The 2011 WIZARD WORLD PHILADELPHIA COMIC CON started off with a bang. The recap of my three days includes links to all the people who I finally got to meet in person.

Walking from the Marriot to the convention center in my Modesty Blaise get-up, I was stopped on the corner by a beat cop. He not only asked me about my toy 9mm holstered on my utility belt, he insisted on inspecting it even after seeing the bright orange barrel tip.

I knew I should have written out my thoughts as the days went on even if the notes were less than coherent because right now, it’s all a blur. Before I forget the most important thing, my unending thanks go out to my con roommates Bunche and Smashley.

I had copies of HOLYOAK available at Shawn Harbin’s booth. He was a better booth babe than I was. He sold more copies while I was away from the table. Maybe that’s a sign. I’ll write and hire Shawn to be sexy and get photographed. Thank you for stopping by and picking it up. I’m working on a new project and I wish I had the energy to crank out scripts and reviews faster. Once this new project is further along, I’ll make the announcement with the editor’s blessing.

Day 1 was Friday for this three-day con. I wore my super spy outfit at Shawn’s booth where he was also joined by a brilliant artist named Amanda Rachels. This was the only day I was able to set a firm time to get changed into street clothes and walk the floor “like a normal person.” At first I thought it was just because it was Friday, but there were a lot of empty tables; turns out it wasn’t just Friday. Wizard was offering exhibitors the opportunity to spread out but then would charge them for it.

Day 2 was a blast. I donned my Royal Flush Gang costume for only the second time. This version of Ace is not well-known. I bitch about the frustrations once in a while. I don’t like people that think they are “correcting” me on my costume. I have the JLU episodes on DVD and watched them while I designed the pattern. Ace is a young female from the gang that the Joker created; her mental powers rival that of Franklin Richards; and she died tragically in Batman’s arms. Joker makes no bones about it that Ace is his favorite much to Harley’s chagrin. So I was ecstatic that my friend Hannah wore her traditional Harley Quinn outfit that day so we could snap a few photos of a smackdown sequence. Then I ran into SCF friend Paul Lombard who is the best Joker costumer I’ve ever met. We had some great photoshoots that day and the costume contest which took so long, I left early. It was very surreal having three of the costumes I made there in one day: my own, Huntress worn by my friend Trish, and Donna Troy worn by Smashley.

The after party on Saturday was colorful to say the least. Highlight: Seeing Wolverine sing karaoke. Lowlight: panick attack after several unsavory incidents in the bar including things that require bouncer and police response. *sigh* I still managed to come out unscathed and have an outstanding time.

Day 3 – Hangover Day. Ok, it really wasn’t a hangover considering how watered down the drinks were but I was exhausted. I was dressed as Firestar and walked around a lot with Ms. Lion. I deal with blurry vision on Firestar days because I wear fiery theatrical contact lenses and they aren’t custom fit like proper contacts.
Throughout the weekend I reconnected with so many people that unfortunately fall into the friends category “People I Only See at Cons.” Good people like Ken & Tabby Haeser, Stephen Sistilli & Dex Weeks, Dirk Strangely, Primo Cardinelli, Mark McKenna, Andy Harmon, Mark Stegbauer (my inker for TORI BRIN, TEEN DETECTIVE), and all my costuming friends.

People I Finally Met:

AMANDA RACHELS

AMANDA RACHELS – A great artist which not only shares the first name of Amanda Conner but also a bit of her style. Her work has clean lines and the right balance of curves on the female characters. Her Catwoman and Dex-Starr print is adorable! She other other prints that are hilarious where Power Girl and Supergirl are missing important parts of their costumes but Plastic-Man has covered them up. Amanda has collaborated with writer Kevin LaPorte for CLOWN TOWN and they have a kickstarter campaign in progress.

BRYAN G. BROWN – A creator with a unique comic set in the real world; if you’re bored with superheroes and zombies, Bryan’s book FIRST FIGHT is about regular humans practicing the skills of martial arts. He brings his work back around to the supernatural with MONSTERS OF MMA. I never thought Baz was human anyway.

COREY ADAMS – Contributor to WIZARDING LIFE magazine was someone I ran into at the con but didn’t properly get introduced until the karaoke party at West Tavern. Let me just say, he’s not only a dapper fellow but he’s swell. I love the kindness of strangers.

BRYAN G. BROWN

ETHAN VAN SCIVER – Yes, it finally happened… after years of facebook interaction, I met the man, the myth, the legend.. he is VAN SCIVER! *insert dramatic John Williams music here* Actually Ethan has been a supporter of Wonder Woman Day, our annual fundraiser for domestic violence survivors. He’s now the new co-writer of DC’s FIRESTORM relaunch.

KEVIN MAQUIRE – I love how Kevin is not afraid to speak his own opinion. You should follow his twitter feed even if you don’t become a fan. I find that there is a population of comic book creators that are afraid of not getting work so they won’t dare vocalize anything in dissent of the publishers.

HUMBERTO RAMOS – My table neighbor was absolutely mobbed all weekend. He was six feet from me and I couldn’t see him through the crowd. We were complete nerds and tweeted each other from across the aisle. 🙂 He was accompanied by Francisco Herrera and Eduardo Segura in a brief “Breaking into Comics” panel where they gave some unique perspective about coming into American comics from a foreign country.

DENNIS CALERO – Another twitter friend that I finally had a real conversation with. Several actually. Over the course of a couple days we talked about so many different levels of comics, life and philosophy. It was refreshing to say the least. When we talked about the difference for artists pitching to publishers versus writers, he said since it takes a commitment for an editor to sit and read a script instead of checking out a sketchbook/portfolio, make your own webcomic even if you no artistic ability; use stick figures and interpret your script.

MIKE GRELL – After sneaking into Mike’s panel, I was formally introduced to him by Bunche. This man is amazingly sweet and outgoing. He makes all the fans feel welcome. He’s also another honest person who will say what’s on his mind. The subject of the DCnU relaunch came up and he flat out said it wasn’t being handled properly and that overall it’s a big mistake. He said it was too perfect for people to drop the titles.

DEFUSER AND FIRESTAR

JARRETT CRIPPEN (aka, the Defuser) – I joined up with the fans of Who Wants to be a Superhero during Season One of the show because I was supposed to audition and backed out. I became really involved with the fanbase though and we’ve successfully launched fan fic, audio dramas, reunions and charity events. Jarrett was the Season Two winner and I never had the chance to meet him in person. Our scenes “together” are the audio magic of our producer Alan White. It was a tremendous moment not only meeting Jarrett for a few minutes of “hellos” and polite conversation but we actually had quality time at the Varga Bar before departing the city.

My costume recap was previously posted and there are tons of pics on facebook.com/amberunmasked.