Though most hardcore comic fans focused on Heroes Con this past weekend, the noticeably stripped-down Wizard World Philly convention still set the stage for some exciting previews, a little bit of unexpected drama and, since I was involved — some good, silly fun.
Going into WWP, I knew I was on a mission. There were promises to help out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, I was asked to cover a few panels for another site, and almost immediately after I arrived on Saturday afternoon, me dear friends (and consiglieri of comics) Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner asked me to watch their booth while they partook in their own panel event.
“Here, have a cheesesteak,” said Jimmy, handing me a warm, salty-smelling small missile. Huh? Apparently, Jimmy mentioned in his Newsarama blog that he’d give a “free crappy sketch” to anyone who brought him the classic Philly munch-out food. The result? No less than 10 free heroes. While I thanked him for it, I knew I wouldn’t be wasting my calories on it when the delights of the Reading Terminal Market were mere feet away from the convention center.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a huge Lobo fanatic. So at the DC Nation panel hosted by an exuberant Dan DiDio, I had to ask if there were any plans in store for the Last Czarnian, particularly if it honored the revered and gritty Keith Giffen/Simon Bisley run. Much to my delight, DiDio shot back that Lobo would indeed be coming back with Sam Keith handling the art. As for the writer: that was told to me later off the record, so I can’t reveal a lot. All I’ll say is that the author doesn’t come from a traditional comics background — and if he effs up, we are only a few Facebook friends away from each other. I will befriend you and log my complaints.
Another exciting moment was personally previewing a proof of DC’s Wednesday Comics, a creative, off-beat promotional run of unique mini stories, artists, and collaborations served up on oversized broadsheet newsprint. Kyle Baker‘s and Paul Pope‘s pages looked incredible, and I was blown away by all the names involved: Adam & Joe Kubert, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Conner, Dave Gibbons, Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo. I could keep going”¦ all the way to the comic book store to pick it up on July 8, when the first issue hits. (Bad plug, I know.)
Despite these few scoops, one of the chief complaints about the show was that neither Marvel nor DC bothered setting up booths, nor did Wizard themselves even host their popular Wizard Wheel. Instead, we were given limited access to head honcho Gareb Shamus‘ original Watchmen cover art collection, which was guarded by a dedicated security guy. Very imposing.
Still, the usual combo of comics, toy, T-shirt, and utili-kilt salesmen were there, as was a barrage of retired wrestlers (Honky Tonk Man, you are a true Southern gentleman!), and actors such as Edward James Olmos, Kristanna Loken, Marina Sirtis, and a scary-skinny Yancy Butler. I got to see some old friends in Artist Alley and do the bidding of CBLDF.
Overall, a pretty good day. And thanks go to Jimmy, Amanda, Heidi, Kristanna, DD, JG Jones, Steve Dillon, and so many others for making it an even better night — which, hopefully, won’t wind up on TMZ (we saw you filming, you lying fanboy jerk!).