Every once in a while, dreams do come true! This past weekend, at the 2016 Wizard World Philadelphia, one of mine finally happened! More about that below! And it wasn’t getting to go to two cons on two weekends in a row, either!
This was the second time I’ve attended this convention, both times helping out at a booth! It was once again a big success, with Saturday being the most attended!
HIGH-OCTANE GUESTS AND MORE
The Wizard World Philadelphia for this year, part of North America’s largest pop-culture touring expo, was held from Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center located in downtown Philadelphia. The number of attendees seemed to considered in the tens of thousands, and they found “the best in pop culture: movies, comics, cosplay, video gaming, television, original art, collectibles, contests and more,” according to a press release.
There were many media guests to attract folks from miles around, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston from Marvel Entertainment, Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead, Sebastian Stan, David Duchovny of The X-Files fame, Stephen Amell from Arrow, and Michael J. Fox as well as Christopher Lloyd a la Back to the Future.
Every morning when the convention started, there was a mad dash to get to the celebrity lines, but many of them also browsed the dealers, artists and other attractions. In cons like this one, about two-thirds of the folks buying tickets are primarily there for the media guests, the rest mostly for comics-related pros and items.
Speaking of which, there were many comics pros there as well, including Joe Quinones, Michael Kastorin, Salvador Larroca, Julian Totino Tedesco, Tom Cook, Danny Fingeroth, Genese Davis and Dean Haspiel.
One of the good things that happened was that the con attracted local television and printed press media as well. I saw a report on the local CBS station on Sunday morning telling people this was their last chance to participate! Nice!
Cosplayers were in abundance, with all ages participating! I saw a lot of movie Quicksilvers this time, guys with bluish costumes and white wigs. Huh!
I was helping at B12, the Stabbity Bunny booth in Artist Alley, which included a lot of folks selling their wares, and they drew a lot of the attention and dollars of many con-goers. For what it’s worth, we sold a LOT of comics, t-shirts, stickers and posters!
I also got to meet a lot of great Indie comics creators, and look forward to chatting with them for my Wayne’s Comics Podcast soon!
There was a wide variety of panels, many focusing on the shows the stars represented, but also discussions about making comics and other related topics. I’m also not sure if it’s now a “thing” or not, but there were several guys wearing kilts every day! Maybe they were Scottish? Or just enjoyed the cool breeze?
And my dream come true? I got to have my picture taken while sitting in the 1966 Batmobile! I’d been trying to make that happen for decades! Check out my photo below!
One of the things that I really loved about this con was the width of the aisles! Unlike many other cons I’ve been to, even on the busiest day of the session, people weren’t crowded against each other even though there were a lot of us there! It even seemed wider than the last time I was here several years ago.
Another thing I appreciated was that on Wednesday, the first day to set up booths, we were able to drive our van onto the convention floor! Did that ever make unloading and setting up easy!
Unlike MegaCon last week, Wizard World did a great job of giving each area their separate numbering system. While the main area had aisles that were numbered, the Artists Alley were organized by letter first, then booth number. We had a LOT easier time directing people to where we were than a week ago. Hopefully, the MegaCon folks are paying attention!
Each morning, dealers received a quick-printed newsletter with notes as to what was going to happen that day as well as what to pay attention to. Nicely done!
There was a big gaming section in the middle of the show, and I saw a lot of people participating. Also, the dealers were quite varied, selling everything from t-shirts to the ever-present Pop figures to comics to statues! My wallet came out a lot thinner as a result!
THINGS TO IMPROVE ON
I do have a few suggestions, even for this great con!
Let’s start at the end! As great as it was coming in to set up, getting out was a lot more chaotic and timely. We had been told we would be able to bring the van in again at the end, but this proved not to be true. The line waiting to park just outside the building seemed like it went on forever, but we managed to get in reasonably quickly, about an hour after we got in line. Next time, better communication would help here, I think!
I know I continue to grouse about this, but since I mostly go to cons mostly to track down possible interviews, I want to find many of the independent comics publishers. Some were deep into Artists Alley, others were near the big stars on the main floor, while still others were in the main floor just outside of Artists Alley. I noticed that several of the novel authors seemed to be near each other, but not all, sadly.
Still, it was a terrific experience as a fan and also as a dealer. We’re already planning to be back next year, and are also going to go to Wizard World cons in Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, this year. It was that good!
They’ve already updated their website for next year, so to find out more about news and information as it becomes available, go to this link. I’m sure it won’t be long before information about 2017 begins to be released!