Favorite Spot: Wizard World Philadelphia
Neighborhood: Center City
Address: The Convention Center
I am: A writer/artist/geek who is a regular contributor to a number of different blogs and passionate about the city of Philadelphia. You can usually find me at my blog, on Twitter (@phillyguydave) or reading comic books.
Years in Philly: My whole life
Current Home: The suburbs (don’t judge me)
My Love Note:
There are certain benchmarks every year that mean spring has arrived once again after a long, sometimes cold Philadelphia winter. Rita’s hands out tons of free water ice to the long lines of people on the first day of spring. The Philles begin another baseball campaign, hoping to bring home a World Series championship. The young and old begin to take over Rittenhouse Square, lounging on benches reading a good book.
And of course, for the geeks among us, we know Wizard World Philly is right around the corner.
Since the 1990’s, Wizard World has come to Philadelphia every spring to allow the geeks of our fair city to gorge themselves on a four-day weekend of comics, pop culture television and movie stars, toys, pro wrestlers and people dressed up as their favorite comic book characters. It is our very own San Diego Comic-Con, and as someone who has been to each and every one, I can tell you it is more fun than I could possibly describe.
What began as a traditional comic book convention with miles of long boxes has morphed over the years into a true spectacle that combines Hollywood geek icons, pro wrestlers, comic book writers and artists, and local talent showing off their skill in Artist Alley. You can literally get lost on the convention floor (not that that has ever happened to me).
Now, some purists have said that Wizard World is no longer really a comic book convention, that the addition of all the Hollywood types has made the con somehow less than it was. And yes, if you are looking for a con that is more about comic books, you should probably look elsewhere (the Pittsburgh ComicCon is one I highly recommend, but since this isn’t Pittsburgh Love Notes, let’s move on). But there is nowhere else in Philly that you will find a greater array of dirt cheap comic books under one roof, many for less than a dollar.
Every year I have come across at least one awesome book hiding in a comic book box at Wizard World, and part of the fun of the conventions is that hunt: looking through box after box of comics for that last issue you need to compete your run of a certain title, the joy of rediscovering a book that you had forgotten all about, or deciding to take a chance on a title you would never pay full price for. That high is worth the price of admission to the con alone and something I look forward to feeling again each and every year.
And then you have the talent. At last year’s convention I got to realize a dream and meet George Perez, a man who I have idolized for years. A comic book professional for as long as I’ve been reading comics, he was one of the first artists whose style I tried to imitate, who I followed from title to title. Getting to meet him, shake his hand and get a sketch of Deathstroke the Terminator meant more to me than you can ever know.
I’ve also met a ton of talented local artists who have created comics of their own, books that will never be on the shelves of comic shops across the country. These comics are labors of love, made for the sheer joy of creation. Comics in it’s purest form.
I’ve been able to see all five captains from Star Trek in one place. I got to shake the hand of Lou Ferrigno, the man who will always be the Incredible Hulk to me. I got to say a strangled “Hi” to Erin Grey, a woman I’ve had a crush on since the first time I watched Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
And none of that would have happened anywhere else but Wizard World.
This year I’ll be there once again, waiting in line for autographs, buying more comics than I can carry home and having an all around great time. I don’t know if it’s like this in other cities, but Wizard World Philly is a place where being a geek is a good thing, where friends are made and bonded with and where memories are created that you will cherish forever.
It’s spring in Philadelphia. And that means Wizard World is coming.