Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Convention Spotlight: Wizard World Tulsa - Day One

Hello again.  In my first post for 2016, I mentioned how I wasn't ready to review 2015 in full.  This is because I got the opportunity back in October to cover all three days of the Wizard World Tulsa Comic Convention 2015 for a pop-culture website for women, PaperDroids.

Update - My full coverage has been posted at PaperDroids blog - please read for coverage of all three days.

(All photos are my own.  Please let me know if you'd like to be credited as one of the below cosplayers.  Thanks)

Day One - October 23, 2015

Before Wizard World Tulsa, my convention experience was limited to the time I went about 8 years ago with my younger sister to a local anime convention inside a halfway crumbling janky-looking mall, in the pre-streaming anime days, when you had to buy dubbed DVDs from Sam Goody and Borders.  I went more recently with my friend to Dallas Comic Con Fan Days for Saturday only, where I dressed up as a casual Wonder Woman lugging around three to four merchandise bags at a time, and not generally knowing how to do “hero poses” despite dressing as superhero.  Would I be able to stand all three days of full blown convention put on by Wizard World in a different city four hours away? 

Day One, I got to the Cox Convention Center in Tulsa just as the door were opening at 3pm.  I didn’t take a costume this time, preferring to dress comfortably, but I did bring a back-pack with an empty water bottle.  The convention was nicely laid out, well-staffed and brimming with excited volunteers.  The building itself is very pretty inside and it’s hard not to go “ooh” and “ahh” immediately as you walk in.

I was super surprised to see a good amount of diversity among the convention goers and staff.  Sometimes nerd events or conventions make me feel alone in a sea of white dudes but Tulsa was actually different.

The Exhibit Hall had plenty of seating and interesting booths to look at.  My favorite booth was probably Gillywag’s Emporium focusing on Harry Potter-themed items. I bought two beautiful posters from artist Andrew Heath, he has such beautiful, minimalist, color-saturated artwork from all your favorite movies.

Getting there early also afforded me the opportunity to get great shots of the cars from TV shows and movies, such as Jurassic Park, Back to the Future (so timely as it was 10/23/15) and the 1960’s Batman television series.

What had me most nervous about the convention was asking cosplayers if I could take a photo of them. I didn’t want it to be awkward and I wanted to make sure my pictures did all their hard work on their costumes justice, but I was nervous the convention center would be sooo packed that I would endlessly be bumping into to people trying to get a good shot and thus wasting everyone’s time but I dunno, Tulsa was magical.  All my shots came out beautifully and I’m amazed that people know how to pose themselves so flawless, while in costume.  I couldn’t even strike a pose like that in my everyday clothes.  Cosplay takes confidence, people!

I attended two panels on Friday, the first being “Are Fanboys Too Mean 2.0?”  which probably started out with good intentions but quickly devolved into why some superhero movies suck and why studios make crappy reboots.  I was hoping the panel would address why fanboys are mean to each other and maybe lightly touch on Gamergate, even getting my hopes up when seeing the panel was made up of mature men and women, in their 30’s and 40’s, but the topics was more directed at why fanboys get mad at the source creators for their favorite movies/shows.

The second panel, “The Female Superhero and Her Secret Weapon” fared a little better in my opinion as the panelists were all female creators, whom did a better job of staying on topic.  There was a healthy dialogue with the audience on successful female characters.  I particularly liked hearing from Stephanie Hans, a French comic book artist for Marvel, talk about how she was influenced by Lynn Varley’s work as the colorist on Frank Miller’s creation of the character Elektra in the Daredevil series.

All in all, it made for a pretty pleasant first day at the convention.  The panels could have been better but I understand that since Friday had the shortest hours, Wizard World was probably saving the better stuff for Saturday and Sunday.


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