Category Archives: wizard magazine

RIP Wizard Magazine

This week Wizard Magazine called it quits. In this, the internet age, it certainly is a case of internet killed the magazine star. In a world where you can get all the latest comics news in just a few seconds, and also seconds after it happens – magazine that specialize in such are as much dinosaurs as the newspapers are. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ringing the death knell for the newspapers yet, but the comics audience is predominantly a computer savy audience. A monthly magazine ain’t gonna do it any more.

That said, Wizard had its time. There was a time when folks fought to get the first copies on the shelves. Everybody wanted to see the new interview, the new preview, the new poll, the latest who’d win, the photos from the latest film or even the letters column with the latest feud. Like I said, it had its time, but sadly those days are gone, lost to the much faster satisfaction of the immediate Twitter/Facebook world. Rest in peace, Wizard, you’ll be missed.

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Philadelphia Comic Con – Day Three

Another good day at the con. Here are a few observations about this year’s Philadelphia Comic Con:

~ As my buddy Ray noted, booth babes are back. There are the Suicide Girls of course. I’ve never been able to figure out what that is all about other than hot scantily clad women posing and vamping. This year there is also the massage station manned by hot female masseuses. To me, this seems like a step backwards. Just as we guys are finally getting our female significant others to come to these things, we are presented with a reason for them not to let us come. Not cool. Well, cool, but not cool.

~ I’m not a drinker so maybe this has been going on for a while and I just haven’t noticed, but has beer always been available at the comic con? It just seems like another bad idea to me. If you think a fat sloppy fanboy in a makeshift Batman costume arguing post-Crisis continuity is annoying – wait until you get him drunk.

~ There’s a secret phenomen that happens at all comic book conventions late in the afternoon on Sundays, and Wizard World Philly is no exception. The dealers drop their prices, sometimes drastically. The thinking being that what they sell, they don’t have to carry home. Lots of deals happening here today.

~ Friday after the show I went to the store and bought a whole package of hot dogs, a package of hot dog rolls and a Coke for the same price I could have had one dog and soda at the Convention Center. Wow. This is like going to the Wachovia Center or seeing a movie at Loews.

~ Oh my god oh my god oh my god! I saw the Batmobile, the real Batmobile!

~ Linda Hamilton does in fact have an identical twin sister who is local to the area. My question is – does she come to conventions and pretend to be her sister? I swear I saw a much younger looking Linda Hamilton on Friday than I did on Saturday. Just wondering.

~ Can someone tell me where they are giving away Stormtrooper armor? They must be giving it away because the Stormtroopers are everywhere. I think they are multiplying because there are more at the con everyday. I certainly hope they all used the little Stormtrooper’s room before the con because those things must be hell to take off. And doesn’t wearing a Stormtrooper costume sorta promote fascism anyway? Think about it. You know I’m right.

~ Khoi Pham is not only the nicest guy in comics, a featured guest at this con, and one of Marvel’s ‘young guns’ from last year, but also one of my favorite artists. I think he should be entered into the pantheon of great Avengers artists – along with Byrne, Heck, Buscema, Yu, Cho, Brown, Cockrum, Adams, Epting and the master of them all, Perez. Take a look at this terrific Mighty Avengers page I am now the proud owner of, and tell me otherwise. The dude rocks.

Thank you to Jerry Milani and all the folks at Wizard for putting up with us, our not-so-complimentary reports and of course for hooking us up with press passes. Thank you! Next year’s convention is already planned and scheduled for June 10-12 2011 – save the dates!

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Philadelphia Comic Con – Day Two

When I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and when I need to eat my words I will, and based on today, it would seem that my observations about Wizard World Philly yesterday might have been a bit hasty. Seem.

Today was a much brighter and busier day than yesterday. Guests, and cosplayers and just regular fans and good folks were everywhere. Lots of costumes and happy con-goers abounded. This was an excellent change from yesterday.

Saw lots of the non-comic guests like Adam West, Bruce Campbell, Brent Spiner, John DeLancie, James Marsters, Linda Hamilton and a whole boatload of wrestlers. My buddy Ray tried to explain who all the wrestlers were to me, but it all went through my head like a sieve. I imagine that that is the feeling my wife gets when I talk about pre-Crisis and post-Crisis continuity. The scary thing about Ray is that he knows both comics and wrestling.

I shook Adam West’s hand and told him he was the reason I was there – that if I had never seen his “Batman” TV show I never would have picked up a comic book. He smiled, and I’m sure he thought “you poor bastard,” but he was nice about it. Nice guy, and looking hella good for his age.

In Artist’s Alley I ran into former Mighty Avengers artist Khoi Pham. We run into each other at every east coast con it seems. It’s cool, I’m a fan of his work. So much so that I was going to get a sketch, something I plan on doing every time I see him but forget. A couple moments at his table changed my mind and I decided I wanted a page of his Mighty Avengers more. I’ll post a pic after I buy it tomorrow.

Upstairs, Ray and I ran into a fellow con-goer who had also bought some art, some amazing Haunted Tank and Iron Fist pages. We immediately struck up an intriguing conversation, and not necessarily about comics or the con either. It struck me that this is what the con, any con, is really about – making new friends, and hanging out with old friends.

There were glitches today, mostly dealing with lines – lines to get in, lines for guests, lines for panels – but that’s besides the point. Today was good. Today was fun. This was a one hundred percent turnaround from my Friday experience. Of course, there was the revelation of no press room, but we hung out upstairs anyway. It was cool. Looking forward to tomorrow.

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The Other Side of the Coin

Okay, I wrote over six hundred words yesterday about how much Wizard World Philly sucks. It never being my purpose to trash the con, let’s turn it around. How can we improve it? How can we save it?

The number one thing to be done, unfortunately I don’t know how to do, but you have to bring the comics people back. Get Marvel and DC back here. That Young Avengers announcement earlier this week should have been made at a convention, ideally this one, why didn’t it? Whatever happened to make the big two not be here has to be fixed. Get Image and Dark Horse here. Get Dynamite here – they are right across the river after all. Get the comics back and get the comics pros and guests back. Come on, it’s not a comic book convention without the comic books.

Befriend the comics press. In a world of Twitter and Facebook, they can destroy you before you even open your doors. I know for a fact that there are folks who did not come yesterday because they heard how lame the con was from Twitter. Whether it was true or not, they still did not come. You want excitement from the Twitterers, not derision. Use the tools. I saw many Tweets from folks at the con, but none from the con. Wizard should not only be Tweeting, but also replying to Tweets.

Embrace the press, don’t just befriend them. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was at the locked Press Room. Wizard was so proud about the number of press at the con, so why don’t you treat us better? Yes, I know you let us in for free, but how about just a little help along the way to giving you good coverage. Letting us know there’s a Press Room is a good start. Water and wireless would be a bonus, you’ll get high marks just for that. We’re cheap and easy. In a good way.

More outside events would be a step in the right direction. Let me tell you, there were folks like me who were disappointed by the con, but were sooo psyched about the zombie party and Kaiju Big Battel. More stuff like that would be fun. How about some bands or maybe stage shows? Perhaps even let folks know about that Philadelphia treasure next door, the Reading Terminal Market, instead of forcing them to eat those high-priced hot dogs at the Convention Center. Have some Philly pride.

These are just ideas, and they are given out of love. I don’t want to lose our comic con. I want it here for years to come, and I want it to be more popular and successful than ever before. Let’s do it.

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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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