Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Columbus Wizard World MidOhio Celeb Fest



I was going to skip this con.  I had enough of Wizard in their first foray since taking over the venerable Mid-Ohio Con name last year.  Last year, the aisles were too crowded.  It was a fire hazard.  I have learned since that they also screwed over many artists with charging exorbitant rates for tables and then giving the artists smaller tables.  Also, the volunteers were clueless much of the time, and were more concerned with getting their own things signed or bought than in helping out the customer.  It was a huge letdown, because Mid-Ohio had always been a fantastic local operation. Wizard had ruined it.

However, when I saw that Patrick Stewart, Captain Picard, was going to be attending, I had to go.  I have met almost every member of the next Gen crew, with the exception of Sir Patrick Stewart.  I had met every member of the original series cast crew, and had met every captain except Picard.  This was my moment.  Also, my sister loves the Boondock Saints movie.  Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery were going to be there.  So, we had to go.

Once again, these people have no idea how to layout a show for helping crowd movement and dispersal.  Patrick Stewart and the Hollywood types were put smack dab in the middle of the floor area, with poor traffic conditions around them.  The dealers who were around those tables were screwed in a sense because for large chunks of time their tables were blocked by lines.  Also, the traffic flow in the area was a mess.  Not to mention cueing up the lines too early and not having good intel on where and when the guests would be showing up.  Pretty pathetic for a convention company that has been doing it so long.

Sir Patrick Stewart was fantastic, gracious, but over 40 min late.  Perhaps if they had their celebs all staying at the same hotel...or if they had better logistics, one would not end up getting sore in line waiting for things to happen.  Val Kilmer was a delightful surprise, gracious and engaging with fans, even upset that he was not giving something away as part of vip packaging...Dean Cain was a charmer as well.  Amy Dumas aka Lita and Maryse from the wwe were nice, but their autograph prices were high, especially for Dumas, who aside from an appearance on a recent special edition of WWE Raw, has not been in the public eye for years.

As ususal, Wizard fails to be honest with its customers.  When William Shatner cancelled, rather than give people who had purchased the Shatner packages a choice in what they wanted, they automatically put them over to the Stewart package.  There wre at least four artists/writers who cancelled, and Wizard did not put out ANY notifications.  Mark Texiera never showed.  Paul Jenkins never showed.  All they did was let the artists/writers around them cover up part of their tables.  This is highly disrespectful to customers, but typical of how Wizard operates.

Another story...the "volunteer" running the line for Patrick Stewart spent more time belittiling comic book fans and trying to impress us with who he has met and where he has gone than in doing his job.  Dude, seriously.  I worked convention security/guest services for 6 years.  I've met them all.  I even bought dinner for Scotty, the dearly departed James Doohan, himself!  I've bought cappachhino for astronauts and playmates, wined and dined with kings and queens of cinema.  You don't impress me.  But it is more about how wizard tries to belittle true fans.

The best part of the whole show was spending time with my sister.  Since she has gone off to veterinary school, it has been tough for us to spend time together as we did in the days when we would hang out in minor league hockey arenas and talk to players on their way to the NHL.  It was good to be with her, to see her experiencing the con and having fun.  Her favorite part had to be seeing the Boondock Saints, and getting her pic taken with Sean Patrick Flannery, as well as later with Norman Reedus and the rest.  She noticed many of the same things I did, which shows that outsiders are taking notice of some of Wizard's stupidity.  They had a huge area for photo ops in the back of the convention room that would have been better served as the hollywood type autograph area, because you had clear space for lines and such.  But, Wizard wants everything overloading up front.  Not smart.

I got some really neat pieces at the con, though.  A great print from Greg Horn of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor called "Stay Down."  I got a wonderful sketch cover of Captain America #1 by the legendary Lee Weeks, who was a great man to talk to, until some dealer who reminded me of Matthew Lesko showed up and interrupted and wouldn't realize he was being rude.  I also got a fantastic sketch of Doctor Mid-Nite by a fantastic artist.

The cosplayers did a great job.  There were Jessica Rabbits, Green Lanterns, Halo soldiers, Imperiral stormtroopers, Jedi, and Avengers.

However, Wizard MidOhio is too overpriced and undercovered to be a major success.  It was in a better space than last year, but the staff and the management of the available space still leave much to be desired.  Therefore, I still would rather go to Cincy than Cbus.  Except for the great times with my sis.

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:


  2 out of 5 Shields
 
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