To herald the arrival of Silicon Valley Comic Con this week San Jose officials gathered in front of City Hall Tuesday afternoon to raise its official flag over municipal plaza.
But what’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No!
Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound… just like Superman, Steve Wozniak swooped in Tuesday to raise the banner for freedom, for justice — for Comic Con.
To nerds, Wozniak is a super-hero even if the Apple co-founder is not “a strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men,” like The Adventures of Superman radio show used to say.
As founder of Silicon Valley Comic Con, “The Woz” was the guest of honor at Tuesday’s flag raising ceremony and the San Jose native was given a hero’s welcome.
“Comic Con has been one of the more fulfilling things I have been able to do in my life,” Wozniak said.
That means a lot coming from the guy who basically invented personal computers.
Mayor Sam Liccardo lauded Wozniak and his wife Janet for bringing Comic Con to San Jose for the first time in 2016. Liccardo said Comic Con is “an amazing event that transforms our downtown for a weekend,” but quickly handed over the microphone to “the happiest” public official at the news conference.
“The mayor’s right. I’m a total nerd and I am happy about it,” said Councilmember Dev Davis, who organized the event at City Hall.
Davis called out the economic benefits of the convention, saying that in 2018 it attracted 66,000 visitors who spent $4.1 million in San Jose that weekend. She also noted that in 2017, Steve and Janet Wozniak raised $25,000 for the city to upgrade the Roy M. Butcher dog park by selling Wozniak’s autograph at the convention.
This year’s convention runs from Aug. 16 to Aug. 18 at the San Jose Convention Center.
When it was his turn to speak, Wozniak was humble — as only a hero can be. He said the best thing about public recognition for good works is inspiring others to do something good for their communities.
“It’s really great to get commendations,” Wozniak said. “Because when you do good things and you try to be a good person and move society ahead and you’re commended for it, it gets the attention of other people, especially younger people, who say ‘I want to be that way some day,'” he said.
The Woz said bringing a comic book convention to Silicon Valley was really part of a larger goal to normalize nerds — something he and others have been remarkably successful at since Wozniak became a sort of nerd evangelist in the 1980s.
“I’m so glad to have been a part of making ‘nerdism’ popular,” he said. “Because I think most people, when they are in primary school feel like they are nerds. They’re out of it and they’re still trying to find their way in the world.”