The Cool Issue: Revenge of the Nerds

Lord of the Ring's Sean Astin, life-sized video games and more

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here was a point in time when being called a “nerd” was an insult. It meant you were a loser, an eternal virgin hiding in the basement glued to your computer or comic books, dressed up like Sailor Moon or Han Solo. Today — not so much. 

Marvel Comics has transformed its stable of Avengers and galaxy guardians into a multi-billion dollar, multi-platform phenomenon, recruiting the hottest actors and actresses — Chris Evans, Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson — to dress up in capes, green body makeup and brightly colored spandex outfits. The Walking Dead — a zombie show based on a comic book — is literally the most popular cable show on TV. And its live after-show recap The Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick — a geek who has built an entire empire on nerdism and is currently engaged to a model-heiress — brings in an average of 5 million viewers. Just tick off a list of the most important viewing touchstones in pop culture — Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, the Star Wars reboot — and it’s obvious: Nerd has gone mainstream.

In this year’s Cool Issue, we examine how geeks have taken over the Queen City, from an ever-increasing number of arcade-bars to the star-studded Cincinnati Comic Expo, plus foundation-funded interactive video games, niche cat museums and a calendar of cool (which includes fall sci-fi/fantasy show TV premiere dates). So put on your glasses, grab your sonic screwdriver and get ready to get geeky.

Cool Issue contents: