This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia PA. The convention opened Thursday evening and ran straight through to Sunday afternoon at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
While not as big as the conventions held in New York or San Diego, the Philly show still packed an incredible punch and pretty much offered something for everyone, no matter what your area of pop culture interest.
For those who's goal is to collect the autographs, the number of big-name celebrities on site was amazing. For fans of science fiction you had your choice of all five of the Captains from the Star Trek universe. William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula were all there appearing together on stage for the first time ever. From the Star Wars universe, Jeremy Bulloch, Peter Mayhew, stunt coordinator Nick Gilliard and Sam Witwer, the voice of Darth Maul format he Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series were on hand. Mr. Gilliard not only signed autographs and posed for pictures, he also ran a Lightsaber Fighting course where he helped train potential Jedi in the ancient art of lightsaber battles.
Other celebrities included Chris Hemsworth from 'Thor' and 'The Avengers', Mr. Marvel Comics himself Stan 'The Man' Lee, Bruce Campbell from 'Army of Darkness' and the television series 'Burn Notice', Melissa Joan Hart from 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch', Shannon Elizabeth from the 'American Pie' movies and Norman Reedus from 'Boondock Saints' and AMC's hit television series 'The Walking Dead'.
The world of professional wrestling was also well represented with fan favorites like current WWE World Champion CM Punk, 'The Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase, Diamond Dallas Page, WWE Divas Lita, Gail Kim, and The Bella Twins, and WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy 'Mouth of the South' Hart.
Most of the celebrities not only offered autograph and photo opportunities, but they also took the time to hold question and answer sessions with their loyal fans. These sessions were some of the most popular events of the entire convention, with people queuing up hours before-hand to get the opportunity to ask their favorite celebrity a question.
In addition to stars of the big and small screens, there were also dozens of the best and brightest comic book artists in the business today in attendance. Leading the All-Star list was the legendary George Pérez who has worked on just about every major title in the DC Universe. Other special guest artists included Tom Raney, Alex Saviuk, Yanick Paquette, Carlo Pagulayan, Greg Horn, Mike Deodato Jr., Jim Calafiore and the list goes on and on. Each one of these talented individuals offered everything from prints and custom sketch cards for sale to even portfolio reviews for artists looking to break into the ranks of these talented illustrators.
There were also vendors…hundreds of vendors selling anything and everything pop culture related. From one-of-a-kind items and t-shirts to toys and collectibles you yourself may have once owned a lifetime ago, there was literally something for everyone. The entire weekend could be spent walking up and down the aisles of the convention center and it still would not have been enough time to see everything each of the vendors were offering for sale.
The fans themselves were even well represented by both the loyal fan groups like the 501st Garrison Carida who put on an amazing seminar about constructing your own armor and what it takes to join the Fighting 501st and the cosplayers who aided by the beautiful late Spring weather were out in full force. From Jedi Knights to Dark Knights, amazing costumes were found all over the convention floor.
Overall, my first trip down to Wizard World Philly was, dare I say "Phantastic"! The Wizard World folks, as well as the volunteers at the Convention Center did a great job making sure the whole 'Convention Experience' was as effortless and enjoyable as possible. Everyone both young and young-at-heart seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves the entire weekend and I'm already looking forward to next year's show.
And with that, I wrap up my report from the 2012 Wizard World Philadelphia. Until next time, this is Scruffy signing off for CollectorsCantina.com.