Wizard World keeps expanding and has tested the waters of San Antonio Texas. Wizard World held its inaugural San Antonio Comic Con, which was held on Friday, August 1st through Saturday August 3rd.
This was also my first Wizard World convention. And with as many cons Wizard World organizes every year, twenty six at the current count, I expected everything to run smoothly. I was not disappointed. It was one of the most organized conventions I have seen. And I really appreciated the clear instructions regarding VIP seating in the main had where the celebrity panels were being held. I also appreciated the fact that the rooms were not being cleared in-between panels, which happens at some conventions.
Friday was a late start for the con at 3PM and the first panel was at 5pm. The panel schedule was light with only three, and the first part of the Wizard World Film Festival. The first panel was “What’s the story? Creating Stories that Captivate” with moderator, writer Genese Davis (The Holder’s Dominion, The Gamer In You, MMORPG.com), screenwriter Adam Simon (Man down, Synapse), writer Aaron de Orive (Blade Singer, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, Tabula Rasa, Anarchy Online), and writer J.R. Knoll (The Chronicles of Brawrloxoss, Hope, Last Years Model). The big lesson of the panel goes against the saying, “Write what you know.” Instead you should know what you write. Do your research and let others read your stories/screenplays/manuscripts before you submit them anywhere. It was informal, educational, and most importantly, very entertaining and panelists were open and receptive to the fans in attendance.
The next panel I attended was “Creat-A-Comics-Story” With Jai Nitz, Brett Booth and Danny Fingeroth.” Jai (as writer for the panel) is the author of ‘Dream Thief’ and has written for ‘The Green Hornet’ comic, Brett Booth (as artist) worked on ‘The Flash’ and ‘Batman/Superman,’ and Danny Fingeroth (as editor) has written for ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Darkhawk.’ Creativity was the point of the panel as well as finding what your point of view for a story. Just about every story has been told, so you have to find a unique way of telling them. The story created during the panel was about a muscular cave woman in her 50s with a potentially villainous unicorn sidekick in far off world populated by dinosaurs.
The final Panel of the day was “Costume + Play = Cosplay! So What Does That Actually Mean?” It was moderated by Wizard World’s Damien Beurer, who is also a costume designer and cosplayer, and professional cosplayers Ivy Doomkitty and MistaSupaboy. The main point of this panel was that cosplay is something that anyone could do no matter the age or body type. It also covered techniques and methods of constructing your costume.
Saturday was the longest day of the con. And like many conventions, it was also the busiest. Doors opened at 10AM and I pulled a marathon session in the largest panel room (217) for the bulk of the conventions celebrity panels. James Marsters (Buffy, Angel, Torchwood) started things off and dared the audience to embarrass him. At one point he did jokingly mention that John Barrowman could “lick him anytime” forgetting that Barrowman was also at the con. There is no word on whether or not Barrowman took up the challenge. But having seen Barrowman speak in the past, it’s not an unlikely scenario. Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Dollhouse, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen) continued the days comedy momentum by being himself and frequently bringing out the voices of some of his most popular animated characters. He also brought along various gifts, including pages from scripts, to autograph and hand out to those who asked questions. William Shatner fielded question about ‘Star Trek’ and his career, revealing that at one time there was traction on a new ‘T.J. Hooker’ series or TV movie where he would play T.J.Hooker’s father. Michael Rooker (The Walkng Dead, Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy) panel was “vs. the Audience.” And it was. Rooker spent the time passing the stage and fielding question while being his funny/intimidating self. John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow) was the main event so to speak. Having not much shame (in a funny way) he talked about ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Torchwood,’ ‘Arrow,’ etc. and even managed to embarrass/show off his husband. Barrowman is always entertaining.
I stayed in room 217 for the Costume Contest which featured some amazing entries that impressed judges Ivy Doomkitty, MistaSupaBoy, and Jason David Frank. Some of the most impressive costumes were from people who were trying cosplay for the first time. Best in show went to Doctor Doom and interestingly enough his wife won Best Female villain for her Dark Phoenix.
Sunday things were winding down and so was I. I walked the floor a little more and sat in on only two panels. The first was “Building Your Creative Platform: Everything You Need To Know About Self Promotion.” Genese Davis and Adam Simon teamed up again, this time with screenwriter, Troy Anthony Miller. The most significant piece of advice in this panel seems counter-intuitive at first. Most writers are fiercely protective of their works, fearing someone will rip them off. But in reality the more we put out work out there for others to read, especially online, the more chances we have to be recognized and in a way creations are informally copyrighted with their dates of being posted being public knowledge.
The final panel I attended was truly academic. It was “Getting Respect: Comics Goes To College/Academic Mini-Conference With Fingeroth, Ayers, Vealncia-Garcia, Cannon, and Bush.” Danny Fingeroth moderated this panel of academics/comic book fans discussing the academic merits of comics. There was a lot of material to cover so I’ll just say there was some very interesting comic book history being discussed that you might not know of. For instance, did you know that once in the 1960s, in Spain, Superman was considered to be gay and fearful of women? Sometimes things can look different through different cultural and political filters. I like academic panels.
Over all I was very impressed with Wizard World. They have experience putting on these conventions, but this was breaking ground in a new city with potentially a different crowd. But taking the chance paid off and it looks like San Antonio Comic Con will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the City of San Antonio. Already the next San Antonio Comic Con is on the schedule for dates to be announced in 2015. I can’t help but anticipate what Wizard World will have in store for next year.
For more great photos from this convention check out the gallery below: