This weekend, fans from all over flooded the convention center, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars and add some new items to their collections.
Just in case you haven’t heard of Wizard World Comic Con, I’m going to catch you up to speed. Wizard World is an industry giant when it comes to conventions. They travel all across the country, connecting geeks like me to the content that fuels us. With everything from leading content creators in Comic Books to Television and Film stars, the con is a great way to get an immersive experience in the fandom you love.
This year, Wizard World Columbus had tons to do, from a killer celeb guest list to up and coming indie creators. When it comes to the celebs, cons offer fans a unique experience. There are photo-ops, autograph signings, and even just the chance to chat– if you’re willing to take on the lines. This year’s guests included Holly Marie Combs, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Jon Heder, Charisma Carpenter, Ray Park, Henry Winkler, John Cusack, Jewel Staite, John Barrowman, Mike Colter, Billy Boyd and unofficial winner for longest fan lines, Jason Momoa.
For anyone wondering, yes, he really is so tall IRL.
But going to comic-con isn’t just about snapping that $40 selfie with your favorite celebs. It’s also about checking out all of the amazing content being developed by artists and writers. Strolling the aisles of Wizard World gives a glimpse into the variety and massive scale of the geek world.
I know I’m an over-user of the phrase “There’s something for everyone”, but it’s so true. If you’re into horror comics with a hint of sci-fi, you can find it there. If you’re looking to up your cosplay game and you want some tips on how to make it happen, there’s a panel discussion for that. If you want to take a spin on the Mike’s Hard Lemonade silver bull ride, YOU CAN.
As I was walking around the exhibit hall, I found myself overwhelmed with curiosity about the people behind the booths. That’s when I came across Rubber City Cosplay. This team of young, friendly individuals was calling out to people as the passed by, asking if they’d like a free photo. At an event where basically everything costs money, I was intrigued. Ryan Dyke, one of the volunteers with Rubber City Cosplay was kind enough to take a break from snapping pics and chat about their organization.
The gist is simple: People spend a lot of money at conventions and hardly anyone goes to cons alone. At the end of the weekend, people often realize that they don’t have a single photo that contains their whole group. That’s where Ryan and his team come in. Rubber City Cosplay has a free photo booth where you and your squad can grab some comic-con themed props and smile for the camera. After, you can visit Rubber City Cosplay on Facebook to download your photo.
In addition to catching the celebs at their booths on the exhibit floor, they also do moderated panels, where they answer fan questions, tell fun stories, and just generally continue being awesome. Being the massive Lord of the Rings fan that I am, I knew I had to make time for Billy Boyd’s panel.
I had the pleasure of chatting with him the previous day at a mysterious lull in traffic to his autograph booth. I’m not saying it was fate, but, like, it was totally fate. In the brief time we spoke, we talked about music, movie recommendations, and places he should check out while he was in town. We even played an enthralling match of Tic-Tac-Toe, which I’m proud to say I totally won.
During his panel, Boyd shared a little about his time in Columbus, including his second time attending a baseball game in the US. “I went to a baseball game last night. Which is weird. I’d never really been to baseball. I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but a lot of people go to a big stadium, and then it rains for an hour, and then everybody goes home! It’s the weirdest game I’ve ever seen,” said Boyd with a laugh, speaking of the rain delay at Huntington Park on Saturday.
As the con was wrapping up, I decided to stop in at the booth of Thomas Ian Nicholas. Thomas was so enthusiastic about Columbus that I’m pretty sure, deep down, he’s one of us (cue the chanting from ‘Freaks’.) He talked a little bit about his visits to our fine city, shout out to Oldfield’s and Three-Legged Mare. And of course, his obsession with Taste of Belgium.
“I got my quintessential visit to Taste of Belgium at North Market to get my chicken and waffles,” said Nicholas. “I would fly across the country just for that.”
Celeb guests weren’t stuck in the convention center all weekend though. They were also spotted out and about around the city. Jason Momoa stopped in at Park Street Tavern.
Thomas Ian Nichols threw out the first pitch at the Columbus Clippers game. #literalrookieoftheyear
Luke Cage himself, aka Mike Colter, posed with Arnold.
Billy Boyd took the opportunity to see his face on the As We Are exhibit at the convention center.
Overall, Wizard World Comic Con is one heck of an experience.
From the vendors to the staff to the fans, everyone is there to have fun, make friends, and geek out. If you’ve been debating checking the con out but have stayed away, let me take this minute to encourage you to check it out next year. I’ll be there ready to show off my nerdy pop culture knowledge and to document your badass cosplay.