2014 is coming to a close soon and so much has happened in the nerd sphere: one being that the vision of Black Nerd Problems came to be and it materialized into the work we do and the wonderful crew we have. Here is just a humble offering of all things nerd that were significant enough to fall on the radar that we, the Black Nerd Problems family believe that helped shape this year for the absolute better.
I have to say that one of my favorite moments of 2014 would have to be the overall existence of The Legend of Korra. Is it the best cartoon running? Not necessarily. I mean, it has its share of pacing problems and a couple of character defects here and there (and not nearly enough Firelord Zuko for my taste), but it was still an important show to me because of the way it respected its women enough to let them get their hands dirty. You know….except for Asami. She could fight twenty guys in the middle of a sandstorm and never get dirty. Anyway, the show depicted a woman (I’d consider her “of color”) not always getting it right and not always playing well with others, but with a heart in pure intentions. When I look at Avatar Korra, I see an archetype I hope my kid sister (who turned 18 this year) considers as she grows into a young woman who has to make her way in this world. Young girls need strong, positive example to wear on their sleeves now more than ever and I’m glad for this one. – Oz
I have truly been blessed with many wonderful surprises in 2014. One of them was finding a home here at blacknerdproblems.com, I’ve really enjoyed pushing out great content whether it be my articles, recaps, reviews or the podcast over the past months and I want to thank all that somehow happened to stumbled upon my work. Whether you loved it, hated it, agreed with my views, or disagreed, the fact that you took the time to check it out in the first place means more to me than you could possibly imagine. Getting on topic, aside from it being casted very well I had my qualms about Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” mainly because making a group as obscure as the Guardians adaptable for new audiences was a hard sell. Through it all Marvel triumphed at the box office and quieted the doubters, but what stood out me most wasn’t Peter’s journey, Baby Groot, or Rocket Raccoon. What stood out the most to me was the role music played in the film which to me was the biggest thing the film had going for it. Aside from communication, music is what brings us all closer together. Music taps into part of our subconscious and hits us right in the feels. So when Peter is traveling the galaxy bumping “Ooh Child” from the cassette his mom gave him before she died out the trunk of the Milano, needless to say it’s a heart wrenching experience. Whenever the Guardians and the Avengers join forces on film and Tony puts Peter on to iPods. I know for a fact that there wont be a dry eye in that theater. – Taj
This is the year of the epic and yet, seemingly, rushed ending to Masashi Kishimoto’s, Naruto manga in the weekly Shonen Jump. This was a 15 year long journey that began in 1999 and saw some of the most complex and conflicted characters I’ve read since Dostoevsky’s, The Brothers Karamazov. Particularly of note is Uchiha Itachi whose many masks and strict, honorable, and valiant code is one that I hope to have honored with my own life by the time my final knell arrives. Itachi is the tragic hero that every writer should use as a template; much like Ivan Karamazov, they are both internally conflicted and bear the burden of self-sacrifice in stark contrast to that of the prototypical benevolent hero (Naruto & Alyosha.) We learn through Naruto’s final chapter, this is the year of fear and doubt and through the torrent of uncertainty, Omar Holmon’s, “everything will be okay.” -Ian
This was the year that the tide of women-centered comics finally overcame my reservations. Rat Queens, Ms. Marvel, Storm, Captain Marvel, Princeless…mainstream or indie, trade or individual issues, there were just too many for me to ignore. So I dove in and have enjoyed them all. I buy them digitally. I buy them in the shop. I wander wiki’s looking at character backstory tidbits. I’ve tweeted #SaveStorm, and #CarolCorp, and #NonCompliant. Damn it Logan, I almost cried when you died, that’s how much Ororo now lives in my head and heart. All around me, other female comic book fans came out of their fan closets carrying recommendations and free copies of the first editions. I’m in the comic book club, 100%. Now I just need somewhere to store all these back issues. Damn, #BlackNerdProblems. – Leslie
All of my childhood nostalgia and magical girl love flooded back this year with the return of Sailor Moon in Sailor Moon Crystal. Yes, the Sailor Moon franchise is campy and ridiculous, and yes, the protagonist repeatedly saves the day with the power of love and some other Care Bear shit, but if you were the same tender, impressionable age I was in the ’90s when the original series appeared in America, then you had an amazing role model in the spastic and lovable Usagi. It was one of the first anime series I really fell in love with, and it’s still wildly popular today. Sailor Moon Crystal, a new, CGI-polished adaptation that’s a bit more faithful to the manga, premiered over the summer and is still going, with episodes simulcast on Neon Alley, Hulu and Crunchyroll every other Saturday. – Maya
2014 was a lot of things to me. The one I keep returning to, however, is the rather aggressive Marvel/DC Cold War declared for the next half decade. This arms race of comic book-related movies is straight 100 emoji, fam. When I first saw DC/Warner Bros go all Oprah with movie releases for their canon, I’ll admit my antennae rose somewhere in the proximity of the jig this year (and I’m #TeamMarvel all day, fam). Seriously: Sandman? Hells yeah! Wonder Woman? Nice! Suicide Squad? Color me intrigued. Cyborg? Uhhh…okay cautiously optimistic, yet I’m always for POC representation so yeah I’m here for it. But confirmed castings began rolling in for certain roles & I found skepticism had crept into the passenger seat next to my intrigue, plugged into the aux cord & started with the questionable choices. Then Marvel snatches all the thunder with its own Control verse of releases & shit got real. Like Marvel ’bout to really lace da gawds with the Civil War, the Infinity Saga, AND Black Panther?! Y’all…Y’ALL…we are getting a Black Panther live action movie in 2017! Won’t He Do It??! Sure, there are certain to be some critical misses for both Marvel & DC, but we are about to witness arguably the largest game of Battleship in comic & movie history. And I, for one, got the Redenbacher popped & am ready for the show. Thanks for not completely sucking 2014. – Chace
I’ve first started tweeting four plus years ago but didn’t start live tweeting until maybe two years ago and lo and behold what a world that I was missing! Watching all your favorite shows is great. Watching your favorite shows with friends is cool too. But livetweeting your favorite shows with the most brilliant and clever minds on twitter? Do that at least once once a season and you’ll reach your final form in the near future. And we really have to give credit where it’s due: Black Twitter has revolutionized the game in not just the political arena but also in the field of entertainment. We don’t just get racists fired but we help make your viewing experience a thousand times better with our commentary. Black Twitter is responsible for Arrow’s #dembows, The Walking Dead’s #demdeadz, The Flash’s #datflash and Game of Thrones’ #demthrones to name just a few. More recently I livetweeted season 8 of Doctor Who and a handful of episodes of season 5 of The Walking Dead. 2014 has been an eventful year for television—especially this fall. Whether I was tweeting out #HeyBoo memes whenever Danny Pink made his appearance on an episode of Doctor Who or cacking jokes about walkers on TWD, livetweeting made television fun. Here’s to looking to livetweeting Agent Carter come January 2015! (The true MVP this year for me was Dancing Baby Groot though) – Carrie
2014 was the year of Sailor Moon Crystal. Sailor Moon used to be one of my go to anime shows back in the day and when it was announced that it would be coming back and following the manga more I couldn’t believe my eyes. I could see Rei(Sailor Mars) use her fire in new animation. I could even hear the theme song updated which ended up sounding beautiful.Sailor Moon crystal brought Sailor Moon back in the limelight so much so that there were screenings of the first episode all over the world. I watched the premier at a convention that I attended this year and it was a magical feeling. So far Sailor Moon Crystal has done the series justice and I’m still tuning in for every episode. The show’s not over yet so maybe for me 2015 will also be the year of Moon Prism Power Makeup. -Willie
Regeneration. Twelve. Capaldi. Oh, my! The twelfth doctor was a BIG, BIG thing for every Whovian this year. Going from the sweet & sensitive Matt Smith to Mr. “I am not your boyfriend” Peter Capaldi was both terrifying and refreshing. Older, Scottish, brash and certainly not our bae, we’ve had a lot of change this year. The “in your face” doctor is lacking the connection and romantic undertones that we’ve grown used to with The Doctor and his companions. Without the love, Moffat’s writing seems a bit misogynist and that’s a buzz kill, for real. Still, 2014 brought a Scottish doctor throwing shade, #allteaallshade. Yesss! Rumors say we could also see the end of Clara as the companion. If it’s true, I’m not mad, she’s no Rose Tyler or River Song (aka my WCWs), but only time will tell. Cheers to season 8, Capaldi reading folks to filth, oh… and that coat! – Izetta
The biggest take away for me this year had to be utter shock. I’ve been following George Morikawa’s Manga Hajime No Ippo since 2010 when my friend Ayinde introduced it to me. It focuses on a Boxer named Ippo just trying to be the best he can. after literally years Ippo finally got a shot at world stage and faced the #2 ranked boxer in the world Alfredo Gonzalez. I shit you not I have never read anything this intense and gotten so emotionally invested. It’s been 5 years (manga time) years since Ippo’s first loss. My whole week was shit. I was seriously beside myself like… “what am I supposed to do now huh? It’s all fucked up now”. I am thankful for Morikawa’s making me realize this is the kinda writing I need to be seeking in my life more often. I treasure the art that imitates the unpredictable of life as i came to find out… the hard way. – Omar
This year’s Cosplay Corner experience has been simultaneously elating and sobering. At times it was difficult to feel that this particular artistic expression truly had a place for black nerds after hearing about the consistent negative feedback black cosplayers have had to struggle with, observing the glaring lack of black cosplayers showcased on cosplay websites and convention galleries, and reading the news of Darrien Hunt’s murder. Yet despite the pain that rippled through our community because of this particular tragedy (and many, many others), I was really encouraged to see how many black cosplayers openly responded on their pages and chose to engage with this difficult topic in forums vulnerable to the comments of racist trolls. Many times talking about racism in nerd circles is deemed too political or personal, but I think we’ve seen a revolution in this attitude for the better (the creation of this website, of course, is a strong example of this). That being said, every cosplayer I was able to talk to this year has made me so proud to be able to provide a platform for their passion and I can’t wait to see what brave black cosplayers I’m able to feature in the next. – Lauren
That kid. The one in the pictures below.
This year was all about me stepping back and marveling at what a kick ass person she has become. Entering 2014 she, like most children do with their parents, parroted my interests (which I had no problem with, Lord knows it’s single parent budget friendly). Now, at the age of ten, she’s developing her own areas of expertise. She’s into Pokémon and Minecraft and Teen Titans and robotics and cosplay and she can draw some pretty dope anime characters and…I mean…there comes a moment when a parent looks at their child and thinks, “You are not my mini-me anymore. You are much, much more than that.” Well, that was 2014 for me. For us. My soccer playing Hufflepuff who eats gender roles for breakfast and enjoys reading Princeless to the 1st graders at her school is growing up. In a country that is all too eager to turn our youth into hashtags, she gives me hope on a daily basis. I can’t wait to see what she’s up to by the time she’s old enough to read Rat Queens. -Whitney
While there have been plenty of good books to come out of their camp, Image comics officially put an end to any legitimate Big Two claims in the comic book industry. No longer was The Walking Dead dragging the creator owned publisher into mainstream, but more and more big time creators trusted them to produce their own mature content with original ideas and concepts. The quality of books that Image put out this year is actually staggering. The ongoing books of The Manhattan Projects, East of West of everyone’s favorite book Saga, have been tremendous this year, but it’s the new books that have captured the glory. Sex Criminals, Black Science, Deadly Class, Pretty Deadly, Wicked & The Divine, Satellite Sam, Manifest Destiny, Ody-C, Lazarus, Ten Grand and, and, and…Considering that the book from Image getting the most universal buzz, Bitch Planet is only one issue in, it doesn’t seem possible that Image is slowing down in 2015. – William
2014 brought the nerd world something special, and that’s Black Nerd Problems. If you’re reading this you’ve probably read a thought-provoking article on feminism, retweeted a meme from a live tweet of The Walking Dead, or laughed hysterically at a recap of The Legend of Korra. That’s what we do here — we have fun, and we do it the best community of nerds on the internet. People of color are moving forward in representation as creative leaders, powerful consumers, and savvy viewers. We’re creating, critiquing, and demanding. We’re changing the world in our own small way and entertaining ourselves each step of the journey. And do you know what the best part is? We’re just getting started. 2015 will bring original blerd merchandise to our store, hip hop AMV’s to our YouTube channel, contests, giveaways, and more. So DVR Arrow and update your pull list… we have a big year to spend together. –Jordan
What were your year end picks this year? Were they some of ours? Or Not? Let us know in the comment section below!