March 2007

Jennifer Johnson

magazine whore

Geek Monthly

Comic books and video games and Shatner, oh my! Geek Monthly is indeed “geeky,” but in a snarky, entertaining way I found surprisingly endearing -- as much as one can be endeared to a magazine, I mean. If we gave this geek contacts and threw out its pocket protector, could it be, dare I say... cool? Well, probably, but that sort of misses the point, doesn’t it? In only its second issue, Geek Monthly is establishing itself as the quintessential magazine for the geek lifestyle -- one that includes all the technological gadgets, anime and science fiction that you were told were “uncool,” but still secretly (or publicly) love.

Geek Monthly is so much fun, it may just cause you to rethink any anti-geek bias you may be clinging to from high school. It handles its content -- which ranges from “Non-porn way to kill time on the internet” to a review of hardcore graphic novel Lost Girls to a side bar interview with William Shatner, lord and savior of the geeks himself -- with style. Geek Monthly commits fully to its pro-geek agenda, hopefully making you a little less ashamed of your collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures and your obsession with World of Warcraft. You are not alone -- geeks are everywhere!

And, these geeks can write. “Typecasting,” a feature on the history of fanfic and its writers, was fascinating. The interview with Kristen Bell (of Veronica Mars fame) deviated from standard magazine interview fodder of “What’s it like to be famous?” and did what I always think an interview is supposed to do: show the reader a new side of the interviewee rather than serve as a 2,000 word advertisement for their next project. And the movie features -- which are clearly this magazine’s bread and butter -- are in-depth looks at films flying a little under the radar, like Children of Men and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

In addition to its collection of essays on so-called “geek” topics, the second issue of Geek Monthly takes its own spin on a magazine standard: the “hot list.” “The Big List” attempts this go-to page filler with a tongue-in-cheek attitude that is perhaps best summed up in the intro to the list itself: “They said it couldn’t be done. Others said magazine formatting traditions demanded it. Still others just wanted a way to fill eight more pages.” It’s fun to read a magazine that doesn’t take itself so seriously. After all, its just a few hundred glossy pages that quickly make their descent from coffee table to recycling bin -- we’re not curing cancer here.

“The Big List” features such gems as “Future Hiro’s Goatee from Heroes” (“If Star Trek established nothing else, it’s that alternate time or universe versions of regular characters must always sport a fiendish-looking goatee.”) and “Captain Crunch with Crunchberrys” (“that’s original crunchberrys, the red ones, before they were ruined by multiculturalism.”). Yes, it’s one hundred and eight completely random items worthy of geek worship. Consider it a Cliffs Notes for geek culture.

But, Geek Monthly has its lame bits as well as its gems and the main perpetrator is the fashion spread. “Shakeup in the Meltdown” consists of an eight-page spread of two guys and a girl wearing t-shirts and doing the robot.Yup, you read that right. Close your eyes and imagine it. Great, now you can skip those pages. While years of casual Vogue readership have made me appreciate a fashion spread where the most expensive item is $50 (rather than the dreaded “price upon request”), this still wasn’t doing it for me. I looked through these pages multiple times and I still can’t decide if they’re a joke or not. Not a good sign, either way. But, one miss in a magazine I truly enjoyed is still something to brag about.

Perusing the Internet (former “geek Central” turned cool), I learned that geeks trump both nerds and dorks in the grand nerd hierarchy. After all, if one is going to embrace the dork within, it’s nice to shoot for the top. Funny thing though, after reading Geek Monthly, geeks seem a little less gawky and a bit more cool. Apparently, geek talents range beyond biting the heads off of chickens (look it up) and fixing computers. With a massive amount of content and better than average writing, I’m totally geeked about Geek Monthly. All hail the geek within us all.