Wizard World Comic Con assembles in Richmond for three days

RICHMOND, Va. – If you spot the Justice League or Avengers assembled near the Greater Richmond Convention Center this weekend, don’t worry, the city isn’t under siege.

The fans will be out in costume as Wizard World Comic Con (WWCC) visits Richmond for a third year, Sept. 9 -11.

Year after year, the powerhouse travels a circuit around the nation, stopping in over 20 cities with a full roster of big name stars, in-demand artists, and industry greats.

A Jedi family from Virginia Beach. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

A Jedi family from Virginia Beach. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

The lineup is intended to tempt a very broad cross section of attendees, though not since the inaugural year has there been a comparable roster of stars, especially those with a pedigree in the cult/fantasy/sci-fi/comic genres.

Programming includes options for gamers, Q&A with celebrities, artist panels, film screenings, workshops and a best costume contest.

Bruce Campbell pulls a random fan from the audience to interview him. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

Bruce Campbell pulls a random fan from the audience to interview him. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

This year comedian Mike Gregorek (Man Interviews Audience and Drunk Restoration Comedy) will moderate the panels with big name stars like Jewel Staite, Sam Jones, Ray Park, Tommy Flanagan and Ryan Hurst, and Nichelle Nichols.

A typical Comic Con day is packed with such Q & A sessions with actors and forum-style panels hosted by renowned artists. A full schedule of panels and topics, which includes more diversity this year, can be found online.

Friday offers a couple of panels and is heavy on Cosplay, gaming and creating. Saturday is the longest and most robust day of the event. Sunday spans six hours and includes the kid's costume contest and a session with James Marsters.

James Marsters encourages fans to ask any question. He offered the audience behind the scene perspectives from the shows Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

James Marsters encourages fans to ask any question. He offered the audience behind the scene perspectives from the shows Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

Some of the celebrity guests this year, many who offer paid autograph and photo ops in addition to their panels, are Gene Simmons, Dean Ambrose (WWE), Ryan Lochte, AJ Styles (WWE), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy), AJ McLean, John Schneider and Catherine Bach (Dukes of Hazzard), James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jason David Frank (Power Ranger) and Jonathan Pendragon (Masters of Illusion). The full list is here. 

Fans will also get to interact with artists at Artist Alley, which will feature Tom Cook ("He-Man," "Superfriends"), Michael Golden ("Batman," Spider-Man"), Clinton Hobart (Licensed Disney Fine Artist), James O'Barr (Creator, "The Crow"), Phil Ortiz (Animator - “The Simpsons”), Bob Camp ("Ren and Stimpy," "G.I. Joe"), Geof Isherwood ("Sizzle,” "Marvel Zombies"), Arthur Suydam ("Marvel Zombies," "Army of Darkness"), Danny Fingeroth (group editor, “Spider-Man”) and many others.

Merchandise is available in the massive showroom, which serves as the event’s epicenter. On site, there will be a mix of t-shirt vendors, unique collectibles, very rare comics, games and gaming accessories, leather goods, Wizard World-themed merchandise, and more.

Plenty of art and other merchandise for sale. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

Plenty of art and other merchandise for sale. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

Tens of thousands of people come out to the Chicago and Philadelphia conventions, and cities like Las Vegas, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Reno, Austin, Raleigh, and Nashville also play host to Wizard World events.

Richmond has a pretty healthy industry for such events, given the 30-year success of VA Comicon.

Noticeably, this year WWCC ticket prices have  significantly dropped, and there is no date set for a Richmond venue next year – in fact, Nashville, Tn. is slated for this same timeframe, next year.

Where: Greater Richmond Convention Center at 403 N Third St., Richmond. Parking availability can be found around area.

When:  Friday, Sept. 9 from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. –4p.m.

How much: Three-day passes for sale in advance $50/$60 on site, or one-day admission tickets sold individually: Friday/$20 in adv./$30 on site, Sat./$35 in adv./$45 on site, Sunday $30 in adv./ $40 on site.

Up to two children ages 10 and under get in free when accompanied by a paid adult.