Fans from all over the Gulf South (and beyond) will converge upon New Orleans for the 8th annual Wizard World Comic Con, being held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from Friday, January 5, through Sunday, January 7. A veritable celebration of popular culture, Wizard World has something for everyone. Whether you're into movies, television, video games, comic books (duh), cosplay, or so much more, everyone knows that Comic-Con is a fanboy/girl's dream.
Arguably the highlight of this year's festivities will be the appearance of a comics god. Check that, THE comics God. Yes, we're talking about Marvel Comics legend, Stan "the Man" Lee. Mr. Lee, the creator of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Uncanny X-Men (notice a pattern here?), and virtually all other superheroes under the Marvel Comics banner, will appear on Saturday, January 6. Fans of rival comic powerhouse D.C. will get some representation as well, as Jason Momoa (Aquaman) from the box-office smash Justice League will be on hand Saturday and Sunday. While Batman isn't scheduled to make an appearance, fans of Gotham on Fox can catch the character's younger alter ego, Bruce Wayne, with actor David Mazouz participating in all three days of the event along with co-star Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. "The Penguin").
Not science fiction enough for you? Well don't fret, as Doctor Who (David Tennant) will meet with fans on Friday and Saturday. Trekkies? Don't worry! Wizard World did not forget about you, as the legendary Nichelle Nichols will be at the Convention Center all weekend for fans of her groundbreaking role as Uhura in the original Star Trek series and films. If that isn't enough, Joe Flanigan (Lt. Col. John Sheppard) from Stargate: Atlantis will be on hand Saturday and Sunday. Last but certainly not least in the annals of superheroes and sci-fi, will be the star of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Jason David Frank (Tommy Oliver, a.k.a. the Green Ranger), appearing the latter two days as well.
Fans of the two longest-running dramas in CW history should be excited, as Ian Somerhalder, fresh off an eight-year starring role as Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, will appear on Saturday. And from the 13-season-and-counting gargantuan Supernatural, Ruth Connell (Rowena) is scheduled Friday thru Sunday. Here's a big one: television legend Henry Winkler (The Fonz) from Happy Days will be at Comic-Con all weekend long, along with Rider Strong (Boy Meets World), Grant O'Rourke (Outlander), and Christy Carlson Romano and Will Friedle (Kim Possible). Fans of iconic teen comedies will want to meet both "Napoleon Dynamite" himself, Jon Heder, on Saturday and Sunday, and that Rookie of the Year and American Pie stalwart, Thomas Ian Nicholas, who is scheduled to appear all three days. Rounding out the celebrity guests, as of press time, are 90s television icons Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) and Holly Marie Combs (Charmed), appearing both Saturday and Sunday. As always, check www.wizardworld.com for up-to-the-minute additions to the schedule and for a complete list of events.
Of course, Wizard World Comic-Con is so much more than an opportunity for fans to meet their favorite celebrities. There will also be a multitude of comic book authors and artists presiding over their masterworks. Just imagine having an issue of Dynamite Entertainment's Red Sonja autographed by Amy Chu, or one of the many exemplary Marvel Zombies covers signed by Arthur Suydam. Sound awesome? Now imagine getting Stan Lee to sign your copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15. If you're lucky enough to own one, it certainly can happen! There will be comics, toys, books, movies, video games, and all sorts of memorabilia to purchase and get autographed by your favorite stars, professional gamers to interact with, and like-minded fans from all around the world to meet. If that isn't incentive enough to attend the biggest fan event of the year, then I don't know what is. Three-day ticket packages start at $79.95 in advance and $90.00 at the door. If you prefer to attend only one or two days, tickets for Friday's event (4 p.m. - 9 p.m.) are $39.95 in advance and $50.00 on-site. Saturday's festivities (10 a.m. - 7 p.m.) will cost $49.95 in advance and $60.00 at the door. Sunday tickets (10 a.m. - 4 p.m.) are $44.95 in advance and $55.00 at the Convention Center. The moral of this story is, if you want to go, buy early. If you wait until the last minute, it'll still be worth the price for the fun you'll be having. Just don't live to regret it by not attending!