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Wizard World Philadelphia Wrap up

We are pleased to have points of view from 2 of our contributors, Ashley and Tony.  Please read on to hear about their experiences at the con.
From a Cosplayer’s perspective: 
 
Wizard World Philadelphia was something of a homecoming for me.  Last year, it was the first multi-day convention that I had ever attended, and my first time as a cosplayer. This year, I attended the convention on Friday and Saturday.  The Philadelphia Convention Center is an enormous building, right in Center City Philadelphia.  It is surrounded by restaurants, including the famous Reading Terminal Market, which is directly across the street, and is relatively accessible by public transportation and car, although Parking Panda (the pay-ahead parking service that guarantees you a spot) is an absolute must in such a busy area.
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Wizard World is very experienced in setting up and running a convention. The registration hall is on a separate floor from the rest of the convention, with clearly marked aisles for patrons waiting to pick up their tickets and plenty of staff to assist them.  The Exhibition Hall, where everything except for panels is placed, is upstairs.  I had thought that the convention was less crowded at first, as I had space to move in the Exhibition Hall, but then I realized Wizard World had changed their set up.  The sections for photos with celebrity guests was located on the opposite side of the from from last year, which also meant it was farther away from the entrance to the hall.  This cut down on congestion in that area, which had been a problem last year as lines stretched back to the door.  The windows were opened instead of shuttered on the street side of the building, which let in a lot of natural light and made the hall feel less like a cave.
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It seemed to me that everyone was far more respectful of vendors this year.  There’s been a lot of complaints about cosplayers at conventions over the last few months.  This past weekend, cosplayers and photographers tried their best not to block the vendors’ tables when stopping for pictures.  The vendors themselves also seemed far more engaged with crowds and cosplayers alike than I’ve seen at other cons.  Maybe they all read Fenny Lin’s article.
The attendees generally seemed to be very respectful of female cosplayers.  Last year, my friend and I had had an issue with a con-goer taking a picture of my friends’ behind while we were speaking to a vendor.  I didn’t notice any creepiness this year, but I do have a funny story.  We were walking around, looking at one of the vendor booths when we heard a sharp wolf whistle.  I was dressed in my Joker cosplay and had a Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy with me.
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  We turn to see a group of men walking quickly and the whistler said something along the lines of “looking good ladies” as they passed.  That should have been clue #1.  I run after them and throw my arm around the wolf whistler, fully intending to give him a Joker-style talking to when he laughed and said “so you finally recognized me, eh?” Clue #2.  But we walked for a moment, joking back and forth before I excused myself to go back to with my friends.  They asked me who the guy was, but I still had no idea.  One of my friends had noticed that one of the guys had been wearing an earpiece and postulated that our wolf whistler may have been a celebrity guest.  About five minutes later, we walked past one of the many autograph booths in the back of the hall. The booths had banners with the picture of each guest that would make appearances there.  It was there that we realized, upon looking at his picture, who our wolf whistler was.  And that’s how I met Michael Rooker.
Overall, this is a fun convention, and I would recommend Wizard World to anyone.
– Ashley Mills
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From a Doctor’s perspective:

Being a resident of New York City, I have the opportunity to travel to any number of states within a few hours. Three years ago, the love of my life and husband in my imagination, John Barrowman, was to appear at Wizard World Philadelphia. I jumped on the chance to finally meet my man, however, was amazed by what else happened, and continues to happen every time I attend Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con.

First of all, having been a resident of Miami and current resident of NYC, I am not used to nice people everywhere. Philadelphia lives up to its reputation of being the city of brotherly love. Everyone is so darn nice in Philly. I am particularly impressed with hotel staff in the area. Extremely courteous and professional folks.

Now on to Wizard World. This was my third time attending. Wizard World Philadelphia has a very special place in my heart as I have made friendships there that have lasted til today; quality friendships with stand up people. What I also like about the con is that they folks that run it, learn from their mistakes. Last year, with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan there, it was a total shit show. This year, with David Tennant and Billie Piper, autograph and photo op lines were extremely organized and not a horrific endeavor as previous years. Photo op wise, there was a change in how they delivered your photos. By the time you were done with your photo op and walked towards the entrance, your picture was ready. The photo op folks were waving you down to hand you your pic. Truly amazing service.

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I only attended one panel this year and that was the David Tennant/Billie Piper panel. I am usually hesitant to attend panels as the Q & A portion makes me want to vomit with the asinine questions people ask. This panel was very different. People asked really great questions and David and Billie answered them with lots of humor and respect to the audience. They also expressed their heart-felt gratitude for the fans. The panel was all Q & A and it ended with a young boy asking David about his sonic screwdriver, pulling out David’s and Matt’s simultaneously, clearly showing that Matt’s was bigger than David’s. The audience had a great laugh at that.

I must share two things: my fan boy moment with David Tennant and taking my cousin Monique to a comic con for the first time and seeing things through the eyes of a newcomer. At my daytime job, I am a psychologist. We shrinks get kidded quite a bit that we are not actually doctors. Every time I get an autograph from someone who played The Doctor, I have them sign it to Doctor Ortega. David asked me, “Are you Doctor Ortega?” I enthusiastically answered yes. He then asked me, “What kind of doctor are you?” I responded that I was a psychologist. He replied, “Well, that counts.” MAJOR fan boy moment that the actor who played the best Doctor in Doctor Who history validated my professional existence. Thank you David Tennant!

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On to my cousin’s first experience at a comic con. It really was awesome to see a con through the eyes of a first timer. She initially went so she can meet Stephen Amell of Arrow fame. Much to her surprise, one of the actors of Sons of Anarchy (Ryan Hurst aka Opie) was there. Major fan girl moment for her. After her first con experience, Monique had this to say, “it was amazing, from the art to the costumes to the mere fact that I got to see some of my favorite actors in person. My overall experience was mind blowing. Wizard World Philly Comic Con won a new fan.”

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I don’t see any reason why I will not continue to attend Wizard World Philly Comic Con. Everything about it just gets better and better. The city itself is amazing. The food is delicious. The people are very nice. The con itself has gotten progressively more organized with a great selection of vendors, celebrities, and artists. I highly recommend it to anyone. Now if they can only get Brett Dalton to show up. I would be one happy man.

 – Tony Ortega
About Armand (1271 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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