Monday, March 25, 2013

Wizard World Comic Con St. Louis

This weekend I attended my very first Comic Con. Now I know some of you are asking 'what took you so long?' and after this weekend my answer would be: I don't know cause boy was I missing out! The truth, however, is that up until now, Comic Con was far away, and extremely expensive. But thanks to Wizard World, I was able to experience my first con ever, in my hometown of St. Louis, and it was a complete blast!

By the time Friday rolled around I was about to bounce out of my seat. I couldn't wait to arrive and when I did, I instantly felt at home. I was surrounded by some of the coolest vendors and people I'd ever encountered in my life. An entire room full of people -- selling geeky t-shirts, drawing cool things, selling awesome toys and gadgets, and dressed up as some of the most awesome things from geek culture.
Working R2D2 on the vendor floor
(it made noise and rolled around the floor)

Full scale Dalek from Doctor Who

Friday night I also attended an awesome panel with director/artist Rob Prior (check out his upcoming Red Brick Road - pitched as Oz meets Game of Thrones), and St. Louis' own authors Heather Brewer (Soulbound, Chronicles of Vladmir Tod, Slayer Chronicles) and Antony John (Five Flavors of Dumb, Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, Elemental)

This lovely trio talked about creativity in writing. I live tweeted this panel so if you want more details check out the hashtag #creativitythatlasts. In summary, they are all amazing creators, and such fun people. It was a great panel. They shared lots of great advice on how to harness your creativity and when to fight for it.

And if all that wasn't exciting enough, we ran into Henry Winkler aka The Fonz, walking out of the convention center at the end of the night on Friday. At first I didn't recognize him but as we walked towards each other I started to smile as it dawned on me who was headed my way. I'm sure he saw the realization forming, so he smiled, nodded, and said good night. And the bf shook his hand. Too cool!

Saturday was busy, and by far the best day at the con. I'm still grinning from ear to ear two days later. I was so excited to dress up! I donned my army BDUs, my black top, and of course my belt with holster, carrying my zatgun! The gate was open and I was headed to day two!

My first stop was panel presented by Lionsforge Comics called The Writers Journey. They discussed how you can break out into the comic book industry, and even start gathering a following now with your own web comic. Even if you can't draw! I've always been interested in comics but really don't know the first thing about them or graphic novels so all the information was really intriguing to me. For more info check out my live tweets at the hashtag #thewritersjourney. There's some great advice on how to find an artist, how to write comics, and writing in general.

After the first panel of the day, I rushed back to the vendor room to jump into the autograph line to meet Tom Felton. Yes, I said Tom Felton, aka Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter! Let me just say, he is one of the nicest, funniest, most awesome people I have ever met. For a celebrity he is a true class act! He was genuinely excited to meet his fans, and took a couple minutes to talk to each and every one of them. Saying hi, shaking hands with the fans, answering questions, and just joking around.

Later in the day, I attended his Q&A panel. He was so appreciative of the fans, and how they've kept Potter alive after seven books and eight movies. He answered a ton of fan questions. Some of the highlights:
  1. A future role he'd love to play is a bond villain. (I'm totally on board with this!)
  2. He lied in his audition. They asked each kid what scene from the book they'd love to see in the movie, the kid before him said Gringotts. His response, yes I love those Gringotts they're awesome! At this point I'm sure the director knew he had his hands full! He also stood right next to Emma in one of his early auditions. Out of thousands, what are the odds?
  3. He talked about his role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He said Andy Serkis (Caesar) was such a nice guy but in the scene where Caesar beats up his character, Andy really beat the $#&! out of him. Tom said Andy took him by surprise.
  4. He read the scripts before the books because he didn't want to be disappointed that something in the books, was left out of the movies or changed. So he had no idea what Draco did to Dumbledore before he read the script!
  5. The most disappointing scene to film was flying. It involved four to five hours of sitting on a stationary broom with a wind machine in his face. (Totally anticlimactic!)
  6. If he was a dinosaur (yes someone asked this!) he'd be a velociraptor.
All around Tom Felton is a fantastic guy. If you ever get the chance to meet him or see him on a panel, I highly recommend it. For more from his Q&A panel check out the hashtag #tomfelton

Saturday afternoon, I watched Rob Prior live paint batman! Now, I wish I was artist and could draw and/or paint, but watching Rob paint was ridiculous. He paints with two hands, which is really, really cool to watch. I even took some progression shots as he went. He is seriously talented.

Start to finish, he talked us through what he was doing and answered questions that people shouted out to him. He's a funny guy. Once people saw him licking his paint brushes the questions got interesting. In case you are wondering, yes he eats his paint (not as a habit just while he's working), he can tell the difference in color based on taste, and the worst tasting color is purple! Who knew? He also likes to experiment with things. Earlier in the day at his booth he was painting with Mountain Dew. So don't be afraid to try new things, the worst that can happen is you mess up so badly you have to start over!

And to cap the day off, we ventured over to the costume contest. Let me just say the costumes at this con were phenomenal and the MC of the costume contest was genuinely impressed the St. Louis came out in force for the contest. We had so many people in the contest there was forty people waiting in the hall at the start. We apparently had greater participation than some of the bigger cons! As if there was any doubt that St. Louis could rock a Comic con!

Darth Maul

As the people in costume each took their turn on stage to get rated, the judges provided some hilarious commentary. One judge in particular really caught my attention as I was surprised at how funny he was. He was none other than Jason David Frank aka the original Green/White ranger from the Power Rangers. That guy is seriously hilarious. He even got into a "sparring" match with a guy dressed up as Kato from the Green Hornet. I missed most of it but here's a small clip of what went down.


I also grabbed a short video (sorry for the blurriness) of the guy who won the costume contest. He was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, and he seriously looked the part. He could have been Johnny Depp. And the whole day, he played the part and never broke character. He was absolutely fantastic and hilarious! I'm not surprised in the least that he won the costume contest. It was a well deserved win!

Sadly, I missed out on day three due to a foot of snow in the St. Louis area, but all in all I had a blast at my first comic con. I met some truly awesome people. I'm still on a high from the weekend, despite the exhaustion, it was so much fun and totally worth it! And the best news, Wizard World will be back in St. Louis, April 4-6, 2014!!! I will definitely be going again, so maybe I will see some of you there :)
Me and a fellow Stargate cosplayer!