Wizard World Philadelphia 2011

On June 18, 2011 Wizard World Philadelphia was in full effect. Taking place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, located near the China Town district and Philly's Capital building and surrounded by many accommodating hotels, bars aren't to far from the convention center and restaurants are around just be sure to have a map of the area which you can get from any of the hotels. My mistake for this trip was not getting a hotel before hand. Assuming that because there were so many hotels in the area it made finding one at a decent rate almost hard to find. Luckily the Marriott was better compared to other hotels and it also helped to split the room with somebody. The majority of the con goers, including myself, actually had to split rooms amongst 5 or more people. The influx of people at hotels also put a strain on the hotel's resources such as towels, roll-away beds, etc. There was no street parking, but there were plenty of parking garages that had decent overnight rates. Day or night the city was very beautiful, only problem was that a lot of places closed early, so if you wanted a late night dinner best bet was the hotel bar or if you did have a car take a drive further out from the area.

The convention center itself is an amazing large space, being able to walk through was not as a bad as most cons, but it was easy to lose people. So if you're with a group anticipate getting separated even when going in a straight line. Of course the biggest crowd attraction of the con was the autograph area. The line up of star included: Bruce Campbell, The Dynamic Duo Adam West and Burt Ward, Pam Grier, Nicholas Brendon, Billy Dee Williams, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, John Schneider and many more. Again if you were lucky enough to stay at the Marriott you were bound to run into a lot of the celebrity guest. Of course there were some great deals going on through out tables on the hard to find, and the recently released items. If you were lucky you got some 2 for 1 deals in the dealers room. For cosplayers looking for props to add to their cosplays Iam Logan's shop “Snikt Shop” was on hand to take and process orders all weekend. For the car enthusiasts you had your choice of the Ecto 1, the General Lee, Doc Brown's Delorean, and the classic 1960's Batmobile. All were on display and available to have your picture taken while you sat in the driver's seat. Zenescope comics had a nice big presence in artist alley with many of their artist and colorists on hand taking commissions, selling prints, and signing autographs. Artist Alley had a great turn out with some amazing artist on deck. Except for certain tables that felt the need to blast music, it was great to get in touch with new and veteran artists.

Cosplay wise, it was a great crowd of comic book cosplayers. Maybe a few anime cosplays, but all comic book at this con. A lot of group cosplays were on hand, whether it was by accident or planned, you ran into groups of cosplayers just surrounded by photographers and fans. The biggest group cosplay or group cosplay event was held by Eric “The Smoke” Moran and Brian Gregory of Together Brother Productions. Both were on hand to promote their latest fan film “Final Escalation” which starred a plethora of cosplayers, each cosplaying various Marvel heroes and villians in fight for the Infinity Cube. Which coincidentally happens to be the part of the focus of story for the upcoming Avengers movie. Eric and Brian invited every cosplayer in attendance on Saturday and Sunday for various themes such as video game characters, DC and Marvel characters. Both days had huge turn outs in terms of cosplayers and photographers.
Saturday had the biggest Q&A sessions with celebrity guests: Billy Dee Williams, Bill Goldberg, The Dynamic Duo Adam West and Burt Ward, and Boondocks Saints stars Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery. What convention would be complete without a costume contest. At Wizard World Philadelphia there 2 held. On Saturday the adults took center stage and on Sunday you got to see the kids show off their skills at cosplay and see how adorable/cute they look.

While the con may have ended Saturday night, that didn't mean the fun did. The guys at Hound Comics hosted a karaoke event at one of the local bars in the area. You had drinks, apparently one of the greatest burgers you will ever have, and sometimes good singing. But if singing wasn't your thing you could dance the night away with other artist from artist alley as well as some cosplayers. The guys and gals of Hound Comics were there to keep the fun going and of course shoot the breeze over drinks.

While my time may have been limited on Saturday and Sunday of the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic-Con it was still a great experience and definitely worth making the trip out to next year. Just gotta be sure to book the hotel in advance and have enough cash for those parking garages or just take the bus in.

for more photos: BAS Photography and BAS Flickr