Billy West’s Artificial Larynx and the Birth of High Five!
Posted August 5, 2009on:
“…I felt disenfranchised as a kid, I was a loner – kind of a geek, you know – I liked comic books, like everybody else here. And you tried to fit in with the regular world, but man, you stuck out like a sore thumb; so you found like three friends that you could be friends with til you’re 80.”
That’s how Billy West began the tale of his search for an artificial larynx.** On the last day of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, my husband, myself, and our man-at-arms, Rob, stumbled into the Cartoon Voices panel to nab good seats for the last DC-related panel of the weekend. While we killed an hour in a panel we might have otherwise skipped over altogether, one of the panelists began riffing about his early days in voicework. After a few minutes, we placed his eerily familiar voice – it was Fry! Billy West of Futurama! I high fived him at the end of the panel.
Modern geeks have been able to band together in groups larger than three, thanks to the internet, which we invented. Geek culture is rampant – just look at the ticket sales for JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, or the clamor over Iron Man 2, or the fact that Comic-Con attracts over 125,000 attendees – pop culture has become geek culture. Being a nerd is more socially acceptable than ever, but when you’re a 25 year old married woman who would really like to get off work a little early to make it to the comic shop, most people are still going to think you’re weird.
Everyone wants to wear the geek mantle now, but there’s a world of difference between someone who liked Star Wars and someone who knows what R.A. Salvatore did. There’s a big difference between someone who thinks Heath Ledger was the best Joker ever and someone who’s read The Killing Joke. There’s a huge difference between someone who dug the X-men cartoon back in the nineties and someone who knows who Abigail Brand is.
There are levels of geek. Sure, the whole world’s a little bit geeky, but only some of us know the difference between the Justice Society and the Justice League.
High Five! wants to speak to the geeks, the real geeks. We want to indoctrinate the not-so-geeky and educate the sort-of-geeky. And we want to drink a lot of beer in the process. Stay tuned!
*Check out DC’s official podcast of the Sunday Conversation panel here.
**I caught the whole thing on tape! The video will go up as soon as I’ve determined whether or not I was a very bad girl for recording it.