Wizard World Minneapolis with Kate (and Dan)

Friday, May 2nd saw the arrival of the massive pop culture machine known as Wizard World hit the mean streets of Minneapolis. And by general consensus, it was a success. Originally born from the fondly remembered Wizard Magazine, Wizard World has become the major player in nation-wide comics and pop culture conventions. The convention did not arrive without local controversy, though. Scheduling their show on Free Comic Book Day, local retailors had to choose whether to staff their own stores on one of the busiest days of the year, or man a booth with a finite number of customers. Also, debuting two weeks before the much beloved local show, SpringCon, it had the organizers of the local con in an uproar.

Here’s a glimpse into the inner workings of a comic-book addict and his wife, she of the Saintly Patience, at Wizard World Minneapolis:

D: Is it time for comics? I like comics. Which way to the comics?!

K: Chill out, dude. I only have so much Saintly Patience left. Mother Teresa, I’m not.

D: …

K: That’s better. Alright. So Crimespree Jon is off looking for deals on trade collections. Crimespree Erica is waiting in line for her Nathan Fillion photo op. Let’s you and me check out Artist Ally.

D: Word, sister.

K: I’m your wife.

D: It’s an expression.

K: It’s still weird.

D: So, this Wizard World is still new to me. Especially being so used to C2E2 in Chicago, and our own SpringCon. Those are very much comic book shows. Even with all the movie stuff at C2E2, the focus is very much on comics. That point is really driven home with the publisher’s booths.

K: Right. And SpringCon is that, only on a smaller, local level. There aren’t publishers there, and certainly not movie stuff. SpringCon is For Comics, By Comics. This is a bit different. Wizard focuses on the broader pop culture aspect, especially the actors. And boy howdy, they cleaned up there.

D: William Shatner, Nathan Fillion, Karen Gillan, Lou Ferrigno, and Gilbert Gottfried are all here. Lou still looks buff. And that Karen Gillan…

It's TV's Lou Ferrigno!

It’s TV’s Lou Ferrigno!

K: … watch it, bucko.

D: Aw, you’re the only redhead for me.

K: Anyway. The comic focus seems a bit thin. At C2E2, almost half of the convention floor is devoted to the artists and creators in artist alley. That really isn’t the case here. There is more space for people to line up to get an autograph from TV’s Michael Rooker than from Michael Golden, who worked on Marvel’s MICRONAUTS.

D: I didn’t think you “knew stuff about comics”.

K: I pay attention to “stuff about comics”. My knowledge is multi-layered.

D: As is your funk. I will say, the comics’ creators in attendance were no also-rans. Ethan Van Sciver of BATMAN, GREEN LANTERN and FLASH fame was incredibly nice.

K: And he drew a kickass Batman for your sketchbook!

D: It was a real pleasure to meet local artist Chas Truog, he of the monumental ANIMAL MAN run with Grant Morrison.

Chaz Truog hosting the Animal Man Gun Show.

Chaz Truog hosting the Animal Man Gun Show.

K: “I can SEE you!” Man, how cool is it to be the guy to draw that sequence? And falling squarely into the “Legends of Comics” category, Iron Man’s Bob Layton was very outgoing, and Green Arrow’s Mike Grell was sketching for all comers. Crimespree Jon got a beautiful Green Arrow for his book.

D: I must say that the show is very well run. Check in was crazy easy, the floor is well laid out, and the people staffing the celebrity autograph and photograph areas clearly know what they’re doing.

K: That’s right. Crimespree Erica was in one of the premier photo op lines, and thanks to advance ticket sales, didn’t have to spend her whole day looking at the back of a Browncoats cosplayer.

D: With it being the inaugural run, it’s clear that Wizard is feeling things out. What was popular and what wasn’t. If enough people walk through the gates and there is enough demand, this could become a regular convention for Wizard World.

K: There’s no reason the Twin Cities can’t have a big time convention like Chicago.

D: Exactly. Maybe next year I could get my picture taken with Karen Gillan…

K: Keep dreaming, bucko.

Kate and Dan Malmon

Because it's Firestorm.

This guy wins at cosplay. Well done, Firestorm!