Wizard World Austin feels like an old school con.
Here's what I mean by this, if you'll allow me to to elucidate. This was my first time visiting Texasís own Wizard con since it moved to Austin from Dallas.
While I was a younger man then, and I probably donít remember as much of it as I should, what I do remember always felt very large and impersonal. Gigantic dealers' rooms with dealers selling nothing besides that months variant covers. DC panels with Dan Didio telling you hyperbolic stories or making children cry (oh, we laughed). Speaking of the panels, there was very little to appeal to you, especially as a direct fan of something. Let me quickly phrase it as a question: Would there have been a Batman and Psychology panel at the Wizard World Dallas I remember? (Hint: Unlikely.)
This newer con feels more personal, more intimate. Wanna know what artist Mike McKone is up to? Go to his solo Q&A. Iíll tell you, he is a super down-to-earth nice guy, and he is working on a creator owned project called Magpie that is in the production stages, but keep an eye out for it. He might even let his hair down and talk about some of the inner workings of Marvel or DC.
And itís like that the whole time.
Even the bigger panels, which this year included a Q&A with Sir Patrick Stewart, still felt intimate and personal. That may speak more to the affability of Sir Stewart, but it still rang true. Keep an ear to the ground for a new documentary discussing the director of Excalibur, John Boorman. You might also get a chuckle out of the Dune stillsuits being the most uncomfortable things he has ever worn.
But besides the panels, there is also a more personal connection with the artists on the floor, whether they are original printed poster salesmen such as Bye Bye Robot.com and Nakatomi Inc., beginning artists at the tail end of Artists Alley, or even Arthur Suydam, Neal Adams, Hope Larson, or the other headliners.
The exposure of an event like this can truly help some of the beginners or less well known among them, and I feel like they got that this year.
Ultimately, what I am trying to tell you, is that Wizard World Austin is an amazing amount of fun, and is something that I will be adding to my yearly rounds. I highly suggest that, come next year, you plan out a costume, grab some friends, and head into Austin yourself.
For more about Wizard World Austin, go to its official site, conveniently at this link.