7, September 2015

Wizard World San Jose

These past two and half days have been all about Wizard World San Jose (http://www.wizardworld.com/home-sanjose.html). It was a great turnout for the first comic con in the Bay Area for sometime. Taking place at the San Jose Convention Center, thousands arrived to check out the great vendors and various celebrities.

Friday was opening day, beginning at 3pm. We arrived a little late due to traffic, but we arrived with plenty of time to enjoy. We received our badges and started walking through the vendor area. Most of the celebrities were only Saturday/Sunday, so that section of the main hall was quiet. Actually, the whole scene was a bit quiet, but that was understandable. It was a Friday afternoon, not a Friday morning, so most people would arrive on the actual weekend. Anyway, we went to the artists’ area. I’m a HUGE Simpsons fan. I’ve watched since the very beginning, so I was very excited to see that artist Phil Ortiz was coming. I figured I would get a print from him, but he was doing Simpsons’ caricatures of people. This wasn’t something I could pass up, so I sat for him. We chatted with our friends, his wife, and him. He’s a great guy, super nice and enjoyed interacting with the fans. Turns out his favorite character to draw is Sideshow Bob. The Sideshow Bob/Cecil episode is my favorite (“I wonder if they still make that shampoo I like.”). When Phil Ortiz had finished drawing me, he said that his friend, animator Tom Cook of He-Man fame, would color it for me. So, we went and watched him color me. We struck up a conversation about He-Man, and Grayson had an Orko sketch commissioned. After we finished our conversations, we started checking out the vendors. Due to the Star Wars sale the night before, there were a few vendors who were scalping the Target/Toys R Us toys. We bought some of the Koopa kids in stuffed form, but not any big purchases. We had dinner with friends that were attending after the con closed for the day, and then came home to prepare our costumes for Saturday.

Saturday, we were fortunate that our friends had a room at the hotel connected to the convention. We finalized our costumes in their room and headed down to get photos. A lot of people took our pictures, but we weren’t recognized. We were Trace and Elsenova with Trace’s drone from Axiom Verge, Metroidvania indie game from Tom Happ (http://www.axiomverge.com/). It’s a fantastic game, and you should check it out if you haven’t already. Most people thought Grayson was Doc Ock from Spiderman because of the tentacles, and a few people told me I would haunt their dreams. We still considered it a success. There were a lot of great cosplayers. A few of the professionals were there, but mostly amateurs like ourselves. Lots of Harleys, Spidermans (Spidermen…?), and some impressive Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat costumes. It’s fun to see what people come up with. I’m already thinking of what we can be at the next show. We attended the Tom Cook talk about animation in the 80s, which was a fun talk. It’s crazy that he went from a bus driver to an animator in like a month. No joke, check it out. Apparently, they used to offer free animation classes and would hire people that did well. That kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. After the talk, we checked out the vendor area, purchasing a cool vinyl messenger bag with Star Wars’ schematics on it and a few other figures.

Sunday was the final day. Always a bit sad to see it end, but we still had a full day ahead of us. We arrived early to get in line for Billy Boyd. Unfortunately, he was over a half hour late, but it was still exciting to meet him. We talked for a bit, mostly about his band, Beecakes, and their new album, The World of Things. I promised I’d check it out, so I thought I’d plug it here as well. After meeting Billy Boyd, we heading to pick up Grayson’s Orko sketch, along with our other VIP treats (trading cards from artists Michael Golden and James O’Barr and free comic book grading). Since it was the last day, we checked every vendor again, mostly to pick up items we’d had our eyes on since Friday and make deals with sellers. It was successful as we picked up great prints, figures, and Tyrael’s sword. We recorded a tired podcast in Jerry’s hotel room afterwards, but, all in all, it was a good show. I hope that it proved that the Bay Area can support a convention and that the scene grows and expands over time.

I’m exhausted and glad to have tomorrow off. I’ll add pictures of us when we post them.


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