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Wizard World Comic Con 2018

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Wizard World Comic Con 2018

These booths are just some of the memorabilia sold at Comic Cons.

These booths are just some of the memorabilia sold at Comic Cons.

These booths are just some of the memorabilia sold at Comic Cons.

These booths are just some of the memorabilia sold at Comic Cons.

Olivia King, Editor-In-Chief

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It is a shared desire for humans to feel accepted. A room, place or event where they can be themselves without any fear of being judged. That event is Wizard World Comic Con. Wizard World is a nationwide conference for comic lovers, vendors trying to sell their crafts, fandom enthusiasts, etc. It can travel all the way to San Diego, California or even to Cleveland, Ohio.

Despite the various locations, this August 24-26th I ventured to Chicago, Illinois to attend Wizard World myself. Walking through the doors of the conference center was unlike anything I had pictured on the journey there. Several large banquet rooms lined the walls of the massive building. Crowds of people dressed in wild ensembles like Iron Man or Ghostbusters were traveling in and out of the bustling rooms. Regardless of how extravagant or odd the costume may look to the outside world, at a con there is no judgement. The weirder the costume, the more people there were wanting to pose for pictures or make that individual pose with another character. Individuals who may normally be teased about these passions were praised at these conventions.

The other optimistic factor of Wizard World is that there is no age limit when it comes to participating. A seventy year old man dressed as Captain America could be sitting next to an eleven year old girl dressed as Tinkerbell.

Aside from creating bonds over costumes and common interest, we also had the opportunity to bond over celebrities and getting to meet them. The celebrity status at comic con can range from Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) to Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries). In the past, Avengers stars have made appearances as well. This year however, Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series was by far the most popular attraction. Uniquely, the author gave away signed books instead of the usual photo-ops, autograph or a selfie; prices ranging from forty to several hundred dollars.

Celebrities do not make or break the comic con experience but can enhance it. Depending on the individual, it can add great memories. When I visited the Cleveland Wizard World convention in 2016 I met the actor who plays Thor, Chris Hemsworth. It was a brief 30 second encounter, pleasant, but I did not get to speak to him or ask any questions regarding his roles. This year, however, I had the pleasure of meeting Jon Heder who has starred in classics like Napoleon Dynamite and Blades of Glory. Despite any preconceived feelings I had about celebrity encounters, he absolutely exceeded expectations in the best way. He was not snobby or entitled but acted as if he was a friendly normal guy. After fanning me when I joked about being nervous, he asked me about my interest in the convention and complimented my Napoleon Dynamite apparel.

Another chance the convention gives to connect with people are through vendors. Vendors are everyday people who come to comic cons with homemade or authentic items such as cookies, legos, comic books, blankets, pillows, mugs, drawings, vinyl decals, etc. These items are not bias to any specific genre or fandom and can range from Avengers, Game of Thrones, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, D.C, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy and so on.

The wide variety of products and costumes as well as the loving and carefree atmosphere are what keeps people traveling to these conventions all over the world. It’s a weekend escape from reality that everyone should experience at least once.

Even as early as nine-thirty in the morning when the convention first opens, thousands of people had already started exploring the activities.

Several celebrity panels like this one were available to visitors.

These Ghostbuster fans went to the next level with their costumes and exhibit.

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Wizard World Comic Con 2018