A couple of weeks ago, I texted my friend Tony. Tony and I met at UNT, University of North Texas, and served with college students at a local church in Denton Tx. Our wives were college roommates as well as sorority sisters. We go way back. I was reaching out to TK, aka Korean Thunder…aka Tony the Tiger, because I wanted to ask him if he was up for a speaking gig at a leadership training event we were doing. Before I could even make the ask, he throws me a curve ball. He told me that he was coming to Austin on business.
Tony started his own business entitled “Hero Within”. He has had a passion for nerd culture and embracing his inner geek since the moment I met him. Whether it was Star Trek or Star Wars, Marvel or DC, Settlers of Katan or Warhammer, he was not only into it he was inviting you to be a part of it as well. I can remember playing a lot of late night board games in college, that I didn’t understand at all, just because Tony had so much fun hosting it.
A few years ago he started his own clothing brand called “Hero Within” that took his love for all things geek to a whole new level. It is subtle geek fashion. His vision for this business is “To reshape pop culture with integrated, empowering and sophisticated geek style.” So I modeled one of his jackets and waved my usual modeling fee of 1 trillion dollars. Here is one of his jackets:
Shortly after this picture, I asked him if he wanted me to be one of his new models but for some reason we quickly started talking about something else. Tony, if you are reading this, I haven’t forgotten.
Back to my text. When TK texted me, I was super excited! I quickly started making arrangements for us to meet and catch up. I offered to meet him out in Austin so that we could have lunch or dinner together. That’s when he threw me a curveball. “Dude, that would be awesome…I’ll put you on a panel with me.” Loose translation for those of you who are not as much of a geek as I am, that means I would discuss the intricacies of the Marvel universe in front of a group of people. In addition to that, I was able to join him for a discussion the next day on Superman and whether the DCEU needed him to continue their franchise.
For some of you that is probably no big deal but for a nerd like me, it made my year. My exact words to TK were “I’ve been preparing my whole life for this!” It was so much fun being able to do this with an old friend as well as using all of my countless hours spent on Marvel/DC movies and reading comics for the good of humanity. Okay, for the good of humanity may have been a stretch. It was a lot of fun though.
This was the first Comic Con that I have ever attended and I was super excited to be a part of it. I was also blown away with how nice everyone at the event was. There was an overwhelming sense of acceptance by all those who were in attendance. Think about it, when you attend an event where people are not only allowed to wear costumes but encouraged to do so, you’ve set the acceptance bar pretty high. It was pretty normal to see something like this:
And you were encouraged to take pictures of anyone who had made the effort to embody their favorite characters. Like the guys in the above picture. And if you are really on top of your game, you might even get your dog into the act. Like Shazam and Dogzam right here.
In short it was a total blast to attend but an honor to be able to lead a discussion panel. I am super stoked to be going to Alamo City Comic Con later this month and I can’t wait to report how it goes. More on that later.
If you would like to check out Tony’s clothing line, take a look at www.herowithinstore.com.