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When people talk about how much fun San Diego Comic-Con used
to be, you know what I picture? Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con.
The aisles were pretty full this past Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center.Photo by Shelly Valladolid
Oh sure. Sometimes you might have to fight your way
through a particularly crowded spot in the aisle ...
Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... but the crowds that I encountered this past weekend while wandering
around the Anaheim Convention Center weren't nearly at San Diego levels. Here
you didn't actually have to elbow your way through a crowd in order to talk
with someone cool like Phil Rynda, the lead character designer for Cartoon
Network's "Adventure Time with Finn and Jake" ...
Phil Rynda. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... or to get Ray Park (AKA the actor who played Darth Maul in
"Star Wars - Episode One: The Phantom Menace")'s autograph.
Ray Park. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
Don't get me wrong. There were some pretty long lines at
this three-day-long affair. I noticed a lot of folks patiently waiting in line at Acura's S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Recruitment Center ...
... so that they could then be issued their S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent ID badges. Not to mention getting their pictures taken with Acura's
2012 S.H.I.E.L.D. TL.
Which - according to its sticker - will do 234 MPH in the
city and 302 MPH out on the highway. Yes, this truly sweet ride has a
manufacturer's suggested retail price of $198,000.00. However, thanks to a few
customized features that Nick Fury insisted upon (EX: the roof-mounted sonic
cannon and - of course - the heated cup holders), that actually drove up the
list price of this Marvel-ous automobile to $227,085.00.
You see what I am saying? At Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con,
you got all of the ironic fun that you'd typical have in San Diego (EX: fans
playing Ghostbusters just down the aisle ...
... to Ernie Hudson, the actor who actually played a
Ghostbuster -- with Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray - in that 1984 sci-fi comedy
as well as its 1989 sequel
) without having to deal with the
124,999 other people who are usually crammed into the San Diego Convention Center.
Ernie Hudson. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
So to be able to actually strike up a conversation with
Irene Bedard, the voice & physical model for Disney's "Pocahontas" ...
Irene Bedard. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... or listen in as voice actor & comedian Charles
Fleischer (AKA the voice of Roger Rabbit) launches into a truly brilliant comic riff ...
Charles Fleischer. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... was such a pleasure. Not to have to push & shove to
get shots of the Snake ...
... and the Mongoose, those live-sized Mattel Hot Wheels cars ...
... was great fun as well.
And the best part is ... You still get the same assortment of
people that you do down in San Diego ...
Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... walking around in the convention center in their elaborate,
home-made character costumes ...
... only - in order to see these folks - you then don't have
to spend 4 hours on the 5, battling bumper-to-bumper traffic as you slowly make your
way down to San Diego.
So while this may have been my first Wizard World Anaheim
Comic Con ... Thanks to the fun encounters that I had at this three-day-long show
(like getting to talk with Lee Arenberg, the actor who played Pintel in the
first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies) ...
Lee Arenberg. Photo by Shelly Valladolid
... it won't be my last.
So here's a quick heads-up for you folks on the East Coast:
If you've dreamed of someday going to San Diego Comic Con and have been scared
off by all that talk about the crowds and the scarcity of affordable hotel rooms around
the convention center ... Then you may want to check out the Spring Edition of
Big Apple Comic Con. Which Wizard World will be presenting at Penn Plaza
Pavilion on May 21 - 22nd.
Copyright 2010 Wizard World. All rights reserved
Because if what Wizard World just did in Anaheim is any
indication of the sort of convention that they'll be staging in NYC later this
month ... You New Yorkers are in for a hell of a treat.
To be specific: San Diego Comic Con-like fun without the
huge crowds & the hassle. So - if you get the chance - be sure and check
the Big Apple Comic Con out.