There are those of us in the convention scene here in Texas that seem to be everywhere. Convention fixtures among whom I count myself. Those of us who not only attend or sell at conventions but also have a presence that leaves a lasting impression. You may not know all of these folks by name, but you know the people of which I speak. And one of these folks simply can’t be missed in a crowd – PurrKayla! If you have attended conventions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area especially (as well as Austin’s Wizard World incarnations) you have undoubtedly seen our favorite feline super-hero. And you may well have met Tom as well, her husband, assistant in super-heroics, and constant companion.
On Friday, March 22, 2013 I received the sad news that Tom had passed away. I have had the privilege to have known Tom and PurrKayla for a number of years now. And further to have, in some small way, been a part of launching the very public convention presence they shared. If you ever met or saw PurrKayla at a convention you would never forget her. She loves conventions, fandom, and above all the kids to whom she is the most approachable super-hero in the world. And you likely saw or even met Tom, her unassuming number one fan, ever just outside of the spotlight because that is where he preferred to be. He was not PurrKayla’s sidekick so much as the Alfred to her Batman, the Jarvis to her Avengers – always there for whatever is needed.
There is another hero with whom I am most familiar, the Mighty Placeholder. He is most often seen at All-Con and is known as “the hero’s hero”. I feel that convention goers need to know there was another hero’s hero, the hero to not only PurrKayla but to all of us who strive to enhance and celebrate the richly diverse convention scene. His name was Tom.
He was the hero behind the hero, the star behind the star. And all of us who frequent conventions in Texas, especially in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, owe him a debt of gratitude.
Farewell my friend.
Cole “JediCole Houston
March 28, 2013