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Best of 2016: Greatest geek moments of the year

Cover image from Marvel's Black Panther: World of Wakanda, written by Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey.

Marvel

Cover image from Marvel's Black Panther: World of Wakanda, written by Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey.

16

December

Look around at how lucky we are to be nerds right now.

In a world filled with division and uncertainty for the future, nothing brings us together quite like adorable talking baby trees, fierce women slaying the superhero game and a hip-hop musical about the 10 dollar Founding Father.

Here are just some of the best, wonderfully nerdy things that happened this year.

Diversity in comic books

This year still may have struggled with diversity in films, but comics soared with increasingly diverse characters.

Black Panther and World of Wakanda: Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award winner and author of Between the World and Me, stepped into the realm of comic writing in April with the new Black Panther series. Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream American comics when he debuted in 1966, and it's only fitting Coates heads the return of the character some consider the ultimate black superhero.

In November, author Roxane Gay and poet Yona Harvey made history by becoming the first black women to write a series for Marvel. Their Black Panther: World of Wakanda comics are a spinoff of Black Panther and focus on the Wakandan royal family's all-women guard and a female revolutionary fighting for rights. The icing on top of this woke comic book cake? Main characters Ayo and Aneka are queer.

But wait, there's more: Teenage supergenius Riri Williams replaces Tony Stark's Iron Man as Ironheart in new Invincible Iron Man #1. And then Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka confirms the Amazonian warrior is queer, siting the all-female society where she lives.

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Revelations from J.K. Rowling

In the past 12 months, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has churned out a sequel stage play (and released it as a book), scripted a spinoff film series about a famous magizoologist and consistently updated her vast fandom on the ever-expanding wizarding world.

Both Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them were darker spinoffs of the series, perfect for longtime fans now in their mid to late 20s and 30s.

One gave a followup story to all-grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione, who are sending off their children to Hogwarts and working at the Ministry of Magic. Bookstores even had midnight book releases for Cursed Child, just the like good ol' days of the early 2000s.

The other gave life to the wizarding world in 1920s America and beautifully portrayed the quirky Newt Scamander and his fantastic creatures.

Speaking of wizards in America, through fansite Pottermore, Rowling revealed details about the U.S. wizarding school Ilvermorny and the history of the country's magic. Pottermore also published three short ebooks with secrets and short stories from Hogwarts.

Lucasfilm

Another year of Star Wars obsession

Still feeding off the high from last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiered this week. Rogue One tells the story of the courageous Rebels who stole the plans to the Death Star. It's not exactly a spinoff, but presumably more of an immediate prequel to A New Hope.

Five things to know about 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

I, for one, could totally get used to seeing a new Star Wars film every year. See you next December, Episode VIII.

Speaking of A New Hope, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) revealed in a new memoir that while filming Episode IV, she and co-star Harrison Ford (Han Solo) had an affair. He was 33 and married at the time. She was 19 and a budding actress in her first big break.

Fisher's The Princess Diarist is a compilation of journals she wrote while filming and gives life to the world of being Princess Leia on one of the most famous film sets of all time. It also has plenty of juicy details on what went on behind the scenes.

Marvel

The year movie trailers got so much hype

Best character cameo in a trailer from this year: baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. If you did not squeal in delight seeing this adorable teeny tree yell "I am Groot!" you have no soul.

Honorable mentions:

Justice League  I could watch a GIF of Jason Momoa's Aquaman doing literally anything all day, every day. Ben Affleck's Batman is supposed to be the star of the new Justice League, but let's be real.

Wonder Woman  Yas, Amazonian warrior. Crack that Lasso of Truth. Save damsel in distress Chris Pine. Smash the patriarchy.

Darth Vader in Rogue One  *Sees fleeting glimpse of Darth Vader looking at Death Star blueprints.* *Loses mind.*

Power Rangers  It is truly a great time to be a '90s kid. Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa? Yes, please.

Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad  Sadly, the film didn't live up to its hype. But the breakout star of the film  of year, really  was Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. Harley Quinn isn't a new character in the DC universe, but she took the spotlight this year with a resurgence of love for the mistress of mayhem. 

From sidekick to 'Suicide Squad:' The evolution of Harley Quinn

Columbia Pictures

Nostalgia, reimagined

Love for the 1980s and ‘90s is so hot right now, especially for geeks.

Ghostbusting Stranger Things: 2016 sucked but at least we got a stellar remake of Ghostbusters with an all-female cast, and Netflix's Stranger Things reignited our love for The Clash, Winona Ryder and ‘80s sci-fi.

Pokémon Go and get me a Nintendo NES right this minute: Remember when everyone lost their collective mind over Pokémon Go? And when hoards of 20-somethings would descend on parks and malls to catch a Snorlax? And then Nintendo released the NES Classic with all your favorite games from 1985?

Good times.

New York Times

Making America love history again

Think back to your reaction when hearing the description for Hamilton. A rap musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. LOL, okay.

More than a year later, Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit is everywhere. Fans are quoting lines from the play and not throwing away their shot at inputting Hamilton references into everyday conversation. People are actually buying history books for pleasure and reading The Federalist Papers like they're gossip magazines. Not to mention that scandalous Reynolds Pamphlet.

Hamilton doesn't involve a superhero or comic book heroine. But it brings together loads of diverse people and communities to equally obsess over a story. That's pretty much what being a nerd is all about.

Let me know your favorite geek moments of 2016.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at ctatham@tampabay.com. Follow @chelseatatham.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2016 7:38pm]

    

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