Wizard World Philly 2013: The Sights and Smells. Pt 1

Shangri-La!

Shangri-La!

You gotta love comic book conventions.  Your friendly neighborhood jman’s been going to them for almost 20 years now.  They’ve definitely changed over the last few years, in size and scope (back in my day we had to walk 15 miles in the snow to get to a comic book convention).  But, the heart of it remains the same…comic books buying stuff. 

Heaven awaits, my friends!

Heaven awaits, my friends!

Wizard World Philadelphia was founded circa 2002.  I did a quick internets search, but couldn’t nail the year down (Updated!  From Wizard World themselves!  The Con started in 2001.).  Regardless, the first couple years of the show were big to-dos, with all the big comic book companies taunting us with their goodies.  But, by the mid 2000s, Wizard World was looking a bit…lean.  So much so, that you had to wonder if the year you were in would be it’s last.  But, by the beginning of the 2010s, the momentum had shifted and Wizard World Philadelphia is finally returning in strength and size.

the wait to get in

the wait to get in

Case in point, the floor space for Wizard World 2013 “tripled” in size over last year (Updated! Again from WW themselves…they added an extra hall this year)!  On Friday, 5/31 (the show’s first full day) all the extra space made the place look a little empty.  But, come Saturday, 6/1?  You were lucky if you didn’t elbow your fellow attendee in the gut when you turned around.

inside

inside

I’ve learned over the years that if you want to get the full Con experience, you’ve got to go multiple days.  That experience comes at a price though.  The cost of a single day pass is definitely getting up there.  So, it’s almost worth paying the extra money to go multiple days, even if you don’t plan to go for more than one, initially.

new to this year...lounging?!?!?

new to this year…lounging?!?!?

Everyone has their reasons for why they go to conventions.  I go to the Cons to buy stuff.  Mostly toys, but shirts and comics, too.  Everything else there comes second, at least to me.  I know.  I know.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking:  “You pay money to go spend more money on stuff?  What’s wrong with you?”  Look.  If that’s what you’re thinking, then nuts to you!  Ever belong to a membership warehouse?  Then you paid money to shop there.  And besides, everyone does/spend money on stupid things.  How many of us pay hundreds of dollars to watch a couple guys through a ball around for a few hours?  Yea…that’s what I thought!

Wall o' Pop! Figures from Funko!

Wall o’ Pop! Figures from Funko!

But, I digress…

Hot Toys Superman

Hot Toys Superman

There’s usually a ton of stuff to buy at Wizard World.  Too much, really.  No matter how much money you bring, it’s never enough. Because there’s always something else you won’t be able to live without in the next booth down.

it's on special though!

it’s on special though!

Except for My Little Pony.  I don’t get My Little Pony.

i'm sure you significant other would gladly wear this out in public!

i’m sure your significant other would gladly wear this out in public!

You can always find interesting stuff for sale at the Cons.  Like superhero lingerie/bathing suits.  Or zombie lingerie.  I see these things on sale all the time, but I have yet to see any woman wear a Wonder Woman bikini.  I’m probably just not looking in the right places.

ummm...maybe not.

ummm…maybe not.

Once you’ve had your fill of buying stuff (which I don’t) there’s plenty of other doings transpirin’.

shoot a Trooper for charity!

shoot a Trooper for charity!

The past few Wizard Worlds, Norton has had a trailer set up running a short promo for the big summer movie of the year.  This year it was for Man of Steel.  I didn’t go in.  I’m sure it was great.  But, I’ve decided I’m only doing these movies spoiler free now.  My loss, I suppose.

You could pay to sit (and get your picture taken) in the classic Batmobile.  And the General Lee.  And the DeLorean from Back to the Future.  Oh.  And the Mystery Machine.  But, I only pay money to buy stuff.  I don’t like paying extra cash to get my picture taken in cars.  My mini-van is badass enough, thank you very much.

sir! no non-paying picture taking!

sir! no non-paying picture taking!

Another way to blow your hard earned cash is on “meet and greets”.  There was plenty of “talent” at Wizard World this year (just not Nathan Fillion.  Sorry, everyone.  He had something better to do a scheduling conflict).  I’m not an autograph collector.  And I’m not one to wait in long lines.  That’s just me, though.  But, plenty of people are willing to wait to see their favorite stars (and there’s nothing wrong with it, either).  I did manage to swindle a picture with Charisma Carpenter, though.  According to the interents, her and I are completely compatible.

BTW, here’s a tip from your friendly neighborhood jman. Don’t be taking pictures with your iPad over your head.  At a Con or your kid’s saxophone recital or anywhere else in public.  If you don’t have a smart phone with a decent camera, then buy a point and shoot.  They are wicked cheap any more.  If you’ve forgotten both your camera and your phone at home, and a chance meeting between Jean-Luc Picard and James T Kirk happens right in front of you…TS!  Don’t raise your iPad up to take a pic.  Next time remember your camera/phone!

DON’T be this guy!

There seemed to be a couple emerging themes on the Con this year.  Minecraft being one of them.  Merchandise mostly, though.  And lots of it.  Lots of attendees were dressed in their Doctor Who gear, as well as Adventure time and more than a few people dressed up as the Power Rangers.  Like I said, the Cons have changed over the years.

all over the place!

all over the place!

And zombies.  A lot of zombie crap.

is this craze over yet of what?!?!?

is this craze over yet of what?!?!?

Then there’s always one random booth at Wizard World.  That prize goes to Bathfitters this year.

why don't you take a break from buying toys and think about getting your bathroom re-done?!?!

why don’t you take a break from buying toys and think about getting your bathroom re-done?!?!

Comic book conventions are a great place to get original art.  This year being no exception.  I strolled down “artist alley” a few times.  I had a hard time deciding between a bunch of illustrations.  At this one particular table, I ended up getting a real sharp Supergirl watercolor.

yup.  that's the one...

yup. that’s the one…

There’s also all sorts of panels and side meetings to attend.  This year was the first time I actually sat in on one.  After a few years away from Wizard World, Marvel returned with a small presence.  They ran a few panels events.  I sat in on the “Marvel Now! to Infinity” event.  Interesting stuff about the near future of Marvel comics.  Mostly Q and A, stuff.  But, one of the ideas being tossed around the Marvel offices, that I thought was fairly clever, was the idea of comics being looked at as “seasons” much like TV shows.  Just an interesting tid-bit I need to mull over more.

For me, though, one of the highlights was a run-in a had with a vendor I had bought some figures off of on the first day.  The con was giving away a Walking Dead book.  Which a slew of vendors were trying to buy off the attendees right inside the door, on Saturday, for 5 bucks a piece.

the book in question

the book in question

As I was walking the floor late in the afternoon on Saturday, the vendor flagged me down from across the Con floor.

 “Buddy.”  He called out, walking rather quickly to where I was standing. “My good buddy.” He said, with a cheese eating grin, putting his arm on my shoulder, like he was a long lost friend.  “That Walking Dead book…can I buy it from you?  I’ll give you 5 bucks for it?”

I laughed at him.  “Sorry, bro.  I don’t have it.”

“Damn!” 

“What’s the deal with that book, anyway?”  I asked him.

“The Con is giving it away.  Everyone’s trying to buy them up for like 5 bucks and get them signed by Norman Reedus.”

“Ahhh!  I see.  Sell them high later on.”

He shrugged in agreement.  “Alright.”  He said, turning away. “Well, thanks anyway.” 

“Hey.”  I called out.  The vendor turned to face me.  “If I did have it I’d sell it to you…for twenty.”

He turned back around and laughed, continuing his search for another rube looking to part with gold for 5 bucks.

you can rest here until next time...

you can rest here until next time…

Man!  This article ran waaaayyy longer than I intended.  So, stay tuned for part 2 where I talk about the thing that intrigues everyone the most: the cost of parking cosplay.

your friendly neighborhood jman - Feature Editor

About your friendly neighborhood jman - Feature Editor

catch more of your friendly neighborhood jman's hijinks over at yfnjman.com