Comic Book Curious, the website you are currently on as you read this article, is a safe haven for those who dabble in, dive into, or live and breathe nerd culture. This space was created to provide people of all ages and from all walks of life to be able to experience and enjoy whatever aspects of nerd culture appeal to them without the toxicity and gatekeeping that crops up across all hobbies. It is a place for veterans to teach and inspire newbies, for artists to connect with fans, and for creators of all kinds to come together and learn. At Comic Book Curious anyone is welcome as long as they enter the space with kindness.
To provide a little background, Comic Book Curious started with Nate Lombardi - an actor and musician who has lived all over the US - and his desire to create a safe space that empowers youth. Some of his passions include empowering youth, social impact, and "edutainment" - education through entertaining in the style of The Electric Company and Sesame Street. Before Comic Book Curious, events in his life led Nate to found The Groovy Projects whose goal is to "cultivate empathetic global citizens through gaming, discussions, and the arts."
How the children in his class responded to Black Panther and Wonder Woman led Nate to look at how people reacted to seeing themselves in the superheroes being depicted in media. For example, Black Panther had a predominantly BIPOC cast and crew. While not the first time POC have been depicted in heroic roles, this film grossed $1.3 billion dollars making it the 6th highest grossing Marvel film in the franchise. Wonder Woman grossed $821 million dollars and is the 6th highest grossing film in the DC extended universe. These two films, with their leads coming from people groups underrepresented in the superhero community, did well. And the kids reactions to these superheroes showed Nate that people do better when they can see themselves as the superhero.
Through Comic Book Curious, Nate, a nerd newbie himself, has been meeting comic book artists and writers. Together they have been working on Nate's superhero universe, the Legion of Eccentrics, featuring heroes from across the world. These characters are representative of their people groups because Nate is sourcing the information for each character from the people in each country. His desire to educate and empower people are the driving force behind his innovative style for character creation. He asks people what they want to see. Think about things - food, ideas, clothes - that are unique to your country. That is what Nate wants in all his characters. He wants their stories told by people who can breathe life as well as authenticity into them.
The first installment of this comic will launch on Webtoons. Bryan Kaiser Tillman and Clay Adams are working on the art and edits for this story. Not only is Tillman drawing the story, he is teaching aspiring artists some ticks and trips of the trade. Tillman is doing the pencils, but they will be inking and coloring the panels under his supervision and tutelage. To make this project even more exciting, the stories are being written by aspiring writers as well. This provides all sorts of opportunities for people in different comic fields. Nate is starting with his North American superheroes as he is based in North America but has been gathering information and insight on his characters from Africa, South America, and Asia through other people he has met and inspired - and been inspired by. Their stories will follow, as will many, many others. This project has been in the works for a while now, and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds.
In order to bring people together, Comic Book Curious has created a Discord. This is a place to participate in biweekly art contests, chat with fellow nerds about anything from comics to video games. Nate himself is an active participant, always there to greet people and check out their art. This community is still small but grows every day; in fact, over the past few months the group has seen growth of 800%. It is full of great people who are there to support one another and lift them up.
In the short time, a year and a half, that Comic Book Curious has been active, Nate has made and reached incredible goals for himself and this community. And there is so much more on the horizon. There is this website, providing weekly articles about movies, comics, cosplays, games. There is the Discord where you can show off your art and chat with friendly people. There is a podcast that can be found on many podcast services. What does the future hold? Comics on Webtoons, a TTRPG featuring the heroes from the Legion of Eccentrics, comic jams and game jams. And so much more.
Keep your eyes here. This is only the beginning.
About the author: Kristen is the Director of Operations and Content here at CBC. When she isn't editing or writing articles, she spends much of her time crafting and playing video games. Kristen is mom to a wonderful kiddo, two cats, four rats, one fish, and a giant floof of a dog.
Interested in becoming a member of our community? Want to know more about the Comic Book Curious team? Check out our Discord server here!
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We hope to see you there!