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Wizard World: 2012 Comic Convention, Austin TX

Over this past weekend, the Wizard World Comic Con made its latest stop in Austin, Texas. The convention attracted thousands of comic book, movie, and TV lovers from all over Texas, who flocked to the Austin Convention Center to be a part of Wizard World’s fantastic event. I was lucky enough to be a part of all of the madness, and see some great costumes, celebrities, and comic book/movie related merchandise.

Although Friday convention goers were mostly comprised of fans looking to shop around at stations set up by local vendors, the Saturday crowd, for the most part, were people looking for autographs and pictures with their favorite TV and Movie personalities. Among the guests on Saturday were: Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, CM Punk, Lou Ferrigno, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and Patrick Stewart. Though I probably shouldn’t have been, I was absolutely amazed at how many Trekkies showed up. It was overwhelming how many people weren’t there for the comic related attractions, but for the meet and greet and panel with the Star Trek cast.

As I said earlier, Friday seemed to draw more of the comic book crowd, as local vendors were already set up, and the TV personalities hadn’t come yet. Perhaps the two biggest comic artists that showed up were Neal Adams (Batman, X-Men), and Will Conrad (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Men). Both were there gladly talking with fans, and signing copies and original prints that were displayed at their section of the floor. I was lucky enough to have Neal Adams sign a print for me, and talk with him for a brief moment. During our conversation he told me that he is currently working on the next edition of The First X-Men.

I have to vent about something, and that is the fact that some stores still set up shop at comic cons not willing to bargain with costumers. To me it is ridiculous for stores to show up to a comic convention with all of their merchandise set up and when somebody wants to purchase items in bulk, they cross their arms and say, “It’s priced as marked.” I understand that in some cases, the marked price is as low as you can go. However, when a vendor says the same thing to every costumer, on every piece of merchandise, and their prices aren’t even marked down at all, I think that’s garbage.

Something that surprised me was the lack of horror movie related merchandise. Not only was it advertised on the convention website that there would be horror merchandise, but being as close to Halloween as the convention was, I figured that the inclusion of it would be a given. Never-the-less, horror movie and TV merchandise was kept to a bare minimum, which in the end was completely over-shadowed by the excess of everything else. There was an over-abundance of comic related shirts, action figures, and books, which was the main draw for most convention goers anyway.

One thing that you can always count on at a comic convention, no matter what time of the year, is that you’re going to see costumes. This weekend’s comic con being so close to Halloween was no exception, as hundreds of people came in dressed as characters from their favorite comic books, movies, and TV shows. Although most costumes were either related to Batman or Star Trek, a few comic fans creatively strayed from the path by showing up in some off the wall apparel (IE: the Terrence and Phillip pic above).

Overall Wizard World put on an amazing comic convention in Austin. The amount of different ground they covered from local vendors, artists, and various celebrities was extremely vast. Dates have already been posted for some of the Wizard World Conventions for 2013, and they will be at various locations throughout the U.S. If you find yourself anywhere near the convention sites within the next year, be sure to check it out all the great attractions that Wizard World has to offer.

One of the greatest attractions at the convention!!

An Overview of the CM Punk Panel at Wizard World

This weekend I had the honor of spending a great deal of time at the Austin, Texas stop of the Wizard World Comic Con tour. The comic con covered a wide range of media including: comic books, horror movies, pro wrestling, manga, and Star Trek. The convention also presented a slew of celebrity guests and comic artists/writers that kept the crowds coming all weekend long.

One of the guests there, and undoubtedly the one I was most excited for, was WWE champion CM Punk. Punk was at the convention on Saturday to take pictures with fans, sign autographs, and give a Q&A panel, which went 40 minutes past the allotted time because Punk was unwilling to leave before all fan questions were answered. His down to earth persona was captivating to everybody in the intimate atmosphere, and fans were able to hear one of their favorite WWE superstars respond to their personal questions. With a great sense of humor, and a great deal of patience with a couple idiotic questions, Punk covered a wide range of topics including: his input for others on getting into the wrestling business, his favorite comic books (because he is actually quite the comic fan), his feelings on Brock Lesnar, and much more.

One of the most surprising aspects of his Q&A was that he name dropped Shawn Michaels multiple times as somebody he would like to compete with in a one on one match. Fans have been beating a dead horse with begging for a Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. CM Punk match at Wrestlemania. So seeing Punk have an obviously greater interest in a match with Michaels was quite surprising.

When asked about Brock Lesnar, Punk said that he would be more than willing to have a partnership with Brock. This was another moment that I found interesting because a bit earlier in the panel Punk said he was done with groups and cliques. He stated that he feels like too much of a “control freak,” to be a part of them anymore. This most certainly left any fan in the room putting the final nail in the coffin of hope for Punk to bring back the NWO. At the same time however, I think everybody is now wondering what type of relationship Punk and Heyman will have with Lesnar once Brock returns.

When asked if Punk has past injuries that still haunt him in the ring, he openly admitted to having a few.  While answering this question, he seemingly hinted a couple different times that he may not be wrestling for much longer. This would align with a recent interview that he did where he stated that he thought that he would be done wrestling by 2015.

Outside of the WWE, CM Punk has recently been working on another project, this one in the comic book world. Punk was asked to write the intro for the Avengers vs.  X-Men hardcover, which is due out this November. As a lifelong comic book fan, this offer was a no-brainer. During his Q&A, Punk was asked to name his all-time favorite comic series, to which he quickly replied with the Garth Ennis series, Preacher. Punk also stated that if he were to watch a dream wrestling match between two superheroes that he would of course choose Superman vs. Batman.

The panel gave fans a great opportunity to hang out in a room with their favorite WWE wrestler and hit him with their own personal questions. Punk, who celebrated his birthday just the day before, was treated to everybody singing him Happy Birthday. He also passed out cupcakes to those who he deemed had asked ‘intelligent’ questions.  As a huge wrestling fan, I have to say, the experience was about as good as being at a live show.

I’m the dude down front in the Blue Tigers cap…