Comics Alliance Podcast 104: Church of Nerd HQ, Jem and the Holo-Tumblrs, and Asian American Iron Fist
Welcome back to the ComicsAlliance Podcast, covering the latest comic book entertainment culture, news, humor and commentary. Joining Senior Editors Andy Khouri and Caleb Goellner for this episode are Senior Writer Chris Sims and Staff Writer Andrew Wheeler. On the table for discussion:
- IRON FIRSTS: An Asian American advocacy group petitions Marvel to cast Iron Fist, a blond caucasian kung fu master in the comics, with an Asian American actor in the forthcoming Netflix series. We talk about why this is a great idea.
- JEM AND THE TUMBLRS: After decades of waiting, there is to be a live action film based on 1980s iconic animated series, Jem and the Hologram, which will be crowdsourced on Tumblr. Unfortunately, Jem creator Christy Marx has been shut out of the project. We talk about why this is outrageous.
- CHURCH OF NERD HQ: Finally, the group analyzes the controversial Nerd HQ crowd funding campaign undertaken by actor Zachary Levi, who hopes to raise one million dollars to produce an off-site celebrity charity event during San Diego Comic-Con, raising questions both financial and cultural.
Subsequent to the recording of this episode, a person we believe to be Zachary Levi engaged Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci in the comment section of his piece on the same topic. Confronted with some of the same questions we asked in this podcast, Levi had this to say.
To the extent that anything was unclear, I will attempt to remedy it.
The fact is I have never claimed NerdHQ to be a charity or non-profit event. It was birthed out of me trying to figure out the best way to activate my brand, The Nerd Machine, during SDCC, and it seemed to me that the best way to do that would be to give both fans and celebs alike the most fun & powerful experience that I could offer them, as inexpensively as possible. The fact that we raise money for charity is an extra reward for everyone involved, and gives the event a greater purpose than our branding, or all the fun that is had by everyone involved.
I’m not asking people to donate specifically so I can raise money for Operation Smile. I’m asking them to donate so I can keep producing the event that offers them all the things that we provide, which includes incredibly unique and intimate interactions with their favorite celebrities, sweetened by the fact that those interactions happen to raise money for charity and make a difference in the lives of children all over the developing world. On top of that, I offer a giant space to hang out in, charge your tech, play video games, etc., all for free. And yes, I throw parties, for both the celebs AND the fans. The idea was to give everyone down in San Diego a fun and safe place to unwind. However, because it’s pretty difficult to unwind as a celebrity when you’ve got a bunch of camera phones recording your every move, it makes merging the two groups next to impossible. I think if you take a moment to hear me on this, you’ll understand what I mean. It’s not elitism, it’s simple practicality.
I know it sounds ridiculous sometimes, but celebs are in fact people too. And being in San Diego for SDCC can be one of the most intense experiences in our business. When you’re down there, there are very few places to go where something is not being requested, or outright demanded, of you. I honestly do whatever I can to make anyone and everyone, fan or celeb, to feel welcome and appreciated and safe. It’s not an easy task, but I’m gonna keep doing my very best to accomplish it.
Hope that helps clear up any confusion. z