This past weekend I attended Wizard World Philadelphia, or Philadelphia Comic Con, depending on who you ask. It wasn’t my first year attending, I’ve been to this particular convention twice previously. Philadelphia Comic Con hasn’t been my favourite convention, but it’s practically in my backyard, so I continue to go each year. Some years I’ve decided to attend because of the guest list, sometimes it’s the panels, sometimes it’s just because a friend suggests it. This year however, despite the amazing list of guests (including all five Star Trek captains!), I truly wanted to attend because of the comics. In particular, the artists.
Since my first comic convention, I’ve loved to spend time in Artist’s Alley. It’s less fast paced, significantly less crowded, and you are surrounded by amazing art. And even when I wasn’t particularly interested in comics, I could usually find someone with Doctor Who art to talk to. This year, however, was different. Just about six months ago, I found myself falling head over heels into the DC comics universe.
And that’s what made this year’s Philadelphia Comic Con different. It was the first comic convention I’ve attended where I actually cared about the comics aspect of it. It opened up a whole new world to me. Rather than searching for the few artists with Doctor Who art, I found myself looking at everything. And even though I’m far from the most outgoing person in the world, I found myself talking to a lot of the artists.
As I gradually became more comfortable, I started on my goal of the convention. Collecting commissions in my brand new sketchbook. I have far more art than wall space, so a sketchbook seemed to be the perfect solution. In the end I got two pieces in the sketchbook and one loose piece (that I will somehow find room to put up).
But as much as I love those pieces, the most valuable experience was having the chance to talk to the artists. I’ve been the person who pays $40 to wait in line for an autograph and a ten second conversation with the stars. When you hang out in Artist’s Alley, you don’t have to pay a thing to have a conversation. Of course the artists appreciate it if you buy something, but it’s not a requirement. And ever artist I stopped to talk to was friendly, knowledgeable, and seemed to genuinely love what they do.
I’ve always gone to Philadelphia Comic Con because of how close it is to where I live. Next year, though, I’m looking forward to going because I truly want to go.
*Full size pictures of the commissions I got*
*Other commissions, not mine*
*Weekend worth of swag*