Wizard World Reno 2015 Recap

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For the second time, fans from across the nerdom descended upon Reno, NV, for Wizard World Comic Con Reno 2015. The crew from the Videogame BANG! podcast and I made the trek to the convention, our second time at Wizard World this year. Since this was my first time getting to go to two of them, I will have something to compare them to. This past summer, Wizard World came to Sacramento which was about the middle of the tour for them. Reno marked the last stop this year. How did the last show hold up? Let’s find out.

Wizard World always strives to give fans a memorable experience. Bringing awesome guests and creating fan experiences that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Reno was no different. This year the celebrity guest lineup included Kevin Smith and Jason Mews, Adam West, Burt Ward, Jeremy Shada, Milo Ventimiglia, Adrian Paul, and many more. Of course, the staple celebrity, the original Green Ranger himself, Jason David Frank was also in attendance as well. Looking at the guest list you see that Wizard World delivered once again and pulled some great names that represent fandoms from across the spectrum and filled some of us with that blissful nostalgic feeling. On display was the original Batmobile from the TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Though I didn’t see them sitting in it, it did seem fitting that it was there. One of the most memorable vendors was Pocket Pets. They sold little marsupial creatures called “Sugar Bears” that are about the size of a hamster, but with the intelligence, loyalty and training ability of a dog. Google them, you won’t be disappointed. Though it is a little funny that the most memorable vendor at a comic con had nothing to do with comics or and fandom what-so-ever.

To answer the question of “How did it hold up to previous shows?”, I’m afraid to say that it didn’t. The celebrity guest list is pretty much where the Wizard World experience ends. One of the best parts of the Wizard World experience is seeing all of the awesome vendors and artists. This show, however, they were few and far between. Sure there were some pretty cool vendors and some amazingly talented artists, but overall not nearly in the same numbers or as spectaular display as we have seen before. Even one of Wizard World’s own booths, CONtv, was downgraded to a typical two space wide booth rather than the big display center piece display we saw in Sacramento with cameras and shows being filmed right there. In Reno, they just had a booth to spin a wheel and win a prize. There were a lot of great cosplayers in attendance, but also not as many as we have seen in previous shows. Overall, with the exception of panels, it felt like you could see the whole show and be done in a day.

All that being said, I think Wizard World as a whole is probably not too blame. There were some forces that were definitely working against them. For one, the venue itself was much smaller than what I have seen from previous shows. So even if they were able to get more vendors, it is possible there was no room for them. Also, it is Reno in November. For those of you that don’t know, Reno sits just on the other side of the state line between California and Nevada and is right at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This fall we have seen a lot of snow in the Sierras, making traveling a bit difficult. In addition, this was the final “big” convention of the year. I am sure that many cosplayers and vendors were ready for a break and decided to opt out of this one in order to start their vacation from conventions early. Lastly, it was, after all, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Many people travel home or visit relatives during this time of year so that may have had an impact with some people already starting their Thanksgiving vacation.

Overall, Wizard World put on a good experience for many fans. Was it what we had expected coming from their stop in Sacramento? No. But, that is not to say an effort was not made. The guests they had in attendance were great, the artists were phenomenal as usual, panels were interesting and souvenirs from any and all fandoms were available. Wizard World brought their convention season to a close with a bang, it just wasn’t as big of a bang as usual.

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