Wizard World: Wonder-Filled Weekend In Philly

Linda Marie Linda Marie
Expert Contributor
June 7th, 2017

Comic Cons stole my life!

Wizard World: Wonder-Filled Weekend In Philly
Events
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Wizard World Philadelphia 2017 is in the books. Artists, attractions, celebrities and concerts... there was a little bit of something for everyone. From  entry to exit, I did my very best to capture the wide variety of elements offered. Allow me to take you along as I share my journey through this Wizarding World... 

Welcome To Wizard World

The first thing I noticed upon entering the Pennsylvania Convention Center was an increase in safety measures when compared to last year. A cosplay weapons approval was set up prior to moving forward through a bag check and metal detectors. I am quite accustomed to metal detectors at rock concerts, sporting events, and of course airports but, this is the very first time I had seen them a comic con. Thankfully, the security upgrade did not seem to add much more time to the ordinary line wait. Given events as of late, I am sure that fans appreciate steps being taken to improve the safety for all involved. My hope is that all comic conventions can quickly implement a system of efficacy. Once inside though, let the fun begin! There was no better way to describe stepping onto the convention floor than when I overheard a little girl turn to her brother and exclaim "THIS is Comic Con!"

 Philadelphia, Show Floor

A packed Show Floor at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Celebrities

The aspect most well-known at any Wizard World event is their variety of celebrity guests, and Philly was no different. Ralph Macchio (The Outsiders, Karate Kid), C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), John Cusak (Say Anything), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk), and Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) were a few of the celebs offering a blast from the past.

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Wizard World Philly also provided the opportunity to connect with some 'current' show biz stars. The ever charismatic fan favorite Michael Rooker along with buddy Sean Gunn were on hand representing recently released Marvel blockbuster movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Mr. Rooker was all smiles as he engaged fans and handed out free hugs! People also happily lined up to get some face time with stars Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network, Batman v Superman), Billie Piper (Doctor Who), and Paul Wesley (Vampire Diaries). For those more action oriented, martial arts expert Chuck Norris as well as several WWE® Superstars were available for autographs and photo ops.

Wizard World Philadelphia, Michael Rooker, Guardians of the Galaxy, Yondu

Michael Rooker chats with a young fan at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

One of the biggest draws this year though came from the world of musical entertainment with rock legend Gene Simmons. Mr. Simmons greeted fans warmly as he signed albums, posters, action figures and so much more. Not only did the Kiss front man make an appearance at the convention center, he also performed on stage at the local Trocadero Theater.

Wizard World Philadelphia,Gene Simmons, Kiss

Rocker Gene Simmons signs for excited fans at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Many more guests were on site over the weekend; it was nice to see them set up in such a way so that fans could catch a glimpse of all their favorites.

Artists and Creators

I was pleasantly surprised by the high-caliber of creative talent available at Wizard World Philadelphia. Painters, writers, sketch artists and more all serving up amazing renditions of our favorite characters as well as drawing us into realms all their own. I am blessed to know and meet so many amazing individuals that bring imagination to life. There is nothing sweeter than observing that talent in action and I implore all fans to take the time and visit these hard-working individuals. The best way to memorialize your con experience? Pick up some artwork and have it autographed by your favorite celebrity!

Wizard World Philadelphia, Buz Hasson, Amy Chu, Peter Dawes, Nate Michaels

Lots of creative talent at Wizard World Philadelphia. Cartoonist & tattoo artist Buz Hasson, comic writer Amy Chu, fantasy writer Peter Dawes, artist Nate Michaels. Credit: Linda Marie

Events, Entertainment, Exhibits

There was much to be seen on the Wizard World convention floor. Strike a pose next to an exact replica of the infamous Impala 'Baby' from the CW hit show Supernatural, have a seat on the Iron Throne, grab a selfie with an Avenger, get green-screened into the Stephen King Dark Tower universe, or visit a makeup artist to transform yourself into a zombie. Got kids? Take a trip to the Kid's Zone to burn off some pint-sized energy. Got game? Have a seat in the Gamers Lounge and get ready to battle!

Wizard World Philadelphia, Supernatural, Impala, Zombie, Hulk, Game of Thrones, Iron Man

Lots to see and do at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Learn From The Pros

Panels. I was hoping to get to more. Being that most were located in an adjacent building, it was not possible to gain re-entry without going through security again; making the process a bit challenging if under time constraints. That being said, there were definitely plenty of panel options from which to choose! Celebrity Q&As, speed dating, publishing and cosplay were just a few of the featured topics. I had the pleasure to sit in on one panel called Words Into Pictures: How To Write Comics with Wonder Woman’s Amy Chu, Spider-man Noir’s Fabrice Sapolsky, The Red Hook’s Dean Haspiel & Darkhawk’s Danny Fingeroth. There was much to learn from these well established industry masters. I feel it is important to know about the process behind creating comics; it helps in developing a solid appreciation and understanding for the work that goes into the characters and worlds we cherish. No matter your curiosity though, grab a seat and listen in!

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Wizard World Philadelphia, Panel

Panel time at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Get 'Con-nected'

I always have an open mind regarding sources available to connect with my fellow comic con fans. In an effort to keep up with the latest in sharing all things geek chic, I have been taking note of comic con podcasts. Sure enough, I met a great group of laid-back guys from Fireside Podcasting that welcomed all with open arms. I was able to grab an inside peek during one of their pods (click here to listen) featuring two incredibly skilled artists, CJ Draden and JaCo Tartaruga. It is absolutely fascinating to hear what lies inside the mind of any creator; what drives them, what inspires them or even what hinders their talent. I encourage fans to check out Fireside pods so that they too can find a place "where comics and class collide!"

Wizard World Philadelphia, Fireside, Cj Draden, JaCo Tartaruga 1

Fireside podcasters host artists CJ Draden and JaCo Tartaruga at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Cosplay and Collectibles

Ok, ok...no big surprise here. The talk of the convention was DC's mega blockbuster release of Wonder Woman. One look around the convention floor and you saw the love being shown for her with some incredibly crafted cosplay. While Wonder Woman was indeed a prominent feature throughout the weekend, there were many fandoms represented in outstanding fashion. As with most comic conventions, the cosplayers continually provide an atmosphere of fun and imagination. Logan, Yondu, Iron Man, Gandalf, Harley Quinn, Deadpool... You just never know who you will run into. Have your camera ready!

Wizard World Philadelphia, Cosplay

Cosplay strong at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Of course no comic convention would not be complete without collectibles. Discerning collectors were seen throughout the Wizard World floor in search of that special treasure needed to enhance their ever expanding collections. Comic books, figurines, retro toys, t-shirts and jewelry were available to all those looking to give them a new home. My advice? Bring your wallet and a very large bag!

Wizard World Philadelphia, Comics, Collectibles

Lots to choose at Wizard World Philadelphia. Credit: Linda Marie

Final Thoughts

The fans I spoke with seemed quite happy with their experience at Wizard World Philadelphia. The volunteers and staff were polite and friendly. The biggest challenge while attending this expansive event was in locating specific panels, artists, and vendors. Everyone agreed that increased signage would have improved their ability to see and do more. The upside? You were able to expand your horizons by taking in things you may have normally missed while on your search. 🙂

See You Next Year

I would like to thank Wizard World Philadelphia for inviting me to take part in their exciting weekend. I look forward to many more adventures with them in the future! Be sure to visit the Wizard World website to find a show near you. Follow them on social media for all the latest news and updates Facebook: @wizardworld Twitter: @WizardWorld Instagram: @wizardworld

Keeping You Comic Con-nected!

Linda Marie

Twitter: @LindaMw87 Instagram: comic_con_crazy Cosmunity: ComicConCrazy

 

 

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