I recently won a Facebook comment giveaway for two weekend passes (kids 12 and under were free) to the Wizard World Comic Convention at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Thanks Clem's! It was an excellent prize valued at $140, the only downside was that it happened on one of our busiest weekends. After much debating, we ended up pulling the kids out of school an hour early on Friday and headed to Indy to claim our prize.
Below are my thoughts of the event. First off, if I had paid for a 3-day pass I would have been upset at how small the con turned out to be. The other times that I had visited the ICC was for a couple of GenCons and the entire Wizard World fit into the Gencon dealer hall. We thought that we might have been in the wrong place until we spied a few Batman villains. My impression was that this convention was set up more as a chance to meet celebrities rather than a true comic con. Fortunately, I won free weekend passes and other than gas/parking no expense for us.
- Celebrities are expense so I settled but just walking by and gawking at the ones that were there. William Shatner was $70 for an autograph and more for a picture.
- No major comic label there - DC, Marvel, Image, etc were not there. Just small no names that I have never heard of before.
- Really small. The entire con was inside the dealer hall from GenCon including half of it for the celebrities. There were going to be some panels in some of the rooms outside the dealer hall. Definitely a noticeable difference between GenCon and this con.
- Neal Adams was charging $20 for an autograph and $20 for a photo. I had planned to buy a book from him and get his autograph and decided to skip that.
- I did get see several people that I wouldn't have otherwise - Lou Ferrigno, Ray Park, William Shatner, Sean Patrick Flannery, Neal Adams.
- Cosplay - several good and bad costumes but I still enjoy seeing them. We saw a repeat of the fat white power ranger that was at GenCon that both kids remembered and had a good laugh. There was also that 60-something-year-old Slave Leia cosplayer that wasn't actually as gross as you think it was.
- Plenty of knick-knacks of geek stuff you could buy if so desired.
- Several places to sell comics. They had the Batman #1 for $45k, an early amazing fantasy (spider-man) for 10k that were really cool to see.
- Furries. There was a pair of furries that were walking around dressed as rats. Seemed I remembered seeing a hole that could have been very inappropriate. Had to explain to the kids to give them a wide berth and not ask for a hug.
The highlight of our trip had to be meeting Carroll Spinney:
We spent our 20-30 minutes taking to Carroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar the grouch). My daughter is really into puppeteering and we have begun work on a series of videos. He and his wife were really nice to us and gave advice to Ella as well as complimenting her on how well she was animating her puppet and lip-syncing, and he made the famous voices for us. He actually mentioned that he started at 8 years old the whole time she beamed at him. He mentioned some advice that Jim Henson gave him when they first started working together 50 years ago and she left even more excited about her puppets.
We were watching YouTube videos last night came across this that was published a couple of days ago and Ella's jaw just dropped.