I always thought of myself as a geek—I grew up loving all things sci-fi and fantasy, dabbled in role-playing games, went to a few cons, participated in some fierce video game play, loved up on comics and graphic novels. But after working on this issue, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of geekdom. I also discovered that there is no better city than Seattle to let your geek flag fly.
There are more than 430 gaming companies in the area, and they make a huge economic impact. Lester Black offers an overview of Seattle's lucrative gaming industry, which generated $21.4 billion in revenue in 2015 and supported 94,200 jobs through "direct, indirect, and induced impacts."
Matt Baume sheds some light on a group of young people at Lake Washington Girls Middle School who, under the helpful guidance of school tech director Ethan "Mr E." Schoonover, have gotten into Dungeons & Dragons and are engaging in self-directed storytelling, art, and math while unleashing their imaginations and gaining unexpected confidence and leadership skills.
Timothy Kenney takes a look at a newish crop of dating apps that match you up based on your DNA—quite possibly the geekiest way to find love. Read more here.
Nathalie Graham has not only been to her fair share of cons, but has some tips and tricks for newbies, since she was a newb once, too. She also profiled the University District's "coffee haven for geeks," Wayward Coffeehouse, for this week's Food & Drink story.
Star Wars can completely change your worldview and inspire hardcore Lucasfilm-approved fan groups like Jet City Saber Guild. Charles Mudede opines on both here.
The franchise can also spur tangible creativity. We look at the work that went into two Star Wars–themed costumes by local award-winning cosplayer and guild member Torrey Stenmark: Princess Leia and Padmé Amidala. The latter earned her a Best in Class, Master division award at Norwescon, and took more than 50 hours to put together. See the costumes here.
Then there's Lisa Weeks, marketing master, Geekaraoke founder, organizer of Seattle Game Developers Meetup, and cofounder of soon-to-be-debuted gaming company TurboPlay, who's turned her weirdness (and penchant for costuming and wigs) into professional success. Find out more about her (and feel like geek deadbeat) here.
On the cover: a crime-fighting illustration by freelance cartoonist, narrative designer, and comics artist Jen Vaughn, who's been active in the Seattle area for the past decade. See more of her work on her Haunted Vault Studios website, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
And finally, you can check out The Stranger's Things to Do calendar for a full breakdown of geeky events happening this weekend (including the 17th Annual Emerald City Comic Con), as well as upcoming cons and more geeky events you need to know about that are coming up in 2019.