Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse (Maronie Creative Services, LLC)
IT'S POP-CULTURE PARTY-TIME!

EVENTS

April 7, 2014

WIZARD WORLD ST. LOUIS 2014

Two outre characters met up at Wizard World this past weekend. The villainous Joker and the heroic Beast put their heads together for convention photographers.

A REVIEW OF WIZARD WORLD ST. LOUIS 2014

Two youthful 'Trekkies' proudly show off their pointed ears.  Badges indicate they are signed up for the William Shatner 'experience'. Stop and realize the original Star Trek had been off the air for almost 30 years before these young 'uns were even born!

Two youthful ‘Trekkies’ proudly show off their pointed ears. Badges indicate they are signed up for the William Shatner ‘experience’. Stop and realize the original Star Trek had been off the air for almost 30 years before these young ‘uns were even born!

 

Well, well, well…. Wizard World St. Louis 2014 has finally come and gone. The much-ballyhooed traveling celebrity show rolled into St. Louis this past weekend for it’s second year.

They keep calling themselves a ‘comic con’. To me Comic Con will always be San Diego. This is actually a pop-culture event . Emphasis is centered more on autographs and photo-ops than it is about funny-books.

I was there on Friday only, usually the slowest day of a 3-day convention. Spread out over the cavernous America’s Center Dome, it was difficult to judge just how busy it was. However, I did notice that some of the autograph lines seemed sparsely attended.

I’d love to post some decent photos of some of these ‘celebrities’. Efforts to snap a photo or two were met by stern admonitions from convention staff. There was even one outright threat to confiscate my SD disk if I continued. Sheesh!

Adam West and Burt Ward did  make a public appearance for a ribbon-cutting to officially open the show.  A rep from the city presented the one-time Dynamic Duo with a key to the city.

 

What better way to open a show than with a traditional ribbon-cutting?  Left to right is Wizard CEO John Macaluso, unidentified, Burt Ward, Adam West, Thor-impersonator Ryan Frye, and Cardinals mascot 'Fredbird.'

What better way to open a show than with a traditional ribbon-cutting? Left to right is Wizard CEO John Macaluso, unidentified, Burt Ward, Adam West, Thor-impersonator Ryan Frye, and Cardinals mascot ‘Fredbird.’

 

Mr. West dryly remarked that he had received so many keys to the city during  his career. But he managed to squeeze out a little joke,  “Well, I AM the mayor of Quahog!” (on The Family Guy TV series).

Fans who were there to purchase autographs and have a few seconds of face time with actors of varying notoriety were delighted. Many happily shelled out hundreds of dollars for their particular celebrity ‘experience’, which included an autograph, a professional photo op, special badges and posters.

It was not uncommon to talk to fans who had traveled hundred of miles to see a particular celeb. I spoke to a pair of Adam West admirers who drove from Chicago on Saturday afternoon, participated in the autograph-and-photo-op Sunday and drove home that same afternoon.

The most popular celeb there was undoubtedly William Shatner. Ol’ Captain Kirk had an eager army of admirers. They were more than glad to fork over $70 for an autograph and $80 for a photo op.

The Dealers Area was a melange of back-issue comics, racks of action figures and other standard convention wares.  Turn a corner and you might find merchandise befitting a Renaissance Fair, with swords, pirate gear, and Medieval corsets.

It's never too early---or too late--to be plugging Halloween! A professional 'haunted house' company was promoting their holday extravaganzas.

It’s never too early—or too late–to be plugging Halloween! A professional ‘haunted house’ company was promoting their holday extravaganzas.

 

Hard-core comics fans that I spoke to groused about the limited comics inventory—and the high prices. Yet some told me that they did find a few bargains along the way.

 

There was no end of t-shirts, action figures and other knick-knacks available for the most discriminating fan.

There was no end of t-shirts, action figures and other knick-knacks available for the most discriminating fan.

 

You could take your pick of any variety of jewelry---pierced or otherwise!

You could take your pick of any variety of jewelry—pierced or otherwise!

 

The coolest car on earth! This wasn't the 'original' Batmobile, but a darn good replica! The supercar was one of the most popular attractions there!  There was no end of fans snapping pictures and posing with this awesome vehicle.

The coolest car on earth! This wasn’t the ‘original’ Batmobile, but a darn good replica! The supercar was one of the most popular attractions there! There was no end of fans snapping pictures and posing with this awesome vehicle.

 

A young fan takes his pick from a display of multi-colored light sabers.

A young fan takes his pick from a display of multi-colored light sabers.

 

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There didn’t appear to be a lot of traffic down Artist’s Alley on Friday. I didn’t spot many of the featutred comics illustrators, but it could be they were just doing a Saturday/Sunday appearance.

It was good to see people there like Kabuki creator David Mack. The talented graphic storyteller was promoting his latest book, Wolverine and the X-Men #1. Mack sometimes appears as a guest on the syndicated outre radio program, Coast to Coast AM.

 

David Mack, writer and artist of his  creator-owned Kabuki, was one of the more popular artists attending the convention. He had a constant line of fans seeking out his books.

David Mack, writer and artist of his creator-owned Kabuki, was one of the more popular artists attending the convention. He had a constant line of fans seeking out his books.

 

Veteran pros like ‘Crow’ creator James O’Barr and Greg Horn were doing a brisk business. Super-star Neal Adams was there, but I didn’t see many at his booth during my time there. A couple of fans told me they were upset about having to pay for autographs. This is a trend unfortunately spawned by an ebay-commerce world.

 

Artist Salvador Larocca is a Spanish comic-book artist. He is famous for his work on many of the X-Men titles for Marvel.

Artist Salvador Larocca is a Spanish comic-book artist. He is famous for his work on many of the X-Men titles for Marvel.

 

Kansas City-based writer Jai Nitz greeted fans at Wizard World.  Nitz currently pens Dream Thief and Toshiro for Dark Horse Comics.

Kansas City-based writer Jai Nitz greeted fans at Wizard World. Nitz currently pens Dream Thief and Toshiro for Dark Horse Comics.

 

Terry Huddleston's deviantART studio proffered a huge variety of his pin-up art. Huddleston told me he has several projects lined up with the merchandizing arm of Marvel Entertainment.

Terry Huddleston’s deviantART studio proffered a huge variety of his pin-up art. Huddleston told me he has several projects lined up with the merchandizing arm of Marvel Entertainment.

 

Marcus J. Mosley, local artist and filmaker, is currently shooting a home-grown horror film. He hopes to have Til Death Do Us Part in theatres soon. D

Marcus J. Mosley, local artist and filmaker, is currently shooting a home-grown horror film. He hopes to have Til Death Do Us Part in theatres soon.

 

None of the major publishers like DC or Marvel had any presence at the convention. Local publisher Lion Forge Comics did have an ultra-tech mother ship that lit up and rang bells like a bank of Vegas slot machines.

There were some terrific, creative costumes parading around the hall. Feel as you may about the cosplay phenomenon, you have to admire the level of passion and professionalism some fans put into their garb.

 

Set phasers to stun! A fan poses with two fans from the original Star Trek series. The young lady on the right is flashing the Vulcan 'live long and prosper' sign.

Set phasers to stun! A fan poses with crew members  from the original Star Trek series. The young lady on the right is flashing the Vulcan ‘live long and prosper’ sign.

 

COSTUME #14

 

Blogmeister Sam grabs hold of Loki's magic hammer. But where's the Thunder God?

Blogmeister Sam grabs hold of Loki’s magic hammer. But where’s the Thunder God?

 

AXMAN #16

 

Ant-Man and the Wonderful Wasp are next-up in the pantheon of Marvel movies. Paul  Rudd is pacted to portray the insect-sized Avenger.

Ant-Man and the Wonderful Wasp are next-up in the pantheon of Marvel movies. Paul Rudd is pacted to portray the insect-sized Avenger.

 

Two outre characters met up at Wizard World this past weekend. The villainous Joker and the heroic Beast put their heads together for convention photographers.

Two outre characters met up at Wizard World this past weekend. The villainous Joker and the heroic Beast put their heads together for convention photographers.

 

Zombies were big among cosplay participants. I saw a little boy hide behind his parents when he encountered these two zombos. I felt like doing the same thing!

Zombies were big among cosplay participants. I saw a little boy hide behind his parents when he encountered these two zombos. I felt like doing the same thing!

 

PLAS

 

No, it is not Nicholas Cage, but there was another Ghost Rider at the convention. Here he's threatening Blogmeister Sam with some other-wordly whoop-ass!

No, it is not Nicholas Cage, but there was another Ghost Rider at the convention. Here he’s threatening Blogmeister Sam with some other-wordly whoop-ass!

 

I gotta give a shout-out to the Wizard World staff. On the whole they were effective, professional and polite. I even have to cut the celebrity ‘guardians’ some slack. They were jusgt doing what has got to be a thankless job.

Well, conventions have changed dramatically in  my years as a reporter and fan. Today they are rarely staged by afficionados, as they were in the early days of comics fandom. Events like the San Diego Comic Con and Wizard World shows are now corporate events.

This transformation is not a negative thing. These events are run by companies who strive to make a profit. Certainly, no one can begrudge them that.

These corporations like Wizard World do a great job uniting fans with the creative talent they worship. It’s just done in a different way now.

 

 

 

 






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