This past weekend, I made the small journey to Nashville, TN for their very first Wizard World Nashville. Looking back, it was a great time had with my wife and several friends.
Wizard World Nashville is the newest addition to the popular Wizard World convention tour. For those curious, the next stop will be Austin, TX. With a tag line of “Where Pop Culture Comes to Life” a Geek can almost know what to expect from the show. Celebrities of popular (and long past) television shows and movies were a large feature with several popular artists and writers of a little medium known as Comic Books. There were tons of talented cosplayers and quite a few amateurs strutting their stuff.
If you’re a local to Nashville or it’s surrounding cities, then you know this isn’t the only con in town. Other than Wizard World Nashville this year, there has already been MTAC (the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention) and the Nashville Comic Expo. The next convention on the radar for locals is the Geek Media Expo. The largest draws for Wizard World Nashville were Norman Reedus and Stan Lee. The VIP passes for these two were almost redundant as it seemed everyone either purchased a pass for Reedus or Lee, which is what my wife and I did. Fans of The Walking Dead did flock to the Nashville Comic Expo for Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan, but Norman Reedus’ newfound sex appeal with the ladies made him a huge target for the crowd. The cohesiveness of a convention staff that are seasoned pros at this scene made all of the hiccups and growing pains of a newly birthed convention mostly invisible. I have no doubt that it will be an even stronger convention next year. The paid and volunteer staff members worked together to deliver an excellent fan experience.
My five favorite things from Wizard World Nashville 2013 were:
- Mike Grell. I felt Mr. Grell was very under appreciated at this convention. This guy singlehandedly recreated the image of Green Arrow and turned him into a serious character worthy of his own story. Besides his importance to the DC Universe, Mr. Grell is an amazingly nice guy who has a lot of love for the characters and some great stories to share about illustrating them.
- Sean Patrick Flanery. He may not be starring in much right now, but give him some time. Apparently a third Boondock Saints movie is in the works! Growing up I thoroughly enjoyed The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. The stories told through Mr. Flanery are some of the best in the Indiana Jones mythos. Also, this guy is full of energy and RockStar charm.
- Eric Powell. Creator of The Goon and advocate for Creators rights in general. Despite having recently completing a KickStarter to make a Goon movie, Mr. Powell was manning his booth signing, doodling, and doing some amazing commissions.
- James Marsters. This guy is on the same level of cool as Sean Patrick Flanery. He will talk to anyone about anything and is just so endearing. He was generally another big fan favorite, due to his spectacular performance as Spike on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It’s worth noting that Mr. Marsters was able to give a lot of insight to the creative processes of Joss Whedon.
- All of the amazing Cosplayers. Professional, amateur, and everything between. The costumed heroes came to life at this convention in a big way. They take the convention experience to that next level. Below I am pictured with Kristen Hughey and Ridd1e.
I would have liked to have seen more artists in Artists’ Alley and more big name creators. Some odd book artists for the big two, Marvel and DC, were there with booths, but were not really sketching. A few were taking commissions, but not many. Truth be told, I’d have really liked to see more of the amazing talent being published by Image, Darkhorse, IDW, Archaia, etc. People publishing original content in a fantastic way. Being a pretty big convention for what it is, I only have WonderCon to compare it to. WonderCon featured some fairly large booths by the independent publishers. It’s my sincere hope that next year there will be more involvement from publishers other than Marvel and DC. Considering it’s close proximity to my home and the variety that was presented, I cannot wait until Wizard World Nashville 2014!
Be looking for my review of Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender, the best historical comic I’ve ever read. I got to meet and talk with Onrie Kompan, the series’ writer, at Wizard World Nashville. Hands down, best independent book at the convention.