The Webcomicker

Who watches the watchmen?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

This is EXACTLY how I feel

Understanding. From Dandy and Company

For those of you that are curious as to why I'm always putting strips on the left hand side of the post now, even when it makes a lot more sense to put them in the center and write below them, it's because for some reason whenever I try to put a picture in the center of a post on Blogger, it screws up all my double line breaks for paragraphs and I have to go back and add them all by hand. So this is a lot easier for me. Just thought I'd mention that.

I've commented on Dandy and Company before, so I don't need to tell you again that Derrick Fish's skills as an artist are amazing, and I don't know how he keeps up his daily pace without his hand falling off. That's not the point of this post (although the art in this strip is pretty good, and all that inking in the fourth panel must have taken a lot of time...). What I want to comment on here is how perfectly Derrick Fish has captured the heart of every geek.

Poor Bernard is going through the same phase in his life that every geek goes through. The point where everyone else suddenly turns "normal". When you're a little kid you love reading comics because they're so vivid and exicting. You love cartoons because they're simple and extremely entertaining. You like Star Wars and Star Trek even though you don't really understand them, because, hey, those gadgets and spaceships and aliens are neato. Halloween is your favorite holiday because you get to dress up like your favorite hero. And, pretty much all your little kid friends think the same way you do. Then, sometime around middle school, your friends start changing. Suddenly, cartoons aren't cool anymore. Primetime TV is cool instead. Comics are dumb, you should be reading magazines or nothing at all. Star Wars and Star Trek are lame compared to those blood and gore shoot-em-up movies. Dressing up is lame.

The trouble is, YOU still think those things are cool. You still want to watch cartoons and watch Star Trek and dress up like Darth Vader. And so you're torn between the things you love and the things you're supposed to do because its "cool" and it gets you friends. This is why so many geeks look back on their middle school and high school years with disdain. Many of them became outcasts. Many of them felt their friendships were really shallow and boring. I was one of the lucky ones, myself, as my school had a chess team (that's right, the CHESS TEAM, the ultimate haven for the geek) and I was able to form lifelong friendships with the people there. But a lot of people aren't that lucky. Fortunately, those that persevere usually find other geeks when they go to college, or when they get out into the real world, and they finally feel like they fit in. They go to conventions, have anime marathons or cosplay parties or get together and draw comics, and all is well.

But Bernard hasn't reached that state yet. He's still at the "I want to be cool. I want to be accepted. I've gotta give up the stuff I love." But Dandy won't let him, and although it's being played off as Dandy being the bad guy, I think Fish expects us to read between the lines and see that, really, it's just Dandy showing how much he cares about Bernard. He doesn't want Bernard to give this stuff up because he knows Bernard truly enjoys it, and it's also one of the things that the two of them have in common in their friendship. In fact, if Bernard really becomes obsessed with being cool, he'll probably stop hanging out with Dandy entirely, because who hangs out with a talking dog? I mean, come on... So in a way, making Bernard wear a Halloween costume is a way of saving their friendship, and as long as they're friends Bernard can be a geek and still be accepted and have fun. He's trying to ease that awkward transistional period in a geek's life where you feel like no one understands you and everybody thinks you're a loser.

Well, more power to you, Dandy. All us geeks out here are rooting for you. Don't let Bernard turn his back on the things he loves just to seek popularity and shallow friendships that don't last. Keep him a geek. Eventually, he'll discover that overall it's a lot more fun.


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