Under the guise of my peers I decided to partake in this event in a totally different way. Rather than being a very obvious press member I decided to play it cool and see how this Con would treat me if I was just a regular Con attendee. Understand that for the first ten years of my Con’ years I went as a paying citizen and have seen how much Comic Con’s enjoy hustling your every day schmuck. Why did I do this you may ask? Simple. I have read hundreds and hundreds of reviews of Conventions, Events, and World Premieres. The one thing they are missing? Reality. So I went to the press box got my press pass and covered it up with my jacket and entered the event.
I’m not looking to bust anyone’s balls here so every vendor will remain nameless except the Wizard World themselves who are being judged on the highest level. Not necessarily graded but most certainly judged.
First Event:Upon entering the event I was immediately grabbed about some trip to Las Vegas. This guy thought I was the biggest schmuck in the convention as he continued to feed me bullshit about getting some free trip. I played along because it looked like my partner in crime was having a good time watching me act interested. Bottom line: Comic Conventions. Not the place you want to invest in time shares. JUDGEMENT: FAIL
Second event: Buying The Walking Dead Comics. For the first comic buying event I will try to get every single issue of The Walking Dead except the first four issues and number 100 for 10 bucks a piece. After a long time of throwing numbers back at each other I got him to agree to sell me 101 through 105 for 20 bucks a piece. This guy did a great job of pushing me away from buying any product from him at all. But then we inserted my girlfriend and had her try the same thing. She was able to convince him to sell her every single issue that I wanted for 20 bucks a piece. If you EVER want a series of comics that you can’t afford, send a girl who knows her shit. They are kryptonite for Comic Vendors at Conventions. JUDGEMENT: FAIL FOR ME. WIN FOR GIRLFRIEND…ACTUAL JUDGEMENT: GREAT!
Third Event: Asking Random Staff Members for Help. I asked so many stupid questions I’m sure these people had a field day talking about how much of an idiot the guy in the blue jacket was. I asked questions ranging from:
Where can I find the bathrooms?
Where can I find Stan Lee?
What time do you close?
Can I hang out with Neal Adams?
Where can I find Fantastic Four #357?
Which Vendor has the Best Graded Comics?
To my surprise every single staff member was not only extremely polite but helped me in every way possible.
Fourth Event: The Events in Other Rooms. I won’t go into detail but the few events I could make it to were not only informative but fun! I asked questions to random people after the class was over to see what the reactions were and I did not get a single one that wasn’t positive. I was not able to attend Batman and Psychology and that breaks my heart! But I’m sure it would have been just as good as everything else. Coolest Event? Definitely Voltron: St.Louis Hometown Hero!
Fifth Event: Buying Original X-Men Comics. I went to numerous vendors to try this out as I wanted to see if this was actually possible and get at least 9.3 graded issues. Once again I found vendors were more than willing to give me a deal but the truth of the matter is that I knew I didn’t have to pay what they considered a deal. Once I left my partner in crime came over and used her female abilities to get the issues knocked down nearly forty to fifty dollars from what he told me “was the lowest he could go”. I am telling you, it works every damn time. Once again due to getting the comics at the price I wanted I have to give this a win.
Sixth Event: Random Comic Company I had Never Heard of Before. I am not looking to make anyone’s Top Hate List so the company will remain nameless but truth be told it was a good experience. Not great. But not bad. These people were damn good salesmen. I was just walking by and they convinced me to buy a comic, but then I swapped roles with my convention companion and she couldn’t get them to drop the price at all! Mind you these “salesmen” were male and female. Perhaps they found a solution to the kryptonite female buyer? Have a female already there? But long story short I bought a comic from these people and I’m glad I did because it was actually pretty good. I will probably review it in the very near future.
JUDGEMENT: BETTER THAN EXPECTED
Seventh Event: Cosplay. I have never been the kind of guy to dress up like my favorite superhero but I respect the people that go nuts with it. But this is the one thing I had not ever experienced at small comic conventions before. People asking me to give them money to take pictures with them? I understand the costumes cost money and what not but I am not paying you ten to twenty dollars to take your picture. Keep in mind I am under cover so I just act like that is sort of strange and ask if they would be willing to lower the cost. My secret weapon can’t get the price lowered either. So I just took pictures with people who did it for free which was most of them, but for those few that didn’t…
JUDGEMENT: FREE PICS OR GTFO
Eighth Event: Meeting Celebs. Every single Celebrity was very cool and actually seemed interested in talking with both of us. Except one. I won’t hold it against Mr. Lou Ferrigno because I have heard he is actually a really nice guy but he just seemed to not give a shit that we were paying him money for stuff. I was not impressed with that. After the picture with him he kind of redeemed himself as he forced a smile and sounded kind of sick so it is entirely possible the dude was sick and still trekked it out there so if that is the case my apologies Mr. Hulk, but if not, you need an attitude adjustment. Dean Cain was easily the most personable person there who practically blossoms charisma. But the winner of best celebrity was Henry Winkler and I will explain why in just a moment. Overall the celeb Meeting wasn’t perfect but it could have been much worse
JUDGEMENT: NOT PERFECT BUT CLOSE ENOUGH
Ninth Event: Artists and Writers. Every single booth I stopped by was not only pleasant but seemed to actually enjoy talking with us. I asked a lot of dumb questions about comics that people didn’t write. For example I asked a Marvel writer about the current run of Aquaman. No offense was taken and he laughed about it and corrected me very politely. Other than Jason Aaron I have never met an artist or writer who was nothing but pleasant. Glad we can keep that streak going.
Final Event: Photo Op. Finally I can take off my jacket! Sorry, but it was so hot in there! Even though I feel like I handle myself well in front of celebrities, I completely embarrassed myself as during my Photo Op with Stan Lee didn’t exactly go as expected. The Stan Lee Photo Op went really fast so fast that I almost didn’t get in the picture. It came to be my turn and I froze. The camera guy got pissed and I just didn’t hear anything he was saying because Stan Lee was in front of me. The guy wound up taking the picture as I barely made it in time as you can see me awkwardly standing away from Stan Lee (below). I’m not saying it is totally his fault but give me a break Wizard World! I paid a lot of money to get that photo and you couldn’t wait for me to get in the picture!? So that was embarrassing for me but it gave me a real insight into how professional the camera crew is for a Wizard World Event. But there was a slight redemption at the very end as I was standing in line waiting for the Henry Winkler photo op. Henry Winkler comes out sees his line of people waiting and comes over and personally thanks every single one of us for doing the photo op with him. But that isn’t why Henry Winkler wins best Celeb, oh no. This is why The Fonz was the best: A little girl with a very obvious disability took a very long time during her photo shoot and even after her photo shoot she came back and reached for Fonzie. Rather than keeping the pictures going he leaned down and called her beautiful and gave her another hug. I got a little choked up. There was no press in this room. He didn’t have to impress anyone, but he did that out of the kindness of his heart. What a guy. That alone made the event worth it to me. Not enough people in this world like that. Glad there are still some.
CAMERA CREW: BUNCH OF DICKS!
Photo Ops: REDEMPTION DUE TO WINKLER!
SIDE NOTE: Winkler confirmed we would be seeing plenty of him in the new season of Arrested Development, and that is always a good thing!
Overall Wizard World proved to be a fun experience that showed very few Con flaws except maybe getting celebs that can ACT like they care. I don’t give two shits if they actually care but in front of my family just act like it. I will highly recommend it to family and friends.
Thanks Wizard World St.Louis Comic Con, the trip was well worth it.