?Nothing says “Hey,
whatever it is that you like is also as cool as Las Vegas” like a good
neon sign. The warm glow emitting from the quality combination of bent glass,
inert gas and electricity — it’s that ultra-rare combination of science-nerdy and barroom cool that appeals to everyone. Even a nerdy neon sign can class up even the most action figure-filled, anime poster-laden, role-playing-game dominated basement room, if only because it implies that basement room might be serving booze.
Neon signs are simultaneously garish and engaging, which is just
the thing to draw attention to the things one appreciates most — and nerds certainly are no exception to this. After all, if
something is awesome, shouldn’t people be able to see it vividly in the dark? In
the spirit of illuminating some of nerdom’s most cherished icons, we present
10 neon signs worth hanging in plain view of your peers.
10) Magic: The Gathering
?These neon displays give
planeswalkers the world over a reason to smile, with the MTG logo lit up in a
jovial yellow hue. It’s unknown whether yellow was chosen because of its
eye-catching prowess or its lack a spell color connotation, but it doesn’t look
half bad outside card-carrying shops. It’s possible that some hardcore Dungeons
& Dragons players might resent the fact that viewers don’t need to do any
math on paper to enjoy the sign, but all is forgiven when they remember that
they’ll always have a major motion picture featuring Marlon Wayans and the
Magic crowd doesn’t.
9) Marvel Comics
?A staple in comic shops
during the early ’90s, these brightly-lit versions of the Marvel logo guided
fans young and old to brick-and-mortar stores stocked with holo-foil covers and
trading cards. For nerds of a certain age, even the crash of the speculator
market (and Marvel’s mid-late ’90s bankruptcy woes) isn’t enough to tarnish
these reminders of a simpler time when Pogs inexplicably had monetary value.
They still hang brightly in many shops and on eBay for those looking to get
their hands on one.
?Namco’s most bulbous
superstar translates pretty effectively from bright yellow pixels to arguably
even brighter neon tubing and his ghostly enemies follow suit in these
glowtastic signs. This particular set sold on eBay last year, but similar items
can still be found online for a fairly reasonable fee. Just be sure to feed the
Pac-Man light bulbs and cherries on the reg for maximum brightness.
7) Star Wars/Stark Trek
?While both the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises certainly merit an abundance of cool neon
signage, the Internet’s offerings seem relatively meager. There are some decent
neon tributes to either property on auction sites like eBay and the Star Trek
Experience in Las Vegas had a few displays featuring neon tech, but it’s not
quite enough. Until the neon sign industry stops neglecting these two banner
sci-fi series, fans will have to accept modest merchandise rather than mass
produced options like a neon Rebel Alliance emblem or a glowing Starfleet logo.
?Displaced as a console
company by arguably superior systems (or at least gaming franchises) many moons
ago, Atari still holds a special place in gamers’ hearts for introducing a
golden age of videogame addiction. This promotional sign used at E3 a few years
ago reminds everyone that while the company may have streamlined its operations
to game production, it’s still trained thousands in the destruction of
asteroids, centipedes and paperboys.
5) Duff Beer
?Given that seemingly 99
percent of all neon signs are used to advertise booze, its only fitting that
Homer Simpson’s favorite brew would pop up in the real world in such an
incarnation. There are many versions of the sign floating around on eBay and
other auction sites, but the biggest/best signs are probably commissioned
works. The signs are kind of moot given The
Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening hasn’t licensed the brew in the United
States (other than as an energy drink), lest underage fans adopt Homer’s
less-than-healthy habits, but the sign gives fans a look into an alternate
reality Moe’s Tavern.
?While Nintendo has grown
into something of a homebody brand over the past few decades, migrating from
arcades to more domestic points of interest, the company’s logo still evokes
plenty of fan sentiment. Signs like the one pictured above can still be found
on display at certain game retailers and arcades, but securing one for your own
domicile might take a trip down some of the Internet’s finer warp tubes.
?One of the coolest
busting-related logos in showbiz, the Ghostbusters’ banner has never looked
better in the form of this neon tubing. There’s a much cooler Ghostbusters neon sign from Front Street
Neon in New York elsewhere on the Web (http://www.ecto-web.org/~spookcentral/fan_art_neonlogo07.jpg),
but the image’s hosting site has an exclusive. In the interest of not crossing
streams, you’ll have to settle for this simpler pub sign from eBay.
2) DC Superhero Logos
?DC Direct’s smorgasbord
of neon sign offerings extend through most of the publisher’s most popular
properties to include a sign for everyone from Superman to the Green Lantern
and Sinestro Corps. The sheer variety is enough to please most any fan of the
DCU. Their scale makes them suitable for home or light commercial use, although
depending on how they’re displayed, the signs may not be conducive to maintaining
a cosplayer’s secret identity.
Constructed as part of
Disney’s viral marketing campaign for the upcoming Tron: Legacy at this past summer’s Comic-Con International in San
Diego, these promotional signs replicating the notorious Flynn’s Arcade
exterior, as well as the Tron film
logo are about as close as fans will get to entering Jeff Bridges’ video game
odyssey. There’s no telling whether or not the signs will make their return
during similar events down the road, but fans should keep their eyes peeled as
the sequel’s December, 2010 release date approaches.