This weekend, I had the privilege of going to Wizard World Pittsburgh, which is like San Diego or New York Comic Con, but on a smaller scale. However, there is just as much fun, excitement and energy as there is at the bigger cons.
Below are some of the highlights from the con:
1. This year, the con featured several big name celebrities such as Zachary Levi, Samm Levine, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Holly Marie Combs and Jewel Staite. Each of them did autograph signings, pictures and panels as a way to thank their fans and show their appreciation.
2. The show also had many different booths where fans were able to purchase their favorite superhero, TV and comic memorabilia, as well as books from various authors. It was incredible to see so many different things in one place and to bond over the love of these things.
3. Many fans also dressed up (better known as cosplay) as their favorite characters from various TV shows, comic books and movies. The work that goes into these costumes is amazing and it the creativity and joy that the cosplayers have make it that much better. One of my favorites was a family that dressed as Superman, Spider-Man and Captain America. They may have been simple costumes but the love that went into them and the bond of the family simply melted my heart.
4. Jewel Staite! The Firefly alum joyfully talked to fans in two panels, one where she was alone and one where she was with other women in sci-fi shows. She was thrilled to be a part of the con and loved talking about playing Kaylee and revealed that she would love to play her again in the future.
She is also loving her recent projects on The Magicians and the fact that her most recent roles of damaged women and witches give her something new to work with. Her other dream role would be to be the captain of a ship.
However, she has one role that she loves that tops all of them: MOMMY! She is the mother to a three year old boy and says that while challenging, she loves being a mother and spending time with her son.
5. Samm Levine and Thomas Ian Nicholas. The Freaks and Geeks star collaborated with the American Pie alum for a panel about obscure Disney trivia. The room was divided into Team Samm (I even got to sit on the panels with him)and Team Thomas (he was paired with a lovely woman named Michelle) and the audience got to help figure out the answers—without the help from Google. While Team Thomas won the question portion, Team Samm won due to their rendition of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast.
The two bantered and made the panel an unforgettable experience for all.
6. Zachary Levi! The Chuck alum did a special hour long panel that allowed fans to ask questions about his life and career. While he joyfully talked about his roles on Chuck and Shazam, he went into more personal details and discussed his battle with anxiety. He offered encouragement and love to those who also suffer and made everyone in the room feel like they had a friend and supporter.
7. Jewel Staite, Holly Marie Combs, Lesley Ann Brandt and Dichen Lachman came together for a panel about women in sci-fi and fantasy. The women not only discussed their own television and movie experiences in the genres, but also gushed over the future of women in the business. They all played very different roles and had very different experiences, but they alll agree that it is a great and exciting time to be a woman and playing these kinds of roles.
8. Dichen and Mark Jackson also came together for a panel about the new era in sci fi. While the conversation had some interesting moments, the best part was hearing the pure joy they have for working in the sci fi genre. They agree that this new era in television and streaming will allow for changes in the roles and storylines they get, but they are thrilled to see where things go in the future. Mark is especially excited for this now that The Orville is going to Hulu for its new season.
9. The camaraderie! Fans from all over came together in order to bond over their love of all things fantasy and sci fi. Everyone was in a good mood and there was so much joy throughout the weekend. The exhibitors and workers even got in on the love fest by sharing their projects, striking up conversations and overall making it a positive experience for all.
10. Kato Kaelin! The Celebrity Big Brother alum was the emcee of the event. He got people singing, dancing and bonded with everyone who walked into the room. He was like the fun family member at parties who gets everyone into the spirit of things. He brought an energy like no other and by the end of the weekend, everyone was smiling and in good spirits.
Thanks for the opportunity, Wizard World. Special shout out to Jerry Milani for allowing us press access and Aaron Sagers for being a fabulous moderator.
Image: Liam Joy