Minneapolis Wizard World Con Report!

My feet were hurting. Throbbing, in fact. With blisters on each ball and heel, even short walks delivered a four square of pain. Ever had a pebble trapped in your shoe? How about a shuriken? Watching me walk, people must have thought, “The poor man. Must have forgotten his crutches. How can he get around on two broken legs?”

I was in this predicament thanks to walking twenty-seven miles in one weekend, mostly around the latest Wizard World Comic Con, which was held May 2-4 in Minneapolis. It was that city’s first-ever Wizard World con, and everything from guests to vendors to venue—the 87-room, 475,000-square-foot downtown convention center—was spectacular.

Headlining the event were Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who. Gillan, a former model, played traveling companion to Smith’s Doctor in series 5-7. I saw her on Saturday, smiling and chatting, her hair in a bun, amid a sea of fans. Smith showed up the next day, and the two had a joint photo op—the third time in North America that this had happened (the first two were the Louisville Comic Con and the St. Louis Comic Con). Other stars were William Shatner, Robert Englund, Ernie Hudson, Ralph Macchio, Neal Adams, Mike Grell, and Lou Ferrigno (my interview with Ferrigno will appear on ConventionScene in a few days). Other events included celebrity one-on-ones, panel discussions, a film festival, RPG tournaments, speed dating, at least 75 exhibitors, and a cosplay contest.

I caught most of Ralph Macchio’s one-on-one session on Saturday afternoon. Now 52 years old, Macchio delights in the Karate Kid franchise, though it used to bother him. In the early 90s, he said, he struggled to find acting work, and there were days he stayed hidden at home because he couldn’t face another “wax on, wax off” encounter. But film quotes were not all that fans said to him. Some told him how the movie had helped them deal with bullying, or it had changed their lives in other ways. When he thought about those people, he realized he would be “foolish” to reject his legacy. Ralph Macchio is a funny, humble guy who likes the Karate Kid re-make (though he doesn’t see it as “iconic”) and who is hoping his future includes more voice acting (he has done several episodes of Robot Chicken). And do his two kids understand their dad’s place in cinematic history? Macchio told the story of his son Daniel (hmm . . . coincidence?) coming across a trove of magazines and other memorabilia from the 80s. The boy raced into his sister’s bedroom and said, “Julia! Dad was huge and we missed it!”

Minneapolis was cold this May—unseasonably so, according to one native, which is just my luck—but the city was grand, the people welcoming, and the comic con a smash hit. If you weren’t there, browse the photos below to see what you missed. Next I am off to ConCarolinas (May 30-June 1) in the Queen City, Charlotte. Maybe I’ll see you!

2014-05-02_14-24-17_798

Day 1 of Minneapolis’s first-ever Wizard World

2014-05-02_14-26-39_616

Can’t wait to get in!

2014-05-02_15-29-06_889

I had trouble finding a parking spot, so . . .

2014-05-02_15-39-29_676

Robert Englund plans his next nightmare.

2014-05-02_16-20-31_829

Fabulous costumes!

2014-05-02_16-34-28_129

Deadpool! Get out of the picture!

2014-05-02_16-41-55_507

A couple of convention security officers.

2014-05-02_19-42-01_294

Minnesota isn’t quite the Caribbean, but this pirate didn’t mind.

2014-05-03_11-34-41_237

Look just under the poster of Karen Gillan to see the real Karen Gillan.

2014-05-03_15-24-16_179

My cell phone wasn’t working, so I asked this guy to call my wife. With his mind.

2014-05-03_15-27-17_268

Yes, it’s bigger on the inside, but how many licks does it take to get the Tootsie Roll center?

2014-05-02_18-54-44_796

I thought about asking this guy for directions but decided against it.

2014-05-02_18-54-12_930

Who scheduled a dance competition on the same weekend as Wizard World?!

William Shatner, Sean Astin, Robert Englund, Etc. Headline Inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con in May 2014

William-Shatner-600a

Press Release:

William Shatner, Sean Astin, Robert Englund, Manu Bennett, Ralph Macchio Headline Celebrity Guests At Inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, May 2-4

Gilbert Gottfried, Dean Cain, James Marsters, Laurie Holden, Michael Rooker, Top Comics Creators At Pop Culture Festival At Minneapolis Convention Center

MINNEAPOLIS, March 11, 2014 – William Shatner (“Star Trek,” “T.J. Hooker”), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Rudy), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Manu Bennett (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Arrow), Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid, My Cousin Vinny), Gilbert Gottfried (Problem Child, Beverly Hills Cop II) and Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Stars Earn Stripes”) are among the celebrities scheduled to attend the inaugural Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, May 2-4 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.It is the 6th of 16 events scheduled in the 2014 series produced by Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) and will also feature a top-drawer collection of well-known comics artists and writers and a variety of activities, exhibitors and special attractions.

Shatner will appear on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3; Astin will attend on Saturday and Sunday; the others are scheduled for all three days.

Other notables scheduled at press time include Laurie Holden, Jon Bernthal and Michael Rookerof “The Walking Dead,”James Marsters (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Torchwood”), Jason David Frank (“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”), James Hong (Blade Runner, Mulan), Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk,” “The King of Queens”), Ian Ziering (“Beverly Hills 90210,” Sharknado) and the Boondock Saints duo of Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco.

Among the superstar comics creators scheduled to attend are Eisner Award Hall of Famer Neal Adams (“Batman,” “X-Men”), Ethan Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Flash”), Mike Grell (“Green Arrow,” “Warlord”), Bob Layton (“Iron Man,” “Uncanny X-Men”), Barry Kitson (“Thor,” “Spider-Man”) and Kevin Maguire (“Justice League,” “Batman Confidential”), with more talented writers and artists to be announced.

Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con show hours are Friday, May 2, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, May 4, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place all three days at the event, with celebrity Q&A’s, the Wizard World Film Festival, comics-themed sessions, costume contest, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Sunday, May 4, is also Kids Day, with an array of activities and programming specially designed for the younger Wizard World fans.

Minneapolis Comic Con is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor, often stopping by the Show Stage, the ideal place to see and be seen.

For more on the 2014 Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, visit http://www.wizardworld.com/home-minneapolis.html.

About Wizard World:

Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and social networking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.

The full event schedule can be found at www.wizardworld.com.

Wizard World 2014-15 Schedule
March 28-30 – Wizard World Louisville Comic Con
April 4-6 – Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con
May 2-4 – Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con
May 30-June 1 – Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con
June 19-22 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
August 1-3 – Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con
August 21-24 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 12-14 – Wizard World Richmond Comic Con
September 26-28 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
October 2-4 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con
November 21-23 – Wizard World Reno Comic Con
January 9-11, 2015 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con
January 23-25, 2015 – Wizard World Portland Comic Con
June 19-21, 2015 – Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con

 

Wizard World Plans Massive Expansion for 2014; Adds Seven Cities to Their Comic Con Tour

Press Release:

Wizard World Comic Con Plans Massive Expansion In 2014, Adding Seven New Cities To The Largest Comic Con Tour Ever

World’s Largest Pop Culture Convention Series Now Includes 15 Events With Plans To Expand To Sacramento, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Minneapolis; Atlanta; San Antonio; Richmond, Va.; Tulsa, Okla.

Wizard World ExpansionWizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD), the world’s largest pop culture convention series is announcing a large-scale expansion to its already largest Comic Con Tour. Fans of movies, TV, cosplay, comics, graphic novels, toys, games, sci-fi, sports entertainment, music and more across the U.S. will now be treated to a whopping 15 events in 2014, potentially with room for additional expansion.

Wizard World promises to continue bringing top-level celebrities for autographs, photo ops and panel programming as well as top rated TV show and blockbuster film and game releases to engage with the Comic Con audience. Additionally, while industry trends show artists exhibition areas shrinking at many other convention show floors, Wizard World has a strong commitment to including leading and up-and-coming comic book artists and writers from the U.S. and from all over the world. Over a dozen countries’ top talent have been represented at Wizard World 2013 events including Canada, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain, France, Italy, Philippines, Turkey, Singapore, Croatia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and more.

Fans can expect to see community fueled costume contests, evening panel programming, live video streaming, top industry exhibitors, retailers, fan groups and exclusive attractions (like the Frank Frazetta pop-up museum collection) that are staples of the Wizard World experience, providing memorable and long-lasting experiences for attendees of all ages.

Eight cities from the 2013 schedule return next year: Portland, Ore. (Jan. 24-26, Oregon Convention Center); New Orleans (Feb. 7-9, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center); St. Louis (April 4-6, America’s Center); Philadelphia (June 19-22, Pennsylvania Convention Center); Chicago (Aug. 21-24, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center); Nashville, Tenn. (Sept. 26-28, Music City Center); Austin, Texas (Oct. 11-12, Austin Convention Center); and Columbus, Ohio (Oct. 31-Nov. 2, Greater Columbus Convention Center).
The tour has expanded to include the following new shows: Sacramento, Calif. (March 7-9, Sacramento Convention Center); Louisville, Ky. (March 28-30, Kentucky International Convention Center); Minneapolis (May 2-4, Minneapolis Convention Center); Atlanta (May 30-June 1, Georgia World Congress Center); San Antonio (Aug. 1-3, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center); Richmond, Va. (Sept. 12-14, Greater Richmond Convention Center) and Tulsa, Okla. (Nov., 7-9, Cox Business Center).

“Our mantra has been, ‘Give the fans a great experience, give the celebrities and creators a great experience, take care of our exhibitors and everyone will want to come back,” said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO and Chairman. “We have had such an overwhelmingly positive reaction to all our 2013 events, both first-year and existing shows, that it was obvious what the fans were telling us – ‘We want more!’”

Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Three events in the coming months conclude the 2013 slate: Columbus, Ohio (Sept. 20-22); Nashville, Tenn. (Oct. 18-20); and Austin, Texas (Nov. 22-24).

About Wizard World:
Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and social networking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.

The full event schedule can be found at http://www.wizardworld.com/wizcon.html.

Wizard World 2013 Schedule
September 20-22 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
October 18-20 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
November 22-24 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con

Wizard World 2014 Schedule
January 24-26 – Wizard World Portland Comic Con
February 7-9 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con
March 7-9 – Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con
March 28-30 – Wizard World Louisville Comic Con
April 4-6 – Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con
May 2-4 – Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con
May 30-June 1 – Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con
June 19-22 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
August 1-3 – Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con
August 21-24 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 12-14 – Wizard World Richmond Comic Con
September 26-28 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
October 11-12 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con