Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wizard World Thoughts

Hello, people of Earth.

May 19th, 20th, and 21st, Des Moines was once again lucky enough to have the Wizard World Comic Con! For you young people, Wizard was THE voice in comics in the 90’s and into the 21st century. They were there for the boom in the 90’s, and provided an inside look to your favorite artists, writers, and comic book companies. After Wizard stopped publishing their monthly magazine (and after years of grief counseling for me), they have still been putting on conventions all over the country.

This is the 3rd year in a row for our friends at Wizard, and while I was unable to attend the last two years due to work/other terrible reasons, Josh, Zac, Claire, and I from the Field of Geeks podcast were there to cover as much as we could. 

First of all, this is the largest con I have been able to take in. Back in “the day” (for me, that is the Paleolithic Era), I had been to a few smaller cons that were still quite entertaining and allowed me to meet some cool creators, including Jae Lee, Joe Staton, and Mike Grell (who can do no wrong). As it was held in the Events Center downtown, it had enough space to cover everything that was presented in an organized layout, making it easy for people to move from area to area.

Me before I had food.
Greeting us as we walked in was a huge statue of some muscular green dude with a real nasty disposition (pictured). There was a stage where multiple programs took place, from a fun 80’s cover band to some pretty hilarious fashion shows. Past that on the left side of the room were the celebrity guests and on the right, tons of awesome vendors featuring everything you would want at a convention like this. Des Moines’ own Mayhem Comics were on-hand, and it was great to see their familiar faces.

Is alcohol your thing? It was my thing on Friday, as Zac, Josh, and I enjoyed a double whiskey and coke as we arrived. It was called the Daredevil. The name was dead on, as after it, I couldn’t see and needed assistance being led around. Not true, of course, I just stumbled about, taking in the sights.

In the next room, the creators were all lined up in multiple rows, providing art and autographs for lots of fans (myself included). This room also had some sweet cars! The little known vehicle from that small independent movie franchise “Back to the Future” was there. I’ve seen many DeLorean’s in my day, but never one decked out like the movies. It was quite a sight. The Speed Racer car was there, as was my personal favorite, the Impala from the Supernatural series. My daughter got her picture taken with it, and I just drooled at the condition of the vehicle.

Are you into the celebrity/comic panels? If so, the panels never stopped. There were a bunch, ranging from comic talk, to celebrity/TV show panels…Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, etc. Victor Dandridge, a self-publishing guru, hosted approximately 732 panels (very slight exaggeration), and I was lucky enough to sit through 4 of them, which included James Marsters from Buffy and Danny Fingeroth, one of the Marvel legends!

Stan Lee was in attendance. ‘Nuff said (I totally stole that).

The event for kids were numerous and just added to the family friendly environment.

I will be adding a couple “5 Questions with…” segments to the blog over the next week. Mikey Babinski (Spider-Man) and Ant Lucia (DC Bombshells) were gracious enough to put up with my nonsense. Both of these gentlemen do phenomenal work, and it was honor chatting with them.

These cons are important for a city like Des Moines, who, until recently, was lucky to get the remaining cast members of Hee Haw, let alone stars like John Cusack, Dean Cain, and Marina Sirtis. If we are fortunate enough to see Wizard World return, you can bet I will be there covering it.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Jerry Milani of Wizard for the press pass and assisting with access to some of my favorite creators. You’re the man, Jerry!
Next up, 5 Questions with Mike Babinski. Check it out!

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