Cartoon exposes geeks for what they are

'Welcome to Eltingville' jumps from comics to Cartoon Network tonight

— Geeks. They're everywhere these days, popping up as popular TV characters (the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Troika), on the radio (Weezer) and even getting their own game shows, like "Beat the Geeks."

Kevin Smith? Geek. George Lucas? Uber-geek.

Indeed, in a time when pop culture is king, geeks are revered in an unprecedented manner. Yet, one man is daring to stand up and expose geekdom for the meaningless cult of obsessive, immature nerds that he sees beneath this veneer of cool, and he's using a cartoon do it.

That man is Evan Dorkin, and his cartoon, "Welcome to Eltingville," premieres today on Cartoon Network.

"The whole idea of 'Eltingville,"' Dorkin says, "is the arrogance that's not perceived of a lot of geeks. A lot of them are sons-of-bitches who use their silly knowledge as power in their little cliques."

"Eltingville" is about such a group, the members of The Eltingville Club � Bill, Josh, Jerry and Pete � who gather regularly to play games and indulge in their manic consumption of comics, sci-fi and horror movies.

Dorkin, best-known as the creator of the acerbic "Milk & Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad" comics and as a writer for "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and The WB's "Superman Adventures" animated series, created the Eltingville boys in 1993 for a comic satirizing what he calls "the more vocal, angry and, I think, brain-dead arm of comics and genre fandom."

In the special for Cartoon Network (based on Dorkin's first two "Eltingville" strips), the Club members abuse and insult one another constantly, each vying for geek supremacy.

Their incessant bickering culminates in a trivia showdown between Josh and Bill over the right to purchase a rare Boba Fett action figure.

For the record, Dorkin does indeed own such a figure, which was traded to him by a fan in exchange for some comics.

Because of Dorkin's antipathy towards the "Eltingville" quartet, he plans to retire the group from comics. "I always knew 'Eltingville' was something I was going to stop doing," he says. "I hate these characters, to a small degree. I find them maddening to work on. I'm drawing these horrific, ugly characters acting in a really nasty way."

Despite having received several offers, Dorkin has been reluctant to option his other creations for TV and film.

"I'm not looking for a pay off," he insists.

However, Dorkin says if he could write "Eltingville" without having to draw it (should Cartoon Network exercise its option to purchase the characters for further episodes), "That'd be great."


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