logan j. fowler gets his con on …
Normally you’d expect a Comic-Con blog from me right around the middle of October, but this year I broke out of my yearly convention tradition to see Philadelphia Wizard World Comic-Con, right smack dab in the city of brotherly love. This convention ran for four days but I caught one of them. While I didn’t attend any panels, I got to meet some fantastic artists and will talk about them in due time.
Now I’d like to take the time to compare Philly’s Wizard World to New York Comic-Con, because the differences are very significant. First off, you could easily tackle PWW in one day, as I did, if you are not hoarding collectibles or trying to meet everyone. The floor is easy to navigate and the cell phone service was wonderful (in NYCC, you’re not so lucky). Celebrities are easy to snap shot if a guard is not blocking the face of said star, and the lines to meet these people were pretty short in relation to the bigger cons held in the U.S.
Among the celebrities spotted were everyone’s favorite Walking Dead star, Norman Reedus (aka Daryl Dixon, the redneck bad ass with a heart of gold), Michael Rooker (who plays Merle, Daryl’s brother), Jon Bernthal (Shane, also from The Walking Dead), Brandon Routh (Superman in Superman Returns), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring on Breaking Bad), Stan Lee, William Shatner, Kevin Sorbo, several Firefly alumni, and the original green Power Ranger, Jason David Frank, who played up his fame to the crowd with dyed green hair. It’s morphin’ time! These celebrities were easy to spot and talk to, and while I didn’t encounter any of them, it seemed that they were all generally pleased to be there. I’ve heard stories of comic-con guests that didn’t really find the venue to be their cup of tea, but if you chose this line of work that you are in, best be known that you have to respect your fan base.
While my crew and I circled the autograph area for a good amount of time, artist’s alley got the most of our attention. This is also where I spent most of my money, which, in the grand scheme of things, wasn’t much. As soon as we got into the proximity of this area, my eyes immediately darted to 8 bit pixilated art, a throwback to my video game childhood. Victor Dandridge, President/CEO of Vantage Inhouse Art, is a mastermind maker of tiny cube art that would look right at home on your NES. However, he prefers not to form those characters that we know from video games so long ago, but he creates characters that invade our lives through comic books, television, and movies. His Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles piece was purchased very quickly, and my friend Harry, a huge Iron Man fan, had fun playing the “Guess the Character” 8 bit challenge, which he partook in three times, winning each segment, and walking away with three pieces of Iron Man 8 bit art.
Not too far from there was more pixilated goodness in the form of beaded works. Dubbed “Perler Pixel Pals,” artist David Savage formed a barrage of characters familiar to geeks anywhere with his unique take on art with beads. I wish I could’ve bought everything off the table. You can see his works at http://perlerpixelpals.deviantart.com/
Moving from pixels to pencils, we glanced at the amazing art of Tracey Watkins, who had some very beautiful detailed pieces from familiar movies. Terminator, Iron Man, and a beautiful Dark Knight Two-Face all made our jaws drop, and Mr. Watkins was very personable with his fans. You can view his great work at http://sketchingtime.com/
Rounding out the artists who took time to greet fans and newbies alike, I was in love with a Punch-Out piece by artist Bryan G. Brown, who actually has an original comic out about Mixed Martial Arts. Mr. Brown was actually infatuated with my t-shirt (a Mario/TMNT crossover) and asked to take a picture. Not even in costume, I get noticed! My conversation with him lead to my introduction of myself and my name, which he didn’t believe (Logan is the name of a very popular X-Men, Wolverine, if you didn’t know. But you wouldn’t be reading this if you did :P). He said he wanted to name his soon to be born child Logan, but his wife said no. Sorry man! Wishing you luck on your expanded family and your work! You can see Bryan’s art over at http://bryangbrown.com/
While I would highlight more artists, these are the ones I had actually one on one time with, so obviously they deserve major points for taking their time to talk to me as well as any other con attendees. Not only were they as people extremely nice, but I would honestly support them if I saw them at future conventions. I really respect their personable nature and love each of their art. If money wasn’t an issue…. Thankfully I walked out of the center with my wallet still happy and me being more than happy with my purchases.
While Philadelphia Wizard World didn’t match the madness that New York offers, it was a nice breath of fresh air to be able to go to one of these things where you didn’t feel overwhelmed. That, and it was nice to break in my girlfriend to the whole experience, her being the first of my significant others to ever attend a convention. I’ve already warned her about NYCC, but she enjoyed herself yesterday, and she’s pumped for October. As am I. While Philly Con was definitely a low key and fun experience, it was just a delicious appetizer for New York’s main course. Bring it on, October!