Tag Archives: wizard world

Wizard World Saint Louis 2017

Spikey blond hair, with a nice voice, and well dressed, Kato Kaelin is mic’d up on the PA system talking to attendees. He is the radio and entertainment personality guy that became famous after the O.J. Simpson Trial as a witness. He yells, “Hey, are you guys ready to enter Wizard World??” Wizard World the pop-culture event which is held in various cities across America. This edition is Wizard World Saint Louis 2017, at the America’s Center Convention Complex April 7th-9th.

This year there are some big changes from last year or previous years altogether. The Con short for convention is smaller. The big ball rooms aren’t being used this year for panels, the gaming area is half the section it was last year. Panels are being held in smaller adjacent rooms and artist alley while still impressive is missing a third of the floor area. Comments from attendees and artist lead you to believe this is both a plus and a negative.

While there is less booths and attractions, the ability to see and experience all the con is a possibility. Foot traffic has doubled and panels aren’t so overbearingly overlapping each other. Attendees can do the entire con in one day, versus needing all three days to experience everything. Instead of attendees literally having to run to another panel across the hall or debating over two panels which is better to go to. They can enjoy the con more and possibly hit every panel or Q &A Session.

The gaming section was huge last year with games unreleased in the US being playable. Wizard World doesn’t have any of those games or displays this year. The stage was much smaller and not plastered on a huge jumbo-tron screen. Attendees could still enjoy the smaller arcade station area with more older and some 8-bit games. The gaming tournament was still available, but on a much smaller scale; although it still had some of the top gamers from around the world.

Artist Alley was another world, Wizard World brought in some artist that connected with the fans. Artist that worked on projects that adults and young adults love still to this day. Steve Lavigne is the first employee of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and childhood friends with the creators. Kurt Lehner does a ton of art, but most recognized for his character design work on Disney’s TV show Gargoyles. Mat Nastos while an artist in his own right, is most known for is novel-writing and writing for Disney’s Phineas & Ferb. There is many more artist with fabulous art work in attendance.

Attendees were worried when many of the celebrity guest canceled from the con. The last couple weeks before the con Wizard World added some great celebrity guest. It was a saving grace for the fans and attendees. celebs such as Michael Rooker (Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy), Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek TV), Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), Randy Orton (WWE Champion), and so many more.

Gene Simmons leader singer of KISS was a guest along with his own band. The addition brought in a niche audience and plenty of memorabilia. Simmons and his band would also perform at the Pageant for an extra fee. Attendees were a little perturbed, that the usual after-party was canceled. The large dance-off where cosplayers unwind from the biggest day of the con on Saturday.

The photo ops and autographs for the celebs was very different this year. Fans could enjoy a more intimate signing with celebs being more visible. Many reactions from passerby fans was all that was needed. Many squeals are being heard and “Oh, gosh!” Celebs like Michael Rooker are walking into the crowd just talking to attendees. The thought of being able to see and possibly touch the celebs was great. McLaughlin met many young adults, some even without a fee. Wizard World Saint Louis was another successful year, and they will be returning next year.

For more info on Wizard World click here.

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Pop-Culture Explosion In Saint Louis

Bald, big arms, with a Navy Tattoo dedicated to his father, Benjamin Sawyer resembles Popeye the Sailor Man. He is a comic book artist and colorist that is in the rows and rows of tables and booths known as Artist Alley. He says, “Hello, check out my art and what can I draw for you today?” Wizard World Saint Louis’ Comic-con, is a pop culture event which is held downtown in America’s Center Convention Complex every year since 2013.

Sawyer, 36, of St. Louis, is just one of many artists and vendors selling services and items. While cosplayers roamed the isles and asked to take photos of each other, they could also purchase commissions, prints, comics, games, toys, clothing, custom lightsabers, shields, and etc.… In particular sections guests can play against each other in card games, board games, and board strategy games. Photo booths were in multiple sections of the floor just waiting for eager enthusiasts to swipe their credit card. It’s a social event unlike any other for people who love comics, movies, games, cosplay, anime, TV shows, and more.

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Screams can be heard as fans wait in line to see TV stars, chat a little, and snap pictures for a nominal fee. Jason David Frank an American actor that played the role of, “Tommy,” who took on multiple forms of Power Rangers. Also a real-life Black belt martial artist, he gives out a loud Kiai. Which is a martial arts shout that usually accompanies an attack or expresses confidence. Marvel is represented really well with actors Charlie Cox and Elden Henson from the Netflix show Daredevil. Mike Colter actor that portrays as Luke Cage, on the show Jessica Jones and the forthcoming Luke Cage show this September. James Marsters is letting fans have a good time talking to them, naturally a brunette, he has dyed his curly locks platinum blonde. He now looks exactly like he did on Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show as, “Spike.” More celebs and well-known artists are throughout the con.

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James Marsters and Roderick Wilbon

 

Panels were abundant and the major ones were with stars of Marvel shows, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. David Tennant the 10th Doctor and Matt Smith the 11th Doctor had the biggest audience. Panels are interviews essentially were press and fans can learn about the actor and their respective platform. Fans can also usually get in a quick Q & A, which is one of the highlights of panels. Super fans can pay a fee and sit exceptionally close to the stage. Saint Louis Community College’s own Deaf Communications Professor Eric Driskill interpreted the panels for the impaired, while cosplaying as a Trekkie. William Shatner portrayed Captain Kirk in Star Trek the 1960s TV show. His panel happened to be what Driskill looked forward too, and afterwards Driskill said, “It was great, he was funny!!”

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William Shatner Panel

New this year to Wizard World is the introduction of, “Wizard World Gaming.” They brought in video games recently released and some unreleased here in the United States. Stations were set up for guests to play video games such as Naruto Storm 4, Street Fighter V, and unreleased One Piece: Burning Blood, and unreleased Tekken 7. Old-school 8-bit games were even around for pc players. Some well-known gamers were there to help train guests and host tournaments for prizes and cash. Steve Scott, 29, born in Saint Louis that now resides in Calif is a Video Game Commentator and host for Wizard World. When asked about the new video gaming addition he states, “They spared no expense in putting this together for fans and guests, its great!!”

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@tasty_steve Gaming Host and Commentator for Wizard World