Caped Crusaders and cosmic heroines descended on the Philadelphia Convention Center for the Wizard World Philadelphia, a comic book convention. Coming in during the heat of the summer, this convention aimed at catering to familiar and general audiences and is certainly paving its own path.
With appearance from Batman: The Animated Series voice actor Kevin Conroy to wrestling legend Sargent Slaughter, and cosplay karaoke in addition to open video games by Midwest esports, there was something for everyone to enjoy at Wizard World Philadelphia. With many personalities making appearances and events in place, the four-day convention has a lot to offer for all sorts of audiences from the East Coast. Even the world of anime had a chance to shine with the entire cast of Roosterteeth’s RWBY in attendance. Plus there was the expo hall which was lined with artists, bringing their own comics and comics-inspired creations.
Compared to other conventions I have been to, there was certainly more of a family flair here. Parents brought their kids, dressed in their favorite heroes and villains, to enjoy the event, marveling at the sights and sounds of the show floor. It was fascinating to see the cosplay and the practical cleverness of the cosplay, such as the couple dressed as Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler from Jurassic Park, and one man who had a very creative “Doom Guy” cosplay from Doom.
Seeing families at this particular event was inspiring, as well as important. Most comic book conventions can be far too overcrowded, but with Wizard World Philadelphia, the attendees can move around and actually enjoy the space. There was also more of a focus on artists than at other conventions. Various vendors were showing new comics and books to the attendees. Even Geeksterink, a group of geek enthusiasts and tattoo artists, made an appearance and gave fresh ink to attendees that wanted them.
Comic book culture came alive for several days at Wizard World Philadelphia, plus there were a series of events that were very different for conventions. SomeCallMeJohnny, Tiny415, and Joe from TopDeck Games invited attendees to learn more about gaming for charity, including for Extra Life. Tyler Wood of The Nerd Guide talked about Batman: The Animated Series, and how it may be the greatest cartoon of all time. The panel Fandom Saves Lives, hosted by Dr. Lynn Zubernis, PhD and Dr. Christine Killmer, PhD of Project Fancare mentioned how fandom, and the fondness of television shows and culture, can provide healing and encouragement for those afflicted with depression and trauma. In addition, the New York talent group, The Drunk Texts, debuted Harry The First, The Knave Who Hath Lived, a live retelling of Harry Potter’s first year, done in Shakespearean dialogue and mixed with occasional shots of hard alcohol.
What I liked about Wizard World Philadelphia was its focus on family and general audiences. It provided something a new and refreshing take on the convention scene. Big conventions are immeasurably fun and entertaining, but it can be disconnecting to families and kids.
Wizard World provides a convention for families that is incredibly important, without being overwhelming or too crowded. This is important because it gives general audiences the first impression of superheroes come to life and also gives the sensation of what it is like to see their favorite shows and genres adapted into the real-world. Additionally, it is a great foundation to explore creativity, from the cosplay to the artwork to the sensation of community building and being surrounded by those fond of the same thing.
Wizard World Philadelphia isn’t meant to replace something like New York Comic Con or even replace the newly established Keystone Comic Con, but it is a comic book and geek convention providing great entertainment and fun for general audiences. From the unique programming to the personalities and talent displayed, Wizard World is certainly a great time, especially for the families raising their own Justice Leagues.