Dunno about Greg Bennett, but Samick has been around for many years now. Never played a Samick, but I believe that technology and competition has really benefitted us as the end consumers such that guitars around the $200-$300 price range are now very good value for money.
Almost every manufacturer makes them - Fender Squier, Washburn, Yamaha, Monterey, Cort, etc. As with all things guitar, go to a shop and try 'em out and see what you like. You style of playing and preferred sound should determine your purchase more than the 'look' of the guitar.
Your initial selections are good ones:
Malibu - Fender Stratocaster shape - the most popular guitar-shape in the world. This is the most versatile guitar ever. Suits any kind of music, and comes with a tremolo bar so you can do bends! Tone is clear and bright. Single coil pickups can be noisy under some conditions though, but it's not a big problem.
Avion - Gibson Les Paul shape (my personal fave) - the first electric guitar was the Les Paul. Because of the humbucking pickups, you'll get a warmer, fuller tone. Slash plays a Les Paul. You also won't get hum that single-coil pickups get.
You might also want to consider the Formula - Fender Telecaster shape. Simple but effective. Bright twangy tone suits rock, country and blues. Usually has single coil pickups, so the same noise issues with the Malibu applies.
A simple explanation of pickups without being technical.
Pickups are basically magnets with lots of wire wound around them. When you pluck a string, this creates movement in the magnetic field and generates an electrical current, which translates into sound from your amp.
There are two types of pickups: single-coil and humbuckers.
Single-coils have a bright, clear, strident tone. Depending on the quality of the pickup, sounds can range from harsh and tinny, to musical and toneful. The one main gripe with single coils are that they are susceptible to electromagnetic interference, manifesting as a humming sound. You'll notice this when you play around fluorescent lighting, or near strong electrical power sources (like your amp). There are ways to prevent this: shielding your guitar's internal cavities with foil, running your guitar on a separate power source than say the projector. They also make hum-cancelling single coils, but they're expensive ($300 to $400 range). Axemen who play single-coils are usually Strat and Tele players like Eric Clapton, Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Eddie Van Halen, just to name a few. Country guitar is usually dominated by Strats and Teles too.
Humbuckers are actually 2 single coils wired in opposite phase to each other so that the electrical hum in each coil cancels each other out, hence the name 'hum-bucker'. Humbuckers have a rich, warm and full sound. They're not as bright and detailed as single coils - they're more mid-rangey. They're also louder than single coils. Famous axemen who play 'buckers include Slash, Jimmy Paige and basically anyone who plays Gibson guitars (rich buggers).
They're easy to identify - humbuckers are twice the size of single coils - so they're the fat soapbar shaped ones. The single coils are the thin lipstick sized ones. Guitars can have any combinations of the two. Telecasters can have two single coils (SS) or one single coil and humbucker (SH). Dave's Strat has a HSH set up. My Maton has a HH setup.
The positioning of pickups also affect tone. Pickups near the bridge (end) of the guitar usually sound thinner and brighter - good for soloing. Pickups near the neck sound warmer and fuller - good for rhythm. Most guitars also come with a pickup selector switch that will let you select between pickup configurations. Eg. My Maton allows me to select 3 configs:
1. Neck pickup only
2. Neck and bridge pickup
3. Bridge only
Strats usually have a 5-way switch. To confuse you further - some guitars have 'coil-taps' - a switch that lets you split a humbucker into a single coil. My Maton has this. One Strats with SSS pickups, the 5-way switch can set two of their SS pickups to be out of phase and hence act like humbuckers. This is one reason why the Strat is the world's most popular guitar - it can give you a wide variety of sounds other guitars can't match.
Now that you know all this - go into a guitar shop and try out as many guitars as you can!