Based on the tone of these articles it should come as no surprise that Wizard World St. Louis was a resounding success in my eyes. That doesn’t mean that everything was done right and that there is no room for improvement though. The biggest disappointment about this convention was the lack of current comic talent. With a few notable exceptions they were unable to get current creators and most of the panels being hosted were based on nostalgia and not current comic news. I understand that Wizard and the big two are not on the best of terms and this certainly showed with their notable absence. Besides the big two they also did not have presence from Image, Boom, or IDW. I enjoy Indie comics and while having Big Dog Ink there was notable for me it is unlikely most attendees had ever heard of them.
I am unsure if the prices of the concession were determined by the venue or by the convention planners, but they were unacceptably high. I worked at a Six Flags as a teenager and do frequent movie theaters so I am no stranger to high price food and drinks. Even I was unwilling to pay $5 for a 32oz fountain soda. I refused to spend anything on concessions after seeing their price and from talking to other attendees I was not alone. Local food chains within a few blocks of the convention center likely saw large increases in business during the convention.
There were two booths at the convention selling bootleg DVDs. Many of the shows they were selling had never been released on DVD, but they were available for sale at these booths with homemade covers and burned DVDs with the disk number as the only label. I have no idea how these booths were able to operate since their products seemed to be blatantly illegal. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen these kinds of sellers, but it is the first time I have seen them at an official convention. I would have loved to have owned some of the series they were selling, but I was unwilling to pay retail price for something burned in someone’s basement. The high pressure salesmen with accents so strong you could barely understand them didn’t help my discomfort. That doesn’t even get into my personal feelings on bootlegs.
To end my closing thoughts on a more positive note I was amazed at the turnout for this convention. It was nice to spend three days surrounded by fellow geeks and to be able to have the kind of geek culture conversations that you don’t often get in every day life. I don’t know how many people were local and how many drove in, but we all braved the snow and crowds to experience this and I am grateful that they finally brought it to St. Louis. I hope this shows the country that we have a solid base of geeks here that are hungry for this type of convention.
Only a week after the convention and details are already being finalized for next year’s convention. Daryl, Merle, and Shane from Walking Dead have already signed on for 2014. From a Comic Book Talent standpoint 12 time Eisner award winner Mike Mignola will be a featured guest. It is my hope that next year will be bigger and better. Either way I will be increasing my coverage with more details, more pictures, and video.