You wouldn't think Batman would have much to do with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), but knowing that Michael Keaton recently starred in the Oscar-winning Birdman (a thinly-veiled reference to his own days as the cinematic Caped Crusader), the story of an actor known mainly as a crime-fighting avian hero idolized by nerds and geeks, it made a certain sort of sense to see the Dark Knight by the RSPB's stand at Showmasters' Film and Comic Convention in Newcastle the other day.
And no, he wasn't accompanied by Robin...
It was still a surprise to come across said stand at a comic-con, admittedly, but upon closer inspection RSPB representative Erin Foy explained that "we go wherever people are - baby and toddler events, high streets, anywhere there's lots of people. We even attended the Erotica Show in London."
And as Ms. Foy mentioned, surrounded as she was by strolling Sith Lords and other stands selling Mr Spock T-shirts, Star Trek posters and foot long fantasy swords from Firefly, "I'm with my own people."
A common thread of decent geekdom does, to put it gently, seem to unite these groups with their seemingly disparate interests, and who knows what crossovers may take place one day? Campaigns to save the cloned pterodactyls at Jurassic Park, perhaps? Adam Farina of Team Fox for Parkinson's Research (also at the event) later enlarged on the commercial reasons for their presence, explaining that "these events are a big growth area in popular media, and we hope to channel this energy into the philanthropic area."
As I've just been to the first autism convention in London, let us hope, then, that the National Autistic Society and other charities will find both common ground and space for stands at similar events.
After all, and to paraphrase the title of Luke Jackson's book, we're all freaks and geeks with Asperger Syndrome...
James Christie is the author of Dear Miss Landau. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of autism, at the age of 37 in 2002. He lives in the Scottish Borders.