Category Archives: heroes con

The Last Wizard World Philly?

Comic Widows has been a guest of Wizard World Philadelphia since 2001. That’s right, before we were even a website about comics, before we had our vision clear, and we were filming a sadly aborted documentary called Comic Widows, we were their guest. That weekend of filming and interviewing folks about their experiences, whether they were an entire family all dressed as Thor to the baby-overdue woman outside the main room who didn’t “know nothing ‘bout no Green Lantrin,” was my first time at the show. At the time I was amazed and dazzled by the wonder of it all.

Now I don’t think it’s that I have become jaded, but in the last couple years, the con just isn’t what it used to be. There’s been a name change. It’s now the Philadelphia Comic Con. That’s notable. Not only does it invoke the New York Comic Con, the new gold standard for conventions in the industry, but it lacks the words Wizard World, almost as if they are bad words.

The last few years Wizard World Philly has had a hard time competing with Heroes Con in Charlotte, the same weekend, and fighting for guests. While they are not the same weekend this year, the Con is at the same time as the Philadelphia Writers Conference, and had the Flyers won, there could have been serious competition there in the city. And it’s no secret that Wizard has had some financial problems and it’s also fairly obvious glancing at a schedule that there are very few comics-related guests.

There are only two meeting rooms being utilized this year, not counting gaming, and only one was used today. Wow, that alone says something is wrong. There is no presence from DC Comics or Marvel Comics, so no breaking news, and if you were to take a peek at Newsarama – you couldn’t even guess that there was a major convention going on this weekend. What is the problem here?

Upon arrival and looking at the program guide I was again disappointed. Quite honestly, other than the “What You Need to Know” article, I have never seen a more useless program guide for a con. It barely even rates that title. The map of the Convention Center was more useful, and it makes me wonder why that information wasn’t in the guide?

The Press Room, that only a few people knew about, was locked for most of the afternoon. And while there were at least two friendly and helpful volunteers, the majority were either clueless, didn’t want to be there or didn’t care. Usually when I do a con report, I break it down by day, mostly because so much is going on on any given day. The sad truth is however, there was hardly anything going on today. I’m not paying for a photo or an autograph, and I’m not paying con prices for comics-related goods – so I am sadly leaving early. I have no idea what I will write about the next two days. Maybe it was a slow Friday, maybe not.

I hate disparaging the con, I really do. It is local, and I would rather have a lackluster con than none at all, but… this is kind of embarrassing. I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds, etc. I really wonder if this article will put me on some kind of blacklist for next year, and that this is Comic Widows’ last time at Wizard, but I gotta call ‘em like I see ‘em. I hope that this is not the last time in Philly, but it might be at this rate.

Next: The Other Side of the Coin – Let’s Save Wizard World Philly!

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Wizard World Philly ’09 – Friday

This is two years in a row that Wizard World Philadelphia has been scheduled the same weekend as Heroes Con in Charlotte NC. This year, it looks like it may have bitten them in the ass. Just check the guest lists of both events and tell me which one you’d rather be at. Marvel and DC Comics have prominent presence in Charlotte, but not even a booth here in Philly. I think that’s very telling. And looking at the floor, not many people around, even for an industry day – there should be more of a crowd.

One of the first folks I ran into was someone who is definitely worth seeing – Mighty Avengers artist Khoi Pham. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the nicest, coolest and most modest guy in comics. And he’s one hell of an artist too. Those who’ve read my reviews know I don’t throw out compliments easily. Khoi Pham deserves the praise, just check out his work.

Going to the opposite end of the spectrum, another note on the caliber of guests WWPhilly has been able to snag this year is Lou Ferrigno. Lou is at every con. Now he’s a special guest. Wow. He even has a panel this time. I’m guessing maybe a better manager or agent too. Remember if you do want to see him, bring cash, lots and lots of cash.

On my trip through Artist Alley the dangers of having a press badge once again became clear to me as folks jumped out as if in ambush to push their wares at me. I’ve decided after years of this that I like the quick and to the point approach. I like it so much, here’s a plug – www.kevinbolk.com and www.interrobangstudios.com – the woman handed me the card, said I might like the webcomics at the sites, and to have a great afternoon. I’m sold. The guy who wanted to tell me not only the history of his comic but also his life story – not so much.

I liked the first page cartoon in the convention guide by artist Ryan Dunlavey. It’s all about convention etiquette, and highly entertaining I’m sure for regular con-goers. I especially liked the bits about being lost in Artist Alley and not asking for autographs in the rest rooms. What I didn’t like was the concept that you cannot take off the wristband they tightly bond to your wrist – all weekend. I know what the stereotype is for comics and gaming fans (there are horror stories about this from GenCon) that they don’t bathe – but come on. How am I supposed to take a shower with this thing on? Mine’s coming off. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

The Bride stopped by at lunch and we hooked up with friends Bryan and Paul. We checked out the autograph area and met Edward James Olmos and Erin Gray who were not only friendly and talkative but they also looked great. Ms. Gray was talking up an independent flick she’s in called Dreams Awake that sounded great.

Overheard at one of the food concessions between two women working the counter…

“That’s Chewbacca.”

“Who’s Chewbacca?”

She points him out to the other, “Over there.”

“That guy?”

“Yeah.”

“Nah, Chewbacca’s got way more hair than that guy.”

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