Remember last year’s Austin Comic-Con wrap-up? It was successful enough that Wizard World returned again this year with a bigger, better con. Nate and I were excited to check it out this year, and we even brought a friend. And my brave, brave wife.
Overall, I felt like the quality of this year’s convention was higher than last year’s. There weren’t quite as many big-named (relatively) guests, but the size and selection of booths was impressive. There was a fun mix of merch, art, steampunk, indie publishers, fan groups, and comic vendors.
This year, I was excited to see the number of fan groups raising money for charity. The Austin Browncoats raised money for groups including Equality Now, SafePlace, and Kids Need to Read. (If you aren’t familiar with “Browncoats”, it’s a term associated with fans of the tv show Firefly.) Another group that stood our for their charitable work was the 501st Garrison/Central TX Squad, which let you take photos with Storm Troopers for a small donation.
Some of the highlights this year included talking to some nerd icons and meeting people who put a lot of time and effort into making their own costumes:
That’s Adam Baldwin. You might recognize him from Chuck, Firefly, or Full Metal Jacket, or the Halo games. In addition to being an actor, he’s also a prolific conservative blogger. I think he’s around 50 years old, which really does a number on my self-esteem. I need to hit the gym.
That’s me with Nicki Clyne, aka Cally from Battlestar Galactica. It was great to get to talk with her about the show, what Edward James Olmos is like, her character arc, etc. For the record, she was easily one of the nicer people I got to meet.
Nate and I also talked with the Million Dollar Man, Ted DeBiase. He’s a pro-wrestling icon, and one of the great heels of the 1980s. Now, he’s focused on Christian ministry. We mainly talked about that.
Next, we toured lots of people from the Buffyverse, including Spike and Charisma Carpenter. In real life, Spike has dark hair. He’s also American. Kind of shocking. Charisma Carpenter is in her forties, and she provided me with further proof that I need to get in the gym.
We also saw Kevin Sorbo. Hercules. Ryan Atwood’s dad. He is a handsome giant. Samantha and Kayla’s reaction to Kevin Sorbo was very much like George’s reaction to food cooking in the kitchen. They both trotted around his booth and watched him out of the corners of their eyes. Lots of walking back and forth. Lots of jittery energy. For the record, he seemed really cool, and he has also aged very well. And I need to do some pushups.
As we made our way through the crowd, our friend Kayla decided to get Simpsonized by Phil Ortiz. The artist has worked on a lot of shows, most notably The Simpsons. For a very reasonable price, he draws Comic-Con attendees as a Simpsons character. Since Phil is such a nice guy and spends so much time with each fan, the wait was about two hours. I think it was worth the wait, though.
While Kayla and Sam waited in line, Nate and I made the rounds to meet and greet costumed con attendees.
This guy was really cool. I have no idea how long his costume took, but it looked great in person. Also, he had a Southern accent, which was very different than Christian Bale’s growl.
The best part of this photo might be the animated conversations and stares in the background.
Assassin’s Creed. Didn’t catch this guy’s name, but he was really friendly and informative. You can’t really tell in the photo, but the material he used was thick and textured, like it is in the game.
The Defuser won Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” tv show in season two. In real life, Defuser is a cop from Austin. He’s used his fame to raise money for local cancer charities. You can learn more here.
I’m not positive, but I think these guys were with The Steam Engine Intrepid. They were pretty funny, and Nicki Clyne loved the guy on stilts. Some of the steampunk outfits were amazing.
These were the guys I mentioned earlier that let you take photos for charity.
That’s Nate, loving his Jayne hat from Austin browncoats. A curious Joker and Harley Quinn are right behind him. What a day.
That’s Austin Comic-Con 2011. Lots of costumes, nerd heroes, and good causes. See you next year.