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Let’s face it: Many comic fans are labeled nerds – or, worse, hygienically-challenged nerds.

But comedian-turned-comic-book mogul Marlon Wayans thinks the term “tastemakers” is more apropos.

Wayans says what the comic book fan likes today is what will be popular culture tomorrow and he is doing what he can to cater to the geeks.

To that end: Wayans and his brother, Shawn, will be hosting a panel discussion today at 10:30 a.m. in Room 6CDEF and will use the opportunity to introduce a variety of new projects aimed at the geek demographic, including a new cartoon series, “Thugaboo,” that will debut Aug. 11 on Nickelodeon and a new comic book, Super Bad James Dynomite, that spoofs vigilante cops like Shaft.

“Thugaboo” focuses on nine inner city youths and Wayans says it’s heavily influenced by Disney “but edgier.”

Meanwhile, he says Super Bad James Dynomite is heavily influenced by Mad Magazine. Well, the covers anyway.

“We grew up near where they used to print Mad Magazine and I used to read the ones they threw out. However, I was more into the color covers than the insides, which were black and white.”

Although Wayans has a busy film career thanks to hits like the “Scary Movie” series, “White Chicks” and the current hit, “Little Man,” he is “heavily involved” with his animated projects as well.

In fact, whenever he sees an interesting face that he thinks should be immortalized in the comic book, he photographs it for the artists.

So far, Wayans hasn’t mixed his comic or cartoon career with his movie career but admits he’s considering bringing the characters from “White Chicks” and “Little Man” to the funny pages.

DAVID MOYE

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