Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wizard Con-ival

A page from America's Best Comics, issue 26, 1948
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Saturday I was at one of the fast food joints in town doing research on my smart horn (phone) for a topic to write this blog entry on when I discovered that Sacramento Wizard Con’s tickets for this coming Saturday were almost sold out. I jumped into my car and rushed home (within the speed limit) to register. (I don’t do monetary exchanges on my horn in public.) I had thought I would get in for free for the whole weekend with a press pass. But, after receiving a reply to my email request for one, I was told that the news media outlet I write for (Examiner.com) was not one of Wizard Con’s preferred outlets and they had to give preference because of the growing attendance of the con.

Wizard Con is a touring comic book and pop culture convention and so it makes appearances at various cities throughout the nation. This year Sacramento happens to be one of those cities. Besides comics, the con also features events related to movies, games, television and books. There’s a 10 dollar discount if you register online. For those of you who are interested in attending and want to save money (and, unless you’re a millionaire, who doesn’t want to?), I suggest you do it as soon as possible because tickets are selling fast.

Some of the most notable artists and writers are going to be there, including the legendary Stan Lee of Marvel Comics. Being a big Marvel Comics fan, I’ll definitely be there for his panel. Neal Adams who did much of the artwork for Batman comics in the late 1960s and early ‘70s will also be making an appearance. He’s been said to be the one who saved Batman from his campy appearance, which the ‘60s TV show was responsible for, and turned him back into the menacing night figure that he originally had been when Bob Kane created him in the late 1930s.

I’ll be sure to see Adams and hopefully get my Batman graphic novel signed by him. It’s a 1977 one that collects 1971 and ’72 issues of the Ra’s Al Ghul storyline. As some of you may know, such collections were not called graphic novels back then but that’s basically what they were. The only difference was that, instead of the waxy paper the pages that most of today’s graphic novels--let alone monthly issues--are made of, the pages of graphic novels back then were made from news print just like the individual issues they collected. Also the graphic novels of that time were around 13-and-a-half by 10-and-a-half inches and called “limited collectors’ editions” rather than “graphic novels”.

Besides creators of super hero comics, Wizard Con will also feature numerous writers and artists in the horror and science fiction genres. These include local best selling author, M. Todd Gallowglas who writes the Tears of Rage and Halloween Jack series of novels. I’ve had the pleasure to talk with Mr. Gallowglas at past events. He’s not only a writer of fiction but also a professional story teller at Renaissance faires and Celtic festivals. He has self-published numerous works, many that have been in ebook format and have been Amazon best sellers.  His book, First Chosen, was on Amazon’s 2012 Dark Fantasy and Fantasy Serieslists. His short story, “The Half-Faced Man”, was presented an honourable mention from the Writers of the Future contest. He has also written stories for the Call of Chthulugame series by Fantasy Flight Games.

Another Sacramento author who will be making an appearance at the con is Vincent M. Wales. Mr. Wales wrote the 2004 dystopian novel, One Nation Under God. Other writers on the guest list are fantasy author Davidson L. Haworth and steampunk author Madeleine Holly-Rosing. Mr. Haworth is known for his Prali Trilogy, of which his most recent in the series is 2013’s The Vampires of Prali. Ms. Holly-Rosing is known for her steampunk/supernatural mystery web comic and novellas that are set in the universe of the Boston Metaphysical Society.

One of the things I like most about a convention are the panels and workshops, in which Wizard Con will definitely have plenty. They include ones on writing and illustration for comic books. There will be a panel on Lovecraftin pop culture which is scheduled for Saturday at 7 PM and will include such topics as Lovecraft’s works’ influence on gaming, film, TV and comics. 

There will be many notable actors as guests, too: William Shatner of Star Trek; Billy Dee Williams of the Star Wars saga; Chris Hemsworth of Thor; Julie Benz of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead and X-Files; Bruce Campbell of the ‘90s cult film Army of Darkness. James Hong, who played the eye manufacturer in Blade Runner, the film adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, will also make an appearance.

Besides the guests and panels, there will be plenty of cosplayers in colourful costumes of their favourite pop culture characters. The costuming may be a little late for Mardi Gras/Carnival since Fat Tuesday (a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday) is today, but it’s always Carnival at a comic book/science fiction/fantasy convention! Or perhaps I should call it “Con-ival”.   

Speaking of Carnival, which often consists of jesters, I may even be able to give you an Amazon code for a 50 percent, or more, discount off The Fool’s Illusion simply if you come say “hi” to me. (Sorry, I wasn’t able to get a table, so you’ll have to look out for me.) I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday for sure, although I’m not exactly sure what time. Sometime in the afternoon, for certain.

Wizard Con will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center downtown, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Visit their website for more details.

Until next time . . . 

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