Cons

A return to Reno brings an end to Wizard World’s 2015 season

Disney voice actor Bill Farmer, the exclusive voice of Goofy and Pluto among others, took the stage for a Q&A panel on Nov. 21 during Wizard World's second annual show in Reno.
Disney voice actor Bill Farmer, the exclusive voice of Goofy and Pluto among others, took the stage for a Q&A panel on Nov. 21 during Wizard World’s second annual show in Reno. (Photographer: Nicole Goodie)

On November 20-22 the Wizard World Comic Convention circuit ended their 2015 season when they returned to Reno, Nevada for their second annual show in the biggest little city in the world.

Fans from all over packed into the Reno-Sparks Convention Center over three days to celebrate all things geeky.

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for attending the second annual Wizard World Comic Con Reno this past weekend at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center,” Wizard CEO John Macaluso said in an email statement sent out shortly after the event’s end. “Thousands of fans attended, and we are pleased to have brought the event back to the region for our final event of the 2015 season.”

Just like every other Wizard World show, Reno’s second year included vendors of every type from the local area and beyond together, booths full of celebrity guests as well as enough panels to keep even the most hardcore fans busy for an entire day, or three if they came out for the whole weekend.

The beauty of such conventions is that they aren’t just for one type of fan, even if comics are in the name. While most conventions still heavily feature comic books and the talent behind them, they’ve expanded greatly to bring in all the different fandoms that people can belong to.

For every booth that was dedicated to selling comics, or artist table featuring a comic book artist or writer, there were five others next to it that had everything from video game memorabilia to toys to different items dedicated to various animes to even replica weapons from various movies and shows and games.

IMG_0012
Jason David Frank, a martial artist and former Power Rangers actor, attends many of the Wizard World Comic Cons around the country each year as a celebrity guest. (Photographer: Scott Redmond)

Per usual there were various celebrity guests including Adam West and Burt Ward from the 1960’s Batman, Adrian Paul from Highlander, Jodie Sweetin from Full House, Jason Mewes from Clerks and various other Kevin Smith films, and even Erik Estrada from CHIPS and the voice of Goofy, Bill Farmer.

While many of the guests have various reasons for coming out to a show, dedication to the fans is something that was mentioned by all when speaking about coming to the convention. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers actor, and a common guest on the Wizard World circuit, Jason David Frank spoke on that during his Q&A panel on Saturday.

“This is the reason why I come to comic cons, to get a little message out to anyone,”Franks said at his panel. “If I get like one person to listen out there and say ‘hey this is what means more to me, you are my hero I grew up with you. I got through drugs. I got through alcohol. I got through a hard life where I didn’t have a mom or dad. I did this or I did that.’ Power Rangers changes lives, and ultimately at the end of the day when you meet me I want to make sure JDF changes lives, not just the Green Ranger.”

Some came out to see their favorite actors and voice actors in the Q&A sessions, but for those that have different interests they didn’t have to look far for panel options.

WW Reno Cosplay Panel
Cosplayers Courtney Puckett, Abby Darkstar and Zen Dragon held a panel called “Sexuality in Cosplay” on Nov. 21, that addressed harassment and other issue both male and female cosplayers face. (Photographer: Bobby Bishop)

Friday night found multiple panels dedicated to podcasts, including the Sacramento based Video Game BANG! and ConSMASH, which features Wizard World personalities Billy A Patterson and Mo Lightning, and one about the synergy between books and games and movies among others.

Saturday brought panels that included ones on the history of Marvel Comics with former writer Danny Figeroth, panels about sexuality in cosplay, body image and diversity in comics and cosplay, and even a panel about beloved villains and one on the women of Doctor Who. The night was capped off with the Wizard World Costume Contest.

Sunday, generally seen as a slower day for many, brought its fair share of interesting and enlightening events.

There was a panel about video game storylines, creating worlds and storytelling, a panel to help you create your own comic book characters, and a costume contest held for the children.

Wizard World isn’t returning to Reno in 2016, but will be holding another show in the city on November 17-19 in 2017.

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