Wizard World conventions take place around the United States in some of the biggest cities, from the east coast to west coast. They bring with them an entourage of some of the biggest names in comics, television, movies, and more. It has been now many years since they took control of the convention that formerly was known as Mid-Ohio Con. This weekend Wizard World came back to Columbus, OH for their yearly visit. Was this year’s Ohio Comic Con as good as ever?
Going to one of Wizard World’s conventions, right off the bat you are going to have to decide how committed you are to the convention. How many days are you going to want to attend? No matter what you choose, buying early online is must, as the ticket prices are raised if you buy it at the convention. If you decide you want to stay for the entire show, a weekend pass is the way to go for the best discount and actually fairly affordable. If you decide to go just one day, tickets are on the expensive side, averaging $40 a ticket, depending on which day you choose.
Now one of the great things about entering Columbus for a convention is the light traffic. Never once have we found ourselves in a traffic jam trying to arrive at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The convention center itself has plenty of parking around the building to accommodate a large number of fans. Parking is a good price too, so you don’t worry about paying an arm and a leg for it.
Entering the convention center to actually receive your wrist band and enter has one down side if you decided to think ahead and buy your ticket online. At every Wizard World we have attended, the line for advance tickets is always a large, and at times slow, line. If you buy you’re ticket on site, it costs more, but there is no line. For Ohio Comic Con the advance line was not as bad as we have seen it get before, but it still is slightly aggravating to plan ahead and get stuck waiting to get in much longer.
Once you actually entered the convention, the place was completely packed. Fans were shoulder to shoulder through most aisles, forcing you to be a bit aggressive to actually movie forward. Perhaps it was our imagination, but the show floor seemed much smaller than it has been in the past. Either way, both the vendor and artist areas needed a bit more aisle way to accommodate the vast crowd that showed up. Of course a large portion of the floor was dedicated to the media guests in the back of the room, so once you found yourself there, you had a bit more of breathing room.
Over the last couple years, there can be no denying that Wizard had begun to focus more space and attention on the media guest portion of the show than actual comic creators. Sadly, this was glaringly obvious this year at Ohio Comic Con. While there were still a good amount of creators attending who do wonderful work, the show did lack the big comic industry names. Neil Adams who typically attends most Wizard World convention had to cancel, leaving a big hole. The show did have comic veterans such as Barry Kitson, Jeff Smith, and Michael Golden, but you still would have expected a larger turnout than what they had, even before Neil Adams cancellation.
If you went to the convention solely for the media guest, you would have had plenty to do, assuming you have the extra money for the ever rising autograph prices. Per usual, they had several of The Walking Dead cast in attendance, such as the always big draw Norman Reedus, along with Steven Yeun and more. Horror masters Bruce Campbell and Robert Englund where there, along with cast from Charmed, Buffy, and much more. Several high-profile WWE stars came out as well. As of course we will view things more from the comic side, it was disappointing to see such a large emphasis on the media guests and not the comic guests.
In the vendor side of the show, there seemed to be a smaller turnout than usual. Several large booths were taken up by grading services, Direct TV, and other services such as that. This is not to say that they did not have plenty of good vendors in attendance. There were definitely plenty of comic stands spaced throughout the floor containing some great deals, and the same could be said for the toy side of things. Many of them were the same vendors that you will see at a majority of Wizard’s conventions, leaving a lot of local vendors out in the cold.
When we left the convention, we could not help but feel a little underwhelmed. There is no doubt many fans went there and were able to meet stars from their favorite television shows and had the time of their life, at least for those that have the money for the rising prices for many of the big draws. The comic book focus seems to become smaller and smaller each year. While we still enjoyed our experience, Wizard is making their con experience a little to cookie cutter for our tastes and is taking it into a direction where the expensive media guests are the biggest reason to go.
Ticket Price: ★★☆☆☆