Lost Password

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Cthulhu Awakens at DriveThruRPG
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Wizard World Reno Comic Con 2014The Wizard World tour invaded the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in my hometown (November 21st -23rd) to kick off its inaugural addition to their national convention lineup. Being it was the first year for the new con in my part of Nevada, there was plenty of buzz around town once the show was announced December last year. You may ask, exactly what is Wizard World? Why should anyone go? Essentially, I found it to be an experience aimed for all sorts of fans, of all ages. For many in fandom it’s even your chance to become someone else for a day – if that’s your sort of thing.  If you’re into comic art you’ll find an open floor to check out so many different styles of art. You’ll also have a chance to meet your favorite celebrities, artists or even expose yourself to something completely new! It’s also an opportunity to make connections, meet new friends, attend panels and more!

Here’s a breakdown of some of the highlights of the show:

Reno Comic Con Crawl: Besides the casino life, Reno is also becoming well known for its popular monthly Bar Crawls. For those not familiar with pub crawls, normally they’re themed (i.e. Santa, Zombies, Super Heroes) where if  you come dressed up, and buy a special cup, you can get discounted drinks at participating bars. With Wizard World in town, Reno held a special edition event as its official kick-off at the Brew Brothers inside of the Eldorado Hotel Casino. Besides having a fun night imbibing discounted drinks, you could participate or watch cosplay, see some celebrities (Lou Ferrigno, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jason David Frank, and A&E’s EpicInk) and, to top it off, the first 500 attendees that attended the crawl would get their hands on a limited edition art print created by Rob Prior just for this event!

Michael Rooker and Dion LongCelebrities: My initial thought when I first saw the lineup was that the trio of Norman Reedus, William Shatner, and Bruce Campbell were going to steal the show! Having been to San Diego Comic Con the last few years in the height of The Walking Dead fame, I knew that Norman Reedus is on “rockstar” status and that “Reedus Nation” was going to be out in full force! I have never been to a convention where Shatner and Campbell were there, but I’m sure they have seen their share of dedicated screaming fans throughout the years. Besides said trio, former actors from ‘The Walking Dead’ (Former meaning… Their characters are dead!) were a big hit at the convention with Michael Rooker, Andrew J West, Jon Bernthal, and Scott Wilson making appearances. Many signed autographs or offered professional photo ops or some offered $20 selfies with your phone at their booths!

Artists/Creators (aka Artist Alley): In every comic convention this is the place where I want to be! This is where you should want to be too! This is where imagination and the future “Walking Deads” or “Spidermans” may come from! Wizard World brought Reno a great variety of artists , some greats and some new breeds Wizard World Reno Comic Con Artists Alleyjust breaking out into the biz. You can literally spend hours in artist alley; you can go up and purchase your favorite piece on display, have an old comic signed, get an original piece drawn up for you, or simply chat with the artists and pick their creative minds.

Ok, maybe the brain picking is just something I really love!

I won’t list all the artists but here’s a list of the highlighted lineup for the show:

  • Neal Adams (Eisner Award Hall of Famer – Batman, Green Lantern, X-Men, Superman, Avengers)
  • Ken Kelly (KISS Album Covers; He-man; Star Wars)
  • Arthur Suydam (Spike TV Scream Award Winner – Marvel Zombies, The Walking Dead, Army of Darkness) – listen to my interview with Arthur here
  • Michael Golden (Batman; Spider-Man; Hulk; X-Men; Daredevil; Star Wars)
  • Phil Ortiz (Animator for The Simpsons; He-man and the Masters of the Universe; Muppet Babies; The Chipmunks)
  • Ty Templeton (Writer/Artist – Batman & Robin Adventures; JLA; Superman Adventures; Superboy)

Cosplay: One of the greatest perks to attending any con is the cosplay! Folks in Reno came out in full force for cosplay! Many came out dressed up as their favorite characters and, yes, even me as I wore my Jayne Cobb Wizard World Reno Comic Con Cosplayershat!  A lot of the outfits were extremely detailed and very well done. I’m always surprised how much time people put into their costumes JUST for these conventions. With that said, a majority of cosplayers are more than happy to pose for photos so they can show off their work too. I know a lot of cosplayers go about doing this professionally by touring from convention to convention and some are known to model for comic artists.

Booths: When I wasn’t snagging photo-ops, grabbing autographs, or getting an eyeful of the cosplayers I scoped out the wide variety of booths on the main floor. Vendors were on hand selling nearly everything pop-culture: from comic books and toys to sound activated light up t-shirts to replica swords. I stopped by a booth called Metal Souls where these artists create and sell very detailed and functional sculptures simply by welding a variety of scrap metal, nuts and bolts. On hand they had Optimus Prime, Alien, Predator, the Starship Enterprise in scales both large and small.

Tattoos (GeeksterInk Legends): Hold on, wait one moment…..Tattoos??  We are at a comic convention right? That’s right! With the cast of A&E’s Epic Ink, and Reno’s own Marked Studios Inc., in the house attendees had the opportunity to get inked nerd style right on the convention floor! If you wanted a Darth Vader on your back or a Tardis on your leg, they were on hand to do it all!

Panels: It wouldn’t be a con without panels. I took a break from the main floor for a while and sat in on a range of panels that were available. Anything from the Anthropology of Star Wars/Star Trek to Sci-FI Speed Dating could be found!

Here were a few of the top programming highlights:

  • Boldly going – With William Shatner
  • Time-Traveling – With Karen Gillan
  • Bruce Campbell versus the audience
  • One-on-One with Billy Dee Williams

Wizard World Reno Comic Con Game NiteTable Top Gaming: Who wants to get their game on!? Game Nite hosted a nice large area for gamers in attendance for a place to open play with a wide assortment of games available. What if you don’t know how to play? They’ve got you covered where you could participate in introductory adventures or attend Learn-to-Play demos.

As someone who’d never attended a Wizard World show, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I mentioned, I’m a Reno local, so this con was huge for a city desperately looking for a bit of both an uplift and identity change. The gang at Wizard World did a nice job marketing the show as it looked as if all three days were a big success attendance-wise, especially Saturday! I’ll guess the lineup of celebs were a large draw for the crowds.

I will point out an obvious fact that this is not San Diego Comic-Con International. I overheard people waiting in early lines thinking, as at SDCC, there were highly sought after limited exclusives available. Others complained they’d bought three day passes and found they didn’t have enough to do in order to fill their time.

I have to put things in perspective for those who may have been disappointed Wizard World wasn’t the same sort of experience as SDCC; Wizard World Reno Comic Con was a little like downtown Reno (smaller, maybe without a laundry list of things to do but normally a great time) while San Diego Comic-Con is sort of like hitting Vegas (sometimes overwhelming with too many things to do in so little time!). Or to put it another way, Wizard World is like an SDCC light! As far as exclusives, you really can’t blame the con organizers since those are up to the exhibitors.

For myself, and the city of Reno, I thought this kind of Comic Con is perfect! If you have a Wizard World coming to your city – and you have an interest is seeing the celebs and artists on the program – I can recommend checking it out. I’ll certainly be looking forward to a return in 2015.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Thanks for submitting your comment!