When it comes to someone of Samuel L. Jackson's immense stature in American pop culture, I should probably be saying "the" geek god, not "a" geek god. Seriously. Don't let this man's fear-inducing yells, those uber menacing facial expressions or the embroidered, 70s-style "Bad Mother$#&@er" wallet fool you. Samuel L. Jackson's geek cred is staggering.
As an only child growing up, Sam was a devout comic book reader. Invincible Iron Man and Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos were among his many favorites. Go figure, right? But his appreciation for the medium didn't fade when he grew up to become one of the world's most famous film stars. Heck no! Even at the height of his fame, Jackson could still be found visiting his friendly neighborhood comic shop to browse the eye-grabbing goodies.
With his roles as the Jedi Knight Mace Windu in the #StarWars prequel trilogy and as Colonel Nick Fury in films and TV shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jackson has also become quite the familiar face on the comic book rack as well. From titles like Star Wars: Jedi and The Ultimates to Ultimate Spider-man and his own 2010 comic book ColdSpace, his distinctive mug has the comics medium covered.
When a term like geek god is used to describe someone of #SamuelLJackson's senses-shattering stature, you're essentially talking about the human equivalent of the Norse God Odin. As he sits serenely on his shimmering throne dressed in battle armor, he casts his eye patch-less eye over the boundless Nerdiverse and says: "It is good." And it is good, abundantly good.
From his box-office-history-making roles in science fiction, horror and superhero films, and voice acting roles in both animation and video games, to also having his fierce, eternal fanboy presence felt on comic book racks, in the toy store action figure isles and at San Diego Comicon every year, Samuel L. Jackson is the living manifestation of omnipresent. But you don't have to take my word on blind faith. Bear witness the pulse-pounding proof!
1. Elijah Price, Unbreakable (2000)
Just thinkin' about Jackson in the role of the tragic villain Elijah Price in M. Night Shayamalan's Unbreakable puts a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Particularly with regard to the shocking reveal at the end when Bruce Willis's David Dunn is walking away in dismay and Elijah Price mentions all the mean kids who teased him about his disability during his youth: "They called me Mr. Glass!" *sobs* Jackson should have earned an Academy Award for this performance. Or an Eisner Award or a People's Choice Award...Five Mics in The Source, something!
2. Mace Windu, Star Wars: Episode I - Attack of the Clones (2002)
When you get cast in Star Wars films and become the only Jedi Knight in the entire universe with a purple lightsaber you have to be either: 1. the late singer Prince or 2. Samuel L. Jackson. Nobody else is cool enough to get a purple lightsaber. Not even Master Yoda. Okay, okay, calm down. Master Yoda could actually have whatever color lightsaber he wants. He's pretty cool too.
3. Frozone, The Incredibles (2003)
Speaking of cool, was anybody in The Incredibles cooler than Jackson's Frozone? I mean, yeah, the Incredibles family was "incredible" and all that. But Frozone was cooler than a polar bear eating an ice cream sundae during a snowstorm and rapping along to songs on Ice Cube's Greatest Hits. Now that's cool! Also cool, though, is the fact that Frozone and the gang are set to return to theaters in June of 2018 in the long-awaited sequel, The Incredibles 2.
4. Officer Frank Tenpenny, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Another way to level up on your geek god status is by having video game voice acting on your resume. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Jackson is the voice of Officer Frank Tenpenny, a bong-smoking bad cop who's as corrupt as they come. The performance was good enough to earn Jackson's Tenpenny portrayal the rank of 2nd Best Video Game Villain, according to Game Informer, because Jackson is wickedly good at acting bad.
5. Afro Samurai, Afro Samurai (2007)
Bad doesn't even begin to describe Afro Samurai, a character portrayed by Jackson in the eponymous anime series about a brooding, cigarette-smoking samurai with a ridiculously large Afro. Our protagonist is actually a pretty good guy, but he's on a quest to avenge the death of his father, and that requires him to do bad things to a lot of bad people. But Afro is also the strong and silent type, so Jackson offered to do double duty in the series by also giving voice to Afro's mouthy sidekick Ninja Ninja. Jackson's comedic timing and vocal inflections with Ninja Ninja's wise-cracking commentary is absolutely killer.
6. Gin Rummy, The Boondocks (2007)
Did someone say killer? On Cartoon Network's The Boondocks, Gin Rummy is a trigger-happy hired gun that likes to shoot first and ask question later. Voiced by Jackson, Rummy's speech patterns are hilariously made to parody those of his famous character Jules in the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction.
7. The Octopus, The Spirit (2008)
The Spirit, based on the Will Eisner comic book of the same name and directed by comic book legend Frank Miller, was anything but a fan favorite when released to theaters in 2008. (It has a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) But in the years since its release it has developed something of a cult following among good people who love bad movies, and loyal fans who support anything Jackson stars in (like me). Here the actor plays the nefarious and fashionable villain The Octopus. He is joined on screen by Scarlett Johannson, who plays his sexy and sinister partner-in-crime, Silken Floss. The film also stars Eva Mendes as Sand Seraf and Gabriel Mact as The Spirit. And while the film didn't earn Jackson any extra box office clout, it did level up his geek god cred.
8. Nick Fury, Iron Man 2 (2008)
Years before Jackson made his surprise cameo in the post-credit scene of 2008's Iron Man, his likeness was regularly used (with his blessing) for Marvel's alternate universe Ultimates comic book version of Colonel Nick Fury. Since then he's gone on to portray Fury on screen in Iron Man 2 (2010), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). It was also anticipated that he would reprise the role one final time in next year's Avengers: Infinity War, but it has recently been confirmed that he'll also play Fury in the 2019 film Captain Marvel. That's marvelous news, right?
9. Captain Quinton, Black Dynamite (2014)
Sam also breathed life into Captain Quinton, a character that appeared in the second episode of Season 2 of Cartoon Network’s blaxploitation-themed animated series Black Dynamite. Quinton is a mysterious shark-hunter and he teams up with the TV show's titular hero to take on a giant shark who's been sinking his teeth into every unsuspecting human he can sneak up on. Mr. Jackson, of course, also sinks his teeth into the comedic role of Black Dynamite's Captain Quinton.
10. Karl Aker, Kite (2014)
Despite the fact that this semi-obscure production was a direct-to-DVD affair, Kite, a South African action film, was based on a popular 1999 Japanese OVA (original video animation) by Yasuomi Umetsu. The story centers on Sawa (India Eisley), a schoolgirl who is also a trained assassin. Jackson, whose appreciation of anime is no secret, plays Lieutenant Karl Aker, a dirty cop and former partner of Sawa's late father. While stylish and action-packed, Kite mostly missed the mark with audiences, but Jackson scores geek points for starring in something that is honorably intended as a live-action tribute to anime.
11. Valentine, Kingsman: The Secret Service (2016)
Based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, the 2016 film Kingsman: The Secret Service was a big box office win for everyone involved. Alongside Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Michael Cain, Jackson plays the super wealthy and super stylish super-villain, Valentine. A sequel titled Kingsman: The Golden Circle is already set to infiltrate theaters on September 22, 2017, but Sam won't be appearing in it. The very evil Valentine went the way of all those who pose a threat to the freedom and safety of humanity: he was thoroughly "neutralized."
12. Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, Kong: Skull Island (2017)
As Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard in Kong: Skull Island, Sam was a man on a mission to neutralize the threat that he believed the ginormous ape-beast known as Kong posed to mankind. Sam's character actually stood to toe-to-toe with his hairy adversary, which was all kinds of crazy. But that's just one of the countless reasons why countless fans love Sam, and also what makes the man a geek god. To borrow that line from Denzel's Training Day: King Kong ain't got $#%& on Sam!
What's your favorite Sam Jackson geek-centric role? Let us know below!