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Wizard World Philly: The Devon Kopec Recrap

Wizard World Philly hit a couple of weeks back and as usual, the Antifanboys were there to cover it! We almost actually didn’t end up going to this one because we had run into some trouble with the sign up systems but thanks to some nice people over at Wizard we were able to get last minute press passes. Now the nice thing about the press pass is for people who work/run news sites, we get to go in and cover stories and interview people with some sense of purpose as opposed to creep them out as insane fans for their own personal blog….err. But perhaps best of all, it free! Meaning more money to spend on things at the con.

Photograph by Jesse Czapkewicz

Hucksters go Hucksting.

Now last year was a great experience for us because it was our first con that we actually came to “cover” and we got some great stuff. Interviews with the guys at Newgrounds and also the people that were behind the kickass downloadable game, Castle Crashers. We found Greg Pak roaming the floor for some comics (which was awesome) and he was nice enough to give us a good interview. Needless to say we got some good stuff and I was loving it. Sadly, since we were such novices at the whole ‘recording’ aspect a lot of our material we couldn’t use which was a shame. But hey! Our cameras and memories still worked fine and thanks to Wizard, we could visit such events like Kaiju Big Battel down at a local venue and we got some great pictures and Steve-O had written an amazing article covering the event. Wizard World last year was one of the best/most fun things I have ever done, we were running around covering major panels from Marvel and DC and other fun things like Battlestar Galactica panels and we even covered the silly, less important panels like Horror movie discussions. We ran ourselves ragged but we did it because it was a blast and we didn’t know any better.

Mysteries Incorporated

So needless to say WW Philly 2009 had raised the bar and 2010 had it’s work cut out for it. My first warning should have been the event page on the actual website. It was barren of any comic news or panels. I honestly don’t think there was a single publisher there aside from a few indy people trying to sell their stuff. But OK, maybe their website wasn’t accurate. I mean this is the Philly comic-con, there had to be something aside from a bunch of Star Trek Panels. The first day Galanti Steve and I had headed up. Steve had opted not to bring his camera equipment as he didn’t think he’d need anything. I disagreed but I wasn’t going to force the issue anymore than I had been. Turns out he was right on the money and my worst fears had been confirmed…

Galanti and The Vault Dweller

There was nothing but shops here, nothing. I looked up the itinerary and saw nothing comic related and just some guest panels with D-list celebrities and Patrick Stewert. If you were a hardcore Star Trek fan then I guess you had a blast. There was also a panel called Trailer Park, in which they show you movie trailers that you can find if you have an internet connection and google, no exclusives here. So aside from a good lunch at Redding Terminal and a sweet Scott Pilgrim VS. The World movie poster that we had all won, Friday didn’t have much to offer. There were no comic panel’s which led to no writers or artist to talk about upcoming projects with. The only thing somewhat entertaining were the group of Star Wars cosplayers who had lightsaber duels with each other in a little gated off section.  We ended the first day feeling a little dejected. This was Wizard World? This was the most bare bones “big” event I had ever been to. It was a giant shopping complex where everyone sold the same thing and not much else.

Galanti and Child Deadpool

Day two we were a bit more wary. Showing up a good two hours after the doors has opened. It was around this time that we had come to the realization that this is and was a bust. Patrick Stewart was there sure, but he was far to high profile to be interviewed by the likes of us. They shuffled him in and out and when he was around there were large crowds for him to please and sign their autographs. He wasn’t there to do interviews. We had found ourselves to be doing nothing but walking in circles in this place. With us resting periodically at the KIN section where they easily had the biggest display and had to have practically funded the conwith all the KIN swag and booths around this place. Finally we agreed that we would rather just sit in on one of the panels than walk around some more. We decided that the Star Trek Q&A would be fun. Sadly, though, so did everyone else in this fucking place as when we had walked up there was a line going from the front of the panel section all the way to the back and curving around. Having been to WW Philly going on 3-4 years now in the exact same venue I had a decent idea on the size of these rooms and there was no way in hell that they were going to fit even half of those people in this room. So instead Galanti, Steve and I had opted to color in Pokemon in the kids room just so we had a place to sit without having a fucking KIN shoved in our faces. THIS was the highlight of our day. After about an hour of this we decided enough was enough and left early opting to enjoy our weekend instead of wasting it watching Star War cosplayers “duel” in the hopes that one of them breaks their shin on the guard rail they had set up. Sunday came and went and we all had decided to not even bother, and thus ended one of the worst conventions I had ever had the misfortune of attending.

Galanti and Galanti

Even as I write this weeks after the fact I’m still baffled by how Wizard World had dropped the ball so badly this year. When I say there were no comics I mean there was nothing. No Marvel, DC, Top Dog, Wildstorm, Image, Dynamite… I think I might have glanced a Dark Horse image somewhere but it could have been anything. Dynamite was a particular mystery as one of their biggest offices were located in New Jersey which is at most a few hours away from Philly. Why was Wizard World getting snuffed by these publishers? Well one of the comic venders we had talked to had offered us an “inside scoop” (Rumor) that had been going around. When asked why he thought no one showed up to the con he had told us about a situation in which Wizard had set up a bunch of dates and cons out in the mid west last year in which Marvel and DC and all the rest of the big names had signed up on. Now as with most things, this cost money and probably a decent amount. You set time and dates aside to make it to these things and they require a bit of effort to coordinate and to run. And according to the guy we talked to, Wizard had apparently for one reason or another, canceled a number of these events and leaving DC, Marvel, etc. in the dark and shortchanged as apparently they had refused to refund the companies their money. Which would in turn lead to all of them stiffing Wizard the next time they came asking. Is it plausible? Sure, who knows how these guys operate their business but it certainly wouldn’t be a shock by any means. I do however doubt that all if any of this story is 100% true. It sure does explain away all the questions one would have though. Regardless the only ones who know the truth are Wizard and the comic companies.

Galanti and Red Hulk

So with the disaster that was Wizard World Philly 2010, I really don’t see them having anywhere to go from here except for up. According to Wizard  Joe Quesada has agreed to show up for the next one, which would only mean good things as it means comics would come back to WW Philly. I know this though, next time press pass or not I’ll be sure to check and trust the itinerary this time.

We ended up coloring-in Pokémon in the children's room for most of Saturday of the show.

-D

P.S. Spider-Slob was there at least.

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Devon

Devon is a Co-Founder of ANTiFanboy and ANTiFanboy.com He writes weekly articles and is the star of the ANTiFanboy Podcast. You can follow him on twitter @DevonKopec