This past weekend I ventured down to the City of Brotherly Love to take in the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia, PA. The convention opened on Thursday evening (May 30th) and ran straight through to Sunday afternoon (June 2nd) at the Philadelphia Convention Center. While still located in the same building as last year, the convention had been moved to a different and more spacious location inside the center. This allowed for more separation between the vendors, artists and celebrities which helped keep congestion to a minimum which is always a great thing at a convention.
For those who's goal is to collect autographs of their favorite actor or actress, the number of big-name celebrities in attendance was amazing again this year. For fans of science fiction you had your choice of a mini 'Firefly/Serenity' reunion with Summer Glau, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres all taking part in the weekends festivities. Other celebrities included 'Star Trek's' own William Shatner, Ray Park who so famously portrayed Darth Maul in 'Star Wars Episode I', and Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker and Jon Bernthal from the hit AMC series 'The Walking Dead' were on hand as well.
Other celebrities included Comic Book icon Stan Lee who earlier this year celebrated his 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, Henry Winker from 'Happy Days' and 'Arrested Development', Brandon Routh from 'Superman Returns', Lauren Holly from 'Dumb and Dumber' and Kevin Sorbo from TV's 'Hercules' and 'Andromeda'. WWE World Champion John Cena was there along with current WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan and WWE Legend Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat for all of the wrestling fans in attendance.
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. I was fortunate enough to attend Ray Park's session and he is without a doubt one of the most engaging movie stars you will ever meet.
In addition to stars of the big and small screens, there was an amazing assembly of the best and brightest comic book artists in the business today. Each one of these talented individuals offered everything from prints and custom sketch cards for sale to even portfolio reviews and advice for artists looking to break into the ranks of these gifted artists.
And there were also vendors…lots and lots 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. You could have easily spent the entire weekend 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.
Fans themselves were even well represented by several loyal fan groups. The local chapter of the 501st Star Wars costuming group was there raising money with their 'Shoot a Trooper' fundraiser that allowed kids of all ages to take aim (with a Nerf gun) at a variety of the Empires loyal soldiers. There were also several Star Trek and Firefly/Serenity costuming groups, the Firefly groups in particular seem to be growing in size every year. As a die-hard fan of the short-lived series, I'm glad to see them having such a significant presence at shows like Wizard World. The Philadelphia Ghostbusters were also there making sure the spooks and specters were kept to a minimum…for a convention like this that is. There were also hundreds of cosplayers who took advantage of the Summer-like weather to come out and show off their latest amazing creations. From the Justice League to the Evil Empire, amazing costumes were found all over the convention center this weekend.
This was a repeat visit for me, having attended the show for the first time last year and once again I had a blast. The volunteers and Wizard World staff did another amazing job making the the entire weekend as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Everyone inside the center appeared to be having as great a time as I had, if not better. Here's hoping this convention will be around for years to come and I don't mind saying that I'm already making plans on being there in 2014!
And with that, I wrap up my report from the 2013 Wizard World Comic Con. Remember, if there is a convention in your area that you would like to see covered here at the Cantina, let us know and we will do our best to work it into our schedule. Until next time, this is Scruffy signing off for CollectorsCantina.com