Come Out of the Geek Closet

Recently I was talking to some people and I was shocked to find out that not everybody embraces their geek side.  Some people, even though comics and geek culture are very popular right now, keep it a secret that they collect comic books (or anything else geeky).

We’ve talked about geek culture many times on Comic Book Daily.  But I want this article to be a bit different.

Everybody has to have a place for their stuff.

Being true to yourself is important.  Hiding a part of who you are isn’t a good thing.  It can cause stress in your life, and who needs to get stressed out over something like comic books.

I always try to write about my life in this column.  You have seen my basement where my comics are kept.  I’ve talked about my wife and kids.  If you read this column, you know what I collect and where my interests lie.  So let me tell you how my life changed when I came out of the “geek closet” and embraced who I am.

I have collected G.I. Joe for most of my life.  Even through high school I collected G.I. Joe.  Back in those days it wasn’t cool to collect toys.  I had to hide it from the world, and I always felt horrible that I had to hide a piece of myself.

My Joes were all on display in my bedroom.  Even when I was in college, my Joes were still out on display.  One night I was setting up a battle scene on my shelf and I couldn’t think of an idea for the scene.  It stressed me out and I was in a foul mood that night when I was out with friends.  They asked me what was wrong.  I didn’t want to say, then after several minutes of them prodding me.  I finally told them that I was stressing out over my G.I. Joe collection.  To my surprise, they didn’t judge me or make fun of me.  They tried giving me ideas for my battle scene.


Years later, I met my wife and I kept it a secret that I collected action figures and comics.  I didn’t want her to know I was a geek, but eventually it started to stress me out that I was hiding a part of who I am.  One night I couldn’t stand it anymore and I told her everything.  I told her I collected G.I. Joe.  I told her I loved comic books and I was a collector.  At first it scared her.  She hadn’t been around someone like me before.  Eventually she embraced my hobby and would call me when she would find something new.

I love G.I. Joe so much, I wear it on my "sleeve" every day.
I love G.I. Joe so much, I wear it on my “sleeve” every day.

I fully embrace my geek personality.  I write here and tell the millions and millions of readers my own personal stories.  I also have two G.I. Joe tattoos, and they get always get noticed.  It happens all the time.  I will be somewhere and somebody will come up and tell me my tattoos are awesome.  If I didn’t embrace being a geek, I wouldn’t be showing them off.

I just want you to know, that being honest with yourself is a good thing.  For me, it was a huge positive experience to myself to be out there and admit that I am a geek.  If you are hiding it, trust me, be honest with yourself.  Come out of that geek closet.  It will make a huge improvement on your life.

Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell

Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.

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  1. OK, there is geek and then there is GEEK. Someone who dresses up as Luke Skywalker shouldn’t follow the old adage, “Just be yourself”. Fandom (and the professional fan who can write or draw) is filled with people who should take a good, long look at themselves before appearing in a public place. Sometimes it is a good idea to suppress that geek until all this is straightened out. I for one, have five topics which I never talk about unless asked to, and then I try to keep answers short. Comic books is one of them. You will never find out about the other four.

  2. Im in my late 20s and my work involves me babysitting a piece of machinery. Since most of the process is done by computers while my co workers are reading the local newspaper I am reading a graphic novel. At first I tried to hide it from them thinking they would tease and such considering a majority of my coworkers are alot older. Instead the opposite happened alot of them started to ask questions and see how things have changed since their childhood. They always want to know what im reading that day and why i picked that book. In recent times with major events happening in comic culture that make the paper they will ask my opinion on the topics ie: peter parkers & robins deaths, or thoughts on major comic movies. I think its alot of fun going to work and being able to just enjoy myself instead of hiding it

  3. Why don’t you talk about your 5 unmentionable topics? What is so bad about comics that you can’t talk to people about them? Do you have people you trust and feel comfortable with, that you can talk about your interests?

    I know everybody is different, but for me it was a huge relief to be open and honest with who I am. If anything, at least I am open and honest with myself and that’s the first step.

  4. Hey,
    great article!
    I work in a very corporate business environment, however, when i go on breaks i grab whatever TPB or GN that I packed that day, and walk down to the smoking area as I read, and walk all the way back still reading, during my lunch I do the same thing, hell, we had a fire and had to evacuate the building, I grabbed my book and walked down with the rest of the panicked crowd, and as we waited for the fire department to clear out I was reading Preacher volume 2!
    I get all kinds of questions from people, whether its about an event that made the news, a new movie, or even questions about recomendations regarding how to start.
    Being a Geek/Nerd/whatever the hell it is, is a way of life, we should not have anything to hide.

  5. I’m 55 years old and I’ve been a comics fan since I was nine. I have a collection of about 1,400 books dating back to the Golden Age to the “death” of Damian Wayne and I don’t mind telling people about how much I love the art.
    I’m a journalist. I spend the whole day reading and writing news about murder, politics, war, economics, health care, crime – you name it – and when I get home for some free time I want to keep my reading light and enjoyable. Also, when I tell people how much my collection is worth they change their tune. I try to use the press to promote comics in education; a very neglected area. I love the art, the writing and the imaginative characters and stories that comics are filled with…and not just super-hero stories, but the entire comics genre.

  6. The problem I see with being pround of being a ‘geek’ is of the term itself. I have about 3,000 comics and an avid collector (visit my blogger: comic book speculation for fun). I also lead a professional life in the medical field, and also love to read literature sports and research. Does that make me a artsyfartsy, jock, nerd?…NO. Honestly, just because one collects comics does not automatically make him/her a geek. I do not wear superhero t-shirts, or look/act socially awkward. I like to think I’m a sophisticated individual who dresses well, goes to the gym, and can speak to pretty women. I also happen to collect comics. So don’t dub me a ‘geek’, rather see me as a dude who just likes collecting comics. I hate that label, seriously. People love to label people…because its convenient. Its just like stereotyping.

  7. I agree with you Nillyville. A love of comic art and storytelling is not really “geeky.” I do my best to fight that stereotype and I’m very successful at it. I also do not wear the t-shirts or pay ridiculous amounts of money to attend a comic con. But I’m not afraid to tell anyone I collect. Most people I encounter think of comics the way they were back in the 60s; written for children. They are very surprised when they find out that comics today are primarily written for young adults.

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