Unfortunately, I won't be attending San Diego Comic-Con this year. Instead, I've been attending smaller cons that aren't the crush that SDCC has become. For indie comics, there was MoCCA Fest a few weeks ago, the Small Press Expo in September, and possibly the Alternative Press Expo in October. To get my mainstream-y, popular culture fix, I'm attending Wizard World Philadelphia this weekend.
The Wizard World conventions are run by the publisher of Wizard, Toy Fare, and Anime magazines, and are usually held in several parts of the country. However, this year, due to The Economy, there will only be conventions in Philly and Chicago, and possibly Los Angeles (if re-scheduled). Wizard World Philly (henceforth abbreviated as WWP), is a mix of major comics publishers (i.e., DC and Marvel), toy companies, celebrities, comics vendors (back issues and other swag), writers, editors, artists, and other traditionally geeky types. There are also small press areas and an Artist's Alley, where I found some of my favorite purchases last year. In addition, WWP teamed up with the locally-based Video Game Expo, and will have a large gaming area on the convention floor.
This year's WWP programming is heavily undead, with many zombie-related panels scheduled during the weekend. Friday at 3PM is a discussion with effects legend Tom Savini. This is followed at 4PM with a panel featuring Max Brooks, author of the Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. Saturday at 4PM there's a Zombie Costume Contest, and then at 5PM the panel "Writing the Undead" with Max Brooks, Fred Van Lente , and John Russo. Sunday has Max Brooks again at 1PM, discussing "Zombie Survival Plans", and a "How to Make a Zombie Demo" at 2PM. If you want to be be zombified during the convention (you know, without that part about dying), FearWerx will "deaden you up good" at their booth for $20. The Saturday night afterparty at the Trocadero will feature "Zombie Burlesque". Finally, unaffiliated with WWP, but still zombie-related, the Philly Zombie Beach Party is Sunday night at the Trocadero as well.
That's a lot of dead things. Guess there's a Zombie rage going on.
There are plenty of non-zombie events and such at WWP, including Q&A panels with Emma Caufield (Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now staring in the new SF movie TiMER); Doug Jones (Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies, and the creepy Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth); and cast members from Battlestar Galactica. There is an entire "Wizard School" track of panels and workshops about comics creation from concept to inking, and a separate set of classes for toy creation. There are multiple DC and Marvel panels, and an entire slate of kid-friendly programming as well. See the full programming schedule here.
The main convention floor will be full of publishers and vendors. (I plan on trying to find cheap copies of old Heavy Metal magazines, and half-price slightly dented graphic novels.) It also looks like Eric Michael Maruscak will be doing another huge chalk mural.
Look for blog posts and photos from the weekend on SPCHQ, and follow running commentary on the Twitter feed. Given I've been so low energy since... whenever it was the last time the sun was out here... don't know if I'll have super con stamina going, though.