Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wizard World In Review Part Three: The Wrap-Up

Wrapping Up
It's Tuesday and by now Wizard World Saint Louis  2014's vendors, celebrities, and artists are all packed up and gone, with the company itself preparing for the next big convention. Those of us who attended Wizard World are now left with our memories, photographs, and of course a stack of comics and other assorted fun stuff we found at the convention.
The banner that greeted me on the first day.
I greatly enjoyed Wizard World Saint Louis (WWSL) and was impressed  by how much it had grown since its premiere last year. It is probably the biggest comic and popular-culture convention in Saint Louis, with the also-popular Project Comic-Con being a great time, but more-so focused on just comics--plus sadly it won't be happening in 2014. This results in WWSL being the place to go if you live in this area and want to enjoy a big comic and popular-culture convention. Seeing as it is the only one around here this year it is a good thing that it was quite awesome, with a great variety of vendors, celebrities, and of course my favorite part of any convention, artist's alley.

This fascinating article in the Riverfront Times discusses the history of Wizard's conventions and the company Wizard itself, from its good times to tougher periods in its history. The good thing is that lately Wizard has distanced itself from those who were in the company and did a poor job, instead focusing on the future and using the skills of their current and newer employees to create some stellar conventions. It really is funny to think how just a couple decades ago these sorts of conventions and comics themselves were considered to only be for anti-social nerds or weirdos, and now we live in a time where San Diego's Comic-Con is one of the biggest events in the nation and enough of people go to see the latest Captain America movie that it earns the highest-grossing opening debut for any movie released in April in the USA.
Some of the showroom floor, moments before folk started flooding in.
Nerd and geek culture is no longer just "nerd and geek" culture, it now is popular culture, and that is why conventions such as Wizard World--with their incorporation of celebrities, movies, books, comics, and all things popular--make perfect sense and have such good attendance. Describing yourself as a "nerd" now is something to be proud of, not a term of derision (at least usually). Seeing the latest "geeky-movie" is now something millions of people make sure to do, so that they can talk about how cool that latest super-hero flick was and ask their friends who read comics what that teaser at the end of the movie meant. It is a golden age to be someone who is a "nerd" or "geek", and I like that.

In closing, I had a wonderful time at WWSL this year, and am delighted to see that a culture that once used to be considered only for losers now has mainstream success and appreciation. I look forward to when Wizard World returns next year!

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