Geek Monthly

It's older than prejudice itself, this impulse to turn the joke inward and therefore diffuse some of its sting as it implodes. Legions of minorities and generations of stand-up comedians have all embraced labels that were hurled in spite. And so it is with Geek Monthly. The staff and readership both seem to say it loud and say it proud: That's right, we're reveling in our geekiness, once a month on the newsstands and every day online.

It gives the magazine a certain type of charm. Hey, everyone from Bill Gates to George Lucas to Bill Clinton has been tarred with that geeky brush at one time or another, so the company ain't bad. Even Tina Fey was on Geek's October 2007 cover and later bragged about it on-air to Conan O'Brien (and there's little doubt that not since Princess Leia debuted in the metal bikini had so many geek pulses been sent twittering).

Mission statements are nearly always pretty dry, but in Geek's case the raison d'être that is posted on its homepage is actually sort of sweet: "Geek is dedicated to anything and everything that geeks like you obsess about; like the latest Toys, Anime, TV shows, Movies, Games and DVDs. But there is more to the modern geek so expect the lowdown on all sorts of things from the latest apply-to-the-forehead headache cure to the technology behind space currency, and the personalities behind our geek-driven culture."

So is this promise fulfilled? Well, yeah, it is.

Make no mistake: Geek is a different type of reading experience, as one learns upon realizing that the 80 pages in the May issue are numbered 002 to 080. This is an adult magazine, after all, one that features a "Play" section containing toys. No, not the types of man-toys featured in men's magazines, not snowmobiles and mountain bikes. No, Geek features, you know, toys. Bendable action figures are presented in three-color glory. But Geek plays it straight in the accompanying text; its language of choice is unironic.

This issue focuses on Star Trek, so 'nuff said. The terms Geek/"Star Trek" may not sell ad pages on a scale comparable with Sports Illustrated/Swimsuit, but for devout readers it's certainly not the issue to miss. Even Editor in Chief Jeff Bond's opening letter refers to the Trekkie franchise as "ground zero for geeks."

The cover portrait is of film director J.J. Abrams, the man who "made Star Trek cool again" by helming the new feature. He was born in 1966, the same year the original series debuted, so who better to preach the gospel of Starfleet to a new generation? His three-page Q&A manages to speak to young and old geeks alike and is a good read.

But then there is lots of good stuff to read in this issue. A short list would include:

"Love Letter to Mr. T" by James Ross chronicles the author's obsession for all things 1980s (a self-described "Brat Pack pack rat") and even includes a loving bobble-headed display of He Who Pitied The Fool.

For those of us who couldn't make it to Toy Fair 2009 (described on page 018 as a "perfect storm of geekitude"), we not only get a fascinating recap, but we also get Geek's Annual Top Ten of "it" offerings.

"Where Have All the Porn Addicts Gone?" by the talented Kristine Gasbarre, is a fascinating examination of the possible decrease in online pornography, which some experts credit to an increase in the popularity of social networking sites.

What seems to come through on nearly all these pages (even the no-doubt-highly-coveted page 007) are two lessons for geeks and non-geeks alike: 1) lighten up and enjoy whatever it is that you makes you happy; and 2) there really aren't any non-geeks, are there?

And some of the writing here is quite compelling. One such piece -- "Red Shirt of Courage" by P.J. Hruschak -- sort of sneaks up on you. It begins by chronicling the nameless red-shirted crew members on"Star Trek " who beamed down onto hostile planets and promptly met gruesome deaths, something many of us have laughed at over the years. Of course, only Geek would go so far as to crunch the numbers; i.e., 43 of 59 -- or 73% -- of all those who became on-air fatalities on the original series wore red shirts (and I guess we should be prepared for emails next month from readers who computed it at 42 of 59). But then the article takes a subtle and moving turn, by chronicling the wartime experiences of Sgt. Sharon D. Allen, who served at dozens of Forward Operating Bases in Iraq and was assigned to a group known as "Replacements" because they filled the slots of troops killed in battle. Readers of this piece may find it a little harder to chuckle the next time a non-credited supporting actor meets his or her demise by laser gun.

Yet Geek does have one problem: Such good writing is marred by four typos in the first column alone. So not for nothing, what's up with the lack of copyediting in some of the newer magazine titles? After teeing off on NYLON over this topic last month, I hesitate turning into a one-note Magazine Racker. But recession or no recession, cutting back on copyediting doesn't seem like a wise business decision. And ironically, we all know an awful lot of copyeditors have been tarred with that same geeky brush as well, so Geek could be turning off potential readers.


Published by: Fusion Publishing Inc.

Frequency: Monthly


2 comments about "Geek Monthly".
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  1. Mike Spring from Voice Coaches, May 7, 2009 at 2:33 p.m.

    I've been a regular Geek reader (I'm not now) and it is a fairly enjoyable magazine. The typos are definitely noticeable, but I've seen that in a lot of geek-themed magazines. It almost seems like a part of the aesthetic sometimes. "We're geeks like you, and we have typos just like you, too." Weird.

  2. Grace Koh, September 25, 2009 at 2:29 p.m.

    i think i may have just stumbled upon my new favorite magazine.

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