Hello, random celebrity! I’m sure you’ve been taking note of the recent strides that certain nerd sub-cultures have made as of late and you want in on that action, don’t you? You want a role in that next big comic-book movie. You want the lead in that sci-fi drama so that you can charge seventy bucks for your autograph at conventions. And yet every tentative step you try to take into Nerd World results in angry blog posts and scathing criticism. What gives?
Don’t worry. I’m here to help! Here are a few guidelines to get you through your journey into the wilds of Comicsville. Hopefully, you’ll come out on the other side a little richer, a little smarter, and a bit more tolerant of people who are different. And by different, I mean way more awesome than you are. ‘Cause geeks rock.
Know your limits. It may be hard for a celebrity to even believe that he has limits due to simpering sycophants championing his every move. However, just because one is a talented singer does not mean that one will be equally as talented when it comes to penciling. And no, being a good actor does not always mean that one will be a good storyteller. And yes, using one’s celebrity to muscle into an occupation that one is ill-equipped to handle will result in a hell of a lot of embarrassment later on down the line when the audience discovers the truth about one’s abilities. Because they will clown you and your unbelievably wack creation. Hard.
If you can’t do it, buy it. One of the great things about being a celebrity is that talented people will willingly share the rights to their work just to be associated with you. And even stranger is that some people will willingly give up all the rights to their work and let you take credit for it for a large enough sum of money. Yes, people are still that crazy. So, say you’re a celebrity who wants your name and face plastered all over a hit comic so that Hollywood will sit up and take notice. However, you can’t draw and you’re a horrible writer. Never fear! Have your people make a few phones calls and everything will soon be taken care of. Bam! You’re suddenly the “co-writer” of a hit comic featuring a popular creative team! And it all happened because of your hard work name and wallet. Just make sure your people hire the right people…or you’ll end up like Danity Kane.
Don’t ignore the audience you have to sell to the audience you want. If your fans are mostly women in their twenties and you spend all of your time marketing your new comic to teenage boys, you’re being foolish. Even if you want to broaden your horizons, selling to the audience you have can create enough of a buzz to get the audience you want to take notice. And if you’ve tailored your content to appeal to that new audience—and the content is of a good quality—you’ll find yourself with a new fanbase.
A little research goes a long way. A little honesty goes even further. You want a major role in a comic book blockbuster so bad that you can taste it! Unfortunately, you don’t know anything about comics. And so, when some soulless reporter gets a chance to interview you, you pretend to be an expert, blather on about what little you do know, and make yourself look like an idiot. And you are subsequently clowned on every geek message board known to man. Why? Because nobody likes an ill-informed poser, that’s why. A little research can keep you from publicly campaigning for a role that most comic fans think you are totally wrong for. A little honesty can keep you from getting caught in a blatant lie. And a bit more research can keep you from looking like a complete fool in public. Read an omnibus or two. Poke around a few news sites. And don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something or ask questions! The only thing geeks love more than telling people about comics is telling hot celebrities about comics.
Do a little something for the geeks. When I saw the preceding photo of Ciara, I had to wonder why she just didn’t do a photo shoot as DC’s Vixen and save us all from that dreadful Super C nonsense that pretty much went over like a lead balloon. Nerds would get to see a well-known celebrity dressed up as their favorite character, Ciara fans would get to see Ciara in a skintight outfit, and Ciara would have gotten a nice little bit of buzz from both black entertainment blogs and comic blogs. And no one at DC would have been peeved as long as blogs and entertainment rags were the only places the photos showed up. What a wasted opportunity. Ah, well! Halloween is coming, right? Maybe there’s still time for some House of Deréon intern to whip up an Angela St. Grace costume.
Damn it, Kelly! Photo shoots only! Don’t let me catch you out in the streets again looking like you escaped from a George Perez sketchbook!