Over the next few weeks I will try to explain why I take off from work to spend four comic-filled days rifling through the booths at Wizard World Philadelphia. This event is arguably the best pop-culture event, though I cannot compare it to any other Comic Con since I believe they are entirely two separate entities. However, the last six years I attended I made sure my days off coincided with this event. Every year I went, I purchased comic books, took advantage of the onsite grading CGC provided, and would pass on the opportunity to meet the many actors and actresses greeting fans. I was never one to stand in line after line for pictures or a signature, but this would be an autograph hounds paradise.
This year changed that. Many big-name stars were available to meet: Chris Hemsworth, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and CM Punk to name a few. Even my childhood icons Peter Mayhew, Jeremy Bullock, and Lou Ferrigno were in attendance but none were bigger than my favorite, the living legend, Stan “The Man” Lee. Once I found out the co-creator to some of my favorite characters was going to be there I knew I had to meet him.
I hoped to set up an interview through Wizard World and Jerry Milani. The response was “they were working it”. Time was getting short and as the convention got closer I realized the only way to guarantee myself to be in Stan Lee’s presence would be to purchase a VIP pass or a Meet and Greet ticket. The VIP ticket for Stan Lee was selling for $225 online and included a photo op and a signature on any item. The Meet and Greet was $200. I opted for the pass since it included a signature. I was hoping to add this to a comic book for a CGC signature series slab.
This was the first time I purchased a VIP pass. At past Wizard Worlds I always bought the three day pass (this was the first time in Philly they had a four day pass since I started attending six years ago.) After purchasing my ticket I found out I would have to go through Desert Winds to have my book authorized by CGC (more on that in a separate article). The pass included a wrist band, a VIP placard with a picture of Stan Lee, and the ticket for one signature and one for the photo op. The badge rested around my neck as I walked around the convention proudly displaying who my geek love belonged to. As much as I have enjoyed these events in the past, either by myself, with friends, or with family, this was the first time I ever brought a convention virgin. I purchased a four day pass for her to attend. Now imagine being at your first con and meeting Stan Lee and Chris Hemsworth. How cool would that be?