It’s that time of year again: Comic Con. The time where fanboys & girls are excited to see all the stuff that’s available and where their wallets cry because they want to buy everything. Where like-minded people can gather to geek-out about all the things they love to geek-out about. Where bright colors and spandex are the norm. Where children can see their favorite characters come to life because someone took the time and effort to create an accurate costume. Where fans get a chance to interact with their favorite celebrities who decided to make an appearance. Where you can learn about so many behind-the-scenes shenanigans of your favorite TV shows & movies from first-hand accounts during panels. Comic Con.
I had the honor of receiving a Press Pass and the pleasure of attending the 2013 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con. In the past, I’ve only been able to attend Comic Con with a day pass, so I was limited to what I could see depending on what day I decided to attend. This year, due to the Press Pass, I was able to attend all four days of Comic Con and I had a great time. Let’s breakdown the weekend:
I figured that the first day would be the best time to walk around to see the layout of the Con and to see what was being offered this year. After picking up my Press Pass, I entered the main area where the Con was being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and started making my way through the labyrinth that is a Comic Con floor. Merchants, artists, groups, and PR were all front and center, with the celebrity signing booths and photo ops being placed towards the back. The only real celebrity that was signing today was WWE Superstar John Cena. The man has a large following. Today was the only day that he was appearing, I’m guessing due to his work schedule. Anyway, I chose one corner of the floor and made my way up and down each aisle twice so I could see everything. Once I got a feeling for the layout, I decided to just wander around the entire floor. LOTS of walking done here, folks.
This year, the popularity of Doctor Who was very evident with the massive number of Cosplayers throughout the entire weekend and the number of booths offering merchandise. It was very evident which Doctor the fans in attendance enjoyed watching. (I swear, if I see one more Fez… Ugh.)
There were quite a few R/C robots roaming the Con floor. A couple of K-9s, Con-standard R2-D2, and even an R4-A22. (Sorry, Stars Wars fans. I’m going by memory and Google on this one.)
The continued popularity of all things “Zombie” was also evident by the number of Cosplayers (Zombies and characters from The Walking Dead), the merchandise that was available, and displays such as the ones from Romper Zombies and The Zombie Run.
For automotive fans, there were several fan-favorite cars on display where people could actually sit in the car and take pictures. The 1960’s Batmobile, The General Lee, The DeLorean, and The Mystery Machine were all on display.
After walking around some more and getting familiar with the layout, I decided to call it a day. With Day 1 in the bag, I had another 3 days to look forward to and enjoy.
Starting on this day and for the rest of the Con weekend, I was accompanied by my fiancée, Jaime. We met up with a couple of friends (Marty & Greg) and decided to walk the Con floor, checking all the booths, catching up on life and discussing all things nerdy. There were many times where we wondered what would happen if the different fandoms decided to go to war with each other. (We couldn’t help thinking about it. Those Stormtroopers were mean-mugging those Klingons pretty hard.) We stopped by some merchant booths and saw part of our childhoods in the form of toys…I mean, collectibles. The Cosplayers were out in larger numbers, so it was interesting to see who dressed as who and who actually put in the effort to look good. (Inaccurate or altered costumes irk me.) This was also the day that the celebrities in attendance started to make their appearances at their booths for signings and for photo ops. It’s always interesting when you see some of the actors and actresses that you grew up with in person. Some are tinier in person than their personas lead you to believe, while others are just as big, if not bigger, than you believed. (I won’t mention who exactly, in case they happen to read this.) After a couple Soft Pretzels & Cheesesteaks (the guy who made our Cheesesteaks did a pretty good job), we wondered around some more until it was time to attend a Panel. I missed the Ray Park Q&A due to eating food. (My hunger gets satiated first, people.) Now, I was left with the choice of attending either the James Marsters or the Michael Rooker Panels since they were both scheduled for the same timeframe. I chose the Michael Rooker Q&A. (We all decided on that one.)
Afterwards, we waited for Marty as he waited in line for Michael Rooker’s autograph. Once he got it, we wandered around some more until it was time to leave. Another day, another bunch of happy memories in the brain.
Another day, another chance for more Con shenanigans. On this day, I actually had an interview to do with the creator of Head Smash, Vlad Yudin. Until my scheduled time, however, Jaime & I wandered the Con floor.
We stopped by the ACIDfree booth to check out their new prints. They released some new prints at Wizard World this year. They. Are. Awesome.
After a little wandering around to kill some time, we headed to the Head Smash booth to conduct my interview with its creator, Vlad Yudin. (You can check out the interview HERE.) After conducting the interview, we continued our Con wandering. This time, since it was just the two of us, we took our time checking out all the booths in the merchants section and Artist’s Alley. As usual at Comic Con, we were impressed by some of the artists that were in attendance. Both mainstream and indie artists were there to show/sell/sign their work. Again, some very impressive stuff. We bought a couple prints from some artists. (Always check out Artist’s Alley and support them. There’s some awesome stuff there, folks.)
As we wandered the Con (a lot of wandering done again here, folks), we stopped by one of our favorite Con booths, Red Rocket Farm. The most adorable art and merchandise around from the nicest people we know. The artist, Jason, does this thing for Con attendees called Free Drawings For Strangers, where you answer a couple questions and he’ll draw a comic based on those answers. Even though it says on the sign that “You Will Hate Them”, don’t believe it. They’ll be some of your most favorite art pieces. I definitely recommend you stop by their booth and pick something up. Tell them Jaime & I sent you.
At this point, we just continued our Con wandering until it was time for the next Panels that we wanted to see. Since Day 3 is a Saturday, it was the biggest crowd with the largest number of Cosplayers. I give credit to those who put the time and effort into creating their costumes, but some of these Cosplayers… C’mon, people! There are children attending this Con! Yes, I’m talking to BOTH men AND women on this one! Have some decency! To those who seek attention for the detail and intricacy they put into their costumes, kudos to you. We were very impressed by some of them. Others were just a mockery of their subject matter. Oh, well. That’s the two sides of Cosplay, I guess.
We walked by a LEGO Society table. I had to take some pictures of their work that was on display because, let’s face it, Doctor Who in LEGO form is awesome. After some more wandering, we decided it was time to line up for the Panels that we wanted to attend. Of course, these were a couple of the biggest ones that were happening during Con weekend, so we had to get in line early.
We waited about an hour+ for this one. Not because we wanted to, but because we had to. The line was forming…FAST. Makes sense considering the skyrocketing popularity of The Walking Dead and the huge drawing power that is the combination of Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, and Jon Bernthal. Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming nature of their booth lines, all three of them could not be on stage together at all. It would have been great to hear all three of them interacting with each other, but popularity waits for no one. It’s kind of nice to know that they stayed with fans for as long as they could and they didn’t want to make people wait if they could help it. Still, it was a fun Panel to watch.
Immediately following The Walking Dead Panel, we exited the Terrace Ballroom only to jump right into the already massive line that had formed outside for the Firefly/Serenity Panel. Considering that Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, and Summer Glau were all there for this one, we were lucky to find a seat. This was a great Panel since all of them were together. The only thing that would have made it better would have been the appearance of Nathan Fillion, who was originally scheduled to be there instead of Gina Torres but had to cancel due to scheduling issues. It’s ok because this Panel was very entertaining.
Afterwards, we wandered around a little more to see if we had missed anything else that day. Once we had enough, we headed home to rest up for Sunday because the one thing that we truly wanted to see was happening.
This day was an early day. We made our way down to the city early in order to line up for the John Barrowman Q&A. Of course, we weren’t the only ones who had the same idea. There was a line already forming by the time we got there. It’s understandable considering how hardcore his fans can get. (Some of them in attendance kind of bordered on the “possible restraining order” type. I actually feared for some of the children present for this panel.) Once we found some seats, it was just a matter of time.
The. Best. Epic. Panel. EVER! I hope Wizard World brings John Barrowman back every year. Beyond awesome. Of course, he gets even better later.
Immediately after the John Barrowman Panel, we got right in line for the Manu Bennett Panel that was happening in the same room. Being a fan of both Spartacus and Arrow, this was a panel that I definitely wanted to attend. It was very entertaining and the teases about Season 2 of Arrow definitely got my fanboy senses tingling. Right after the panel ended, we decided to forgo the Dean Cain/Brandon Routh Panel in order to line up at John Barrowman’s booth. We definitely wanted to see that Panel, but it’s a good thing that we lined up when we did. The line at his booth was ridiculous. There was a separate section behind his booth just to accommodate the number of people. If we got there any later, we would have missed the cutoff. Yes, the had to cutoff the line since John had to leave. A lot of the people waiting in line were worried they would not be able to see John, but not to worry. He took a little break from signing to personally come over to tell everyone that he would get to them all. We just had to follow a couple guidelines in order for him to see everyone within the amount of time he had left. Obviously, everyone agreed.
After talking with John very briefly, he signed both our pictures and off we went. We wandered the Con floor one more time before we left. It was a great day at the Con. We grabbed a couple Pork Sandwiches from DiNic’s (located in the Reading Terminal Market) and officially called it a day. It was a great day overall.
Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con overall was a great experience and definitely some fun times. I only had two gripes with the event: the handling of the lines for Panels (major) and seating for those with Press Passes (minor). Normally, this would not be a problem since most Con attendees who are actual nerds believe in “invisible ropes” that separate lines. Unfortunately, the attendees who were just there to see a celebrity (looking at some of you Daryl Dixon fans) and not actually there to enjoy Comic Con have no concept of fairness when it came to waiting in line. The amount of people I saw cutting lines was not cool. To the nerds who pulled that same crap, shame on you. You make the rest of us look bad and ruin the chances of other fans to enjoy the same things. Here’s a helpful tip for Con attendees: when waiting in line to meet a celebrity, do not encroach on the time of the person in front of you. That is beyond rude and if you’re not careful, karmic retribution will be on hand. (I’m talking to you, annoying girl who was standing behind me at the John Barrowman booth line. You talked about not being that person. Guess what? Yes, you are THAT person.) As for the seating for those with Press Passes, I’m kind of torn on this one. Yes, it would have been awesome to not have to wait in line hoping I get a decent seat at a Panel. At the same time, I’m given a Press Pass and the opportunity to attend the Con with the possibility of performing interviews (if available). This is definitely something that I can overlook and not cry about.
Again, like I said before, Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con was a great experience. The actions of some attendees doesn’t effect how I feel about the event. (That just comes with the territory.) The staff at the Pennsylvania Convention Center were nice and helpful. The Con staff overall did a great job. I’ve read some blogs/sites where people were complaining about the event. Some of their complaints were unwarranted and pure nonsense. (Sounded more like being bitchy than actually reporting on the event.) I wouldn’t listen to them. I recommend everyone go to next year’s Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con. I plan on it. Hopefully, I’ll get more Press Passes so my coverage of the event can be even greater.