cover image Black Nerd Problems: Essays

Black Nerd Problems: Essays

William Evans and Omar Holmon. Gallery, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-982150-23-5

Evans and Holmon, cofounders of the website Black Nerd Problems, bring their pop culture criticism to this wide-ranging, compulsively readable debut collection. Touching on such topics as the hidden depths of boxing-inspired anime Hajime no Ippo, the irony of Hamilton’s steep ticket prices, and Game of Thrones’s one Black character, Evans and Holman are often hilarious (The Lion King’s “Simba... is straight up landfill. Trash. Rubbage”) and always original. In addition to straightforward essays, some entries come in the form of high-octane, joyful dialogue between the authors, as in “Two Dope Boys and an—Oh My God, the Flash Got Fucked Up!” for example, in which the authors discuss the Flash: “I ain’t ever seen a hero get their body Earth’d like that since Superman’s funeral.” The most gripping essays use cultural events as an entry point to discuss larger topics: Evans’s “The Sobering Reality of Actual Black Nerd Problems” poignantly uses a local comics convention to open a conversation about the ongoing violence against and oppression of Black people, and “Go On: An Evergreen Comedic Series That Helped Me Navigate Loss” sees Holmon processing the grief of his mother’s death with the help of a short-lived NBC sitcom. This hugely entertaining, eminently thoughtful collection is a master class in how powerful—and fun—cultural criticism can be. Agent: Katherine Latshaw, Folio Literary. (Sept.)