This is part 2 of my recap of the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Convention. Part 1 covered the first three days I was part of the con team, from Wednesday to Friday morning. Here, I cover Friday night thought Sunday. Feel free to read on, but you might want to check out the first part of this recap!
Conventions usually follow a pattern – they go from slow, to busy, to what could be called barely controlled chaos, to slowly ending. The people come in waves, their numbers ebbing and flowing on some invisible tide, This is how the last two and a half days of the convention followed, starting Friday afternoon.
The lines that will become a major part of the convention this weekend make their first appearances Friday night. With my post at the TARDIS stationed mere meters from their autograph areas, the lines for both Matt and Karen that eventually cover the whole area on either side of the booth and are nearly on top of us! But this is mostly a group of like-minded Whovians, so it means questions about the TARDIS – is it a real one? (Sorry, it’s only a replica. It can’t travel through time and space.) Can we take a picture with it? (Yes.) How much does it cost? (It’s free, and if you ask nicely, many of the cosplayers will join you in the picture if you’d like!) Is that David Tennant? He looks like David Tennant! (Um…)
Surprisingly though, it isn’t until the line begins to move that anyone else who isn’t part of the groups waiting to meet them realises that our stars have arrived! Chatter turns to costume and makeup checks and discussions as to what people are going to say to either Matt or Karen when their turn finally comes. What had been anticipated as something possibly bordering on chaos turns out to be rather organized and efficient. Even when both stars leave to do photo ops for a time, it atmosphere is calm.
This is where I admit that I had a bit of a fangirl moment. While I did not see Karen on Friday night, when the night was almost over I was able to watch Matt signing autographs for a few moments. I might have made some noises that were quiet but high-pitched at just being able to see him, live and in person. But can you blame me?
Saturday is the big day – Panels! Autographs! Photo Ops!
The biggest show day brings with it the biggest crowds. In the end, some estimated 60,000 people came through the doors of the convention center throughout the weekend, and many of that number were in attendance on Saturday, The day can only be described as a Whovian’s dream come true, or at least one that saw two major items being crossed off a Whovian bucket list! Thought for some, the rest of the day after the Who panel was over was not so pleasant.
— Wizard World (@WizardWorld) June 21, 2014
Even so, life is about waiting. Amy Pond and Rory Williams both waited for long periods of time, didn’t they? Even factoring in getting pictures with both Matt and Karen, for me, the highlight of the day was seeing them up on stage during the q&a session.
Seeing Matt and Karen together, in person, you really do get the sense of how close of friends they really are. The easy chatting and camaraderie between the pair is so genuine. And you also see that they, too, are just as much fans of the show as we all are. Sure, they may not know the exact series and episode number for every show, but when asked something about a particular episode they are just as enthusiastic to talk about that individual story and what went into filming it. Their answers show that working on Doctor Who was just as much an adventure for them as it was for fans to see. Matt even said, when asked what his least favorite moment of making the show was, that it really is just as much fun to make as it is to watch!
— jessica daley (@SmarvilIan) June 24, 2014
What I love about attending events like this is the reactions and answers to the questions the fans come up with. Actors get asked the same questions and types of questions repeatedly. What was this like? What was the best thing about doing this? What are you working on now? The best answers come from the questions that are different, that haven’t been asked before or at least asked in the same way.
What if your roles were reversed? If Karen had been the Doctor and Matt the Companion?
M: I’d have been a Kiss-o-Gram!
K: Nothing would ever get done!
M: I’d have made a great companion!
(If you haven’t already read the round-up of media bites from the Doctor Who q&a panel with Matt and Karen, please do yourself the favor of checking out the wonderful article posted here on Kasterborous by our own Nick Kitchen. Plus, follow the links in this article to see Matt and Karen do the Drunk Giraffe!)
The barely controlled chaos begins to build after their panel is over. So much to do for both stars yet so little time to do it. Matt spent the rest of his day taking photo ops and signing autographs. Karen was part of a panel about Guardians Of The Galaxy.
— Karen Gillan (@KarenGillan2) June 21, 2014
But even the long lines of people, the hand cramps from signing autographs, and the thousands of flashes blinding them, both Matt and Karen remained ever gracious and happy to meet people and say hello. Events like comic cons, where the biggest draw has become the actors and other celebrities, can remind us all that they, too are still just normal people who also have the same kinds of things they get most excited over and even get star struck. So it’s nice to see that even with everything going on, they, too, got to have at least one bit of a fan moment!
This casually happened… Also there was nothing casual about me in this moment. pic.twitter.com/AskbAm3Yez
— Karen Gillan (@KarenGillan2) June 23, 2014
As if Matt and Karen weren’t enough, Wizard World Philly even saw a visit from the Doctor Puppets and their creator, Alisa Stern!
(And yes, I was just as excited to meet Alisa and the puppets!)
In the swirling chaos for the rest of us, there were Doctors from every era, a villains, and loads of friends and companions, from Weeping Angels to all shapes and sizes of Daleks, to Rivers, Amys, even a few War Doctors…and a Moment!
Saturday ends with the huge Wizard World costume contest. This is where costume creators really shine. Characters from anime to superheroes to video games to even books show their stuff on stage for a packed crowd. Some costumes have taken months to put together. But if it can be recreated in reality from drawn images or written descriptions, it might just show up in a costume contest!
Sunday arrives much like Friday. The day is busy, but the chaos is dying down. Merchants are offering deals to those attending the last day. in hopes of not having to transport as much product back home. I personally was able to take my volunteer shirt off for a bit and walk the show floor for a while, seeing all of the artists and merchants, from the comic artists and painters to the wearable art makers to t-shirt booths. There are a few stars that stick around for the last day so Sunday is also the day that we, as volunteers, may see some extra reward for our hard work – some stars will sign our volunteer shirts, maybe even take pictures with us. We may even get a free print or two that some artist has decided to share with us. Nothing is guaranteed, however.
Yes, we really do volunteer for the minimal compensation of being allowed to attend the convention, and we all knowingly agree that attending might be all we get for our hard work. But what is work, when there are so many good, fun times? When we get to hang out for a weekend with 60,000 other people who love pop culture just as much as we do? Our feet may be tired but our hearts are happy! (Both of them!)
Plans for next year are begun. Hopes and dreams about which other celebrities those that organize the convention can get to attend. Thoughts about maybe going to another convention in a few months in a different city, just because it’s a con! Plans to see about volunteering in a different city and seeing if anyone else wants to do the same. For as much as our feet hurt and as tired as are, when the day is over on Sunday, it’s almost like something in us says NO! It can’t be over!
But alas, it is. Another year of Comic Con is over.
When do they put the link up for volunteering at Wizard World Philadelphia 2015??