For the most part, 2014 was a good year to be somebody inclined towards geekiness, nerdiness or general poindextery. Geek culture continued to explode into every corner of mainstream society this year, while the source material, the comics, video games and other nerd ephemera that started it all, benefited from an infusion of new, more diverse creative talent.
Of course, 2014 wasn’t entirely a geek paradise – as always, there were the embarrassing outbursts from the community and very legitimate reasons for nerdrage. Here are the highs, and a few of the lows of geek culture in 2014…
High: B-Team Superheroes Shine on the Silver Screen
Comic fans have been able to watch the giants of the superhero genre on movie screens for some time, and that’s great, but most true comic nerds have a personal list of obscure heroes they want to see in movies even more than the Batmans and Spider-Mans of the world. 2014 was the first year the B-team really got to step up, and they took advantage of the opportunity with Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero 6 scoring big at the box office and with critics, and names like John Constantine making solid debuts on TV. The trend doesn’t look to end anytime soon either, with Marvel and Warner Bros. announcing Suicide Squad, Inhumans, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and more semi-obscure characters and teams will be getting movies in the coming years.
Low: A-Team Superheroes Wear Out Their Welcome
Unfortunately, while the scrappy, lesser known heroes have been kicking ass, the old standbys have been starting to look a bit creaky. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a convoluted mess, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a Batman & Robin-esque clown show and the less said about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the better. Things don’t look to be getting any better in the future either, as movies like The Fantastic Four and Superman V Batman: Dawn of Justice sound iffy at best. Hollywood just doesn’t seem to be able to make a good superhero movie that isn’t an origin story.
High: Batman Eternal Pulls Off The Weekly Comics Thing
I’ve never been a big fan of the weekly comics thing. The series always end up feeling like so much filler, and never end up having the promised impact. The exception to this has been this year’s Batman Eternal, which has gradually been transforming the Bat-universe in some pretty significant ways. The Gotham that’s emerged from Batman Eternal feels fresher, younger and full of new possibilities, which is not an easy thing to do when you’re working with a 75-year-old franchise. Aside from all that, Batman Eternal may be the first 52-style comic to really tell a cohesive entertaining story on a week-to-week basis. Another in a series of huge accomplishments for Scott Snyder as lead Batman writer.
Low: Gotham Makes Batman’s Hometown Boring
I think we all knew Gotham wouldn’t be the gritty, live-action Batman TV show we’ve been waiting for all our lives, but man, it still fell well short of my very curtailed expectations. Stupid characters, a wildly inconsistent tone, constant “these characters will totally do something interesting someday” winks and general lack of purpose hobble what wasn’t a great idea in the first place. Granted, Alfred is pretty badass, because Alfred is always pretty badass, and the show is doing well in the ratings, but then a lot of crap does well in the ratings. Gotham somehow manages to make me embarrassed to like Batman without actually containing Batman.