2007 Merchandise & Miscellaneous News Archives

Wizard World

June 19, 2007: Wizard World Philadelphia - DAY TWO & THREE

By Neal Bailey



I know it's traditionally bad form to pretend to be writing something the day it occurs when it's three days later, so I won't even pretend. I was doing too many things to write a darned article for the last two days, but hey, I accumulated enough information to justify that, at least I hope.

Besides, I just retconned that last statement to make today Saturday, given the fact that I am a Monitor, but you already forgot that, and I've already sent Homecomer, er, Harbinger, er, Forerunner, er, Fore- (ENOUGH!) someone to silence dissent.

And anyway, I took notes.


I ate at Jake's Pizza, an awesome joint, and in the back, I saw Noel Neill. I about wet myself, then took my pizza outside. You don't disturb someone while they're eating, and as Eminem points out, it'll get you killed. Nonetheless, I remain humbled by this awesome, normal woman who goes out of her way to show her appreciation for her legions of fans.

And she has good taste in food, too. I'm a pizza nut, and Jake's just about killed me. Makes me want to move to the east coast.


Meeting someone that you've known online is kind of strange, because you've known them forever, you know their likes, desires, beliefs, and yet you still expect them to be wholly different when you meet them. With one rare exception, everyone is pretty much the same as they are online. Which frightens me for trolls.

We hit the Independent Pub, I believe it was, eat some calamari and chicken, and get into the motivations of my sixth novel, and why we work, and what it means to work. While relaxing.

Noah and I crept, Bluto Blutarsky style, past the homeless shelter and into the hotel, where I'd ingratiated myself with the staff, but nonetheless didn't think I could get away with sneaking another person into my room. It's a well-known fact that people do it, and get away with it, but it's still a discrete act of paranoia. I'd never make a good con artist, and besides, I didn't order room service for thirty consecutive hours, because there was no room service, so we remained too weird to live, too rare to die, in a 10 x 10 foot room where the water tasted vaguely of, well, water, and more of other things.

Skye, the guy in the booth next to me, explained that's how the Philly cheese steaks get their flavor. I dunno, I hate onions and green peppers, they're the devil, so I ate a philly cheese steak flavored taquito from Seven-Eleven and called myself ignorant royalty.

The night passed well. Noah snores. Don't tell him I told you that, but it's like a chainsaw gargling glass. Really. I have hearing damage.


We drug down to the con, starting at ten on Saturday, and things began to fly. Books sold, comics went, and people started coming up and saying they've heard of us, which is awesome. But beyond the sheer awesomeness of that, there was a HUGE number of folks out there who had heard of us. Usually there's a nice little spattering, but after Saturday, I was fairly convinced that most of Philadelphia is on the Superman Homepage. I met a ton of people I've been talking at for years, others I've more recently met. Dave Bratton was quite cool, as was Jason Fattorusso, Josh Steinhouse, Chris Brockow, Jeremy Adkins (Raptureaja), Eddie Caro, Steven Thurmont, and heck, even a guy named Rich Zak who had both a Kryptonian AND a Superman costume, and a lightsaber.

That's the short list, and people I generally recognized and/or got to know. There will be a huge picture list of these guys on the site soon with some media, and I just wanted to say thanks for putting names to faces, guys. Like I told you, that's the best reward this job has, getting to meet the people who read your work. I don't get these autograph charging buttheads who think it's a privilege to meet them. It's my privilege to meet you guys, and it was a real honor.


A fat man in a white suit with his belly showing and some blue hair kept walking up and stealing candy from the Philcon people. Suzanne, the gal next door, shamed him, and he ran away. I wonder if that's part of cosplay. I remain perplexed.


Slave Leia, ah, what a chore to look at. In Bizarro World. For some reason, be it hubris, desire for attention, or maybe monetary desires, there are usually tons of skimpy dressed girls around, dancing, fighting, running around. For most of you guys, this is probably a key reason to go to cons. There are guys who will take pictures obliquely, trying not to be seen, letches who just take the pictures and then walk away, guys who ask permission, guys who ask nervous permission, and guys who will remain unnamed who ask for full kisses on the lips and get it because they're considered attractive by the opposite sex.


Kidding aside, I'm one of the guys who actually likes to talk and interact, so it was fun to jaw with all of these crazy women who, for some reason, bear having their bodies stared apart by drooling crazies who have a low ratio of del nookie.

It's really weird when some of them take it REALLY SERIOUSLY. I wonder if that's part of cosplay. I remain perplexed.

Regardless, Princess Leia, who had, hands down, the best costume, did it for charity, toys for children, as I understand it, and I can't think of any better, more altruistic motive, so she gets a special note.

Much better than the girls with the cleavage who go around handing out pamphlets trying to get you to buy graphic novels or a given product. I hit on them like this:

Me: "Did it hurt?"

Her: "Huh?"

Me: "I said, did it hurt?"

Her: "Did what hurt?"

Me: "Did it hurt when you decided to dress in a skimpy costume to prey on and exploit lonely young men with low-self esteem to sell a product?"


People love to dress like stormtroopers, or Jedi. The 501st rock, and I hope to use them in one of my radio serials I'm doing with Jeff Bridges. It begs the question, though, why do so many people want to be the fascist crazies when there are no rebel troopers? Is the outfit being cooler the only prerequisite? Steve, remind me, the Superman Homepage needs a really cool outfit for when we take over the world.

Regardless, it was a pleasure hanging around with the stormtroopers, the Jawas, the Jedi, and watching them spar. Good times. The girltooper was particularly engrossing, despite the fact that I had a hard time picturing a girl fascist. And then I figured it out.

The girl Fett was something else, too, even though she had no idea what I was saying when I asked her if she was Mirta Sev. I mean, come on, doesn't everyone know who she is?

She gave me a blank look. I gave me a blank look, then ran giggling.


I don't understand the compulsive urge to steal books by the likes of Hunter Thompson, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Bukowski. Every little bookstore I go to hunting for that elusive signed Bukowski under 100 bucks (har) tells me that they have to keep them behind the counter, because people steal them, because it's somehow punk to steal punk?

I dunno. At any rate, I have a comic with an offensive title, and that comic has versions with the cover blurred out, so people can't read the naughty bits and yell at me in a soccer mom voice. The book is called @%#%$#%#&. Oh, #@#$&#, I can't say it here. Anyway.

I get up to take a bathroom break once, for thirty or so seconds, come back, and my entire censored front row line has disappeared. Either people ridiculously thought the comic free, or took it because it looks roguish. Either suck. And with Jedi right there, too. Tsk, tsk.


The two most annoying people in the world, aside from pot-bellied cosplay gents, are the guys who promise they're coming back to buy your books, and the guys who constantly blink with some tic, with their mouths open, while telling you about their lives and not looking in your eyes. At least one is sincerely out of their minds.

I used to do it myself. You don't like the product, you won't be back, so you say, "Interesting! I'll be back!" or "Maybe I'll be back later!" You never see that person again. I know, it's not cool to say, "Hey, I don't like your work. You're pathetic. Goodbye." But you don't have to do that. You can say, "Well, I'm sorry, but good luck."

That works just fine.


I can't reveal too much about the evening's festivities without going to jail and having my press pass revoked, but needless to say, I found the seediest bar in Philadelphia I could, and passed a fine night with Noah throwing darts and taking in crazy women and kind men. It truly is the city of brotherly love, and at first, when I thought I was being hustled with darts, I found that I was being catered to finely by a group of guys who, though they didn't know me from Adam, were friendly, uncombative, and knew who both Minor Threat AND Fugazi were, so they're fine by me.

Michael, Steve, Terry, Bruce, Mark, you guys will probably never read this, but you're good guys.



Steven, I believe it was, came back and told me that he'd read half of Madly in one sitting, and it was in his top five. That rocks. Whenever someone tells me they missed a bus stop for my books, I tell them that I'll pay their fare, and that they've made my week. It's always true. Gasping, arriving just before I left, he told me he was halfway through and already it was rocking his socks. That's the highlight of my entire trip, even beyond Wolfman.

Thank you.


I finally got my courage up, and with Noah we presented Noel with a limited edition Fleischer-style Lois Lane figurine. I still shook when I held her hand, and I'm sure I looked like a crazy, mumbling idiot. What a gal, seriously.

She even said she was meeting up with Lou Ferrigno, so I have declared an armistice on the secret war. He can take away my ladies if he takes care of Mrs. Neill.


I'm duty bound and crazy, meaning, as Barry Freiman and Jeffrey Bridges and Noah Runzo can attest, I tend not to leave the table very much on the off chance that I'll miss someone who wants to say hi, or so that I can represent the site properly.

I took my one ten minute stroll in the middle of the day for one purpose: Marv Wolfman.

Sitting at his table, I asked him tentatively if he was the real Marv Wolfman, mostly because it's stupid to say, "Hey, Marv!" to a guy who may look like the real deal but isn't. Believe me, it happens more than you might think.

I told him what Lex means to me, and how I had him to thank for my dream project, and that I was a bit upset that DC was changing Luthor somewhat fundamentally. He reassured me, actually, pointing out that art needs to change to grow, and that of all people, he's not one to complain about change, which is a fair point.

But, he hinted teasingly, there is a Superman Confidential story coming up that he's writing.

I can't wait.

His panel, which came at the end of the last day, was an awesome retrospective of his work and his intentions. I got to ask him about the Luthor motivation for change, and the answer was great, an inclination that it was a hard pitch, but DC ultimately took it, and that Lex was going to overpower the book, even if DC didn't believe it, turning into a great success.

A gentleman, and a fine writer. Great presentation.


Walking with my two hundred pounds of bags minus about thirty with the lost books, I found my way to the train and paid my way back to the airport, where they sent me to the wrong terminal and I had to walk another six blocks. My shoulder muscles have grown in the last six days.

We flew into the sun, gaining three hours, an Astronaut Farmer showing, and glancing blows from thunderstorms off the starboard bow. I was seated next to a raving German woman who fell asleep on my shoulder and whose breath smelled stereotypically of bratwurst. If that weren't real, I'd be chastising myself for writing that.

All in all, not too much learned about comics, but much learned about life. Wizard World Philly, like its predecessors, has been a manic, crazy, great time.

Next stop on the road to bankruptcy: San Diego.


Noel Neill
Marv Wolfman
Noah Runzo
Dave Bratton
Jason Fattorusso
Josh Steinhouse
Chris Brockow
Jeremy Adkins (Raptureaja)
Eddie Caro
Steven Thurmont
Rich Zak

And starring Princess Leia, bless your metal body.

Coming soon, some pictures from the con!

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