The Secret Loves of Geeks
Publisher: Dark Horse
Editor: Hope Nicholson
Introduction: Hope Nicholson
Foreword: Chris Roberson
Cover Art: Becky Cloonan
Review by Anelise Farris
The Secret Loves of Geeks is a follow-up to the super successful nonfiction anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls (2015)—also from Dark Horse. I will be upfront that I have not read the former book, but I definitely plan to after reading this one! So, what is The Secret Loves of Geeks exactly? Well, it’s an anthology filled with prose nonfiction as well as comics, and they’re all written/drawn by pop-culture aficionados. Although the stories themselves are all related to love, they are not what I would call traditional romance stories—which is precisely why I enjoyed it so much!
Hope Nicholson’s introduction offers a breakdown of what you can expect to find in the anthology, how the stories are not just about love and dating, but about self-discovery. She also rightly reminds us that while we are all individuals with our own unique experiences, our stories are able to connect with others, to bring us together, to open our minds, to increase our empathy. And, that’s the power of story.
Like Nicholson, Chris Roberson presents readers with a thoughtful foreword that frames the collection nicely. He confesses that even though he might seem like an unusual choice for writing the foreword, iZombie is a romance comic, and like that fantastic series (my words!) the stories in The Secret Loves of Geeks are more than just love stories; they are about people being people, about identity and relationships. Roberson also draws attention to the remarkable experience of identifying with a character or a figure—one that represents you in some way or helps you to claim your own identity. Diverse representation matters, and each story featured here reflects that.
The collection opens with a prose piece by Cecil Castellucci titled “My Phantom Menace.” This story recounts her experience camping out on the sidewalk for weeks in anticipation of The Phantom Menace premiere. It’s a story about the holds that first love—human or franchise—have on us, even eighteen years later. And from here, readers will encounter stories about what video games and RPGs can teach us about different forms of sexuality, of how films and books can lead to self-discovery. There are so many great contributions in The Secret Loves of Geeks to highlight here, but I will refrain from doing so so that you can discover them for yourself. I will, however, loudly express my love for two particular stories that spoke to me so much! The comic “The Horror, The Horror,” written by Margaret Atwood, is about a seemingly “plain jane” who secretly loves horror stories. This piece is both funny and relatable, and it’s drawn beautifully. And, for anyone who has a partner that is at all geeky (shout out to my wonderfully geeky husband!), the story “The 50 Weirdest Things that Happen in Nerdy Relationships” by Diana McCallum is an absolute treat.
The stories collected in The Secret Loves of Geeks examine the complexities, frustrations, and anxieties of attraction, as well as the self-realization that can occur through our relationships with pop culture. There is a vast range of art and writing styles, as well as content, and the collection does a brilliant job of including diverse sexualities. Additionally, although I was familiar with the majority of the contributors, I discovered a bunch of new writers and artists to fangirl over
Verdict: Buy it.
The variety of stories in The Secret Loves of Geeks, as well as the connective thread that binds it all together—love in all shapes, sizes, and forms—makes this a fantastic read for anyone!
The Secret Loves of Geeks will be available February 14, 2018.