Friday, October 26, 2012


The third Wizard World Austin Comic Con takes place this weekend but due to a scheduling conflict, I won't be able to attend. I did attend the previous two Wizard Worlds here in Austin and here are some of my memories of those two cons.
I bought a one-day ticket for the first WW in 2010. The doors opened at noon on Friday. I had the entire day off so I arrived at the Austin Convention Center about an hour early. I waited outside the dealers room with a rapidly growing crowd of fellow fans. I found myself standing next to a very tall young gentleman who was completely adorned from horned head to booted feet as Darth Maul from STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE. I figured, what the hell, it's a long wait and I've got nothing else to do, I might as well talk to this guy. So I asked him about his costume and the race was on.
He lit up like a Christmas tree over the fact that someone was paying attention to him and treating him with respect and kindness and not laughing at him and making fun of him. I gather he must get that a lot. He told me in great detail about his costume, how he made it, how long it took him to do so, where he acquired the materials and accessories (including a wicked dual "bladed" light sabre prop). I enjoyed listening to him but as time went on, I became aware of something.
I was doing all of the asking and he was doing all of the telling. I felt like I was interviewing him for a magazine or newspaper feature article. At no time did he ask me anything about myself or my interests. It was a decidedly one way "conversation". But the kid was so nice, so enthusiastic, so practically giddy with joy and excitement about the con that I couldn't really hold it against him.
We'd been standing there for several minutes when we suddenly found ourselves joined by a 400 pound "Toad Prince" of a young man wearing a dirty brown bathrobe (I think it was his "ren fair" costume). He immediately got into a pissing contest with my buddy Darth about how he (Toad Prince) had a bigger and better light sabre prop.
When they finished debating this subject and talking specs and costs, Toad Prince turned and for reasons entirely unknown started talking to me about Magic: The Gathering, the role-playing card game. Please understand, I have absolutely no interest in this subject whatsoever. Didn't matter to Toad Prince. He wanted to talk about Magic and I was the closest pair of ears to his constantly moving lips and tongue. 
At one point, I politely told him that I preferred to play poker and that I get together with some friends on a monthly basis to play cards, drink a few beers and eat Mexican food. Some small amount of money is wagered and we all have a good time. Toad Prince told me that he didn't play poker because he found it "too complicated." This from the man who just spent thirty minutes explaining to me the theory of quantum mechanics otherwise known as the rules of Magic: The Gathering. Poker too complicated?
I finally asked him how much he spent on all of his custom costumes, props, Magic cards and other things that he was clearly passionate about. The amount was staggering. I asked him what his wife thought about his spending that much money on this stuff.
"Oh, I'm not married," he replied with a satisfied smirk.
Of course you're not bubba. And if you keep going out in public in a dirty brown bathrobe yammering about Magic: The Gathering to total strangers, you probably never will be.
More Wizard World adventures to come. Stay tuned.

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