Tony’s Story

My Mission: To empower First Timers to have a life changing Comic-Con experience.

iTunes BioAre nerds made or born?

Hi my name is Tony and thanks for visiting my site. While working on a recent project about comic books, I started reflecting on how the cultural perceptions of nerds have changed over the past couple of decades. While this very special demographic (which I proudly identify with) is still largely misunderstood, it is more mainstream than ever due to the rise in technology, the popularity of superhero movies, and the explosion of the video game industry. At the heart of it all has been the implacable comic book universe. This 80+ year old genre has not only been a source of unending creativity but has also brought nerds out from their parent’s basements and onto the surface of the vast sea of popular culture.

Comic books have a very special place in my heart. As a child of immigrant parents from Korea, I grew up in a very traditional household, eating with chopsticks, speaking the language, etc. Contrary to home life, my school and play world were primary caucasian communities and I was a part of a very small minority. I never felt truly comfortable in either environment. I was stuck between two worlds and it caused me to feel alienated, alone, and confused. I always felt like I was meant for something greater but was left to wandering through the dark to discover it. Then came that monumental day when I came across ’The Man of Steel’ issue #1.

This man of steel always felt like he was created to make a difference but wrestled with compromising the two worlds of his heritage. He was in an identity crisis. I started to feel understood. I realized that pain and struggle is part of this journey into young adulthood and I was not alone on this path. Comic books continued to be a HUGE part of my youth. My parents had  the typical Asian mindset and immersed themselves in their work and as a result, were not very involved in my life. Turning to comic books, superheroes ended up raising me. It’s from them that developed and early sense of morality, corruption, truth and justice. Early on, I adopted a heart of advocacy for the misfits and marginalized of my community. That same passion continues today.

In the mid 80′s, Frank Miller created his masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns- and I instantly fell in love. It was my bible and I read it over and over. It was the first time that a mainstream character was depicted in a gritty, realistic way with real story lined and real consequences. I knew that if the big screen could ever depict heroes in a similar tone and style, that it would change the industry and culture forever. It was a dream that I thought was impossible. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight remains one of the highest grossing ($600 m) movies to date with every studio trying to reproduce the same formula. I’m still in disbelief that one of the most powerful industries in the world are now turning to comic books for ideas. Life is but a dream.

I owe much of who I am to comic books. I know it is still struggling to be considered a legitimate form of literature but I know it has touch me in more ways than Shakespeare or Hemingway ever did. The fusion of art and story to this day still inspires me as a leader, artist, movie enthusiast, AND as a proud nerd. I am eagerly looking forward to where the art form will go and what dreams will unfold. Nerds are back and with a vengeance but in a good way. They are here to create and craft dreams and to help lead our generation into the future.

Why Comic-Con?
Growing up in Texas, I had always heard of the mythical land known as the San Diego Comic-Con. I never thought I would ever attend but finally had a chance once I moved to Southern California in 2005. Since that time, I enthusiastically have made the annual pilgrimage to ‘Nerd Mecca’. Just in the few years I have been attending, the Con has exploded in size and scope. It is my second home and my second family. There is nothing like it in the world. I consider myself a Comic-Con evangelist and will be passionately spreading this nerd gospel for the rest of my life. Hope to see you in San Diego.

More about me:

17 thoughts on “Tony’s Story

  1. I’ve never been to Comic Con but I sometimes consider going. I make these polyurethane fantasy art masks. I never sold any but I sometimes wonder how they would be received.

  2. This may not be the best place to post this but….My husband, myself and our two children (14yr son, 11yr daughter) are nerds/geeks whatever you prefer…it boils down to this we love comics, and Syfy and everything in between. We are not “fanatics”, and it doesn’t RULE our lives but we do love all things Star Wars, X-men, Spidy, and Batman. Twilight, Being Human, Ghostrider..(to name just a few)..pretty much ALL things that seem to be celebrated at COMIC CON….so we decided that for our 2013 family vacation we would go to CONIC CON…(ya big cheer, all excited)….that is until I started trying to find information, such as ticket sales, or hotels….I heard that getting to GO to Comic Con is next to impossible??? And the horror stories that I have read about standing in lines for DAYS?? are you kidding me? I am willing to stand in a line for 24hrs (maybe)…but NOT DAYS?? Is there a right way to plan a Comic Con trip…or I’m I just reading the stories about the WRONG way to plan a trip. We would so love to dress as our favorite characters, add to our comic book collections, and get some autographs….and of course admire all of the costumes of others and see the shows and panels. But what is the best way to go about doing this?? Please help, my hopes of a Comic Con family vacation is fizzling….any info is appreciated! Thanks.

  3. My guess is that nerds are not made but just naturally develop nerdish. When I first got onto sci-fi it was through the library in the little town I grew up in in the 50’s. Tom Swift, and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea were the start I think. Times have changed so much. At one time I had pretty much read all the sci-fi and Fantasy there was. That would be impossible now. I’ve recently discovered what a great movie that Elektra is and have watched it several times. It was originally a Comic Book kind of thing of course, the director did a great job of turning it into a movie.
    I wish I could go to the Comic Con too but never have, and I hope you have good luck in getting into it. My dream is to go there and sell some of my art mask \ wall hanging creations. I have never sold any yet, though one gallery in Norfolk liked them a lot. They had a gen-you-wine English art expert come in before they hung them. Her opinion was “very fine work”. None sold. Maybe Norfolk was a bit too conservative or it could be it was the recession. I’ll see if I can get a link so you can see my masks in my old Myspace photos.

  4. I’m all set for Comic-Con this year! I write and draw comics as well as write about the comics medium and pop culture so SDCC is a desirable place for me to be. It can’t be said enough that what attracts people the most, aside from, or along with, the stars and the glamour, is the feeling of community. We’re all among fellow travelers, and that’s a really powerful thing. Hope to see you at the con. Good luck and take care!

  5. As a mixed girl, I definitely feel your pain about being a minority in the nerdy realm! So happy comics are changing for the better! Have you been to the tiny Long Beach Comic Con! Super diverse 🙂

    • Thanks for identifying. Yes, I’ve been to Long Beach Comic-Con. I don’t care for the One Day Expo, but the regular convention is nice. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Nerds unite!!!

  6. hello,
    i was hoping you could throw some love for our event, it happens during SDCC, nearby at the 10th Ave. Theatre. Our event celebrates all forms of interactive gaming, from dice, cards and tabletop games, to the latest innovations in video games. We also have live theatre, gaming art exhibitions, industry panels and rooftop parties.

    We are not competing with SDCC of course, we just want to offer the crowds a gaming-focused alternative.

    If you want to come check it out, please let me know.

    Ariel Fajerman
    Marketing Manager, Gam3rCon

  7. Going to Comic Con 2012?! Sneak Preview Film Screening

    Hello there,

    One of our clients is doing a special sneak preview of a new movie for a handful of bloggers attending Comic Con. We think it would be right up your alley. Are you planning to go this year? If so, we’d love to tell you more.


  8. Pingback: Comic-Con critter roundup! | The Geeky Hooker

  9. Hi there. I want to take my 20 year old son on a special trip to a comic con in the USA. As we have never been to a comic con before and my son has a condition where he is not that great with buss,ing crowds , can you recommend a particular CC that may be great for beginners? By the way, he is into anything StanLee as well as Superman. Thanks heaps. Jen

    • Thanks for contacting me and you are an awesome mom for planning a trip for your son that involves Comic Con! Unfortunately, crowds and Comic Cons are kinda synonymous. Any con that is worthy of attending is going to have big crowds. There are a ton to choose from depending on what you want to experience. San Diego is the pinnacle experience but acquiring tickets and hotel is very difficult. New York isn’t as bad but it is a very crowded environment. I would suggest going to WonderCon in the Spring. It’s the sister show to SDCC and is in a nice location in Anaheim, CA. Plus Disneyland is down the street. If you have further questions, e-mail me (above) anytime 🙂

  10. Ps. We are traveling from Australia so a one day program is probably not the best option although we will of course find other things to do.

  11. Tony, I really like your website, This is really cool for Con fans. I couldn’t find you on facebook. I’m pretty new to facebook, but I would like to share your page somehow on my timeline. any suggestions since I don’t see any share links?

  12. In September, HawaiiCon had its inaugural event, three days at the luxurious Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Right on the beach, they brought celebrities, scores of science panels, workshops and the unique adventures with the stars.

    Scores of lucky fans went snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and to the top of Mauna Kea with their favorite stars. The convention was rated one of the best ever and a post-convention poll found that 97% of the participants plan to return.

    The talent list for 2015 is already extensive. Confirmed for HawaiiCon 2015 are: Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica, Hellcats, Hemlock, The Killing), Cree Summer (Drawn Together, Rugrats), Steve Blum (Digimon, Star Wars Rebels, Cowboy Bebop), Janet Varney (Legend of Korra, You’re The Worst), Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Ghost in the Shell, Digimon, Eureka Seven and Cowboy Bebop), Melissa Fahn (Digimon, Cowboy Bebop), Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman, Wimmen’s Comix), Steve Leialoha (DC Comics, Marvel Comics), Jane Espenson (Buffy, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Once Upon a Time), Brad Bell (Husbands, Torchwood), Bill Morrison (The Simpsons, Futurama) and Sam Campos (PineappleMan)

    Perfect Holiday Gift for that Fangirl/Fanboy in your life

    Tickets for HawaiiCon 2015 are on a special discount until December 31st. They are currently under $32 per day for the four day convention and are available through Eventbrite (

    A HawaiiCon fan poll revealed that Dr.Who/Torchwood, Stargate, Firefly and Farscape are the favorite choices for the 2015 convention and a Kickstarter campaign ( launches today to allow fans to select the celebrities to bring from these shows. The Kickstarter video features interviews with Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica, Teen Wolf), Paul McGillion (Stargate), Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), Esme Bianco (Game of Thrones) and Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)

    This week HawaiiCon launches an eBay site ( to continue to raise money for charities. Auctions will feature autographed items from this past year’s event

    All profits from HawaiiCon 2015 will go to supporting education in science and the performing arts for the children of the Big Island.

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