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Monday, September 11, 2017

Geekdom Comes (Back) to the Music City: Wizard World Comic Con Nashville



After a year away from the Music City, Wizard World Comic Con arrived back in Nashville, and better than ever for 2017.

Their return didn't disappoint as cult heroes like Brian O' Halloran and Jason Mewes from "Clerks" fame were in attendance, as well as living legends the likes of Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), and lest we forget the living legend of all living legends; the creator of some of the most iconic comic book characters; Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, the list goes on: Mr. Stan Lee.

Lee entertained the Sunday crowd in Music City Center's Davidson Hall, taking questions from the audience, including his favorite Marvel cameo, here's a hint, it's when he gets kicked out of a bar after a little too much to drink. Lee was also gifted a comic book by one fan. The young man, Chris, stepped to the mic, called Lee his hero, and offered up a book that he wrote himself to Lee who took the book and offered his gratitude. Lee's only concern was that it would one day outsell Marvel to the audience's delight.

Stan the Man himself
His sly sense of humor bordered on self-depreciating to dry as a desert well. The crowd hung on every word and genuinely enjoyed his words of wisdom including this little nugget:

"Keep writing....the more you write, the better you get. And write stuff that you like. Don't write something that you figure, 'eh, that's not bad, but they won't like it.' You never know who they are, and what their taste is. But you know you're own taste. So always write something that you think is great, and the chances are that there are other people with the same kind of taste. So always write for yourself as your audience and write stuff where you say 'Boy, that's good.'"

Be a Raconteur
Another highlight was the teaching and overall personality of Victor Dandridge, who played hype-man before the start of Stan Lee's arrival in Davidson Hall, but also hosted the "U Cre-8 Comics" panel. Dandridge, a Ohio native, took the audience through the steps of creating their own superhero or super villain with the help of a handy book, essentially a guide to let your creativity run wild. You can find Dandridge's guide HERE, and start creating your own world-saving hero, or city-conquering villain.


Still the best Batmobile




The showroom was a testament to commerce, autographs, photo-ops, cosplayers, and several dozen exhibitors. Guests were also treated to replicas of the 1989 Batmobile, amongst other iconic vehicles, and sculptures of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man as you entered the main showroom. 


Hulk Smash


The main stage offered great music from the likes of local Nashvillians "Hey, Listen!," who performed jazzy renditions of iconic video game music, introduced by none other than Kato Kaelin, who played MC all weekend, greeting guests and of course ribbing when ribbing was needed.


Signed by Jeremy Scott himself
If music wasn't your bag, you could also play some trivia along with CinemaSins, the Nashville-bred YouTube mega hit. Being a film buff, I had to give it a shot, and I ended up a big winner! While the guys from CinemaSins certainly have their detractors, you can look at one recent spat with the director of "Kong: Skull Island," they are genuine film lovers, and in getting to meet Barrett Share, one of the hosts of The Sincast, he offered some great advice about podcasting, releasing content, and how to grow an audience. It just goes to show you that in a world filled with so many podcasts, film reviews resources, and video content, there is a still a sense of community with those who have common interests and goals. 

With 2017's Wizard World Comic Con in the books, you have to wonder where the event goes next year. Nashville continues to grow, and the need for bigger events grows with it. While the guest list was a who's who of pop culture and sports entertainment, fans will continue to expect much more year after year. It's clear that Nashville has the audience and the fandom needed to continue to grow the event, so it will be exciting what will be in line for 2018.

To find out where the next Wizard World Con will be heading, click HERE.


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