Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mid-Ohio Con 2011 Wizard World (part 1)

Wizard World came to Columbus this past weekend and I was there! I volunteered to help set up on Friday and to work both Saturday and Sunday. I had a great time, but boy! did I work. Here are a few of my adventures.

I got there at 8 am as requested and found that instead of being late, I was actually early. As I parked I saw to my amazement the DeLorean from BACK TO THE FUTURE and the Batmobile. They were actually *parked* infront of the Hyatt/Convention Center. I knew that their owners would charge for photos at the actual convention, so I quickly pulled out my crappy phone camera and took some pictures. Here's the best one.
The work itself was easy. Wizard Staff people Amina and Khandice were super-nice and easy-going. I made friends with two guys, Eric and Dave,  and we did most of our work together. Right away I was reminded that there is a strong bunch of people who go to these things who have less than stellar social skills. One volunteer was a "diva" who tried to regale us with all sorts of stories. Another was can I put it...."40 year old virgin" type? For those of you out there who think *I'M* that type, this guy was WORSE. 'Nuff said.
By the way, by the end of the day the Batmobile was IN the convention hall surrounded by ropes so you couldn't get a good photo of it without paying for it. Haha!

I got there at 8 am again and I was one of the few that had carried over from Friday, so Amina and Khandice knew me. Eric and I were asked to help with a new guy named Russ (coincidentally!) to set up the banners in the Q&A Room and in the "lobby" (for lack of a better term) and we did that as other new volunteers came in and milled about. Then all of a sudden where there hadn't been anybody there were crowds, and we got thrown into crowd, I mean, "line control." I am NOT good at making approximations of crowds, so instead I will tell you that there were lines of people from the ticket (wrist-band) kiosk back to the lobby doors (a distance of atleast 60 feet) on both sides north and south, from 9:15  until about 12:30.  It was chaos. Of course, I was in a perfect spot to wish "Good morning" to Walter Koenig ("Chekov" from Star Trek) and to one of my all-time favorite artists, Mike Grell. So there's that.
We got lunch (Pizza Hut again) at about 1:30 pm, and then I was asked to go into the actual Con and help Line Control around Billy Dee Williams' booth. It seems that his line was going past his booth and blocking traffic in the aisles. So my job was to stand at the end and hold it "open" over the aisle and then to move it along. Yes, a "traffic cop" for crowds. The word came down that Mr. Williams had to go to his scheduled photo op (one-time photo with him for a measly sum; Adam West was charging $60). So I stayed at the end of the line saying, "We're sorry, Billy Dee Williams isn't signing any autographs at this time." Well, I got to the end of the line and his booth was right next to Walter Koenig's booth. As I was telling Mr. Williams, "Welcome to Columbus!" Mr. Koenig called me over. He said he had noticed my Aquaman button and wondered where I had gotten it. I told him that I had worn an Aquaman t-shirt that morning, but that the Wizard staff had given us Volunteer t-shirts to wear, so I had to take Aquaman off. However, I figured that would happen, and I wanted to show my allegiance to my favorite hero, so I had brought the button with me. Mr. Koenig told me that he collected character buttons and would like to find the same one. I told him, "It would be my pleasure to give you my Aquaman button" and took it off and handed it to him. He said that he would pay me for it and I said that would not be neccessary; that it was my pleasure to give it to him. I then rushed off and got an Aquaman Shrine sticker I had in my bag and gave it to him, telling him we have a site that is all about Aquaman. He thanked me, and let me take his picture. Unfortunately, it didn't come out. So I have no photographic proof....yet. (more on this later)

That was the end of my day volunteering/working for Wizard. I then walked around and ran into *this* attractive woman.

I am not one to usually take photos of cosplayers, but on the other hand, I don't usually run into AquamanGirl, so...! I overheard one of her friends say to her, "So you're not the only one who likes him!" They were dressed as Batgirl and Supergirl, by the way. I never had girl friends like that. ;-)

At 4 pm I went to the HERO INITIATIVE booth where I had signed up to volunteer until the con ended. The HERO INITIATIVE is a federally chartered not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping comic book industry veterans. Financial aid is available for comic creators who may need assistance, as Golden and Silver Age page rates tended to be $5 for art and a penny a word for scripts. Rarely was there a pension plan or health benefits. HERO is a chance for us fans to give back to the people who are directly responsible for so much enjoyment. So I helped man their booth and sell raffle tickets and donated works. It was for a good cause and I enjoyed doing it. For more information or to make a contribution please click HERE.

At the HERO booth Mr. Mike Grell was in attendance. Often artists will donate their time to the HERO booth; any money they receive for sketches or autographs done during that time goes to HERO instead of into their own pockets. I chatted with "Iron Mike" (who I have met/seen at several cons over the past few years) and then asked him, "Can I get you to do something with Aquaman for me for twenty bucks?" He said, "You show me twenty bucks in that HERO jar and I will give you 'something Aquaman.'" So I quickly did, and he pencilled me the wonderful illustration shown below. 

I am seriously thinking of framing it. I was and still am overwhelmed. My favorite character by one of my all-time favorite artists. :-) 

That ended my adventures on Saturday on a high-note. I went out to eat with my visiting friends Greg and Shanna, which was great. Then I went home and watched the Blue Jackets be defeated by the Ottawa Senators, which was *not* great. Then I went to bed to get up and do it all again on Sunday.....

Wherein Russell "rescues" Buck Rogers :-) and later, gets chastised by Pavel Chekov :-(

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