Does Wizard’s Convention Model Make Sense?

by: alex

Wizard has been gobbling up conventions left right and center over the last couple years and is, without a doubt, the largest convention company in North America (if not the world) in the area of popular culture/comics.

While none of their individual conventions rank up at the top in terms of attendance (i.e. San Diego/Fan Expo) they have now have 18 conventions under their banner and a number of “celebrities” that basically “tour” with the shows.

The questions I have (and which I’d love for you to respond to in the comments) are these:

1) Is this a good thing? Does having one big promoter run “identical” events (obviously with different guests) 18 times a year in different locales make for a better experience or does it make conventions generic?

2) Is Wizard’s model, i.e a large number of E and F level “celebs” mixed in with some pop culture icons and one or two headliners + comic artists + dealers what you want in a convention?

For my part…I wonder if the company isn’t dredging the “celebrity” pool so deep they are focusing on quantity vs quality.

Looking at the upcoming Atlanta convention, I dare you (without Wikipedia) to tell me who these people are:

Melissa Cowan
Dan Fogler
Noah Hathaway
Mitzi Kapture
Akihiro Kitamura
Robert Maillet
Addy Miller
Larry Mainland
Miguel Nunez
John Wesley Shipp
Larry Thomas
Sonya Thompson
Ashley Williams
Ashlynn Yennie
Tom Woodruff Jr
Fred Williamson

16 guests and I would be shocked if anyone reading this could tell me who more than 4 of these people are…in fact I called a bunch of people (4) to quiz them for this article (including our own Alice Quinn) and the results were a stunning 0/72…in other words all four people failed to identify a single one of these “celebrities”. Add in that I’d have gone 0/16 myself and you have to wonder what kind of demand there is to meet these people.

Knowing who they are, I doubt I’d cross the street to get a free autograph let alone pay for one.

Now…that con does have some interesting guests (Adam West, Burt Ward, Billy Dee Williams, Mimi Rogers, Richard Roundtree, Ernie Hudson, Pam Grier, Vivica A Fox, and Linda Blair) who might be of interest…but would any of these guests be crucial for you to meet?

So here it is…what do you want out a convention? Panels? programming? big celebs (at pricey autograph costs and long lines), niche celebs from pop culture’s past? toy creators? dealers? artists?

Does the Atlanta lineup (http://www.wizardworld.com/home-atlanta.html) inspire you for Wizard coming next March or does it make you wonder if you’ll decide to go at all?

Related posts:

Wizard Prep 2011
Wizard World Toronto 2012
Unboxing Wednesdays 100th Episode Party & Show
Report on: Botcon 2013