POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
Upon returning from our annual coverage of Wizard World’s 2012 Comic Con in Chicago, I had fully intended to write a review of the weekend’s event documenting the things one could expect or enjoy from attending. I really do wish I could write that article.
Unfortunately, I’m a man of principle and I refuse to lie, cover up or give a glowing report of Comic Con, just so we at The ThrowDown can guarantee our usual free press passes. I started The ThrowDown to “tell it like it truly is”, always. Yes, my opinion enters into it, that’s part of the attitude here, and I encourage it from my blogging partners, as well. That being said, I also require a factual account of something we report on, and then we let our readers decide. Strong opinions, AND strong facts.
Now, quite honestly, our treatment this year by the folks at Wizard World was disrespectful, at the very least. Not only did I have to smooth out some “ego based” issues in securing our press passes, but I was insulted and shown unprofessional behavior for much of the actual event. Interesting that things were running so smoothly back in April when Wizard World had no problem using our articles for promotion on their site, little did we know.
We had several issues throughout the day, with one Wizard World rep even sticking a hand over my camera (for the second year in a row) and barking at me that “Mr. Bruce Campbell’s manager wants no photography”. I took my shots anyway, since Bruce Campbell is an arrogant man-child and if he or his manager has a problem with me, I can be easily reached in the Contact Us section of The ThrowDown.
The issue that made me absolutely irate is that this behavior was being shown to fans, standing some 60 feet away from certain celebrities just wanting a simple picture. Fans that spent a large amount of money just to get inside the venue. Fans that may never have the funds to stand in line for two hours so that Mr. Bruce Campbell can barely make eye contact with them, over charge them for his meaningless signature, then have them whisked away. This is only partly the fault of a celebrity that is pretty much an egomaniac, and the ones I truly blame are again, the brilliant minds at Wizard World. Gentlemen. For all that is right in the world’s sake, STOP ACTING LIKE THUGS TO YOUR PATRONS. What’s next? Billy clubs and camera smashing? I’d like to remind your staff of complete idiots and imbeciles, that if they physically touch those patrons, there are more than enough witnesses for an assault charge.
We did have some celebrities that paid zero attention to the over regulation, and certainly want to thank the ones such as Luke Perry, Colin Cunningham and Cindy Morgan for their professional attitude not only to us, but their fans as well. There were other celebrities that took their obligations seriously, but nowhere near the work ethic we witnessed at last year’s event. A good majority of celebrities were too busy playing with their Iphones, talking and networking with each other and didn’t have the simple respect to look at their fans directly. And let’s face it, these weren’t brand names such as Pitt or Beckinsale, the names were more like “I wasn’t aware he/she was still alive”.
Couple all the apathy with a foot traffic pattern that apparently was laid out by a six-year-old with a box of crayons, and one witnessed a perfect storm of fail. It was literally so congested in the middle of the event, fans were continually knocking down the barriers meant to keep everyone from getting too close to most of the celebrities. At least, when the celebrities were at their assigned locations, and not being put in the “VIP area” where fans could expect an even longer wait for a celebrity meet and greet, so patrons could stand in yet more lines for hours on end, spending hundreds of dollars to “meet” a certainly celebrity, along with around 20-30 of your closest strangers. In actuality, it was just another way to get fans to spend a few hundred bucks for what used to be twenty bucks.
Quite honestly, our own Big Angry and John Rantavius have done a little reasearch and found out at least here in the Midwest, there are several other shows that offer what Wizard World used to, and at a much more reasonable price. We strongly encourage the fans to explore some of those other options, and we’ll be providing links to some of those events, when we can.
As for us, The ThrowDown will no longer be attending and reporting on Wizard World events. I, as the founder of The ThrowDown cannot in good conscience contribute to how Wizard World is treating its long time fans. I urge them to clean up their act.
And on a personal note, one final word to my contact there that has been in that line of work “for over twenty” years, who I believed to be a stand up guy…you may want to think about stepping down from your position. Apparently, you’ve forgotten what built that organization, sir. If you don’t believe me, just walk on down to the convention floor. From the fans we interacted with, they’d be more than happy to let you know what exactly Wizard World is doing wrong.