Why We Geeks Need To Let Go (Sometimes)

by Peter Jurewicz

After watching the most recent episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead I was both confused and wondering why such a big change from the comics storyline? Now don’t worry, if you haven’t seen the most recent episode, or plan on reading the books, I’m not going to ruin anything for you. When it comes down to it Geeks are passionate about things. Whether you’re a geek for comics, music, cars, art, television or movies we sometimes have to learn to let go. Around ten years ago now, X-Men debuted on the big screen and right off the bat it was a huge change from its comic book roots, and it was praised by critics and fans. I don’t know for sure if it was just because we’d been dying to see Wolverine pop his claws in a live action form for so long that we forget that he isn’t an original X-Man or what, but we let a lot of things slide. But when it came down to the sequels, we got downright nasty.

With X2: X-Men United we started to point out flaws in our actors and story. We said things like “This character would be older” or “That character should be dead by this time.” Then when X3 came out, we bashed it. “JUGGERNAUGHTS NOT A MUTANT!” “WHY’D YOU KILL CYCLOPS?!” and so on and so forth. After having attended film school, you start to realize you have to let go. Comics and movies (or TV), don’t always translate well between their formats. Why do we love Batman Begins when it is so very different from the book? Why do we love it yet we will jump to bash another comic book movie, like X3, for being so different?

The point is we as geeks have to let go sometimes. You can’t fit a years worth of comic book storylines into a two hour movie or sometimes even a 6 or 7 episode story arc for television. If we made a movie or TV show EXACTLY like its comic counterpart, the non-geeks who aren’t familiar with it out there would probably turn their noses up at it. You can’t make everyone happy and that’s the truth. I long ago accepted that nothing is going to be 100% like the comic book or novel it’s based on, even the Green Mile was different than the book! If you have trouble letting go, think of it this way. Batman in the comic books, is Batman of Earth 1, Batman Begins is Earth 45.  They’re two different beasts and are going to be different somehow.

So for those of you, myself included, who watched The Walking Dead tonight and are already saying you’re not watching anymore, give it a chance. I’m not saying the TV show is going to be better or worse than the book, but we owe it to the books creators and the shows creators to give them a chance to tell a different story. Besides, who would want to watch an EXACT copy of a book they’ve already read? Where’s the fun in knowing exactly what’s going to happen??

2 comments for “Why We Geeks Need To Let Go (Sometimes)

  1. Star
    November 29, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I personally don’t read many comic books, but as an avid fantasy, sci-fi, and horror reader, I can definitely relate to the sheer frustration that can be wrought by watching a film adaptation of a favorite novel go completely astray from the actual story line. However, one must keep in mind that, unfortunately, these films are not being created specifically for us die-hards, Would we be willing to watch an 8 hour film version of our favorite novel/comic series that sticks so strictly to the actual story that we could practically read along? Probably. But would the rest of society who had not even an inkling of what the original story was about before they saw the trailer? Hell no. The point is, the film has to satisfy everyone in order to be worth the time and money of everyone involved; those who have just discovered it, AND those who have been waiting at the edge of their seats for lord knows how many years to finally see their favorite characters realized. So, we have to be satisfied with a few tweaks and stretches, in order to sate the masses. C’est la vie.

    Btw, dope site brah. =]

  2. February 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I think I learned this concept with Harry Potter. As a book reader, getting upset at the movies only dampened my day. I try to view the books/movies as two separate entities. Not all screenplays can be adapted as well, as I thought Lord of the Rings was written for the silver screen.

    Now as for the Walking Dead, I might seek out the comics! The story line is so darn interesting. I know from my reading (but not trolling) comic book message boards, that much is different already than it should be.

    I agree that geeks have a sense of “pride” when it comes to their likes. I think it has to do with seeing the brilliance in the creativity of the writing. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue, in order not to come off as “snobbish,” (Which I know I am), or as relentless as Sheldon on BBT. Which I totally love too.

    Thanks for making me think this morning.


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