Geek culture at ASU continues to create bonds between different fandoms

The geek community serves as an open space to build friendships and form bonds over common interests

From video games, comic books or TV shows to fandoms, movies, horror or sci-fi, pop culture can become a geek culture and a place to unite.

ASU students have a variety of places and communities for them to celebrate their passions with others in the community. 

On Sunday, April 9, ASU Dumbledore’s Army hosted an event similar to Comic-Con, known as the Sun Devil Fan Fair. Comic-Con is an event filled with comic books, discussion panels, cosplay (costuming), artists, celebrity appearances, entertainment and vendors, usually held across the nation. It serves as a headquarters for people to gather and share their common interests.

In the Valley, it is known as Phoenix Comicon, as well as one in Tucson known as Tucson Comic-Con. At ASU, geek culture continues to be prevalent.

But what exactly makes up pop culture for geeks, and why do they love it so much?

Whether it is Star Wars, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Batman, The Avengers, various anime and as the list goes on, geek pop culture is a bit of everything happening around the world. It provides a space with a sense of community and acceptance with a shared interest for some people: their mutual love for their fandoms.

Morgan Fitkin, an ASU alumna and former president of Dumbledore’s Army remains involved with the planning of Sun Devil Fan Fair due to her love of geek culture.

Fitkin said it is important to have events like Comic-Con for the community to gather, as there is not always consistent contact between people of different fandoms and social groups.

“It’s nice to meet people who like the same things that you do,” Fitkin said. “It’s nice to see that other people are like you, no matter what you’re into. It’s also just a fun time to come out on a weekend and do this sort of thing.”

Fitkin said events and conventions for the geek community can help bring exposure to artists who “lovingly craft” something within a fandom, giving them a more personal perspective and connection to what they may be a fan of.

Cosplay, Fitkin said, is also a way of expressing one’s love for a character, work of art or fandom.

“I get to meet so many talented and creative people,” Fitkin said. “For me, Comicon is really important to be able to see everybody come out representing everything, and being able to share love for fandoms, geek topics and material.”

Fitkin has been actively involved in the geek community since high school, and said it is the social sphere that makes her feel at home and comfortable.

With those consistently involved in this geek community, many feel that it allows them to form bonds and friendships with others who share the same interests.

Computer science freshman Emily Solis said it consists of a diverse group of people. She said being a geek means having a passion for something one really enjoys and coming together to talk about it.

“It’s pretty awesome to have a community that shares common interests and makes cool things out of that interest,” Solis said. “It’s really an accepting community.”

Solis said she enjoys various video games, Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Star Wars and Skyrim, to name a few.

Being immersed in geek culture, she said, is a part of who she is and how she expresses herself.

Forensics science senior and president of the Society of West ASU Gamers, or the “Great Lord” of SWAG, Arielle Herguth said her love of video games has always come from the connections she has been able to make with the games and the people she plays them with.

Playing games, Herguth said, can bring people together and create moments for people to bond with one another.

“Everyone finds meaning to the world in different ways,” Herguth said. “Bringing people together and sharing experiences can make us more whole as people. Everyone likes something. They all form communities to share their experience and better each other.”

She said being immersed in the culture can be a good way to follow a story or be a part of it through video games, something she really enjoys.

In an effort to create a space for making connections, Herguth founded SWAG with the intention to combat negative stigmas against geek and nerd culture by making efforts to develop professional skills in public speaking among members through presentations about favorite games or game topics.

Herguth said doing so can form a strong community and friendships.

Jesse Fifer, a Phoenix local, founded a cosplay group called Team Rocket AZ, based on the game Pokémon.

“Sometimes you wish you could take a break from what’s real," Fifer said. "Sometimes you wish life itself was a little more interesting."

Fifer has been attending pop culture conventions since 2008 and said participating in this community is a fun form of expression that he hopes affects the world in a positive way.

“I want to try to bring the fantastic, the absurd into the real world as much as I can," he said. "I want to make people’s lives a little more engaging and interesting. I want to make people smile.” 


Reach the reporter at tespana@asu.edu and follow @thaliaespana on Twitter.

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