Okay, so after my day of Conning, I’m sitting down to put together what I thought. I had planned on getting some live Tweets in while I was there (Saturday, August 22) but the iPad let me down and wouldn’t give me a solid enough signal. Rest assured, everything’s still pretty fresh, so we’re gonna plug away and I’m going to tell you all about the day. If I’m letting my inner fanboy have a little too much play in this article, accept my humble apologies… while I’ve been reading comics for a pretty long time (forget it, I’m old but I’m not telling you how old unless you buy me dinner first), I’m embarrassed to admit that this is only the second Con I’ve been to. Like most of my dealings with all things “PullBox”, spending a day in my equivalent of Wonderland is far from old hat.
I didn’t get the chance to hit any of the panels, but from what I’ve heard about them, they were all pretty phenomenal. I’ve talked to people who were at, for instance, the Firefly/Serenity panel with Summer Glau, Nathan Fillion, and Adam Baldwin, and have it on good authority that it was a great time. Personally, I went with the more personal (and expensive) option and sprang for autographs from Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin. Both seemed to be “very cool dudes” who didn’t come across at all like they’d spent hours over the past days shaking an endless line of hands and signing their names a million times. On Wizard World’s behalf, I’d also like to say that they did as good a job as can be expected at keeping things dialed down to the level of Controlled Chaos. Fans can be tricky beasts to manage, not always particularly cooperative, but the Wizard World staff deserve a big attaboy for handling it.
Merchandise? Collectibles? Comics? No, no, there was none of that.
Are you kidding me? With one full hall, and a decent chunk of another one to boot, I think it’s pretty safe to say that even the most casual fan of a sci fi, comic, or gaming genre can find something they never known about but always wanted. The vendors were all pretty pleasant to deal with, and more than happy to lend you any assistance you needed in order to give over your hard earned cash. I know I found a healthy amount of spending to be hardly any trouble at all. It was all guilt free and glorious… my wife said that if I saved my allowance, I could “go play”, and play I did. Of particular interest was the Arsenal Models booth, where I picked up my next resin prop project.
There were booths galore dedicated to the sale of, appropriately enough, comic books, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels. Before you could get within a stone’s throw of “Artist’s Row”, you had to navigate your way through a gauntlet of vendors. It looked like most of them were store owners who’d rented space to set up shop and ensnare unsuspecting con goers. Judging from the selections I perused, I think it safe to say that from the mainstream to the obscure (I think I even saw some Ambush Bugs tucked away in there) any discerning collector could have easily lost a day and risked many paper cuts thumbing through the sea of long boxes.
“Artist’s Row”… I don’t know if that’s really what they call it, and it’s more than a single “row”, but it sort of fits. Artists from all walks of life, from major publishes to independents, were there to display their work. Neal Adams was there, working away on an original piece in between signing the prints he had for sale… so many prints, from one of my personal favorites (truth be told, when I think of Batman it’s usually Neal Adams’s design that I picture). Also present were Simon Bisley, Larry Elmore, and Mike Grell (who single-handedly, I think, is who Green Arrow has to thank for getting rid of that Robin Hood hat and giving him the much cooler hood to wear).
Most noteworthy as far as I was concerned was getting to meet James O’Barr, creator of the Crow… He’s an interesting fellow who seems to be constantly sketching and inking, to the point that I wondered if his hands were ever not discolored. Oh, a word of warning to anyone who wants to bring Mr. O’Barr a Funko Pop figure of the Crow to sign… He’s happy to do so, but he’s not happy (at all) with the job they did on the Crow’s face (Funko only does the eyes, and leaves the rest of the character’s face blank) and won’t wait to ask before he opens up your “mint in box” collectible in order to fix it. Right in front of my eyes, a young man’s prize was opened, pulled out of the box, and had a black Sharpie marker taken to it as Mr. O’Barr filled in his details on the mouth and touched up the eyes to his satisfaction. Being a true fan, the young lad was ECSTATIC to not only have James O’Barr’s signature on the box of his figure, but to also have his figure customized by the man himself. My only regret was that I didn’t think to go hunting for my own figure to have worked over in the same way…
Now, I can’t quite think of what else to say about my experience at Wizard World’s Comic Con this weekend… I think I’ve pretty much covered it all.
Oh wait…… There might be one more thing. Cosplayers.
From all walks of life, these people represent, in my humble opinion, the pinacle of fandom. Many put in hours of work, dedicating mounds of their own money, for the satisfaction of showing their high regard for the characters they love. At first I was hesitant to walk up and ask someone if I could take a picture of them in their very cool costume… but after the first couple times I came to a realization. These people are, for the most part, overjoyed to have their hard work recognized, and thrilled to be called out by the names of the characters they’ve chosen to play. While I was thanking them for giving me a moment to snap a picture, they were thanking me for showing them some appreciation. So I’m not going to keep on typing away, talking about these awesome people… I’m going to sign off here, and let them speak for themselves in the pictures I took.