I’d like to leave it at the title but will expand just a little. Wizard World purchased the ailing Paradise Toronto Comic Con last year. The Paradise show was a comic show, pure and simple. Comic dealers and comic creators in the same hall for comic fans. Wizard World was able to change all that, poorly.
Let’s start with the guest list and show information; I’ll wait while you peruse. If you’re having trouble finding any comic people keep looking; they’re listed with toy creators. The shows comic headliners are Adi Granov, Phil Jimenez and Gail Simone. They’re good solid comic creators but not headliner material. Still I’m a fan of their work and eagerly entered the show after paying $12 in parking and a $30 one day entrance fee. Rushing to artist alley I found almost no one. Our “big name” headliners weren’t there. It was noon, the earliest I’ve seen a show open on Friday and maybe they were running late. 12:30 PM and not there; 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM pass and still no headliners. A line for Dale Keown; he’s a local and takes a while to knock out a sketch but he’s charging $50 for a headshot and $100 for a full body. Leonard Kirk sits alone at his table, much like the rest of those who showed up on time. Otherwise the half empty artist alley is a ghost town.
Walking around the show was an odd experience. About a third of the show floor was comic dealers; they all seemed to be focusing on silver and golden age books, with little to no bargain books, trade paperbacks or hardcovers. Dealers I see at every Toronto show weren’t there; those who were seemed to have a more moderate set up, related to the fact I heard table prices for this show were the highest we’ve seen. I searched in vain for trade paperback and hardcover deals but none were to be found. Came home with one DC Archives.
The rest of the show floor was former wrestlers, former television stars and former reality TV personalities, with about half not at their booths. As you saw in the program information above these guests dominate the show list. I saw lots of overweight men and aging women with very low tight tops amongst these guests; I especially enjoyed the very pregnant former wrestling star. What exactly do any of these people have to do with a comic show?
A fairly large convention company brings a new show to Canada and for the opening day they have empty floor space, missing guests and a lack of focus. I’ll admit my view is slanted towards comics; perhaps Wizard should drop the comic con off the title and just call it Wizard World, then the entire show can be former whatevers. If the show starts with a whimper where does it have to go from here?