Writer: Matt Cohen
Art: Axel Ortiz
Colours: Anthony Bachman (pg.1-64), Sherard Jackson (pg.65-131)
Letterer/Editor: Shawn DePasquale
Released: August, 2015
You may not have seen or heard about this book in 2015, however this is a well-read piece of work that deserves to be noticed. This new independently created and crowd funded book called G.E.E.K! is an original story/brain baby of its creator, the ever entertaining Matt Cohen. That cannot go without saying that this project could not have been as beautifully done as it is without the amazing art work of Axel Ortiz. To understand where this book is coming from is to understand its creator.
My first exposure to Matt Cohen was around 2008 when I got deep into podcasts while working midnights in an auto assembly factory. I downloaded just about every podcast from Kevin Smith’s Smodco Podcast Network and while many of them were dry or didn’t suit me, the one podcast that really hit home (and also has thee dopest theme song) was Matt’s podcast Bagged & Boarded. Bagged & Boarded was a really solid show that was largely geeky in tone but for in reality it was a talk show for stoners. Geek/Stoner is a fairly niche entertainment market I find as most things are either too geeky and reasonably serious or reasonably geeky and too serious, but I believe there needs to be more to offer out there for the geeky stoner. In short, I want less Big Bang Theory and less Talking Dead, and I need more Jay & Silent Bob and more Pineapple Express. It was from Bagged & Boarded that Matt had started a crowd funding project on Kickstarter for a graphic novel that he wrote and developed based on his personal life.
G.E.E.K! is a story about a stoner geek named Obie (of whom shares his creators likeness) who finds himself smack dab-less in the middle of San Diego Comic when Kevin Smith steals his bag of weed. This leads to Obie discovering that all around him there are secret agents in suits and sunglasses, some even disguised as big name guests at the con. A secret group of vigilante geeks infiltrating the con find their paths crossed with Obie when he saves the group in dire circumstance. Without spoiling too much of this awesome story before it gets good, you find out that this group of geek vigilantes make up a modern strike force for an organization with deep rooted origins in history called G.E.E.K.. This organization fights to protect the world from evils such as Hitler or the modern day evil corporation looking to eliminate the likes of the G.E.E.K. organization, the Slicks. While this is merely the foundations of the story, the book comes to life in a big way with lots of personality from page 1 throughout with all the attention to detail; the excitement to see what happens next when you flip that page is immense and keeps you wanting more.
The attention to geeky detail with many points hitting close to home for me, as well as the straight up stoner vibes this graphic novel emits is the attraction at the core of this book. The references to comic books and tv shows is enough to satiate without being unbearable. There is a certain grounded meta aspect to this book that is hard to avoid that touches upon a stranger finding themselves in a real super hero situation in the middle of a real super hero/fiction mecca, the San Diego Comic Con. The every-man stoner becomes the most oblivious fish out of water in such a situation, much like the stoner character in the movie Cabin In The Woods being the key player in the end. The dialogue is for the most part believable however a bit of their dialogue seemed partly forced and unnatural when it came to certain characters whose quirks defined their dialogue (particularly the French guy and the Weeaboo guy in the main crew). That being said, I loved all the characters and what they all brought to the table when it came to this rag tag ground of heroes. Gaijin the ninja is probably the best character as well, essentially being the stoner Deathstroke of this universe. This book also does some things in writing that I wish more fiction was straight up about, in particular at the end of the book there are questions left unanswered and the book takes note of those questions and answers them. The comical/meta tone to the book is enough brain candy for any geeky stoner and that’s a great thing.
The art by Axel Ortiz is consistently great with a simple angular edged style. His splash pages are full of action and there was a specific pop art styled section to the book that looked absolutely phenomenal. The book underwent some issues when it came to the colouring but having both colourists really did the book good, especially when the change goes without notice for a seamless experience. The colours when it came to the pop art portion had a particularly pleasing palate! It would be a welcoming surprise to hear that Axel is working on a G.E.E.K. sequel (if that were to happen), but I would like to see how someone else could put their artistic spin on this universe.
Being that this book was a successful Kickstarter, the tier that I had paid to back this project entitled me to a trade paperback edition of this roller coaster of an original graphic novel, as well as a G.E.E.K. sticker, a hand written thank you note, and a soundtrack to the book that features a compilation of great tracks that beg to be listened to in sequence while you read this book (featuring songs such as Fame by David Bowie and John Cleese’s hit song . In fact its also a great soundtrack to dig on while I write this review! More people should check out this graphic novel, it is a shame that this book has not gotten much attention but I would say that this book holds up to anything being published by any major publisher these days. Any company in the comic book industry would be daft to pass up the opportunity to help continue this story and IP. Visit www.GeekComicBook.com to purchase your own copy of G.E.E.K. whether it be physical or digital for $6.66 (a real badass price). I will cherish my copy and I am glad to have been a part of bringing the book to life. CHEERS MATT!
~ Tyler Head