Wizard World Miami Comic Con 2011 – A Review
On February 26, 2011, the former comic magazine company Wizard Entertainment came to Miami to bring it’s own unique brand of a comic convention for the first time ever. Wizard has done conventions in most major cities across the U.S. like Chicago and Philadelphia, even Canada, but never down to South Florida. I love going to cons. The entire experience, from meeting celebrities, artists, and writers, to sitting in panels and listening to guests tell their personal stories, is a thrill that is very difficult to put into words. So when I first heard Wizard was coming to Miami, I was excited. I was also curious to see how it would differ from the local comic convention that was held in the same place as Wizard’s (Miami Airport Convention Center) each year. My girlfriend, Megjie, and her daughter, Katarina, were going to go with me. It was the first time both of them had gone to a con.
You see, down in South Florida, we’ve only had one comic convention held each year in the area: the Super Con. While not a bad convention, per se, it is by no means anything like the San Diego Comic Con. Super Con is mostly local comic artists and writers (who usually appear every year, plus or minus new faces), role-playing troupes, various bands (Less Than Jake was featured last year) and one or two main B-list celebrities (featured guests in the past included Bruce Campbell). After reviewing the guest list for Wizard’s con, I was going into it with the mindset that it would be similar to Super Con or slightly better. Who was attending, you ask? Stars included Nicholas Brendon, Billy Dee Williams, Ernie Hudson, Ray Park, Adam West, Burt Ward, Scott Thompson, Gena Lee Nolin, Mercedes Mcnab, and Julie Benz. They also had a pretty extensive wrestling lineup featuring wrestlers like Kevin Nash and Angela Fong.
I started having my doubts about it as soon as we arrived there. The parking situation was horrible and completely unorganized. When we finally got into the convention hall, there were very few cos-players dressed up, minus the guys who cosplay in the 3000 Brigade. I think in total I saw a few star wars guys and a Poison Ivy. After getting seats for the first Q and A panel with Julie Benz, we were told by an event organizer that she wasn’t even attending that day, even though she was listed on the schedule. As far as size went, the crowds were pretty small. But to be fair, it was the first time Wizard was down here and they didn’t do that much as far as advertising the event.
The entire layout with booths was pretty much set up like Super Con usually was, so I didn’t notice anything different here, with the exception of a detailed event map/schedule.
“….parking situation was horrible and completely unorganized”
The best part of the con for me wasn’t getting (err, paying) Ernie Hudson to autograph my Ghostbusters DVD or talking/taking pictures with Nicholas Brendon, but seeing how much Megjie and Kat were enjoying their first comic con. Whether it was Kat watching artist Javier Lugo sketch a Jay Gerrick Flash before her eyes or pose with pictures of Star Wars characters, it was a good feeling watching her take an interest in things nerd appropriate. During the Ghostbusters trivia game with Ernie Hudson, Ernie chose her to help him answer a question on who came up with the concept of the movie (I had to give a little help when I whispered the answer in her ear). Kat even picked out a Power Girl print for herself to take home. Megjie enjoyed the sights and got to talk one on one with Billy Dee Williams at his booth.
In conclusion, I think the three of us had a good experience at Wizard World Miami Con. It still has a long ways to go if it wants the audience size of San Diego or even the stuff that convention offers, but hopefully with time it will improve. Wizard returns to Miami in December of 2012 and maybe, so will we.
“The best part of the con for me wasn’t getting (err, paying) Ernie Hudson to autograph my Ghostbusters DVD or talking/taking pictures with Nicholas Brendon, but seeing how much Megjie and Kat were enjoying their first comic con”
(When Justin is not contributing articles to NerdAppropriate.com he works in a secret government lab somewhere in south Florida.. we think)