It was recently a big weekend for congoers in California. While Star Wars Celebration was in full swing farther south, those closer to the Bay Area celebrated their geekery at the Big Wow! Comic Fest, held in the San Jose Convention Center.
In spite of the crowd being split between three simultaneous events that weekend, Big Wow could boast a large crowd and high attendance, due in equal parts to the con’s growing popularity and the guests they managed to bring in. Anyone wondering how many people would be at the con had their question answered very quickly by the amount of parking lots filled to capacity around the convention center.
Big Wow took place on the second floor, with the dealer’s hall in the largest room. It combined several sections for vendors, artists, cosplay guests, and booths into organized rows, so it was easy to find the seller you’re looking for after maneuvering through the crowds. There was a nice variety of vendors as well, selling new and vintage comics, toys, cards, videos, and generally all the awesome nerdy things people buy at conventions.
Also there were industry guests and actors with booths of their own, where they could interact with fans and sell their own work. Lining the back of the hall was a long row of cosplay guests, including such names as Harley’s Joker and Joker’s Harley, Kit Quinn, and the always-impressive life-sized TARDIS with 10nant Cosplay.
On the note of guests, there were a few big names that drew crowds. The countless Hogwarts wizards and witches in attendance were there to see none other than Tom Felton, famous for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. His photo and autograph sessions had extensive lines and expensive tickets, but they were a small price to pay for the many eager fans, whom he greeted with enthusiasm.
And while many Star Wars actors were over at Celebration, Big Wow could boast Jake Lloyd, the actor who played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Though everyone remembers him as the child with a bowl-cut asking Padme if she was an angel, many years have passed since those films first came out (more years than some of us would like to think, lest we suddenly feel very old), and he’s now a grown man, vastly different from his old pictures, but there’s still something recognizably Anakin about him. He had a table set up to sell pictures and autographs, and tended to have a decent line throughout the weekend.
Outside the dealer’s hall was an area set aside for gaming, with a nice range of video games people could play. On a stage was a setup for Rock Band, which attendees could sign up for and either sing as though it were karaoke, accompanied by staff on the instruments, or pick up a guitar and play for themselves. (I may have joined in myself to sing Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise.”)
Of course, there were panels going on throughout the weekend, hosted by guests and volunteers alike. Big Wow is known for having a wide variety of panels for a range of topics, and this year was no different, covering comics, cosplay, movies, and more.
Regarding cosplay, there was a wide range of cosplayers among the guests. As previously mentioned, Harry Potter cosplayers were prominent, with all ages and styles of wizards walking around. Jake Lloyd’s presence meant there were a fair amount of Star Wars cosplayers, and even the 501st Legion had a table there. There were superheroes aplenty, naturally, including quite a few Green Arrow characters, due in part to the success of Arrow, and a fair amount of Guardians of the Galaxy. Movies and TV had equal representation, and one could spot Shrek, Zorro, the Dread Pirate Roberts/Westley, Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Jack Harkness (hitting on all the other Doctor Who cosplayers, naturally), and Khan (pronounced “KHAAAAAAN!!!”) walking around through the crowds.
There was some big news at Big Wow as well. Recently, it was announced that Stan Lee and Steve Wozniac would be coming together to create the Silicon Valley Comic Con, and Big Wow would be joining the SVCC family. There was a large central area set up at Big Wow to talk about what this means, as well as give people a chance to ride a cushioned mechanical bull for free t-shirts. With Stan the man and the Woz behind it, we can look forward to a lot at the next Big Wow and Silicon Valley Comic Con.
As it is now, Big Wow is an enjoyable convention, of course. There’s plenty to do, plenty to see, and plenty to buy, so one could spend the whole day or weekend there quite well.
All photos taken by Perry “Agent P” Louie