Gods and Geeks in the Endless American Twilight

That's exactly why it and similarly immersive gatherings continue to grow at a time when it seems as if everything is shrinking. Now that technology has caught the imagination, those lonely kid fantasies are accessible to everyone.

James Cameron's Avatar feels like something definitive in this context; it offers up pure, unadulterated geek fantasy, taking bits and pieces from all the great sci-fi and superhero narratives. But Avatar also completely immerses the viewer in the fantasy, giving everyone an access point to insert themselves into that alien world. Jake Sully is a Superman in reverse, an earthling who travels to an alien world to achieve his godhood. Jake's disabilities make him much easier to identify with -- like the ancient gods of the Mysteries, he suffers as we do. I have a feeling that's the kind of god we will be needing more and more of in the days to come.

 

Christopher Knowles is the author of the Eagle Award-winning Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes and the critically-acclaimed Clash City Showdown: The Music, The Meaning and The Legacy of The Clash. He's also co-author of The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths, and the Movies, the authorized companion to the long-running TV series. His upcoming book The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll explores the ancient roots of pop music and will be published in October.
 
Christopher was a longtime associate editor and contributing writer for the five-time Eisner Award-winning magazine Comic Book Artist and contributing writer for the UK-based monthly Classic Rock. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and family.

8/23/2010 4:00:00 AM