Written By: Johnny
Between June 2nd and June 5th the Philadelphia Convention Center, located a few blocks northeast of City Hall, was overrun with comic book nerds, celebrities, and cosplayers for Wizard World Philadelphia. I had the pleasure of attending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; and I had so much fun! This is the last blog of three, leading up to our Podcast episode covering the event on Thursday (DOAT Ep 75)
Wizard World is a convention circuit that travels year round, bringing fans, artists, creators, and celebrities together. In 2014, Wizard World was the first con I ever attended; and I got to meet some pretty cool people then. This year, Tim and Brandon went to Wizard World on Saturday with me, and this was their first con experience as well. Brandon had this to say about his first Con:
As the executive producer of Dork of All Trade Podcast and a fellow nerd, I got to experience my first ever Comic Con this past weekend. I dressed up “casually” as my favorite DC superhero, Aquaman, and joined my friends as we ventured down to the Convention Center for Wizard World Comic Con. Overall, I was mesmerized by the different booths and exhibits on the floor, and felt like a child on Christmas morning, eagerly excited with everyone going on in front of and around me. The 2 panels we sat through were absolutely my favorite part. During the first one, I got to see Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, and Anthony Mackie and hear their different viewpoints and opinions of the Marvel universe in person. The second panel, featuring Stephen Amell, was also great seeing as I am a fan of Arrow. I thought he interacted well with the audience. He also gave a powerful message at the end to us fans that I feel is important, he said “whether you love a show or a hate a show; a fans opinion is appreciated. Unless, of course, if you attack an actor for their portrayal of a character, then you’re not a real fan and you don’t know what you are talking about.” Amell was great, but what truly made the experience of going to my first Con amazing was going down and spending the day with my friends; and I look forward to going to many more!
Brandon enjoyed Saturday; and because of great friends, I also had fun Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday the con floor had a lot of energy, Saturday it was really busy with a lot of people, and Sunday was a lot more relaxed. We talk about panels and events on Episode 75 of the podcast, so I won’t go too far into it here. I can’t describe how much fun I had this weekend, but I think it is important to compare pros and cons for Wizard World to see if this is a con you would enjoy.
Con Pros: There are plenty of opportunities to meet celebrities, get autographs, and photos. There is a wide variety of handmade art, clothing, and decorations to add to your nerd shelf. The Cosplay contest is a lot of fun, and cosplayers are a huge part of the culture that is apart of enjoying walking around the Floor. The unofficial events after the show are a lot of fun and there are plenty of things to do in the area after hours.
Con Cons: The Con is expensive; a 1 day pass on Saturday is $55 plus fees. Since the con floor and panels start at 10:00 AM, and close at 7:00; you’re basically spending $6.10 every hour you’re there. If you’re there to meet celebrities or find cool nerdy merch, Prices are a premium; last year we took a photo with Stephen Amell (Arrow, TMNT: Out of the Shadows) and spent $40 to do so, this year the same photo would cost you $100. The last few years has shown a decrease in higher caliber artists and cosplayers; in 2014 I got to meet Neal Adams (YES! That Neal Adams) at his booth and he was amazing. I am not trying to knock independent publishers or artists but the Absence of Marvel and DC booths is obvious. Finally, I want to mention about schedule delays, cancellations, and waiting in lines; which is a huge problem I had with Wizard World in 2014, and apparently things have not gotten better. The following is an excerpt from the You Fancy Me Mad Blog posted on Monday, June 2nd titled Dear Wizard World & Celeb Photo Ops
… When will you learn to not only treat the fans who are paying you a lot of money for your event with respect, but the talent as well? A celebrity shouldn’t have to miss a flight or sign until the lights go out because you overbooked everything. Like you always do. I understand that things can run behind but when photos are an hour, or two, or hell even more, late that is a huge problem. When someone misses a photo op by mere seconds because the schedule board isn’t updated and everything is late to begin with, that isn’t their fault. It’s yours. When your talent is saying “Why is everyone yelling?” during a photo op set up, you know you have a problem. I heard fans mention that they were going to miss flights home. I heard a staff member tell someone that they’ve waited 4 hours, what’s 5 more minutes? Really? Are you fucking kidding me? …
There were many rumors as to why photos were delayed, one rumor claimed that Chris Evans was kissed by a fan and had to stop photo ops because of an anxiety attack, these rumors were later denied by Evans, via twitter.
Con Takeaways: If you have never been to a con, and can afford the overpriced money grab that is a Wizard World Convention; I suggest you go. You can get a feel for what a massive convention like San Diego or New York Comic Con is like, on a slightly smaller scale. What is missing is the intimacy and sense of community you get from smaller local comic and anime conventions, but having the opportunity to meet your favorite movie star may outweigh that need for some. Lastly, this convention is great for kids, your kids can meet they’re favorite heroes (in cosplay) and there is usually a number of panels oriented for children (especially on Sunday).
AND NOW, all of the other Photos that I couldn’t fit between the margins of this Blog.
**(We were not asked nor invited to promote, endorse, or review this convention; but as fans of nerd culture and as a media outlet we felt it was our duty to share these amazing people who love the things we love. To get to share their art, work, costume or story with the world inspires us to be more, to grow both as creators and humans… Thank You)