Zorba the Greek, a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, enlightened the Western world with an exotic interpretation of premodern Greece, illustrating the country’s old-fashioned ideologies and cruel forms of justice through their rough interpretations of the law and moral code. By focusing on the unforgiving, patriarchal hierarchies of the peasants, Kazantzakis examined the society’s ideologies, strict religious guidelines, and overall way of life. Through this study, one of the novel’s themes, the application of the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law, clearly presented itself in the novel’s horrifying death scene of the “widow.” While Kazantzakis’ novel was not written to justify these actions, his description of the people and ideals of Greece successfully managed to educate the reader of their reasoning behind taking matters into their own hands.
As portrayed in the novel, premodern Greek society was much like that of ancient Greece, where men ruled over the family with an iron fist, and women served no other purpose than that of domestic creature, catering to the every whim of their husband. The common view historically was that women were inferior, sexually dangerous, and vulnerable. When described by Plato, “...the morals of women were ill reputed throughout Greece” (Jaeger 243). In fact, women without husbands were viewed as worthless and shameful in the eyes of the entire community, including both men and women alike. As was the case in Zorba the Greek, a widow in the village refused to remarry and was then scorned by the men that wanted her and the women that wanted to be her. In describing the widow, a villager commented, “She’s as you might say, the mistress of the whole village: you put out the light and you imagine it’s not the wife you take in your arms, but the widow” (Kazantzakis 97).
Hello, my name is Barbra, and I am in love with a geek.
Star Wars, Firefly, Halo, Buffy, Preacher, Alien, Battlestar Galactica - these are all staples in my life, all of which have seeped into my movie/TV viewing schedule, my everyday conversations, and even my apartment decor. Being in a relationship with a geek has expanded my artistic tastes and allowed me to be a part of a larger community, but, most importantly, it has provided me with the chance to connect with someone who holds these and other areas of fandom near and dear to his heart. For the throngs of men and women who may be longing for similar relationship bliss this Valentine’s Day, I submit to you the following suggestions for finding love with a geek (or coming to terms with your geek-tastic significant other).
“I hope to show you reflections of your friends, your neighbors, your families, and yourselves, and what their reactions are to the extreme situations on this book.”
- Robert Kirkman
Over the past seven years, writer Robert Kirkman (Battle Pope, Invincible) has found quite a literary and theatrical phenomenon with his series, The Walking Dead. The story follows a band of unlikely heroes in their daily trials and tribulations, given their extraordinary circumstances in a world devastated by a zombie apocalypse. Initiated as a graphic novel series in 2003, the books were met with rave reviews from critics and fans alike, most notably with its receipt of the Eisner Award in 2010 for Best Continuing Series. In 2010, AMC released The Walking Dead as a television series, which garnered such a positive response that the network ordered an extended, 13-episode second season.
For most fans of geek culture, San Diego Comic-Con is a yearly event that is not to be missed. Fans travel far and wide to attend the four-day convention, which has come to encompass all things pop culture: movies, television, video games, sci-fi, toys, manga, horror, and comic books. Initiated in 1970 to celebrate the comic book industry and film/television, the convention has increasingly become home to Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large within the past decade. Despite being an initial focus of the convention, the major film and television studios have inserted their dominance over its media attention and convention hall space. These media giants brought with them a perceived imperialistic presence that created a social hierarchy, which fans of geek culture used to avoid at comic conventions. Tickets that were available for convention goers have now been set aside en masse for agents, managers, film and TV celebrities, and their entourages. With this transformation, serious concerns have surfaced with regard to overcrowding, ticket sales, and angst amongst convention patrons, who long for the days of being able to enjoy the convention for its original purpose without having to fight the crowds. This year, with pre-ordered tickets selling out at astronomical rates and booth availability for independent comic book vendors becoming more sparse, fans have been forced to deal with multiple failed attempts to purchase online tickets due to server overload.
Over the past decade, I have become increasingly dismayed with the “films” coming out of Hollywood. Of course, you know that I am talking about the fetishization of pop-culture nostalgia. Let’s face it; they just don’t make movies like they used to. From Transformers to G.I. Joe, from The Karate Kid to Teen Wolf (it is going to be on MTV – and do not even get me started on the topic of “Music Television...”), it is difficult (editor’s note: impossible) to name a recent big-budget film that is not a remake/reboot/reimagining/reinventing/sequel/prequel/sidequel. Some may argue that there are only “seven original stories in existence,” but, let’s be honest here; this is a completely specious argument. At the end of the day, all humans eat, breath, and sleep, but are their lives all the same?
While furthering our knowledge of the origin and nature of theoretical physics, physicist Stephen Hawking has become one of the most vital scientific minds since Albert Einstein. Hawking has accomplished revolutionary work on the existence of black holes and published multiple best-selling books on his scientific discoveries over the past 40 years. Overcoming great professional and personal obstacles such as his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Hawking earned legendary status among his fellow physicists with his notable endeavor to understand the universe. With his most successful book, A Brief History of Time, he explained the evolution of his thinking about the cosmos for general audiences, earning him status as an accessible genius and a household name. Hardly slowed by his battle with ALS, Hawking has continued his research into theoretical physics, written another book, and traveled the globe giving lectures to the general public.
First and foremost, I am a rabid David Sedaris fan. I was first introduced to the humorous essayist just over a year ago with his 2008 book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Ever since, I have read almost every one of his books within one sitting; I just cannot put them down. I expected no less from his most recent work, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, a collection of short stories that highlights questions of morality and societal ills as enacted by animals. While no less comical than his previous stories, this brief book provides the present-day reader with opportunities to laugh and learn from the assorted creatures who share our trials and tribulations in raising children, alienation from friends, adultery, and racism.
David Sedaris is many things: writer, humorist, and radio contributor for National Public Radio, often working with Ira Glass’ “This American Life.” (Perhaps not well known is the fact that Glass discovered Sedaris in a Chicago club, reading stories from his diary.) Known for his short stories which are, in most cases, autobiographical (yet exaggerated) and self-defacing, Sedaris has enjoyed several, national bestsellers with Naked, Holidays On Ice (featuring his acclaimed essay “SantaLand Diaries," which was first introduced on NPR), Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames. The stories feature accounts of his family’s inner-workings, his numerous odd jobs across the county, and his various follies into drugs that are downright hysterical. The events are sometimes so far-fetched that part of the fun is wondering where the truth leaves off and the exaggeration begins. Despite the repetition of some stories in multiple books, the occurrence only allows the reader to re-experience the humor that may have been forgotten.
As the Fanboy Comics staff takes time to revel in the goodwill and merriment of the holiday season, I have found that there is no better time than now to celebrate the movie that encompasses the true meaning of Christmas: the 1988 Bill Murray classic, Scrooged. Here are the top ten reasons that this gem remains number one in our hearts after all of these years:
10. Whether you currently have a job (you lucky dog, you) or even if you’re hoping that unemployment benefits will be extended, we have all had a boss who rewards our long hours of hard work with free company-emblazoned swag which probably cost about 30¢ to make in a third-world country. Nothing says “Job well done!” during the holidays like a stress ball shaped like a globe.
9. Who wouldn’t be inclined to tune in to A Christmas Carol that promises acid rain and drugs?! Despite the footage of international terrorist warfare (too soon?), I think that we can all agree that the Frank Cross’ promo for IBC’s A Christmas Carol was far superior to Eliot Loudermilk’s feel-good, family trailer.
For fans of all things horror and make-up effects, the Monsterpalooza convention returned to the Marriott Hotel in Burbank, CA, providing a chance for all to mingle with independent artists and industry professionals alike in an exciting yet accessible setting. Presented by the Rubber Room and running from April 8-10, the convention exhibits make-up and special effects artists, vendors selling creature-feature DVDs, t-shirts, and posters, make-up and digital design colleges, a monster museum, and a number of well-known genre actors. As a special treat, guests of the con can count on appearances by industry giants like Guillermo del Toro, Jon Favreau, and Greg Nicotero, wandering through the booths, celebrating the creature genre as much as the next fan.
As a continued foray into the B-movie and exploitation films of the seventies, Robert Rodriguez’s 2010 Machete more than delivered in tastelessness and violence. Originally opening in theatres in September of 2010, the film was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 4, 2011. The feature-length film is an expansion of a fake trailer created for Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 Grindhouse double-feature, and, encouraged by their rabid fan base, it was quickly developed into a star-studded action movie. Despite a cast that was riddled with Hollywood heavy-hitters and a story that included the uber-controversial immigration reform debate, Machete succeeded only in extending the same violence, nudity, and crudeness as was captured in its trailer.
For director Robert Rodriguez, Machete was a project that was long in the making. As a long-time friend and fan of actor Danny Trejo, who has made appearances in almost (if not) all of Rodriguez’s films, the director had intended to create an action film that encapsulated a Latin feel while geared towards a larger audience. Although a script for the film was written in 2003 by Rodriguez, his full production plate kept him from focusing on the film until his shared Grindhouse project with long-time partner Quentin Tarantino in 2007. A fake trailer for the Machete was included in the B-movie extravaganza, featuring actors including Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, and Jeff Fahey, all Rodriguez standards. Over the next three years, Rodriguez assembled his cast, starting with the Oscar-winning Robert DeNiro. After securing such a big-named actor, the remaining casting came easily. The final cast of Machete finally formed, including actors of the likes of Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Tom Savini (another continued Rodriguez player), and the “prolific” Lindsay Lohan.