by Billy Peck
After being to around 15 or more different conventions (Horror, Comic, KISS) around the country, I finally went to my first Wizard World Comic Con, which very well may be the biggest traveling con in America. This one happened to be their first time in Des Moines, Iowa. Wizard World might be the most well organized con I’ve ever been to. I can’t think of one moment where I felt I had to ask what was happening or where something was at. All staff members kept the lines well managed without being too pushy or annoying. The event and all it’s workers just did a great job running things smoothly and letting the fans have fun without once ever hassling them.
It was the first time I’ve been to a convention where they had one room dedicated to vendors and comic artists and then a whole separate room for all the big movie/TV stars. It was kind of nice actually. Where the vendor room was full of all kinds of merch, a lot of people, loud noises and plenty of activities, the celebrity room was a much more calm experience with a good amount of space.
Meeting the celebrities is usually my favorite part of a convention and I always spend a lot of money. This case was no different. Every one of them were so nice and gave a little of their time to tell stories and briefly get to know their fan and customer, which made the money well spent. There have been times where I've met someone, they sign your item and basically say "NEXT". That was not a problem here at all. I had a picture of myself and my cousin Jennifer when I was around 5, with Elvira that I took to show her. She loved it and took a picture of me holding it for her personal collection. We saw Sean Patrick Flanery of Boondock Saints fame, take a fans phone and start talking to the person's girlfriend in the same Irish accent he used in the movie, telling her to hold on and when he was done, he would come home and service her later. Robert Englund was impressed with my poster collection and was the most talkative one of the bunch, telling stories of co-stars from his films. One in particular about how Johnny Depp would have fun on set and put on the Freddy make-up.
I was able to sit in on a few panels. First one being Tom Cook. He's a cartoonist for He-Man, She-Ra, Duckman and others. He talked about how old Saturday morning cartoons were his favorite thing to work on and was sad that it's become a dying art form. Next up was WWE wrestler Paige and she was a blast to listen to talk. She loves pulling pranks on people, which gets her in trouble from time to time and for those that follow wrestling closely, the "Raw after 'Mania" crowd that many considered rude and in poor taste... She thought it was funny so stop being so sensitive. I'll leave that at that. To end my paneling experience, I saw the White/Green Ranger himself, Jason David Frank! He's a fun guy that is really into being a motivational speaker type and wants to see people succeed in life. It was nice to see him give fans hope and motivation to move through the negatives in life.
All in all, Wizard World was a blast. I suggest going to any convention, big or small. I have made friends from everyone of the cons I've been to. Interestingly enough, I ran into someone named Dustin, while waiting in line to meet Michael Cudlitz from the Walking Dead, who was sitting right in front of me at WrestleMania 31 in San Francisco. Point is, this is part of what conventions are about. Us nerds getting together and bonding.
By the way. Wizard World will be back, May 14th-16th 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa! Good job fans. We did it!
Check out our gallery for more pictures from the event.