This weekend I was able to make it out to the Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia – a weekend every year when nerds from the area descend upon the city of brotherly love to celebrate comic nerdery in all its forms.  Now before I go on about it let me say three things.  (1) I’m pretty sure no one considers me “press.” I’m not sponsored by anyone nor was I going to the convention on behalf of any organization.  It was just me going for fun.  So despite the number awesome guests that were attending the show, I didn’t shell out for any VIP sessions, panels or photo-ops.  After admission and the stuff I bought, I wasn’t about to spend a few hundred dollars more.  (2) I really should have broken this down into Saturday and Sunday and posted each day, but I didn’t, so I apologize for how long this is going to be.  And finally (3) My day job requires me to, well you know, be there, so I was only able to attend on Saturday and Sunday, not the whole 4-day stretch (which I do regret to some degree).  But even attending for only two days, I got to meet some cool people, have some interesting discussions with artists and exhibitors, spotted a few celebrities, and of course saw some decent cosplayers, as one comes to expect from a comic con, of course.  After waiting about 40 minutes to pick up “advance tickets” I thought would save me said 40 minutes, I was finally wristbanded and on my way in.

I got to have some good conversations with some comic people about art, comics, and the industry in general.  The first one was with Greg Horn, artist extraordinaire responsible for a long list of outstanding covers for a number of publishers including Marvel and DC, most recently for DC’s Blackest Night series and Wonder Woman #600.  He’s done work for Top Cow and Image as well, and is currently doing some cool stuff for Zenescope (that’s him on the right channeling his best Galactus).  I bought a couple of prints that were for sale – a sweet Arkham City rendition of Joker and Harley Quinn and another featuring Wonder Woman as a Star Sapphire from Blackest Night.  Picked up his art books too.  But what made the encounter cool was that he actually talked to me at length on the side of the booth while he was signing stuff for other people (which he did for no charge by the way).  On top of comics in general I was surprised to find that he was very up on his Indian legends, namely the Mahabharata, and told me the story about the publishing and abrupt halt to the comic book that was going to be made from that legend.  It’s a shame it was stopped too, because his knowledge and sketches for it were fantastic, even to someone like me who’s well versed in Mahabharata legend.  So on top of doing some of my favorite covers in all comic-dom, it was nice to see that he’s a super cool guy too.  In fact, you should check out some of his art.

Jeff Kaufman from Big City Comics was the next long conversation I had.  I went to the booth to find out more about Big City’s graphic novel Terminal ALICE, and it spun into talking about not only comics, but movies too – mostly the art of the head fake and the twist.  Apparently there were a lot of people that finished Terminal ALICE and didn’t “get it,” ultimately prompting Kaufman to change his nameplate from “Writer” to “Writer/Douche” as the title on his nametag.  What was interesting about this discussion was him recounting his experience visiting Normandy in France and drawing inspiration for one of his comics – because apparently according to the locals Steven Spielberg did the same thing to get inspiration for Saving Private Ryan.  He then showed it to me, and after looking at it for a while I came to the same conclusion he did, that the Normandy beach scene from X-Men Origins: Wolverine could have been a shot for shot copy and paste.  I’m looking forward to getting through Terminal ALICE to see for myself, because according to Kaufman, he gives the reader everything they need to figure it out, and I don’t intend to lose.

Now when I said before that there were some awesome guests and I spotted some celebrities, I mean that there were some awesome guests.  Stan Lee, one of the godfathers of modern comics was there, indirectly causing me to be immobilized in a crowd of people waiting to stand in line for a picture or autograph.  I did see him but couldn’t get close enough to snap a photo, as I didn’t shell out the $80 to do so.  A friend of mine got to meet him and have a couple of his comics signed, and said he was a pretty funny guy.  When he asked Stan the Man how he was doing, his response was “Well I’m here, so I THINK I’m doing OK.”  To be honest I expected no less after we’ve all seen his usually comical cameo in Marvel movies, not to mention his role in one of the funniest scenes in Mallrats.  This con was kind of a Mecca for Star Trek fans too.  I believe this was the first time that all of the captains from the different Star Trek shows (Shatner, Stewart, Brooks, Mulgrew, Bakula) were together in the same spot at the same time.  I was able to see them all, but wasn’t about to fight the mobs to try and get through.  And on a side note – Patrick Stewart is aging extremely well.  Must be all that time he spent with Q.

Then there was the original Hulk Lou Ferrigno, Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth, Heroes cheerleader Hayden Panatierre, the original Buffy Kristy Swanson, and a bevy of wrestlers headlined by CM Punk, who commanded the longest lines for anything I’ve ever seen in my life.  And I have to tell you, after seeing a guy like Paul Bearer in character for so many years, seeing him chilling at his booth texting was something that was exceptionally amusing to me.

In contrast to guys like Stan Lee and Greg Horn, there were a lot of artists and publishers that were relatively small scale, and a couple of webcomic artists that I’ve never heard of before.  I got to talk to the guys from web series Sean and Such, about a guy named Sean (but you probably guessed that) trying to run a pet store with his ridiculous coworkers.  I also spoke with the guys from inkbbot.net, who work with a mission I can get on board with – to make comics as ridiculous as possible.  They run a bunch of webcomics at their site, the one capturing my attention most being Casey the Pillowfighter.  Think 300, but he fights with a pillow.  I picked up a print copy of it and the artist, Louie Chin, was cool enough to sign it next to a sketch of me on the inside cover that he did in about a minute unbeknownst to me.
And let’s not forget 30 Rock’s Dot Com talking presidential run in 2016.  Why not 2012?  Because in his words, President Obama is a “black superhero.”  And let’s be real folks, there’s a good chance I may be running mate.  Dot Com / Brown Town 2016 – has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? And I finally met Katrina Hill, the Action Flick Chick herself at the GeekNation booth.
There were some tremendous cosplayers there as well – some of these folks really went all out to get the look of their favorite comic/movie/tv/game character.  From characters ranging from the Dude to Lollipop Chainsaw‘s Juliet (who by the way gives Jessica Nigri a run for her money) there were characters there dressed to the nines.  
Then there was the GeekNation launch party Saturday night.  They shut down the Field House to the general public for a nerd-only party celebrating the beta launch for GeekNation.  Complete with drink specials named “Thor’s Hammer” and other superhero-themed libations, this might have been the largest collection of nerds I’ve ever seen inside a bar at one time.  The best part about the whole thing was that while people were being turned away at the door, I was told by the bouncer “You’re good sir, go on in” after seeing the Green Lantern logo emblazoned on my chest and wristband.  Actually that’s a lie.  The best part was having a shot with “Super Bikini Girl,” one of the models from the Superhero Photography booth.   All very strange though – a private party where nerds got the VIP treatment and the sports bros got the boot. I met some fun people in there too, including some folks from SuperHeroStuff.com, who was a big sponsor for the night along with the fine people from Zenescope.
All in all it was a good time for a casual con attendee.  The bulk of all of this was on Saturday, and there weren’t nearly as many people there on Sunday.  Which was true for cosplayers as well. Next year I may actually take part in some of the panels and go for the full four days, because something tells me I’m missing a lot on opening day and day 2.

You can see the rest of my photos and more cosplayers here.  Some Spaceballs in there, The Big Lebowski, and a bunch of comic characters in there.  And if you are any of these people or know who they are, let me know so I can post your name for credit.

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About Tushar

Author and creator of Technical Fowl. IT/Tech hero. Jiu Jitsu purple belt. Enjoying the venn diagram intersection of tech, gaming, business, and politics.

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