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Monday, June 22, 2009

2009 Wizard World Philly Con Report

I spent Friday and Saturday at the Wizard World Philly con, so here are some of the highlights!

Day 1 First off, Wizard was generous enough to grant The Aquaman Shrine a press pass, so I got one of those cool little badges with my and the Shrine's name on it, and a wristband that said "Press" on it. I never get tired of that.

I arrived right at the con opened on Friday, and it was a pleasant surprise to see there was actual room to move around in:
I first made a bee-line for Artists' Alley, to see who was there. After scoping out all the people there, I saw the work of Tom Hodges, whose work was cartoony and loose, yet solid and dynamic. I asked him to do an Aquaman sketch for me, and handed him my book.

Now that I had given out my sketchbook, I felt more free to peruse the dealers' aisles, and see what was up for sale. One dealer had an amazing collection original DC and Marvel out:
...ooh, those original JLA covers! Drool.

After scoping out some of the other dealers, I ran into my friend Kevin Miller (who runs the horror collectibles website The House of Mysterious Secrets), who I hadn't seen in person in years.

We walked around and visited the autograph booths, where Kevin screwed up the courage to go talk to make-up artist legend Tom Savini:
While Kevin and Tom talked, I looked around to see who else was there, I saw con regulars like Erin Gray, Lou Ferrigno, and assorted wrestlers and cover girls.

I was pleasantly surprised to see actor Michael Hogan, who kicked butt as Tigh on Battlestar Galactica:
...I would've gone over there and thanked him for the show and told him how much I enjoyed it, but I always feel a bit like a geek (I mean, even more so) when I do stuff like that, especially when I'm not there to buy anything.

In addition to the celebrities, there were a few people in costume, like this industrious fella:
I have/had no idea what character this is (someone from Generation X?), but I admired the sheer effort and chutzpah needed to make this outfit.

Another artist there was a guy named Tommy Castillo, who had a huge booth full of vivid, dark, and exciting paintings. This King Kong one really caught my eye:
...they should've gotten him to the remake's movie poster!

I stopped back in Artist's Alley, and picked up my sketchbook from Tom Hodges (the sketch will appear here on Wednesday).

Then, a few tables town, I saw Kevin Maguire--one of my favorite artists, ever since his days on Justice League--working at his table.

Kevin was at the 2009 New York show, and I had commissioned an Aquaman head-shot from him. When he told me he wouldn't be able to finish it before I left, we made plans for him to finish it at home, and then he'd send it to me.

But months past and I never received it, and I had no way of contacting him, so I thought I'd go over and see if he remembered to do the piece. I introduced myself, and after just a few words out of my mouth, Kevin's face lit up and he reached down, and pulled out the piece!

He had lost my contact info, and therefore had no way of getting a hold of me. He brought it with him, figuring that if I went to the NY show I might be going to the Philly one. Nice call, Mr. Maguire!

I really loved the piece, and told him so--it was worth the wait (it will appear here tomorrow).

By that point, I wanted to head home, and save a little money for Saturday.

Day 2 I met up with my old pal and fellow Kubert School grad Dan Eaker and we went to the show together. I don't see Dan as much as I'd like, so it's always cool to take trips like this together.

While there was a bigger crowd than yesterday (this being Saturday, traditionally the biggest con day), perhaps the torrential downpour outside kept the crowds from getting too thick:
We took another trip through Artists' Alley, but most everyone who I might have wanted a sketch from looked busy, so we headed into the dealers' aisles.

While Dan looked for stuff for his two kids, I made sure to snap pics of some of the best costumed fans in attendance:
There were some others (like a particularly alluring set of women, dressed as The White Queen and Harley Quinn), but hands down my favorite was this fella, Aquaman's #1 nemesis, Black Manta!!:
I thanked Manta for the great suit, and he touched a control panel on his belt, issuing a "Thank you" in that classic weird-ass Black Manat voice. Awesome!

It wasn't until later, and we saw him again, that Dan pointed out I should give him one of my Aquaman Shrine business cards. So I went up to him, handed him the card, and once he got a look at it, Manta clenched his fists and let out a guttural "Arrrrgghhh!!" My favorite moment of the con.

Dan and I walked around some more (somehow never running into my pal and F.O.A.M. member George Rears, who was also at the show), and I--with Dan's help--found a great little item for my M*A*S*H blog.

I then bought t-shirt for Darlin' Tracy (a powder-blue top with Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl on it), and Dan and I decided to call it a day. We headed back out into the rain (we've had virtually nothing but rain since April---did I move to London and not realize it?) and then had lunch back in Jersey.

I never end up finding any Aqua-Merch at these shows, since I have almost everything there is to have, but I keep hoping some day I'll spot some weird, unrecognizable little orange and green thing on some table somewhere... (although this time I did find one tiny little piece, which we'll see later this week)

All in all, a fine show--the staff was friendly and courteous, and the aisles were not overfilled so as to make walking the floor a Battan Death March-like experience.

My thanks to the kind folks at Wizard World for giving the Shrine a press pass!


David Cutler said...

That Generation X guy is Chamber, I do believe--very impressive, although Manta takes it to a completely new level.

Can't wait to see the sketches!

Adama said...

Dude, that's the same manta i met at Dragoncon! That guy sure does get around. He also has an amazing costume and really gets into character. Good job, costume guy!

Unknown said...

Glad you got to meet the Manta guy in person!

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Yup, Manta does the circuit. He's on a bunch of Flickr pages and blogs. He's a busy guy. I love the orange shirt in the Trident. Too funny!

Glad to hear you had a good time!

The Irredeemable Shag

RedheadFangirl said...

Aw, I should have planned to meet up with you at Wizard! I had a good day starting with Max Brooks..to J.G. Jones..to Emma from Buffy...and because the big 2 didn't have booths and signing schedules, and lots of artists were at Heroes...it was a much less rushed time.

I thought of you when I saw Black Manta (have seen him before).


rob! said...


Dang! Yeah, we should've met up for a NJ-based blogger summit. Ah, well...

Glad you had a good time!

Swinebread said...

Great pictures and reporting ROB!

Thanks so much and sorry I was so late in responding

Swinebread said...

Ha... I wanted to add that the Invaders cover is the one that's making me drool!