Monday, June 11, 2012

Hemsworth and Shatner at Wizard Philly 2012 oh my!

Before I jump into my personal brand of coverage, I'd just like to note that I did a piece right after the convention that my friends at PopCultureShock were happy to post up on their site. If you haven't checked it out (and shame on you if you're a friend of mine!) then give it a looky sometime because it'll have photos of famous people that I won't be posting here in my blog.

Now then.

Thanks must go out to Wizard for putting on a fabulous 2012 Philadelphia show, which has got to be the best and most talent-laden comic con they've ever hosted here in the city. When you're bringing in the likes of current box-office sensation Chris Hemsworth (Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman), the current reigning WWE champion CM Punk and assembling all the Captains from the various Star Trek series,  you're just commanding the attention of a lot of different fan bases as well as age groups.

That said, I believe I made mention in my coverage of "preview night" about how much I loved the set up of the convention floor and how it made wandering aimlessly for hours pretty darned easy.  Comic venders and comic creators flanked all the media guests who were lined up mostly in the center isle of the show that was also wide enough to accommodate many of the fans who came dressed up and looked good enough to draw crowds of their own. While it was true Saturday was crazy packed, it never felt like one was in a sardine can and that is always nice for your con-going mental state.  Perhaps once the whole weekend was a forced in close enough to a fanboy who didn't have enough/any deodorant...that is seriously saying something!

So as I sit here looking at the images I'd like to post and remembering things out of order, let me begin with a shot that I know I snapped on Friday.  This happy couple happens to be mutually uber-talented artists Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell.  Check out their site and feast your eyes on some truly breath-taking art when you get a moment! Julie and Boris were there only for Friday, but boy did they have their work cut out for them.  I waited about twenty minutes for this shot because someone had given Boris about 100 things to sign.  One day there'll be limits to that stuff...I felt bad for the guy having to sign so much and the fans behind the one guy because they were just as stuck as I was.

Here is "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Tombstone" alumni Jason Priestly along with a fan who had him sign her old, still in the box "Brandon" doll.  I was hoping to chat with Jason about a con that he and I attended back in the 90's when I got a free photo with him, but his handler was a little too militaristic for me.  I snapped a couple of quick shots from the designated area his handler allowed me to stand in ("no posed photos, sorry") and I was outta there.  I did see Jason later on though, as he was perusing a vendor booth loaded with zombie-related merchandise. His handler was about twenty feet ahead and didn't notice he was so whacked out, that his talent was no longer with him.

 I missed Chris Hemsworth's first show appearance but went over to his booth to check and see when he'd be there again.  Lo and behold his whole area was loaded up with fans.  When I checked who they were waiting for, the name CM Punk came from about five or so very excited fans holding anything from folding chairs to replica title belts for the WWE Superstar to sign.  See, this dude was so insanely popular that not only did he fill his own booth's area, but the run off filled up Hemsworth's booth while he wasn't there and it kept going even longer. Hands down, this wrestler had the longest line I've ever seen at a comic convention; no exaggeration. Check out these shots of the crowd as well as the man himself.  Though I have long ceased watching wrestling, it was no less exciting to be over at CM Punk's booth.  His fans were rabid and you could tell he loved it and fed off it. Also, I'd like to note that he was one of the least expensive autographs/photographs at the show considering how popular he was, which is genius because the low price only brought in more fans.

A couple of Star Wars fans were dressed up pretty freakin' cool so I had to nab them as they strolled the literal red carpet.  I felt a little bad for the male because he'd been more or less pushed to the side by someone who wanted a podcast with the female trooper who accompanied him. I wanted them both so I waited for the mini-interview to end, in the meantime I shot the close up that shows in all probability what group of Star Wars fans he belongs with. (I could be and likely am...wrong here.)

In addition to the SW fans, there were a few other outfits that caught my fickle eye, so check out a couple families costuming it up as well as a kickass "Iron" Spider-man, Rogue and the unbelievable Chewbacca. My personal favorites were the Lebowski and Duke duo, if only because I wondered how many people even knew what their outfits were from.  It only got better when I asked if they minded if I shot a photo and the Duke, in spot on Depp mimicry said "Fuck yeah man go ahead."

After a period of two and a half hours in which I stood in the same place, I finally got to see Chris Hemsworth and my man-crush was realized.  He is pretty tall in person, though not as physical a presence (obviously) as he is in his action/fantasy films.  Chris seemed genuinely into being there and interacted with his fans almost non-stop from the second he came out to sit and sign, playfully rolling his sleeves up as if to get to work. What amazed me was his presence. I found myself disappointed that I wasn't waiting in line with everyone else to get my photo with the dude!  Despite his costing over $100 his line was jam packed and there were just as many men as woman...though many a male fan could be seen holding a Thor hammer for Hemsworth to sign.

The part that I'd like to say shocked me was the lack of a mob scene at the Star Trek captains area.  Now remember, this is only my observations and I wasn't there at their area all day.  But I can say that when select captains were alone at another area it seems much more crowded than when I got to experience all five in the same row all signing together at their own tables.  If anyone reading was there for the Trek gang please comment and give me and other readers the lowdown!  But in my experience, with the exceptions of William Shatner and Patrick Stewart it just didn't seem like the event they may have hoped it would be.  I shot a few photos of my favorite aforementioned two and had to get one of Avery Brooks as well.  The man formely known as Ben Sisko and and Hawk (from Spence for Hire) is also the voice of so many documentaries that I've seen...dude is cool as hell and he is nearing 65!

It is always good catchin' up with my buddy Charles P. Wilson, who is an artist and does a book that I'm fanatical about called The Stuff of Legend. If you've never checked it out, treat yourself to a trade paperback of one of the mini-series currently out.  There is a gorgeous French hardcover available too, but I don't read in French!  *laughs* Charles, you and the gang need to make an American hardcover STAT! When I stopped by his table he was sketching out a commission piece along the lines of his recent "Pooh" influenced superhero work.  (yes, see the link!)

This was how most of my time was spent over the weekend.  When I wasn't chatting it up with friends, I was in the media area. Sometimes I was treated incredibly (thank you to lovely ladies Shannon Elizabeth and Kristy Swanson) and sometimes I was treated not so incredibly.  So if you see I'm missing a photo of anyone for my coverage or the one I have on PCS that you need to see -COUGH Sam Trammell COUGH- just remember it isn't necessarily because the actor/actress declined. It has very much to do with their handlers and how worthy they deem you, the writer/photographer to be in terms of allowing you access to their cash cow. Bitter? Never.  A standardized proxy for all press in meeting all talent when a show is being covered would just be perfect. It was the closest thing I could have to a complaint, but it isn't the show's fault and not fully the talent's either.

Saturday night was the big GeekNation party which was held at the Field House, roughly two blocks away from the convention center. I didn't hang around long enough to catch the arrival of the "Boondock Saints" but I was there to catch up with Ralph from Zenescope who is my faux mortal enemy. I also made some new acquaintances that I need to find here on the internet and get in touch with...but on this night?  I was rockin' the Geek Carpet with actress Clare Kramer! 

Yeah, life is good.  Oh yeah, see directly below for Wizard World Philly's dates in 2013!

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