Friday Overview

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5 PM Openening

After settling into our hotel we headed straight for the convention. The first thing we did was take some overhead pictures and explore the layout of the event. We had all the events and panels planned out ahead of time so we could cover as much as possible.

While we know many go to Wizard World Comic Cons to see the celebrities and cosplayers, we are all about talking to creators. It’s very important to us to spotlight those who really make these shows what they—and from the beginning, these shows wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for the creators.

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Once we checked out the building we headed down to pick up our press credentials. This was a very easy and streamlined process, but unfortunately this particular con doesn’t let press enter the main floor early like past Wizard Worlds we’ve covered.

Of course, this really didn’t bother us as we were just happy to be involved with the wonderful show. And luckily, we didn’t have to wait in line like everyone else—which piled up very quickly. But to the people running the show, you guys did a marvelous job getting everyone in so fast. We were truly amazed at how quick and efficient the process was.

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Seeing these crazy lines wouldn’t be unexpected if it were a Saturday, but it seemed unfathomable how many people showed up Friday evening—on St. Patrick’s Day. We honestly thought it would have been dead. We were very wrong.

The last Wizard World we covered didn’t have anywhere near the turnout this one did. Yet you never felt claustrophobic or like it was overly crowded in this venue. This Cleveland show did such an awesome job of spacing everything out. For instance, here are a few pictures of the front floor layout before the show started.

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The Floor

Tons and tons of vendors, artist, and other various booths. Far more than we expected. And the best part, they were almost all quality vendors; I don’t remember actually seeing any real junk vendors. Plus, this con actually had decent comic book vendors. Which is something that’s becoming increasingly hard to come by at these types of events.

Another really cool aspect of this event was what seemed like nonstop entertainment for the kids. They had magic shows, learn to draw events, music, cosplay contest, and many other various kid friendly booths set up to keep the kids happy. This setup was perfect for the parents attending the event.

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And if the kids acted up, Spider Man was quick to set them straight.

We also attended many panels this day (we each actually attended about 15 during the whole weekend). My first panel, VIPS of Self Publishing, started at six and was excellent. It also introduced me to the panel host, Victor Dandridge (an indie comic creator and writer).

I won’t get into the panels here, but you can read about all of the ones we attended on the Event Panel link below. But I bring up Victor Dandridge because he hosted many of the panels we attended, and he made this show an absolute treat. He’s an Ohio guy through and through, and Wizard World would be wise to book him for all future shows.

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From seeing all the work he was doing at this con, plus how many creators at this con he’s worked with in the past, it’s safe to say the sign is accurate. (Picture from the 2016 Monroe Comic Con)

Another cool thing I noticed when I was doing my laps around, was that they had a drink wine and paint event (this event seemed to run throughout the whole weekend show). While I didn’t attend due to our panel schedule, I could see that this was a lot of fun.

This was also nice to have because it might make the show more fun for couples. It was in the back in its own area so you wouldn’t be bothered, and it looked like the people partaking in the wine and painting were having a blast. I’ve never seen this at any con before, (and I’ve been to a lot) but I’d love to see this as a staple among these kinds of shows in the future.

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Unusual for me, but I actually didn’t have anything weird happen to me on this first day of the con. Well, other than seeing street brawls downtown and the brief Cthulhu sighting outside.

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Lord Cthulhu decided to pay Cleveland a visit during our trip.

I did run into a few celebrities on the first day (literally). Most notably, Lou Ferrigno came charging my way on his way to the hotel that connects to the con. Well, I think that happened Friday. My pants filled far too quickly for me to pay attention to the time of the near Hulk attack.

Of course, this wasn’t anywhere near as frightening as the time I was almost steamrolled by George Wendt from cheers at a Steel City con some time back. But that doesn’t make Lou any less gigantic and scary. Anyway, I made it to the Saturday show unharmed…but Cleveland sure tried after the show.

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I’m not sure how old Lou Ferrigno is, but it’s not old enough for me not to be scared of him.

After The Show On Friday Night

The show wrapped up around ten PM, and Spencer and I hit the mean streets of downtown Cleveland. Well, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel first, then hit the streets. Before I get to that, though, I’d like to mention Wizard World actually had an official after party at Phantasy Nightclub.

We originally planned on attending as “a part of our coverage,” but decided against it when we realized it was a dance party type deal…featuring gay adult entertainers dressed as DC characters. But before you judge us as lame, we skipped out because neither of us dance. Oh, and we had no idea where our rental car was being stored by the hotel. But that’s another matter.

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It sounded like a good time was had by all who attended.

Okay, now back to the mean streets. Spencer and I dumped our stuff off in our room and headed out to get some food. Unfortunately, our hotel is valet only and nobody was working the front desk. Not that we wanted to drive through Cleveland at night anyway.

So, we started walking through town looking for a place to eat. Google maps showed a neat brew house close by, but we ended up missing the block and ducked out into a pizza place instead. Did I mention it was still St. Patrick’s Day and every place was packed with drunk people? I probably should have mentioned that.

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More or less what downtown Cleveland looked like.

Long story short, we found a less busy pizza place (I forget the name) and it was really good. It was like a Subway but with pizzas. We each got a personal pizza, grubbed out, made fun of drunk frat type guys screaming obscenities in the restaurant, then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Like I said before, Cleveland tried to take us out at least once after the show. This would be in the form of what I assumed would have been a mugging on our way back to the hotel a little after midnight. Some random bum looking guy came up to us screaming about losing his leprechaun. Then he tried leading us to a dark alley area. Long story short, we managed to ditch him and get back to the hotel unmurdered. It wasn’t an ideal situation. Did I tell you how good the pizza was?

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This Good.

Fortunately, we made it safely into Saturday. But we didn’t venture through downtown again during our stay. Not for fear of crazy people, (we both deal with that daily) but because the weather sucked big ones. We’re from southwestern Pa, though. So, we know craptastic weather.

Weekend Overview

Friday Overview

Saturday Overview

Sunday Overview

Event Panels

Talking with Creators

wizard world cleveland

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