Geekiness has gone from something easily mocked to a highly regarded characteristic of our leaders of industry. What made them this way? What shaped their lives? The answer is simple, even if it does lend to endless logic-loops: Other geeks, both real and fictional, have helped form the mindset of our geek-culture today through years of pervasive awesomeness. Bridging the gap between the hapless bookworms and the lumberjacks are a select few manly geeks. These ten remarkable men hit the top of that short-list, in no particular order, of the giants that constantly provide shoulders for great minds to stand upon today.
While Batman may have been known primarily for his ruthless tactics and cunning in the past, geek culture of recent history has recognized him for his overwhelmingly badass gadgets. He wears a tool-belt, which in and of itself is man-style, but instead of hammers and measures he packs things that hurt people and help him scale buildings. The best part about this stuff is that he doesn’t buy any of his stuff from Best Buy, but has to design it all and use secret connections to get it made to his liking. He’s so man-geek-extraordinary that he has to hide it all and act like a simpleton with money, or people would immediately catch on.
Probably the most iconic geek-hero of the age we live in today, Tony Stark unleashes Iron Man in similar fashion to Bruce Wayne and his own late-night shenanigans. The difference here is that Tony Stark never bothered to hide his technological prowess, and even uses it to his advantage. In an epic display of manliness, he’s forced to basically implant a powerful magnet directly into his own chest because of shrapnel in his heart. He not only commits to ridiculously epic aerial and ground combat in a suit of armor, but also develops the world’s most advanced technologies in the process, including full-blown artificial intelligence. This man is irrefutable as a geek-god among men.
Dr. Alan Grant
Geeks come in many flavors, and not all of them involve silicon. Grant shows his ability to man up when he finds himself stranded in the wilderness, time after time, surrounded by velociraptors. How would you handle this problem? The man didn’t even have a gun most of the time, but he did have a lifelong background as a paleontologist. He lives and breathes science, hard tangible artifacts are his lifeblood, and new-world genetic meddling doesn’t stop him from making geeky observations while anyone else would be scared out of their wits. Thinking fast in a crisis situation involving dinosaurs is enough to earn this man a spot on the list.
When levels of geekery are laid out on a spectrum, inevitably the name Lewis Skolnick is going to come up, on the far edge of the paper. A man so deep down the rabbit-hole that he transcends ordinary geekiness and crosses over into absolute (and iconic) nerd status, Skolnick is a leader who cannot be forgotten. Countless childhoods were shaped in no small part by his find a way or make one attitude towards the hardships of life facing nerds and geeks in his day, and it shows in our culture now. He showed us that the nerdiest of the group can score the hottest chick in the sorority, that brains can outmatch brawn, and that the way to live life is by owning it every step of the way.
It’s no secret that Steve Jobs is a bit of a jerk, but it’s one of the reasons we love him so much. This is the guy who, with his best friend, in a garage, prank-called high-level government officials in other countries using illegal blue-boxes that they sold out of the back of a truck. This is the man who brought us not only just about every computer we used in school growing up, but the iPods and iPhones in so many of our pockets right now. He took off when he was younger to hang out in India on what was basically one long acid trip, only to come back and start his now ubiquitous company, Apple. His name is synonymous with shrewd business moves as well as cutting-edge technology, and he has never been portrayed as the sniveling, nerdy upstart, unlike some of his more prominent rivals.
Does this really need explanation? I’ll just go ahead and sum things up for those of you who may have missed out on the entirety of the 1980s: MacGyver is possibly the manliest of all geeks ever to have (fictionally) lived. This is the man who could disarm not only a nuclear warhead, but every soldier in the entire installation surrounding it, using only his Swiss Army Knife, Duct tape, and a pencil eraser. Most of the time having something extra like a pencil eraser was just a luxury, and he had to make due with his belt. The man is simply amazing, and if that doesn’t sway you, consider the fact that he wrestled with Sasquatch. Granted, it was really just a really huge guy in a bigfoot suit, but Mac didn’t know that when he decided to square off and go Nacho Libre on his ass.
A man so deeply ingrained in our culture as an absolute brain, lately he’s been exposed as the true badass he really was. Ben Franklin was indeed a genius: he was a nerd, a geek, and a philosopher all at once, but he was also the guy who could be so hard that he would get our coveted 100 dollar bill as his permanent portrait setting. He didn’t just sit around safe and cozy inventing things like bifocals and discovering uses for the lightnight while the whole world blew up around him. Ben was involved every step of the way, and was even responsible for getting the French to help out in the War. In a time when it’d be difficult to dub anyone a true geek, Ben Franklin shines like a beacon for the future, because that’s what he was.
The mythical Raiden-like god of geeks – Nikola Tesla was basically so hardcore that he played with man-made lightning bolts. He’s more or less responsible for the WiFi we use today, for VTOL aircraft being used by our military, and countless theories and applications in electronics and physics that we take for granted everyday. Best of all, though, are the long-forgotten experiments he carried out with wireless electricity, among other things (the Death Ray comes to mind). This guy not only invented the Tesla Coil, but sat and walked around while one the size of a house would blast its metal cage with Zeus-like fury. Tesla was shrouded in mystery, and still is even today, but he was without a doubt one hell of a manly geek.
Here we have a man who, at first glance, is downright intimidating, and at second glance possibly scary. He’s an expert in martial arts, gunplay, and basically any other doctrine that involves hurting people. He’s the captain of a hovership. He’s majorly famous in a cave-city as a hero, and in a computer-generated world as a most-wanted terrorist. He’s named after the Greek God of Sleep, and he’s basically a badass, but all that is aside from his primary vocation as a complete geek and hacker. Need I say more?
Khan Noonien Singh
Narrowly beating out Spock himself for this slot, Khan is by far the single greatest villain in geek-history. He’s a superhuman, even dubbed the Übermensch after Nietzche’s own writings, and he puts his considerable intellect to use for the manly purposes of conquest and revenge. He was a warlord, a scientist, an evil genius, and regardless of his bad behavior he was a generally likable guy. He was a man’s man, a husband, a father, and a father-figure to the other genetically superior people that followed him. His geekery combined with his intellect allowed him to successfully take over a starship, as well as nearly destroy the venerable Enterprise.
Most importantly of all, however, is simply this: