I just got back from day 2 of Wizard World St. Louis, the first ever Wizard World comic book convention this city has ever seen. It’s still open tomorrow, March 24th, if you’re in the area and want to check it out. More info about ticket prices, guest stars, and events can be found here.
Even though I’m the “comic book guy” around these parts, Wizard World St. Louis was actually my first ever comic book convention. What did I learn? Bring comfortable shoes, a bag for all your stuff, plenty of money, and drinking beforehand probably isn’t such a bad idea either (food and drink can be a bit pricey… as is EVERYTHING else). You’ll also want to set aside more than one day to check everything out and choose your events wisely as the scheduling of all the most interesting panels often conflict with each other.
I’ll be going to New York on Tuesday so I’ve been trying really hard to catch up on my usual work and I also have my birthday this Sunday so I was barely able to squeeze Wizard World into my schedule but I’m glad I did. While I was there I met some interesting people like the various Batman cosplayers and the two girls that were major Dr. Who fans that had lunch with me. I also ran into an old friend from college, Ben Watkins, who I still affectionately call Star Wars Ben because he’s easily the biggest Star Wars fan I have ever met. He even had a Star Wars themed wedding a few years back– and speaking of weddings, today I saw a man propose to his girlfriend during a discussion panel with Stan Lee!
It was those events like the Stan Lee and Neal Adams panels that really made the day great. The booths, for the most part, all kind of bled together after a while. It’s the board game demos and the meet and greets that you want. Wizard World was also rather light on free swag. I could have had a picture taken with the guy who played Draco Malfoy (yeah, I know his name is Tom Felton but I figure that’s a bit of knowledge I don’t need in my brain so I’m trying to shake it. Sort of like how I hate that I can still remember the name of the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite yet I don’t remember what a quadratic equation is. These bits of trivia are hogging up valuable real estate in my head), Henry Winkler, Laurie Holden, or any of the other celebrities there but I would’ve also had to pay around $60 bucks for the privilege and that just didn’t sit right with me. One of the girls I met and enjoyed an overpriced pulled pork sandwich with had her photo taken with Draco and said that it was like an assembly line where she just walked right into the booth after someone else, stood side-by-side with the actor, had a photo taken, and was escorted out without a second of casual conversation with the star. When I asked if it was worth the $65 bucks or so she, without hesitation, replied “Yes!” To each their own I suppose!
I’ve attached a few pictures of folks who played Batman dress-up (the man who went as Jack Nicholson’s Joker is easily my favorite), miscellaneous shots of the venue itself, and a video interview with my buddy Ben to promote his upcoming webseries. But best of all, I was able to record some audio of the Creator Spotlight: Neal Adams panel. I’m not sure which surprised me more, how sparsely populate that Q&A was or how marvelous 71 year old Neal Adams’ head of hair is. It’s stunning. The problem with events like the Adams and Lee panels was that they were a mere 45 minutes long. That’s not enough time to speak with a comic book legend. I could’ve had a one on one interview had I contacted Wizard early enough during the week so that’s my own fault, but as for everyone else’s enjoyment? It’s greatly hindered by the short time frame plus there’s an extra 5-10 minutes lost to the moderators waiting for late-comers to file in and tech guys to properly set up the video and audio presentations. Stan Lee was late to his own event and commented at the end at how little time he had been given to talk with the crowd, which was massive. I was actually stopped at the door but eventually allowed inside as part of the standing room only crowd (By the time the Adams panel ended, the Lee one had a line that stretched throughout the complex).
As for Adams, once he was done answering the moderator’s questions at great length there were only a few minutes left for around 3 or 4 audience questions. Batman came up, however but maybe that’s for the best since his most recent work was Batman Odyssey and judging by an interview I saw online recently he’s none too happy about the critical response (and judging by how I’m the only person who still reviewed that book past issue #2 or so… his F-bombs were probably directed at me). Once the time for questions was over we were shown an animated teaser for Neal Adams’ Blood, which I’ve also included here:
So enjoy the audio, video, and pictures! This was my first time going to one of these things so maybe now that my cherry’s been popped I’ll be able to cover the upcoming San Diego Comic Con even better. And as for the New York trip I’m taking this week? Well, that’s going to be comic-related too so stay tuned!