who he or she co-starred with in that film. None of this was ever very useful at the time because, of course, I was still “not popular” and comic books were for “geeks” according to all of the “cool kids.” Fast forward to the present day.
Suddenly comics are mainstream. Nearly every TV channel has a comic book related show on their network. Comic book movies are a huge business with almost 4 or 5 coming out each year since 2009!! Comic book conventions are attracting a record number of people with literally hundreds of events each year scattered all across the globe. Now all of my accumulated knowledge and savvy on these topics has become relevant. As Alec Hardison from ‘Leverage‘ would say: “Age of the geek, Baby!” Since I am currently part of a radio show here in St. Louis where I am on-air on Saturday nights, I suggested that we do a segment within the show that was all about pop-culture. We would talk about comic books, movies, TV shows and video games. I would call the segment “It’s All Geek To Me.” To help boost my segment’s reach, I created a Facebook page, a YouTube playlist, a Twitter account and an Instagram account to tie in to the broadcast. Since starting it up, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing celebrities like Burt Ward, Lou Ferrigno, Christian Kane, Jason Mewes, Michael Rooker and industry professionals like Jerry Milani, Meredith Finch, Chris 51, Sam Maronie and Barry King along with local geeky groups like Super Heroines, Etc and The STL Doctor Who Society. We had trivia contests where callers would win prizes such as movies on bluray, comic books and Wizard World tickets. I was even in the midst of working with a local graphic artist to design a custom logo for me when the unthinkable happened: The Trivia Show of which my segment was a part, got pulled by the radio station. Needless to say that this was a gut-punch that I didn’t see coming. I have been in contact with station management to allow me to do “Geek To Me Radio” as a stand alone show. Given the success I have had and the following I have built in the past year from just having a 15 minute segment, it would seem to be a perfect fit as a full-fledged show on the airwaves. So far, I am at a standstill. They haven’t said “No”, but they also haven’t given me a green light either.
It’s difficult some days. I worked so hard to keep building this up and without the radio show, it seems…. a bit hollow. I feel a bit like Daredevil in the classic “Born Again” story arc. Everything Matt Murdock had built is taken away. He struggles to regain his footing and to get back what he has lost and as the story progresses, things look bleak for our hero. In the end, of course, he perseveres but the road is long and the battle sometimes seems impossible. There are days when I wake up and see that I’ve lost Michael Rooker as a Twitter follower along with 6 other Twitter followers and 4 Instagram followers on top of it and I question “Why I am doing this? What’s the point?” Especially in the face of titans like Superhero Feed and The Nerdist who have hundreds of thousands of followers and who have teams working for them doing this full time. But then I have weeks like this one where the celebrities who I admire in the movies and TV shows that I love like iZombie’s Rahul Kohli, Gotham’s Chelsea Spack, Moonbeam City’s Will Forte and The Librarians’ Dean Devlin have favorited a Tweet or a Facebook post of mine. I even got followed by Juliet Landau! It makes me realize that I do this because it’s what I love. It’s what I am passionate about and it’s what I know. The best part of it is sharing it with people who also have my passion. If you are reading this, if you follow me on Twitter or if you subscribe to my YouTube channel, then THANK YOU! I get a thrill from live-tweeting shows like ‘Gotham,’ ‘iZombie,’ ‘The Flash,’ ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ and ‘The Walking Dead‘ with other fans all across the country. There aren’t many things that I will say I’m good at, but this is definitely something at which I excel. I am going to get 10,000 Twitter followers. I’m going to get a viral video on YouTube and I will, at some point, get to interview Clark Gregg, David Tennant and Melissa McBride. These are my goals, these are my dreams and this is what I want to do!
And so we go from an origin story to a cliffhanger. Will our hero be able to rise from the ashes? Will all of his work have been in vain? Is there a place for a geek and his vast repository of pop-culture knowledge and insights on the radio waves? I certainly would like to think so. With the popularity of all of the pod casts that are out there, an honest-to-goodness radio show dealing with TV shows, movies, video games and comic books is something that I think is unique and that I feel is incredibly exciting. It’s something that I’m not giving up on. So stay tuned, True Believers! I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I’m back. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!!