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May 16, 2013

The Love Of Changing Things

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Written by: Steven Savage
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Re-interpretations.  They’re everywhere.

A quick surf of deviantart will reveal any number of new takes on characters, shows and books.

We’ve all heard about Rockabilly Batman by the brilliant Denis Medri who also did many, many other interpretations – though I think most people want to see Rockabilly Batman the most to judge by the fact it has it’s own Facebook community and plenty of cosplayers.

You can see superheroes re-interpreted at Project Rooftop and the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Redux,”where the characters of those classic books are re-interpreted.

Then you can go to any convention.  I’ve seen Naughty Nurse Axl from Kingdom Hearts, gender bent Team Fortress, steampunk everything, and of course tons of ponies.

So why do we nerds, geeks, and otaku do this?  Why in fact is this really big period – just look at the way television is all turning into loads of re-interpreting (though ignore the fact there’s no rights to pay for).  Why do we like just remaking stuff?

I’ve been thinking about this because it’s so common, and because simple financial reasons that drive what’s on television don’t explain a lot of why we do things.

I’ve come up with a few reasons, and wanted to share them.

First, it’s just plain fun to look at something anew – and we nerds are definite neophiles.  We want to see what’s next, what’s around a corner, or what can be done.  Exploring something in a new way is always fun – like, say Rockabilly Batman, or asking what “Stargate” would be like in the Wild West*.

Secondly, it’s an experiment, and we’re all a bit of mad scientists at heart (I know, I’ve seen your cosplays).  It’s fun to try out something wild, wonderful, and crazy, and in our imaginations we can do a lot of crazy stuff.  This is just what we do.

Third, it’s fun to use this to drive us and make things.  We can make the crazy things we dream up, the new views, into something real in art, cosplay, and anything else.  Even a discussion or an RPG is a form of creation.

Fourth, it’s fun to explore the social aspects of this.  It’s not just in our own heads (where it might be safe), its something we’ve got to get out – and our friends are usually ready to share.  Who hasn’t had a crazy jam discussion about something like what would happen if Darkseid fought Akira**.  Its fun to discuss this with friends.

Fifth, it just plays to our normal, human urges as storytellers.  Telling stories is part of who we are.  In a way we are stories***.  This is just par for the course.

There’s nothing more nerdy, more geeky, than looking at something we love and asking “what if.”  It’s a fun, fascinating, human, intimate experience of what we love.

So go on people.  Put together that gender-bent steampunk superhero take on John Stewart and Stephen Colbert done in cosplay****.  It’s just par for the course.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.

 

* I imagine “Starcoach”

** “Ratings gold” is my thought.

*** Even if sometimes I think I’m an Ed Wood story.

**** OK do not feel obligated to do this specifically.  No, really.



About the Author

Steven Savage
Steve's a Geek 2.0 - the professional geek. A happy transplant to SIlicon Valley, his crusade is to help geeks, nerds, otaku and more turn their hobbies into careers. You can visit his website at http://www.stevensavage.com/.




 
 

 
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