In only two days, America’s Center will be bursting with pop-culture connoisseurs, artists, cult celebrities, and collectibles. Wizard World Comic Con is returning to St. Louis, and for three days art and stories will come to life on the convention floor and in the programming rooms.
Since 2013, Wizard World organizers have brought top-of-the-line talent to the metro-area, and 2016 is no exception. This year Wizard World is offering up fan favorites like David Tennant & Billie Piper slated to sit on one of their coveted dual-panels, the highly anticipated Daredevil lineup, and the iconic William Shatner – and those are just a few highlights.
With three trips through the city under their belt and a top notch line up, Wizard World has a rep around these parts, and there are sure to be some new faces roaming the booths and filling the panel seats this year at Wizard World. And for repeat offenders, there are a few new things to look forward to as well. To help you achieve maximum geekiness this weekend, here is a quick guide to Wizard World St. Louis 2016.
The show floor opens at 3pm on Friday, and 10am on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re hitting the con to pick up collectibles and unique merchandise, consider a VIP pass for early access Saturday and Sunday.
Friday – Drink and Draw Pro-Am in the Tipsy Wizard Lounge, open to amateurs and pros, free with wristband.
Saturday – Official After Party at the Budweiser Signature Club, must be 18 or over to enter, free with wristband.
Show some love to the vendors and artists who are the backbone of these shows and keep your bags off their tables and your fingers off the glass. And make sure you have expressed, freely granted permission before you take pictures of anything of theirs.
Master of the Con-iverse
Jerry Milani from Wizard World says this year they are giving more love to the gamers, and with video and table gaming featured on the main show floor all three days. The gaming area will feature ournaments, hot titles, and “games that aren’t generally available” to the public will be waiting for you to ‘Press Start.’ The Gaming floor is free with your general admission, but hardcore gamers can buy a special Gaming pass.
Food and drinks will again be handled through America’s Center vending. Typical fare like hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, and the like are available on site, and you will likely be able to find adult beverages as well.
If you have a special diet thing going on you probably should scope out the restaurants around the center. There are a lot of options down on Washington Ave, and, if the weather holds, they are walkable. But make sure you eat, especially if you’re imbibing. You don’t want to be the one who beer convinced was the most fascinating person on the floor.
Master of the Con-iverse
New this year is the “Tipsy Wizard Lounge,” where you can enjoy beverages and meet some of your people. There will also be thing like tarot card readings, nerd-centric stand-up comedy showcase on Saturday evening, fandom-aspired music performances, and more.
The programming is always my favorite. This year you’ll find panels in rooms 120, 130, 131, 132, and 163. There are a boat-load and four panels this year to choose from, and something for everyone.
Super Heroines, Etc. is featured on two panels this year, and they are both not to be missed – Villainesses: The Bad Women of Comics and Games and Why We Love Them Saturday at 2:30pm, which will look at the bad women we have come to love, and love to hate. and
Check official times, descriptions, rooms, etc. here and make your plan in advance!
If you’re planning to attend a celebrity panel and do not have a VIP speed pass, be sure to get there early and be prepared to wait it out. Don’t be the girl who shows up with a Harley Quinn sized weapon ten minutes after the panel starts who raises their hand but stammers through the question. Be on time, don’t take up an extra seat for your stuff, and be prepared with a question if you want that mic. Also, please don’t complain about the line – we all know.
Milani’s advice to the novice, “Make a plan! Survey the whole area first and see thing you think you’d like to do (there’s a lot, and probably many things you’d never think you’d like!) also, look over the progamming schedule, it’s so varied there is likely to be something there at most times.”
Master of the Con-iverse
We all know the schedule can and probably will change so double check rooms on Wizard World’s site before you sit in line somewhere for a really long time, thinking you are so lucky to be first. Here are some highlights and tracks based on a few of the more popular interests served at the convention:
Diversity & Lady-centric Panels
Friday – Cosability @4:15pm; Ode to Leading Ladies @6:30pm
Saturday – Visibility Isn’t a Superpower @11:30am; Cosablity @12:30pm; Wonder Woman at 75 @2:00pm; Villainesses with Super Heroines, Etc. @2:30pm; Nerdtreprenuers @ 3:30pm (featuring SHE president Fox Smith); Characters of Color @6:00pm;
Cosplay Centric Panels/Events
Friday –Cosability @4:15pm; Basic Wig Selection & Care @6pm; Cosplay Immersion @7:00pm;
Saturday – Cosability @12:30pm; BANDAI NAMCO Cosplay Group Photo @1:00pm; Cosplay Construction for Beginners @3:30pm; Cosplay & Social Media @4:30pm; Costuming for Beginners @5:30pm; Wizard World Costume Contest @7pm;
Sunday – Kids Costume Contest (this is for fun, and not competitive) @3:00pm
Creativity – Drawing/Writing/Business
Friday– Business for Geeks @5:00pm; How to Draw Funny @5:30pm; How to Write Comics @6:30pm; Creator Pro AM: Drink and Draw @8:30pm;
Saturday – Comics Startup @11:00am; Words Create Worlds @12:00pm; Villains Versus Villains @12:30pm; Creating Epic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Worlds @1:30pm; VIPs of Self Publishing @1:30pm; Nerdtreprenuers @3:30pm; Video Game industry @4:30pm; It’s Your Write @5:30pm;
Sunday – Character Crafters @12:30pm; Breaking In and Staying in @1:30pm; How to Be a Nerd for a Living @2:00pm; You Can Draw in 30 Minutes @2:00pm;
Fan Panels (Not Including Celebs)
Friday – Rebirth of the Sward @5:30pm; Falconry @6:00pm; Game of Fandom @7:30pm; Spoilers! Marvel @7:30pm;
Saturday – DC Heroes on TV @11:30am; Anime Family Feud @12:30pm; GR1ND: True Crime & Comics @12:30pm; The Art of Saturday Morning Cartoon Production @1:00pm; What is Steampunk? @1:30pm; Dead Fans Walking @2:00pm; Wonder Woman at 75 @2:00pm; Falconry @2:30pm; Villainesses with Superheroines Etc @2:30pm; Doctor Who: The Tennant/Smith Years @2:30pm; Batman 1966/2016 @4:00pm; Marvel Comics at 77 @5:00pm; Back to the Future @6:30pm;
Sunday- Geeken Around Town @11:00am; Saturday Morning Cartoons @11:30am; Doctor Who Ultimate Fan Panel @12:00pm; Superstar Artists @12:30pm; The 80’s & Video Games @1:00pm; Awesome Archery @1:00pm; Doctor Who Taking the Long Way Around @2:30pm;
Photo Op’s & Autographs
Photo opportunities and autograph tickets are available in advance through the Wizard World site, and some may still be available the day of the show. High demand David Tennant tickets seem to be at a premium, but most others can be purchased individually.
Photographing celebrities is frowned upon as photo ops are ticketed. Milani recommends you plan around your photo op first since that is only going to happen once a day, while there are more autograph sessions.
Also, it is so important to remember cosplay does not mean consent. You must, must, must ask before photographing a cosplayer. And really try to be cognizant of all the little guys on Sunday since that is a family friendly day, and a lot of kids will be in costume. Finally, respect the artists’ time, and don’t badger people when they decline.
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By now some of the time slots are in your email or should be coming, and new opportunities are still open!
Melody Meiners is a freelance writer, developmental editor, and ghostwriter for hire located in St Louis, MO. When she isn’t writing or reading words, she spends her time devouring all of the pop-culture or teaching fiction writing and literature classes for STLCC @ Meramec’s CE program. You can find her on Twitter (@cosmosgirl) when she really should be writing, and you can read her pithy jokes about her children on her blog (MrsSmartyPants.com).