I just wrote a shorter version of the following in the comments section of Bill Sherman's blog Pop Culture Gadabout and decided to expand it for a wider audience...
Okay, so now Bones starring David Boreanaz has done an episode mocking socially inept comics fans. A while back, Six Feet Under did an episode mocking socially inept geeky comics fans at a funeral. Back in November, a show called Las Vegas -- a series presumably inspired by the "what happens here, stays here" ad campaign -- set an episode in a comic book convention, including every negative cliche about socially inept comics fans you can think of. Apparently we're all teenage boys who are afraid of women and can't tell the difference between comics and real life.
What inspires this venom from tv writers? Is it that they're so humiliated and put upon in their own field they have to find an even more defenseless group to beat up on?
(Yes, I know there are plenty of writers in Hollywood who read comics. One is John Rogers who not only produced a pilot based on the Warren Ellis comic Global Frequency but is also now writing Blue Beetle.)
I gather The O.C. treats comics fandom better -- not surprisingly, given one of the executive producers also writes Young Avengers for Marvel -- but I've never seen that show. Maybe I'm missing something really good. Apart from that, the only decent treatment of comics fans I recall seeing in prime time was a sequence from Roseanne, involving the younger daughter attending conventions and trying to break into the industry.
So the other day, I found an unaired pilot made for Comedy Central called Super Nerds, created by and starring Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn, two of the greatest stand-up comedians around.
These guys are real hardcore comic geeks, surely they'll outdo Kevin Smith in conferring a little respect and dignity on our much-despised ilk? Nope. The comic shop set is perfect, the topical references are as accurate as one could hope...but the jokes all revolve around these two guys being terrified of women, losing the ability to speak in the presence of a pretty girl, and obsessing over a valuable pair of limited edition Kirk and Picard bookends.
A few years back, a pilot for an animated show based on the comic "Welcome to Eltingville" by cartoonist Evan Dorkin aired on Cartoon Network. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't remotely affectionate. Now we can add this pilot to the roster of self-loathing depictions in other media created by comics fans. Can't we do better than this?
Comments and other examples of mass-media depictions of the hapless comics fan are requested...