by Michelle Leah
Time Lords, superheroes, and zombies, oh my. All of these supernatural and timey wimey, things are near and dear to my heart as Wizard World Comic Con landed in the heart of Philadelphia over the past weekend. From a scantily clad Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, because let’s face it, there really is no other way to a comic nerd’s heart, to the endless sea of pin striped suits and sand shoes, bow ties and red fezzes. Geeks, nerds, fans and everything else in between, for four glorious days, each one of them is the superhero in their own lives as they convene to the con in a city nearest you to meet their own heroes and of course have complete access to merchandise and memorabilia from almost any video game, movie, or T.V. show imaginable. Whether you title yourself a Whovian, Trekkie, Walking Dead Head, or maybe there is no nickname for your fandom, comic con is the ultimate experience in getting your geek on.
Some families bond with their children over baseball games, picnics, or trips to the beach. Others wake up at four in the morning, spend countless hours creating the perfect TARDIS, Roman Centurion, and baby Doctor cosplay just to be one of the first ones in line to meet the Doctor himself. If you find yourself one of the lucky few who can fly the TARDIS around this years’ comic con, through the massive wheezing noise everyone knows and loves you might come across Indy Comix creators Terry Laban, Jamar Nicholas, T. Campbell and Phil Kahn. Whether cosplaying as Dr. Doom or Velma Dinkley, Ivy DoomKitty always finds the time to photo up with her biggest fans and of course celebrate being a guest judge at every costume contest. And let’s not forget that nerds need love too, and just before you find your way to meet Doc Brown or the Green Power Ranger, you’ll find “Love in the Air,” where speed dating and fandom collide.
Comic conventions are so named for the very reason that their original creation was to bring together people who loved not only comic books but all things popular culture. From one of the largest conventions in San Diego to maybe some of the smaller ones like right here in Philadelphia, over the years the love of all things comic book and science fiction and fantasy have massively grown in popularity. Thanks to shows like the Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and many more, being a geek is oh so chic. As fans we become invested in the characters and storylines that pull us out of our humdrum 9-5 lives and into the world of fire-breathing dragons and flesh-rotting zombies and distant planets longing to be saved. There are now reinventions of comic books and reimagining’s of superheroes on the silver screen and new television shows that everyone from the preppy cheerleader to the Dungeons and Dragons master can and should be excited about.
With the creation of the new, there must be time to celebrate the old. Before Twilight, the original boy vampire meets girl story was told by Joss Whedon and a small TV show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While it was popular throughout its reign from 1997- 2003, and began the original war between Team hotties, it has considerably grown in fame thanks to its iconic stature and of course repeats. True fans of the beloved show must have been geeking out this year due in part to the con having invited not one, not two, but three of the shows most loved actors. Eliza Dushku, James Marsters and Philly native David Boreanaz have been attending conventions for years as honored guests and a little bird even told me that there still might be time for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie, not to include Luke Perry or Pee-Wee Herman. Whether you were a fan of the show when it was at its zenith, or miraculously found the repeats flipping through the channels please allow me to take the time to welcome you to the Scooby Gang. Keep Calm and Grrr Argghh.
From the very pilot of The Walking Dead when Rick Grimes blows away a wee walker, and as an audience we knew nothing, not even kids were going to be off limits, to what people have been calling the most controversial moment in Walking Dead history, when Carol kills Lizzie, this show has brought zombies into everyone’s living room and just like with zombies and their brains, we cannot get enough. Just recently at the Guys Choice Awards, an award show honoring men and of course hot women of the year, Lauren Cohan won the Jean-Claude Gahd Dam award, Daryl Dixon won most Dangerous Man and Norman Reedus himself won Biggest Ass Kicker. As much as I would like to pinpoint a moment of Norman Reedus’s best ass kickery, let’s just say that his shining episode came with “Chupacabra.” Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as shooting a squirrel can become so iconic? Fans were anxiously awaiting for Reedus to arrive so he could sign their own stuffed squirrels, listen to How to Survive A Zombie Attack according to Daryl Dixon or simply ask him their own burning questions about season 5 set to return to AMC in October. After watching this past season however, I bet you will never look at flowers the same way again.
Last year marked the 50th anniversary for Dr. Who, British television’s longest running science fiction show. While there may have been a strange timey wimey moment on TV for the Doctor between Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann and then again between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston, nevertheless the colorful long scarfed wearing, Gallifreyan Time Lord with two hearts has been re-imagined into the 21st century. After a tearful departure from David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, we were presented with the baby faced old soul that is Matt Smith. Headlines spoofing the show (“Doctor Who?”) illuminated the audiences trepidation for choosing an actor that was not well known and one that was possibly too young to be the driving force for a cultured show. Almost five years and about countless Weeping Angels later, Matt Smith is a modern day rock star who has joined the ranks of incredible men to have taken on the intimidating role. Even though his time as the Doctor is over and Peter Capaldi now has a key to the TARDIS, he still finds the time to meet with fans who are proud to call him their Doctor.
If you thought I was going to forget one of the greatest companions in Dr. Who history, you need to put your sonic screwdriver on mute. “Ameila Pond, it’s like a name in a fairytale”. There is something so real and genuine in Karen Gillan’s portrayal of Amy Pond that if you didn’t already wish you could be the Doctor’s companion, you really wanted to be the next companion. Who doesn’t remember being a little kid with an imaginary friend? This is the story of Karen Gillan. Just as Ameila is sweet, charismatic, and maybe a little crazy especially when it comes to her Raggedy Man and who wouldn’t be if you waited twelve years and four psychiatrists later, Karen Gillan is every bit as much that and more. Tag team her with Matt Smith and you will see the genuine nature of their friendship off screen that is brought to life on screen.
If you never have the chance to meet Matt Smith or Karen Gillan, you can always go to YouTube and see them sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with Arthur Darvill aka Rory Williams, or parade around on stage like a drunken giraffe. I was one of the lucky few who has met both and seen them live in action as they are the guests at a Q and A, where you discover their favorite episode is “The Eleventh Hour” Season 5 episode 1, the premiere featuring the dynamic duo. Or that their favorite villains are the Weeping Angels and the Silurians. They love to laugh remembering Karen’s face the first time Amy sees that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. Or that Matt’s ear stick out when he wears a fez, or any hat for that matter. Sometimes actors can be character typed and only offered similar roles because they are famous for one role. For both Matt and Karen, Dr Who literally changed their lives overnight and even if they are doing conventions into their 80s and the Doctor has changed faces 506 more times, we will never forget our Doctor and the Ponds.
You have been awaiting for comic con all year. You’ve been creating a masterpiece of a costume, and finding the right item or picture for the horror master John Carpenter to sign, and it is officially over just as quickly as it had begun. The pictures have been taken , the autographs have been framed, the costumes are bagged and patterns are being made for the next great ensemble. There is always another comic con just a few short months away. Wizard World Chicago is right around the corner and Atlantic City’s first annual Boardwalk Con is set to take place in May 2015. Atlantic City has never been so hot.