When the doors opened to a long line of attendees in Sacramento, the second Sac Wizard World kicked off a weekend full of guests, panels, and cosplay. The convention was held in the Sacramento Convention Center, and ran from Friday afternoon through Sunday for thousands of attendees and plenty of great guests.
Though the location was the same as Sac Anime, the setup was rather different. The main hall was filled with rows upon rows of vendors and merchants near the front, leading towards the back of the hall, where multiple booths were set up to accommodate the many celebrity guests.
The vendors in attendance included the usual assortment of merchants from both local events and comic conventions. There were tables dedicated to selling comics or toys, a large table for custom-made lightsabers, and several tables selling autographed photos of various celebrities, or non-autographed photos of the guests in attendance for them to sign. Yet there were also some vendors that seemed oddly out of place; while a table for Coke Zero made sense given the audience (and the little quizzes or challenges they offered for free hand towels were entertaining), booths for State Farm Insurance or Lasik Eye Surgery were unexpected additions.
A notable booth was a large area for CONtv, where they had a prize wheel for anyone with the app to spin. Some of the volunteers for CONtv were also taking photos of attendees to enter in a contest, which would then show up in a rotation on a screen. Their presence is likely due to Jason David Frank being one of the guests, as his show, My Morphing Life, can be seen on CONtv.
Which brings us to the celebrity guests. Wizard World is known for having many impressive guests, and this year was no different. In addition to the aforementioned JDF, who you can see my interview with here, and his Power Rangers co-star David Yost, they brought in Billie Piper, Malcolm McDowell, Normal Reedus, Danny Trejo, Jason Mewes, and even the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler. That’s among the many other guests in attendance, most of whom had their own booths set up for autographs and photos throughout the day.
However, getting those pictures and autographs was not for the short of coin. Those who could pay for certain VIP experiences could get guaranteed photo time with their guest of choice with their admission, as well as other perks, but any guest could purchase tickets for autograph sessions. The average cost for an autograph was around $40 (more if you bought a picture for them to sign), and photos were slightly more expensive. Some guests were nice enough to let fans meet them, talk with them, and sometimes even snap a picture without charging any extra, though of course those with longer lines and less time were unlikely to do so.
The guests also hosted panels throughout the convention weekend, including Q&A sessions, discussion panels, and screenings. There were panels for more than just the guests, though, including a “Stand-Up Nerdity” comedy event, an animation festival, and even a Simpsons trivia panel. They ranged from topics like “Body Image & Diversity in Comics, Cosplay & Pop Culture” to “The Walking Dead Psychology,” and everything in-between, providing a wide range of interesting topics to discuss.
Now we get to the attendees themselves, or at least the ones in costume. While the non-cosplaying guests outnumbered the cosplayers by a significant margin, there was still a nice range of cosplayers in attendance. Due to the guests in attendance, there were plenty of Doctor Who cosplayers, a few Power Rangers, several characters from Arrow, and even someone cosplaying from A Clockwork Orange. There were Predators and the Armored Titan, a group of emotions from Inside Out, Disney characters of all sorts, Jedi and Trekkies and wizards, all wearing their best and having a good time. Many excellent cosplayers went to compete in the cosplay contest, displaying craftsmanship and creativity worthy of respect.
Outside the convention center, there were decent dining options. While food inside the convention center could get a little pricey, it was a short walk to pizza, sandwiches, or Japanese food from several of the nearby restaurants or delis. The nightlife was active even after the con, and being in the right place at the right time might mean getting to see a zombified Michael Jackson cosplayer dancing to “Thriller” on the bar floor.
In the end, the convention can be considered a successful one. One would be tempted to summarize it as “expensive,” but that’s par for the course for most comic conventions, even if con-goers in the area are used to the free autograph sessions offered at Sac Anime. But overall, it ran well, had a good amount to do and see, and brought in some outstanding celebrity guests. So for those willing to pay for the experience, it was quite an experience to be had.
Photos below taken by Perry ” Agent P” Louie