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The Geeks: Janet and Mike Lee

The People Issue 2012



When they met in the first grade at David Lipscomb Campus School, Janet and Mike Lee never imagined they would eventually spend their lives together in pursuit of nerdy passions — comics, live action role-playing (LARP), video games and science fiction. Still, they liked each other right away.

They passed a crush back and forth in high school the way their classmates passed notes. "We had a creative writing class together in 10th grade, and he wrote the best stories," Janet says of her future-novelist husband, as if it was that detail that sold her.

In May, the Lees will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. The rings they've exchanged are inexpensive nickel bands they bought at a Renaissance fair. They promise each other that they'll upgrade eventually, but so far, neither of them has been able to find the spare time. The Lees are very busy.

Janet just finished the final panels for Northanger Abbey, the second Jane Austen adaptation she's illustrated for Marvel. She's also jumping into the sequel to the Eisner award-winning graphic novel Return of the Dapper Men, and she's in the process of finishing the final proofs of Wonderland Alphabet — a kind of grown-up kid's book with big cardboard pages, each featuring an embellished letter of the alphabet. After that, she'll focus on a superhero comic called Ladybird that's a reimagining of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy.

For his part, Mike just returned from a two-month stint on the crew of a History Channel reality show called Full Metal Jousting, a gig he got as a result of years of LARPing. He's also currently at work finishing a short story for the omnibus edition of a fantasy series called The Nagash Trilogy. From there, he'll begin work on publishing an e-book of science fiction for Amazon. He says he developed his storytelling through playing games like Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, and he now writes stories for alternate reality games and video games, in addition to having 11 novels under his belt.

Perhaps due to their immersion in geek culture, the Lees have taken on work like a pair of superheroes, all while maintaining impressively mild-mannered alter egos. But it's only a matter of time before the secret's out.

The People:

The Legend: Little Jimmy Dickens
The Community Builder: Dan Heller
The Power Couple: Peter Depp and Kristin Vasquez
The Broadcaster: Tom Randles
The Barber: Mark Walker
The Internet Star: Jessica Frech
The Teacher: Gatluak Ter Thach
The Chef: Laura Wilson
The Artist: Vesna Pavlovic
The Councilman: Fabian Bedne
The Saxman: Bobby Keys
The Coach: Ed Temple
The Networker: Liza Massey
The Designers: Jamie and the Jones
The Enforcer: Brian McGrattan
The Bird Brains: Birdcloud
The Poet: Sebastian Jones

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