Richmond newlyweds burned

Wizard World casts enticing spell at 2015 Richmond Comic Con, July 31- Aug. 2

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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

RICHMOND, Va. — James Marsters is addressing a room of fans who waited patiently over the weekend for the panel by the star of cult hits “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Torchwood.” The room at Richmond’s Wizard World Comic Con (WWCC) filled quickly, as did most of the panels over the three-day event.

Fans, given ample opportunity to ask questions in most panels, have lined up for the chance to quiz the charming Marsters.

He is telling the audience the backstory behind “Seeing Red,” a controversial episode in the sixth season of the vampire drama directed by Joss Whedon, who moved on to such mainstream projects like Marvel’s The Avengers.

“That was the hardest day of my life,” Marsters said of the scene which ultimately sent him briefly into therapy.

Marsters elaborated that for Whedon, vampires were metaphors for all the things people have to overcome during adolescence, and Buffy was becoming self-actualized in the process of slaying these demons.

The Joker, one of the many participants in cosplay. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

The Joker, one of the many participants in cosplay. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

But she wasn’t the only one battling demons. He said that writers were encouraged to pour their past issues out into the scripts, and “put fangs on them.”

Such prompts inspired the storyline for “Seeing Red,” though it was a female writer’s past ghost.

And while the episode nailed Spike as the bad guy, generally the fans loved his character. Another big reveal Marsters had for the audience was that it drove Whedon crazy that everyone loved Spike. But Marsters didn’t want Spike to get killed off, he said, so he kept it over the top on set, hoping to guarantee a long run in the show.

Marsters’ panel was in 2014, the first time powerhouse Wizard World hosted a Comic Con in Richmond.

This year they will host over 20 conventions around the nation, a well-traveled circuit with access to a full roster of big name stars and in-demand artists.  Richmond WWCC runs this year from July 31- Aug. 2, and will bring a new roster of artists and actors to the Greater Richmond Convention Center (See complete list below)

Nine hours can slip away quickly at Comic Con. Thousands made their way to the 200,000 square foot Greater Richmond Convention center last year, with travelers visiting from Virginia Beach, Culpeper, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.

A Jedi family from Virginia Beach. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

A Jedi family from Virginia Beach. PHOTO: Alix Bryan

At first the cost for the weekend, or even Saturday, may seem high, especially compared to some of the smaller comic conventions  held locally and regionally. But the standard price people fork over for a two-hour music concert or a 3-D movie with drinks and popcorn adds ups to at least $40.

People often feel like they own a part of a celebrity, at the least a person is inclined to feel they know an actor, in some sense. Because of how much a character meant to them, because of how much they related to the character, they feel there must be a common ground.

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

Comic Con is where fans get access, and at different levels and costs. Panels are free to attend and guests can pay for a more intimate meet and greet with a star of their choice. A photo-op or autograph costs money, so make sure to purchase and allot enough time in line to meet your star of choice.

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.

Plenty of art and other merchandise for sale.

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

On Saturday there are one-on-one events and Q & A panels throughout the day, with Marvel’s Deathlok played by J. August Richards, Billy Boyd and Sean Astin of “Lord of the Rings” (and Goonies, and also Toy Soldiers – filmed in Virginia in the 90s), WWW Diva Paige, Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli of “Heroes,” Eddie Mcclintock from “Warehouse 13,” and William Shatner.

A full schedule of panels and topics can be found online.

Don’t miss the Saturday night talent show, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Last year it featured intricate costumes that people spent hours, days and even “eight months” building. Many characters were drawn from popular television shows that did not originate from a comic, showing the convention attracts participants beyond niche fans and gamers.

Aqua-woman

Aqua-woman. 

Sunday continues with panels from Billie Piper, Kristen Bauer, John Schneider, renowned artists, a karate class with Jason David Frank, and a costume contest for little wizards.

A showroom is the epicenter of the event, with people getting autographs, and searching for comics, art, t-shirts, and collectibles. The kitchen is open and serving food, drinks and beer throughout the day.

PHOTO: Amber May

PHOTO: Amber May

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

When:  Friday, July 31 from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 2, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

How much: Three-day passes for sale for adv. $75/$85 on site, or one-day admission tickets sold individually: Friday/$35, Sat./$45, Sunday/$40.

ACTORS, ARTISTS AND CREATORS:

William Shatner (Captain Kirk - Star Trek, Actor - T.J. Hooker) will appear Friday and Saturday night.

Billie Piper (Actress - Doctor Who [Rose Tyler]; Penny Dreadful; Secret Diary of a Call Girl [Belle/Hannah]) will appear Sunday.

Billy Boyd (Actor - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy [Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took]; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

WWE® Diva Paige™ will appear Saturday, from 12 -3 p.m.  At noon she hosts photo ops, at 1 p.m. autographs and at 2:30 p.m. a Q&A Panel

Sean Astin (Actor - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; The Goonies; Rudy; 24) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

Michael Cudlitz (Actor - The Walking Dead [Sgt. Abraham Ford]; Southland; The Negotiator; Surrogates; Running Scared) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

Kristin Bauer (Actress - True Blood [Pam De Beaufort]; Once Upon a Time [Maleficent]) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

John Schneider (Actor - Smallville [Jonathan Kent], Dukes of Hazzard; The Haves and the Have Nots) will appear Friday - Sunday.

Milo Ventimiglia (Actor - Heroes[Peter Petrelli]; Gotham [Jason “The Ogre” Lennon]; Rocky Balboa; Chosen; That’s My Boy) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

Linda Blair (Actress - The Exorcist; Exorcist II) will appear Friday - Sunday.

Eddie McClintock (Actor - Warehouse 13; Bones; The Sweetest Thing; Three Wise Guys) will appear Friday - Sunday.

August Richards (Actor - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Angel [Charles Gunn]) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

Jason David Frank (Actor - Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers [Tommy Green/White Ranger]; Power Rangers Zeo; Power Rangers DinoThunder; Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

Doug Jones (Actor - Fantastic Four, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth; Buffy: The Vampire Slayer) will appear Saturday and Sunday.

ARTISTS AND ANIMATORS (most all Friday – Sunday)

Bob Camp (Artist - Ren and Stimpy; G.I. Joe; Marvel Age; Savage Tales; Conan the Barbarian).

Phil Ortiz (Animator - The Simpsons; He-Man and the Masters of the Universe; Muppet Babies; The Chipmunks; Smurfs).

Clinton Hobart (Licensed Disney Fine Artist).

Greg Horn (Artist - Marvel: War of Heroes iPhone App; Walt Disney; Guardians of the Galaxy; The Avengers).

Michael Golden (Artist - Batman; Spider-Man; Hulk; X-Men; Daredevil; Star Wars; The Punisher).

Mike Grell (Artist - Green Arrow; Green Lantern; Warlord; Action Comics; X-Men; Iron Man).

James O’Barr (Creator - The Crow)

Ken Kelly (Fantasy Artist - KISS Album Covers; He-Man; Micronauts; Star Wars).

Dean Haspiel (Writer/Artist - Bored to Death [TV]; Billy Dogma; Street Code; Act-I-Vate; American Splendor; Batman; X-Men).

Marv Wolfman (Writer - DCU Online; Crisis on Infinite Earths; Superman; New Tee Titans; Spider-Man; Batman).

Danny Fingeroth (Group Editor - Spider-Man, Writer - Iron Man; The Avengers; Spider-Man, Author Superman on the Couch; Disguised as Clark Kent)

Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson (Writer - Lost Hero).

Tom Cook (Animator - He-Man; She-Ra; Superfriends; Thundarr the Barbarian; Scooby Doo; Smurfs).

James O’Barr (Creator - The Crow).

Michael Golden (Artist - Batman; Spider-Man; Hulk; X-Men; Daredevil; Star Wars; The Punisher).

For a complete list, click here. 

 

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