Four Color Comments: How To Speak Geek

First time going to San Diego Comic-Con? Not sure of all the lingo and want to fit in? Well, here a list of some common Geek Speak phrases that should […]

4colorcommentsFirst time going to San Diego Comic-Con?

Not sure of all the lingo and want to fit in?

Well, here a list of some common Geek Speak phrases that should help you socialize with other fans (or at least fake it).

Many thanks to Click Communications for creating this list

  • “…And knowing is half the battle.” – Following each episode of the popular G.I. Joe cartoon, foolish children learned safety tips about things like paint fumes, live electrical wires, and fire. (The other half of the battle is, of course, ¼ red lasers and ¼ blue lasers.)
  • Big Bad – Coming from the Buffyverse, this describes the biggest villain a hero has to deal with in a given story-arc or season, usually after dispatching and destroying many Little and Medium Bads first.
  • Bizarro – The name of a flawed Superman clone that does the opposite of everything he says. Often used to refer to someone behaving out of character.
  • Cosplay – Dressing up as your favorite fictional characters, usually with extremely detailed costumes. This practice tends to lean heavily into Japanese anime, though you will see this across all mediums on the Comic-Con floor. You will also see “crossplay,” where fans dress up as characters of the opposite sex.
  • “Don’t cross the streams.” – Originating in the film Ghostbusters, where the team crossed their particle beams to eliminate Gozer, this quote is now generally used by men having to urinate in close quarters.
  • Don’t Panic – A phrase on the cover of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in an effort to keep intergalactic travelers from, well, panicking.
  • Enter the Carousel – In the cult sci-fi film Logan’s Run, everyone has a crystal in the palm of their hands that indicates their age. When they turn 30 on their “Lastday,” the crystals turn red and flash, and they enter a giant machine called the “Carousel,” where they’re “recycled” into a newborn. But not really. Really, it was just murder.
  • Excelsior! – Marvel legend Stan Lee uses this catchphrase to end his correspondence with his loyal readers or, as he called them, “True Believers.” While this would typically appear at the back of Marvel comics, he has used it in public appearances as well.
  • Fanboy/Fangirl – A person who loves a subject matter purely for the sake of loving it, regardless of the quality. Ex: “Say one more bad thing about my favorite comic and see what happens!”
  • “Game over, man! Game over.” – Uttered by the great Bill Paxton in the film Aliens, his braggart character panics after their encounter with the vicious aliens that maul their team. This phrase was of course surrounded by various expletives as well. Aliens with multiple teeth, spiked tails and acid for blood tend to pull that reaction.
  • Han shot first – In the 1997 re-release of Star Wars: A New Hope, fresh editing created a fundamental change to the character of Han Solo. In the original version, Han kills Greedo in the cantina mid-conversation, cementing his bad-ass status in the hearts and minds of millions. In the re-release, Greedo fires first, and Han shoots in self-defense. But really, Han shot first.
  • “I got better.” – From Monty Python & the Holy Grail to the Death of Superman, favorite characters are always returning from serious injury or death at some point or another. When asked, “I thought you were dead!” we typically get the response, “I got better.”
  • KHAAAANN! – Once a villainous Khan has abandoned you on a planet or possibly killed your new BFF, all you can do is scream his name in futility.
  • “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!” – Often quoted by someone claiming dominance after a victory, this command was first spoken by Terrance Stamp as Zod in Superman II.
  • Konami Code – The international notso-secret gaming cheat code of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. Next step: creating the dance moves to accompany it.
  • NomNom – A noise to indicate that a consumable item is as delicious as a cookie is to Cookie Monster.
  • LARPers (Live Action Role Players) – Cosplay with quests and battles, set in the real world and performed in character. WARNING: Players are often armed with actual weapons. Usually Nerf weapons, but still.
  • Mind Meld – A Vulcan telepathy skill from “Star Trek.” This form of telepathy must be done through touch and works on humans, Vulcans, and, um, humpback whales.
  • MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) – Called MMO for short, these are for gamers who like to play against lots of people, but not actually be in the same room with them. It’s a place where you can virtually travel the world, meet new friends, and kill them.
  • “My Precious!” – Commonly used by Gollum in the Lord of the Rings series when he spoke of his invisibility ring, this phrase is now often used by geeks in regard to various beloved personal items.
  • Nerd Nip – Catnip for nerds, this can be anything or anyone that gets a nerd bouncing off the walls or lolling around on the floor.
  • Nerdgasm – A nerd’s sensory overload caused by the introduction of said nerd to the latest technology or fandom.
  • “One of Us! One of Us!” – This chant refers to someone “normal” being accepted into the ranks of geekdom. Originally used in the 1932 film Freaks, it was later used in a song by the Ramones before showing up in episodes of geek TV staples “The Simpsons” and “South Park.”
  • Redshirt – In the original “Star Trek” series, the “away team” that visited planets often consisted of Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones and an unnamed crewman wearing a red shirt (as opposed to Kirk,Spock and Bones’ blue or yellow shirts.) This character inevitably dies a horrible death. “Redshirt” now refers to any character that exists solely to die in a creative manner. Or uncreative. As long as they die.
  • Rule 34 – If it exists, there is a porn version of it. No exceptions.
  • Shippers – People who wish a little too hard that their favorite characters in books, films, and shows would “get a room, already.”
  • Slash Fiction – Unlike its fairly harmless sibling fan fiction, Slash Fiction introduces a wide array of sexual (usually deviant) activity into the mix. In recent years, a subset called “Crack Fiction” has popped up wherein writers use the tropes of Slash Fiction for a comedic effect.
  • SNIKT – The noise Wolverine’s claws make when they pop out.
  • Spidey Sense – This is the power that Spider-Man uses to avoid bullets and other grievous harm. Colloquially used to express a bad feeling or premonition. “My Spidey Sense is tingling.”
  • Steampunk – Subgenre of sci-fi/fantasy that focuses on a Victorian world where steam power and gadgetry are prominent. The fashion includes corsets, gears, gloves and goggles. Think Jules Verne with a twist of punk.
  • “There can be only one.” – In the world of Highlander, there are immortals scattered throughout Earth. As each one dies (via beheading, of course), the rest become stronger. So to be the strongest, you must be the last one standing.
  • Truffle Shuffle – A dance from The Goonies that involves lifting one’s shirt and oinking like a pig while shaking one’s gut; originated by the character Chunk.
  • w00t – “Wow! Loot!” This phrase was shortened to proclaim excitement during online gaming when something of real value was found, like treasure or magic pants.
  • Women in Refrigerators – A phrase originating from a DC Comics story where a super villain kills Green Lantern’s girlfriend and places her corpse in a refrigerator. It’s used whenever any supporting character (usually female) is introduced in comics or other genre fiction simply to be killed or brutalized in some manner. We hereby dub them “redskirts.”
Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.