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This Week in Nerd History | June 26 – July 2

Nerd culture is a vibrant tapestry of events, releases, and milestones that have shaped the entertainment landscape. From iconic movies to groundbreaking games and significant literary contributions, this article takes a trip down memory lane to explore the notable nerd culture events that occurred from June 26th to July 2nd in history. Let’s celebrate these cherished moments that have left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans around the world.

Photo Credit: Peter Harrington

June 26, 1997 | Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is published

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, was published by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom on this day. The book introduces the world of magic and the adventures of Harry Potter, a young orphan who discovers that he is a wizard and attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The book was an instant success and sparked a global phenomenon that includes seven books, eight movies, spin-offs, theme parks, merchandise, and a loyal fan base. The book was later published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Nerdy Fact: The book was rejected by 12 publishers before it was accepted by Bloomsbury, who paid only £1,500 for the UK rights. The editor advised J.K. Rowling to get a day job, as she had little chance of making money from children’s books. The book went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time, with over 120 million copies sold worldwide.

Photo Credit: Steam

June 26, 2014 | Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove released

On this day, Shovel Knight, a platformer game developed by Yacht Club Games for various systems, was released in North America. The game, which was later released in Europe, Australia, Japan, and China, was inspired by retro games such as Mega Man, Castlevania, and DuckTales, featuring pixel art graphics, chiptune music, and challenging gameplay. The game was a critical and commercial success, selling over 2 million copies worldwide, and has received several expansions and spin-offs.

Nerdy Fact: The game was originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $300,000, far exceeding its initial goal of $75,000.

Photo Credit: Board Game Halv

June 27, 2000 | Carcassonne published

On this day, the popular tabletop game Carcassonne was first published. Carcassonne is a board game where players create a medieval landscape by placing tiles with different terrain features. Players can also place followers, called meeples, on the tiles to claim roads, cities, fields, or monasteries. The game is named after a fortified town in France and has won several awards. Carcassonne is easy to learn but offers strategic depth and replay value.

Nerdy Fact: The game has also inspired many expansions and spin-offs, as well as digital versions for various platforms. One of the expansions, The Catapult, was so unpopular that it was discontinued by the publisher.

Photo Credit: Variety

June 27, 2008 | WALL-E released

On this day, WALL-E, an animated sci-fi film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Andrew Stanton, was released in the US. The film, set in a future where Earth is abandoned and covered with garbage, follows the story of WALL-E, a lonely robot who collects trash and falls in love with EVE, a sleek probe sent by humans to check for signs of life. The film was praised for its animation, story, humor, and message, and won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Nerdy Fact: The film features minimal dialogue and relies on sound effects and music to convey emotions. The film’s sound designer, Ben Burtt, created over 2,400 sounds for the film, including WALL-E’s voice, which was made by modulating his own voice through a computer.

Photo Credit: WWE

June 28, 1999 | The Undertaker throws Mankind off the Hell in a Cell

On this day, we witnessed one of the most shocking and brutal moments in wrestling history. The Undertaker threw his rival Mankind (Mick Foley) off the top of a 16-foot-high steel cage during their Hell in a Cell match at the King of the Ring pay-per-view event in Pittsburgh. Mankind crashed through the Spanish announcers’ table and was stretchered out, but he returned to continue the match. The Undertaker then chokeslammed him through the roof of the cage onto the ring mat, where thumbtacks were scattered. The Undertaker won the match by pinfall, but Mankind earned respect and admiration for his incredible resilience and courage.

Nerdy Fact: Mankind suffered multiple injuries during the match, including a dislocated shoulder, a dislocated jaw, a concussion, a bruised kidney, and several missing teeth.

Photo Credit: Syfy

June 28, 2006 | Superman Returns to Theaters

On this day, Superman Returns premiered in theaters. Superman Returns is directed by Bryan Singer and starring Brandon Routh as Superman. The film is a sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve Superman films and follows Superman’s return to Earth after five years away. He finds that Lois Lane has a new life and that Lex Luthor is plotting to use Kryptonian technology to destroy him and the world.

Nerdy Fact: Routh returned to play Superman again in the CW’s Arrowverse crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths, which aired in 2019 and 2020. However, he did not play the same version of Superman as in the film, but rather a different one from an alternate Earth. His Superman was based on the Kingdom Come comic book storyline, where Superman is older and darker after suffering a tragedy that killed most of his friends and allies.

Photo Credit: The Ringer

July 1, 1966 | First appearance of Black Panther

On this day, we saw the first appearance of Black Panther. Black Panther is a comic book superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics who first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 as a guest character. He is the king and protector of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with advanced technology. He has enhanced abilities from a mystical herb and wears a vibranium suit. He is the first black superhero in mainstream American comics.

Nerdy Fact: His name predates the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary political organization founded in October 1966, but he was not the inspiration for the organization name either. Stan lee and Jack Kirby briefly changed his name to Black Leopard in 1972 to avoid confusion with the Black Panther Party, but soon reverted to the original name.

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