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December 3rd, 2013

Where the (well, THAT) nerd rage began

1995-96. I still had magazines from then, though now I have fewer. But me being me, I revisited those magazines. A very few I saved, most I've donated to the library so they can be read by others or recycled, but I can look back at the news and controversies of the time and see how my fellow geeks initially reacted to it.

Like the Sci-Fi Universe editorial Mark A. Altman wrote after we'd learned that George Lucas had changed the Han-Greedo scene in the original Star Wars to have Greedo shoot first. That was probably the first I'd heard of that change, and someone unhappy with it -- and from that spawned a saying, a meme, and a T-shirt that someone with a sense of humor eventually sent to Lucas, who wore it proudly.

Some of what we got worked up over has faded with time, as it tends to do -- otherwise our memory would get too crowded -- but I wanted to point out one other source of nerd rage. Prescient nerd rage, in fact, because Sci-Fi Universe interviewed director Joel Schumacher about his then-new film Batman Forever --

-- (by the way, I want to add, I actually kind of like Batman Forever; Jim Carrey is criminally underrated in it, and Val Kilmer acquits himself well as Batman and especially as Bruce, though in the words of Peter David, "Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face is, sadly, one-note") --

-- and Schumacher showed a fundamental misunderstanding of comic book stories. He actually said "They're called comic books, they're not called tragic books."

And in that one sentence is embedded the threat of 1997's Batman and Robin, a movie which for a time seemed to send superhero movies over a cliff into irrelevance. Basically ANY STORY can be told in comics, as a very large number of you reading this know, but at some level Schumacher didn't realize or understand that. And the attempts at drama and emotional depth in Batman and Robin are fundamentally unsupported by the ridiculous movie around it.

So. Sometimes, we're right (he said a little smugly). And no, at the moment I don't particularly feel like writing about the times we're wrong.