Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con: After Some Growing Pains, it’s Bigger than Ever

Firefly/Serenity is another franchise that has had a long-time presence at WWP. I met Adam Baldwin there when there were no line control barriers and autographs were relatively cheap. Baldwin didn’t make it this year, but the elusive Nathan Fillion, who had to cancel his WWP appearance last year, was a featured guest, along with Alan Tudyk, a match to warm the hearts of Philly Browncoats. Also, the Browncoats sell soaps inspired by Firefly characters at their booth.

Ralph Macchio was there, looking about the age he actually was when he played Johnny Cade in The Outsiders, and Whoopi Goldberg, John Carpenter, David Boreanez (his dad, famous Philly weatherman Dave Roberts, was there, too), Eliza Dushku, James Marsters, Christopher Lloyd, Evan Peters and Daniel Cudmore from X-Men: Days of Future Past, Curtis Armstrong, The Comic Book Men, a couple of professional wrestling stars, and, of course, Lou Ferrigno, who I spotted at his both signing autographs on Friday morning before the other guests had shown up.

The Artists

The Artists’s Alley is really the heart of Wizard World. You’ve got comic book artists ranging from the very new and self-published to big-name artists like Marv Wolfman (DCU), Neal Adams (Batman), and Jim Cheung (Avengers vs. X-Men). You can still page through books of original comic art and have your favorite comic books signed, but now crafts have been making their way into The (expanded) Alley, as geek culture and handmade, often utilitarian items have crossed over — so you could find high-heel shoes decoupaged with comics by Heroes and Heels, creepy/whimsical jewelry by Zombie Romance, or video game-inspired Quilts by Kelly (and yes, the rise of Artist Alley crafts is also a rise in female artists in the Alley, which I’m always happy to see). I love the trend of taking an old-fashioned craft, such as quilting, cross-stitch, or crochet, and interpreting the blocks or stitches as 16-to-64-bit pixels.

I learned that Dan Parent of Archie Comics (and some of the best Archie/Valerie covers) is from the Philly area. Also representing Philly, the up-and-coming Power Comix, featuring a diverse mix of superheroes and sci-fi characters, with titles like Walker of the Universe and The Super Squad.

The Cosplay

This was the year of the Winter Soldier and 11th Doctor cosplays (no big shock, since both the actors were guests). But there were some surprises — like Denton Van Zan of Reign of Fire, Ken/Mark of Gatchman/Battle of the Planets, and Sharknado. The Smoke somehow managed to move approximately 2 million cosplayers across the stage for judging in under two hours. The competition was so fierce that a hand leather-crafted vintage-look Superman and Wonder Woman took Honorable Mention. The big winner? A three-person Jurassic Park costume that included a full dinosaur, its handler, and a spot-on John Hammond. (Check out the Geek Insider WWP Cosplay album here.)

 

Next Year, Philly Comic Con comes Early — May 7th, 2015 (Mother’s Day Weekend). Can’t make it to Philly? Wizard World keeps expanding, with a whopping 22 cons (so far) on the roster for ’15, including new additions that include Las Vegas, Cleveland, Raleigh, Des Moines, Wisconsin, and Ft. Lauterdale.

 

Special thanks to Lauren “Dainty Lady Joker” Colyer Pendas

 

 

 

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