In Dark Corners Of The ‘Verse
For over thirty-eight years now I have been a geek, a nerd, the odd man out, and that shy kid that never drew much attention to himself. While many kids were playing baseball or jumping rope, I was watching 3-2-1 Contact, Doctor Who, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Super Friends, and anything else that the four local channels (sometimes five if the weather was right) had to offer. I read books about the Universal Monsters and the making of films like Star Wars. I also loved to draw superheroes, write my own stories involving said superheroes (and at one point a lengthy set of Indiana Jones adventures) and use my imagination a lot when playing with my toys.
Over the years I acquired a very small group of friends. Some of those friends are gone now. Many of them moved away with their families or their futures. One good friend died in a car accident. Others simply lost interest in me or I lost interest in them and we faded out of each others lives. Throughout all of those friendships, though, the one thing that bonded us together, nerdiness, has remained.
I started hearing about San Diego Comic Con earlier in this century. I became very interested in this seemingly wonderful event. A home for all things nerdy from comics to science fiction novels to films and beyond. It sounded wonderful. I wanted to go to this event or something similar to it, but never did I expect that any type of comic or pop culture convention would make its way to southwest Louisiana.
That very thing happened in 2009 when a local Star Trek fan group put on ConDuLac. It was a very small event, but it was the first of its kind (as far as I can tell) in the Lake Charles area. The media guest was Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica fame, and other regional conventions came in to assist with the event. It was pretty cool, especially for it being so new to the area.
Fast forward to 2011.
With only one other event under my belt (ConDuLac 2010), I attended my first major event, Wizard World New Orleans. There were tons of vendors, comic artists, and cosplayers in attendance. There were also plenty of media guests including the likes of Ray Park, Billy Dee Williams, Adam West, and Burt Ward. A few castmembers of the a little show that had just started up on AMC, The Walking Dead, were there too.
It was a really cool event. It was loud, crowded, and I met a lot of people (many of which I consider friends now). It was Mecca as far as I was concerned and I was in love.
Wizard World New Orleans gave me the convention bug, and soon enough I was attending events like CoastCon, CyPhaCon, Space City Con, and Comicpalooza. I even ventured into the world of convention running in 2011 when I became the vice president of BayouCon, created when a member of the crew that started the now defunct ConDuLac started his own event. My marriage with that event was short, however, and I left a much wiser man.
Jump to the present.
The fourth edition of Wizard World New Orleans is just a little over a month away. Sadly I will not be attending this event. It will feature a few media guests that I want to meet and some comic artists that I’d like to buy from, but at $75 (pre-ordered online, $85 at the door) for a three-day general admission pass and anywhere from $30 to over $100 for autographs and goodness knows how much for photo-ops, I just cannot afford to go to this event. While I understand that Wizard World sets prices to maintain some sort of control over the size of the crowd, it makes me wonder just how greedy they are when there are smaller events with similar guests and attractions that are offering weekend passes for fifty dollars and autographs that are ten to thirty dollars cheaper than the same autograph at Wizard World.
On top of this, Wizard World is now demanding fan groups to shell out around $650 to have a table at the event despite the fact that most, if not all, of them are non-profit and sell nothing at the convention to recover any costs.
Greed is an ugly thing, people, and Wizard World looks mighty greedy to me.
I plan to attend more smaller conventions in 2015, and will most likely return to Comicpalooza for the first time in a couple of years. They will get the dollars I would have spent at Wizard World, but I just cannot justify shelling out so much money to an event that seems to care more about the bottom line than the fans that made it the massive creature it is today.
While I won’t tell my readers that they should boycott Wizard World or any other event, I will suggest that they take a look at what these events stand for before deciding to attend one of them.
Thanks for reading!