Tumbleweed Smith
Tumbleweed Smith

Dan Smart of Andrews got hooked on Star Wars at the age of eight when his father took him to the first Star Wars movie. He is still hooked. Big time.

“Probably about ten years ago is when I decided to try to look like the Star Wars guys,” says Dan. “The first costume I ever made myself was of Darth Vader. It went over as a hit and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Dan works as a computer specialist at the Andrews hospital. He and two of his sons don their costumes: Darth Vader and two storm troopers. They make appearances at movie premieres, sporting events, museums and Comic Cons all over Texas.

“We talk to people, we take photos with people, especially with the little kids. We do a lot of thumbs up, a lot of high fives. I sort of do the Darth Vader voice. It’s a lot better with the helmet on but I do the best impersonation that I can of James Earl Jones who was the voice of Darth Vader. Of course the favorite line is I AM YOUR FATHER.”

Dan, his wife and four kids portray comic book characters.

“We actually have what we call the Batman family which is Batman, Robin, Cat Woman and Huntress. That’s what we’re most famous for in the Comic Con scene because we bring eight different characters.”

Dan is serious about this and spends a lot of money on things to make their appearances more impressive.

“We actually have motorcycles to go along with the super heroes. I bought my sons, my daughter, my wife and myself motorcycles and re-painted them in the garage. So Robin actually rides the Robin Cycle, Nightwing rides the Nightbird and Huntress rides the Huntress Cycle. We have superhero themed motorcycles that go along with it and then my wife, who plays Cat Woman, rides the Cat Bike. When we first contacted the Comic Con, it was like, ‘I guess that would be OK for you to come.’ Well when we showed up with the bikes, people went nuts over them. Everybody wants us to bring the motorcycles now. That’s the new thing. You gotta bring them because there are lots of guys who dress up like Batman, lots of Cat Women, lots of Robins, but none of them bring motorcycles that match the costumes.”

Dan has been asked to come to Comic Cons all over the United States, but he has turned them down because of his work, the kids’ school and the time involved. But to him it’s more than just a pastime activity. He calls it a lucrative hobby.

“We make enough money to travel to the events and we get to do this as a family. How many times do you have your teenage kids look forward to the next time when they can hang out with their parents?”