This past weekend, Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con 2013 brought much of the razzle-dazzle of a large pop culture exhibition to the Mid-Atlantic region. While some the smaller comic cons in the area — such as Asbury Park Comic Con and the Locust Moon Comics Fest — focus on comic books and independent press publications, the Wizard World event follows the style, if not quite the scale, the major U.S. cons held in San Diego (hosted by the non-profit Comic-Con International) and New York (run by the ReedPop division of Reed Elsevier).
Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con included the full spectrum of con activity: fans in superhero costumes, an exhibition hall filled with vendors of comic books and pop culture wares, comic book creators displaying their artwork, and panel sessions on popular science fiction and horror television programs. While the panels may not have had the Hollywood star power of San Diego Comic Con, the smaller scale had its charms. On Friday evening, you could walk in at the last minute to grab a seat at the Q&A session with notable Marvel Comics impresario Stan Lee.
Unlike most other cons at San Diego and New York, Wizard World cleared the auditorium before the more popular panels, such as for “The Walking Dead” and “Firefly.” While this forced a difficult decision on those who wanted to see both, it avoided the problem of fans being completely locked out of the one panel they most wanted to see. (The issue of whether panel sessions should be cleared between sessions is hotly contested among con-goers and is frequently raised in the San Diego Comic-Con “talkback” sessions.)
Compared with the jammed passageways of the show floor at San Diego or New York, the spacious corridors of the exhibition hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center allowed for comfortable browsing of comic books, artists tables, and the myriad vendors at the show. While many of the booths offered the conventional comic con fare of comic books, artwork, and pop culture tchotchkes, there were a few of surprising vendors looking to jump on the geek chic bandwagon. (For more on this, see my article in Knowledge@Wharton, “Philadelphia Comic Con: Batman, Buffy and … Bath Fitter?“)
Here are highlights from the set of 322 photos in my Flickr account from Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con 2013:
The panel session on Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” with Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Summer Glau, and Jewel Staite.
Cast members of The Walking Dead: Michael Rooker, Jon Bernthal, and Norman Reedus.
Buffyfest with James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter from Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Spike.”
The “Charmed” panel with Holly-Marie Combs and Brian Krause.
The “Doctor Who” panel with Tony Kim, Deborah Stanish, Alan Kistler, and Ken Deep.
Q&A with Marvel Comics’ Chairman Emeritus Stan Lee.
Q&A with William Shatner.
And, throughout the show, cosplay.