It came. It geeked out. It will be back.
The 2015 Wizard World Cleveland was this weekend, and despite the weather, it was a huge success. Fans gathered at the Cleveland Convention Center to see stars, cosplay, and basically just celebrate a piece of themselves that just refuses to grow up. Scaretissue was lucky enough to be part of this event, and I can’t wait until next year (Dates have already been set for next year’s event. It will be at the Cleveland Convention Center yet again and take place February 26-28, 2016.).
The convention floor consisted of two section: the vendors and the celebrities. Vendors took up the entrancing half of the hall, and the celebrities were tucked into the other half. ATM’s were everywhere ($4.99 service charge), but most vendors and celebrities take credit cards anyways. Long lines led to curtained areas where fans got to meet and pose with guests such as Bruce Campbell, William Shatner, and others. If you just wanted the guests to sign a photo or a personal item, the guests were lined up at their respective tables as well. Prices weren’t bad for autographs either. Drea de Matteo (Sons of Anarchy, Sopranos) offered selfies for $20 with your phone (as did a few others). I managed to catch up with Robert Kurtzman (who was signing for $15 and displaying some great replicas and props that he’s made). I may have talked his ear off, but he is a legend in fx and film. The Crow creator James O’Barr talked to me a little bit about the upcoming reboot (which seems to be a source of frustration for him).
The celebrities also took time to answer questions from their fans, or basically just put on a one man show. James Marsters wowed the crowd with his singing, while Jason David Frank put on a karate clinic. Saturday night featured a special showing of Wolfcop. There were comic book panels, cosplay contests, and a celebration of Saturday morning cartoons.
The vendors at the show had some very memorable merchandise and offerings as well.
Horrorsquares.com has a phenomenal product. Artist Drew Blank represents the alphabet in a fun and cartoony way: with horror and action characters. Each letter of the alphabet is represented (usually in multiple ways). For example, J is Jason (Friday the 13th), J is for Jack (The Shining), and J is for John Doe (Se7en). You can get these depictions on 8.5” or 12” in squares for $5.00 a piece, or you can get the full alphabet on a 3 poster set for $25.00. Flash cards are available too.
The first comic to really grab my attention was The Arcane Awakening. Of course, it also helped that there was a large replica of its creature’s head on display. It looks like a bull combined with one of those reaper vampires from Blade…but only more lamprey-like. Mess Bucket Comics is out of Michigan.
Robert Brewer (Streetsboro, OH) wrote and illustrated multiple comic books through Fat Jar Studios. The most enthralling series that I stumbled upon of his was the Dark Things series. It’s a 3 book set focuses on a different set of creatures in each book. Brewer is also the writer of the low budget horror film Dead Summer part of the Diaries of the Living Dead double feature.
One of the most interesting vendors to talk to was Ted Sikora. Sikora is the writer/director of the Hero Tomorrow, the 2007 independent film portraying Cleveland’s own superhero The Apama. The film depicts a struggling comic book writer turned superhero. He takes his name from a made up animal…the apama. It’s fun, gritty, and predates Kickass by 3 years in depicting what comic book violence and themes would actually be like in the “real” world. The film has inspired the series Apama: The Undiscovered Animal.
Father Faust is a beautifully drawn horror comic depicting a story quite similar to The Exorcist. A troubled priest does battle with demons in a world where the exorcisms are merely more than screams and chants. They feel like battles. The comic book is produced through CCP Comics, and they also provided some great prints (that my kids love): A Star Wars/Minions mashup and a Hulk/Jason mashup.
I had a great time at this year’s Wizard World Cleveland, and I can’t wait until next year. If this weekend just wasn’t enough for you (or, you’re just not from Cleveland and looking for events like this), Wizard World has 23 conventions scheduled throughout the year all over the United States just like this. Here’s the full slate of events scheduled. It’s definitely worth checking out.