Wizard World Comic Con: Gremlins, Ghostbusters, and B-Listers

Categories: Culture
Photos by Alex Broadwell
Move over, Art Basel. Take a hike, Miami Book Fair International. Nothing is as intellectually stimulating or culturally relevant as a Wizard World Comic Con event. And this past weekend, we were lucky enough to spend some time at the Miami Airport Convention Center for just that, a good ol' fashioned traveling pop culture convention.

But before we tell you how it all went down, a few confessions: 1.)  This writer has never watched Star Wars. 2.) Brittany Murphy has a better chance of landing a role in a new movie than most of the "celebrities" at Comic Con. 3.) Adam West is much cooler on the phone than in person. Check out the full slideshow here.

We missed the 9:30 a.m. red carpet arrival of comic con's biggest names--Edward James Olmos' son Bodie, professional wrestler Kevin Nash, Baywatch babe/sex tape starlet Gene Lee Nolin. In fact, we missed their triumphant entrances by a full hour, but so did a lot of other people; 9:30 is much too early for anything, especially if you were up all night playing Dungeons and Dragons, or polishing your Storm Trooper regalia.

Speaking of Storm Troopers, we nearly ran one over in the parking lot. The line to buy convention tickets stretched from the front of MACC to the first row of cars when we arrived at 10:30 a.m. Upon entering, you're slapped in the face with Batman. Pow! To our left was a 1960's Batmobile roped off to the general public. Across from it, Batman and Robin's autograph booth--Adam West's and Burt Ward's weekend bat cave, so to speak.

Some dude dressed like Diddy Kong attacked our leg, as his Nintendo posse watched and giggled. "Watch out, Diddy's gonna get you!" someone yelled. He didn't. It was close call, but we managed to sneak by unscratched. Phew.

A bit shaken by the incident, we decided to turn things down a notch with an expert panel discussion about the secrets of professional wrestling with Kevin Nash, and WWE Divas Lilian Garcia, and Angela "Savannah" Fong.

The discussion reminded us of our first dentist visit. It was painful, and we wanted to cry through the whole thing, but had to hold back the tears so we didn't look like a sissy. The rest of audience, however, seemed to enjoy every minute of Nash's short-winded answers, and Garcia's fake laughter. Fong didn't say much, nor did she have a lot of visitors at her booth.  

Who you gonna call?
After the presentation, we ventured back into the main hall and met a man that spent over $800 on a Ghostbusters uniform. "I just met Ernie Hudson a second ago," said Mike Lyons, a recent South Florida transplant from New Jersey. "I had him sign my pack, it was awesome."

Besides spending close to a thousand dollars on the uniform, Lyons seemed like a pretty normal dude, even calling out a Hollywood legend to get his shit together and sign on for another Ghostbusters sequel. "Hey, Bill Murray, what are you doing? Hurry up!"

Next on our agenda was a Q&A with Billy Dee Williams, followed by Buffyfest with Nicholas Brendon. Williams's fans kept calling him Lando--which we later learned was his character name on Star Wars--and asked him several questions about the film, and his decision to kill such and such, or whatever the fuck he does in those movies. Some girl also asked him if he'd ever guest star on CBS' The Big Bang Theory, to which he replied, "sure."

Billy Dee Williams
Our favorite "celebrity" panelist, however, was Nicholas Brendon. We still don't really know who he is, but evidently he was Sarah Michelle Gellar's BFF on Buffy. Now, he's recognized for a small arc on Private Practice, in which he plays a rapist.

"How did you prepare for your role on Private Practice?" someone asked. "I raped people."  We laughed, others didn't. "No, I'm joking," he assured the crowd. He went onto describe embarrassing moments involving his "cock" during sex scenes, and kept things lively by engaging in witty banter with audience members.

We sat near the back of the room and searched his name on Wikipedia. We learned Brendon likes to party, likes to booze it up. Last March, Los Angeles police had to taser him. What a rock star.

Nobody spill any water!
By the time we left Brendon's Q&A, Adam West and Burt Ward were busy signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans--fans that forked over anywhere between $25 to over $100 to meet the two icons. And when West took a bathroom break from his booth, we though it'd be the perfect opportunity to introduce ourselves. We caught him standing near the men's room. 

"Mr. West, (Cultist) with Miami New Times," we said. "We had a phone interview last week."  "We did?" he replies, extending his 82-year old arms onto our shoulders. "That's great."

And that was that. West walked away, and that was our cue to leave.

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swifty lang is totally right, well spoken.


Geeks take everything so personally! I found this article to be full of observations that were not only accurate, but also highly entertaining. Victor Gonzalez didn't make any of those scenarios up. Own up to your lifestyles already! You are 30 years old and you like cartoons, so what! Good for you! If your kind were taken too seriously, the industry would not be as successful as it is! I'm sure you and your nerdy clan have made fun of the many juiced-up douche bags that infest Miami. I suggest you Close the Graphic novel for a while, pull away from your computers, and have a healthy laugh once in a while! You geeks are an angry bunch! ;)

Etan Wishnevski
Etan Wishnevski

Thanks for covering the event! It's too bad you didn't enjoy yourself that much, I wish I could've met Adam! #houndcomics #theborderhounds

Nathan Milner
Nathan Milner

Swifty, well worded. I was suprised that a columnist from a section called the Cultist would have a tighter grasp on cult followings. That is what keeps these conventions going. People love this stuff, and probably always will. Your attitude towards the convention goers, and the lack of "big" name celebrities is ill informed and not welcoming to your readers....who will probably read this article solely on the fact they are interested in the topic.

I thought the goal of journalism was to get people that normally wouldn't read the article to read your work, and then hopefully spark a conversation or enlighten someone.

I will at least give it to you, Gonzalez, that you have the most content in an article on this past weekends Wizard World. I hope you get to cover more stories that you are personally interested in. You'd just be better off with a blog.


800 on GB costume... LOLZ most fans spend over 1200.

Mr. TidyBowl
Mr. TidyBowl

I agree with Swifty! It seems like Mr.Gonzalez was not the right choice to cover this story. Mr. Gonzalez starts the story with "I've never seen STAR WARS." If you have never seen Star Wars and expect people to take your opinion of a comicbook convention seriously you've got another think coming! Watch Star Wars Mr.Gonzalez watch an episode of Buffy, read the comic FEEDING GROUND, celebrate Halloween everyday of the year! Then go back to that convention with an interest. As for Adam West he is the first famous incarnation of Batman and anyone who knows Batman wants to talk to Mr. West. At least you've been touched by Batman, for someone less cynical it would have made their day.

Swifty Lang
Swifty Lang

I am very surprised to see such a disparaging attitude towards something that clearly has cultural relevance As the writer of the comic FEEDING GROUND and a South Florida native, I honestly felt that the convention, considering that it was one of the first, was a success.

Judging by the tenor of the article, one that spotlighted the dim wattage of celebrity, you completely missed the point. Yes, there is an element of people dressed in costume, and the opportunity to gawk, but that mentality is typically left in high-school cafeterias post-graduation.

As a creator, I had the opportunity to meet others who were also trying to churn out good work. And although I now live in Brooklyn, it was incredibly encouraging to see people beginning to form a community. For an arts paper such as the New Times (one in fact I have written film reviews for) to obliterate the potential for a community through a brand of cyber-bullying is most disconcerting.

Do you want work to originate from South Florida that is thoughtful and interesting? If comics are irrelevant, why does the New York Times since 2009 have a Graphic Novel Best Sellers list its Arts Beat section? More than anything else, your article makes South Florida appear out of step with popular culture.

It is so much easier to be critical and derisive than to explore exactly why people are passionate about something. Frankly, this is simply lazy journalism. Perhaps you should have actually spoken to people on the convention floor rather than sneer at the freak show.

Swifty Lang


Diddy Kong
Diddy Kong

Haha! That was an awesome article to read. But just to let you know... I could have gotten your leg very easily if I tried, sir!

Diddy will return! Also!You can check out my Nintendo posse at www.3000Brigade.com for more shenanigans. :)



An equivalent article would be going to a Heat game, mocking anyone with a foam finger and hot dog, and never mentioning basketball. There's a big difference between enjoying the culture, craft, and community of a Comic Con and playing it for laughs at arms length. Geeks have a great sense of humor. This is just an old, overplayed, one-note, joke.

Rachel Nasser
Rachel Nasser

No one is angry, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But you are grouping people together too easily, and on top of that you resort to name calling. You clearly don't like cartoons or graphic novels, which is fine. But that certainly doesn't mean the people who do only read comics, sit in front of the computer, or don't laugh. It's not a lifestyle for the majority, it's a special interest that time is made for.

Our kind? What exactly does that mean? This is yet another form of bullying. I wouldn't be suprised if you were picked on a lot in school, like a geek. This article is 'accurate' and a little 'entertaining' but Victor Gonzalez seemed to miss the point of The Cultist. For something that garners tens of thousands of people for the first time in Miami, there seems to be a whole lot more story and insight that is missed out on. It's easy to look at the surface and comment, but this is hardly journalism.

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