Hey to my Hero Within Family,
Tony B Kim here, owner of Hero Within. Traditionally, this would be the Monday before the biggest event of the year, San Diego Comic-Con. Like many fans, artist and vendors, we would normally be packing and preparing for a glorious week in the Gaslamp District. Sadly, Covid-19 had other plans for 2020. This virus has taken so much from us and this week, the unimaginable truth of a year with no SDCC has finally become reality. While we are all grateful for the replacement virtual experience, Comic-Con @ Home, we will all still be grieving the physical gathering. If you follow me on Twitter at @Crazy4ComicCon, this month I have been tweeting about a variety of #ConMemories' over the years. As the owner of Hero Within, I wanted take the opportunity to reflect back on one of my favorite memories from last year and also brag on my amazing team.
In 2019, San Diego Comic-Con celebrated it's 50th birthday and we got the privilege to design and create the official 50th Anniversary Jacket. The preorders for it sold out in a flash and demand for it at our booth was ravenous. We know a lot of you tried very hard to get one and I wish we could have made everyone happy. Sadly we couldn't- but my personal philosophy has been; "Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone". Well, we had an opportunity to do just that.
The first couple of days of Comic-Con were brutal on the team. From the second the showroom floor opened to getting back to our hotel late at night, we were bombarded with questions about the hoodie (the pic above is the line for our booth each morning). As the owner, the worst thing in the world is disappointing fans- and honestly, I still have a little PTSD from the experience. By Friday night, I was pretty wiped out and the team was exhausted. After finishing prep for the weekend and having dinner, our team departed to our various hotels. Laying in bed, it was about 1am and I thought I'd catch up on Twitter before falling asleep. That's when I came across this post from Sarah on Twitter:
When I started Hero Within, my dream was to someday offer a product to fans that they would be willing to camp out all night for it. I laid in bed and couldn't believe it was actually happening (special thanks to Comic-Con International!)! As my room was nodding off to sleep, I interrupted and read the tweet out loud. Everyone was also astonished. Then Liz, sat up and said, "We should totally find her in line and surprise her with a hoodie!". I laughed it off and began to doze off- but Liz continued on and soon the room started buzzing about the possibility. Before long, we decided to go on a late night mission to find Sarah. I texted the other team members to let them know of our plans. Without hesitation, the rest of the Hero Within staff jumped out of their beds and wanted to join in! Within 15 minutes, the entire team from 3 hotels converged on Hall H. All we had was the pic Sarah posted as reference so we figured out she was near the front of the Hall H line. I started quietly calling her name...
Now I'll let Sarah take over from here:
"I had missed out on the pre orders and had been too late getting in line on Thursday of the Con. It was my last chance since I only had badges for two days that year, and I was ready for battle to get the jacket. I decided to just sleep in line and I tweeted a picture of my view and fell asleep. I’m a heavy sleeper so when I heard someone calling my name while I was asleep, it took me a bit to wake up. All I saw was a shadowy figure and thought it was a friend who usually stops by to visit me in line. I was irritated he was waking me up when I realized it wasn’t him but Tony Kim! I stumbled out of my blankets and saw his whole team was there too! Amazed and happy doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings when Tony explained he wanted to make sure I got a jacket and gave it to me for free. It’s still one of my favorite comic con stories to tell because it just sums up what I love about Comic-Con. It’s all about being passionate about what you love and sharing those moments with everyone there. You never know when you’re going to have some amazing, random moment that shows you the kindness in others who understand why something like a jacket is important to you. I look forward to wearing that jacket to the 100th Comic-Con!"
This would have been my 15th year at Comic-Con. I've attended as a fan, press, volunteer, staff, a professional and now as a vendor. Despite my role at the show, my favorite memories are hearing of the legendary Hall H line surprise stories. So in turn, it was a privilege to be able to finally bless a fellow fan in this small way. I'm not sharing this to pat myself on the back (sleep was tempting) because all the credit goes to Liz and the team. I just wanted to brag on them. Despite being emotionally and physically exhausted, their willingness to 'do to one, what they wish they could do for everyone' truly inspired me. After disappointing so many, it was rewarding to do something nice for Sarah. In fact, it was so much fun that we decided to set aside a few pieces each year to be able to do it again at future Comic-Cons. I will truly miss working with my amazing SDCC team this week :(
Our staff will also really miss seeing you all this year. Sure, we will miss the revenue and media coverage- but more importantly, we will miss seeing old friends and welcoming many into the Hero Within family. Cons keep us focused throughout the year and helps remind us of what's most important: the fans. We hope you stay safe and healthy while participating in Comic-Con @ Home this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and we hope to see you next year for San Diego Comic-Con 2021!
-Tony B Kim
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