Plight of the Geeks 1977

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Over the course of these last half dozen years, there have been many blogposts wherein I have lamented the plight of comics geeks during my childhood and adolescence.  Now at last, some video evidence.

That’s Phil Seuling on The Mike Douglas Show in July of ’77, discussing his love of comics and his collection. (And if you watched the whole thing already—or simply noticed the title of the video—then you know he would later be joined onstage by Wendy Pini in her Red Sonja costume.) For the most part, everyone is having a good time, yet still there’s an air of pure disdain and derision among the panel—because comics are stupid, you see. The purview of idiot children and mentally-challenged adults.

Star Wars had just come out a couple months earlier, but it would be a long, looooong time before the Mike Douglases of the world would catch up. It was an era when geeks didn’t exactly go around bragging about their fandom—if such information got out, you could expect to be ridiculed (at best) or beaten up (at worst). If you were lucky enough to discover a fellow geek, you discussed the hobby in absolute privacy together.

As for Wendy Pini, this was just before she and her husband Richard self-published Elfquest. So at this point, dressing up (they didn’t call it cosplay yet) as Red Sonja at comic conventions was probably her greatest claim to fame. For a deeper taste than that Mike Douglas cameo, here she is performing at the ’78 San Diego Comic Con (with Sonja comics artist Frank Thorne as the wizard):

 

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