Day Three — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014

Stan Lee was sick and didn’t make any appearances Friday or Saturday, so Sunday was the day to get an autograph.

I didn’t expect the Sacramento Convention Center to be as packed as it was, but with the perfect storm of Stan Lee and Chris Hemsworth appearing on the same day — just getting to the Desert Wind Comics booth was an ordeal.

I would highly recommend going through DWC for a Signature Series grade on a comic signed by Stan Lee. Not only will they stand witness — CGC has a no-wait policy which means you have to send someone to call a witness when you’re close to getting your book signed — they have special arrangements with Mr. Lee’s handlers and the booth. And if you’re not able to get the book signed, they’ll take your book and have it done at another convention for you.

It took a lot of patience and a long while to finally get in contact with one of the DWC staff members with all of the stuff coming back from Mr. Lee’s booth for authentication and certificates. Lines were forming every which way, and when I finally got in contact with a staff member, she took a couple of us to Mr. Lee’s booth where the famed creator, still looking a bit ill, autographed my X-Men #1 (1991) before taking a break.

I carefully put the comic into another Mylites2 bag and decided to have DWC handle the signing of my Greg Horn books. It would be an extra fee, but I didn’t want to wait in anymore lines for a long, long time.

Trying to navigate the main floor wasn’t easy. There were so many people that I decided to hold off on taking pictures of cosplayers because space was limited.

Since I had time to burn, I made my way to Paolo Rivera’s booth for one more try on getting a commission. He looked pretty busy, and I figured I’d at least thank him for being patient with me throughout the weekend. To my surprise, he said a lot of progress was made on the other pieces, and it was very possible he could have mine done by the end of day.

With that, I moved a few over to Ethan Van Sciver’s booth where he handed me a pre-New 52 Batman.

“I colored it,” he said. I was awestruck and fumbled out a “Thank you!” before I rushed over to Hot Flips to get a case for it.
Ethan Van Sciver

There wasn’t much to do except check out panels and shop, so I scheduled a visit to the artists roundtable discussion — a panel with Eric Nguyen, Jimmie Robinson, Paolo Rivera, and Humberto Ramos with Danny Fingeroth moderating. Fingeroth went through slides of artwork for each artist, and then he opened it up for a Q&A at the end. Each of the artists talked about their processes, their current projects, and other pertinent topics.

On Ramos working on the new Amazing Spider-Man title soon to be released, he couldn’t give any details about how Peter Parker returns to the suit.

“Ryan (Stegman) is working on those issues, so I don’t have any idea how Peter Parker comes back,” he said. Ramos said Marvel could have gone with a more famous artist, but he really wanted the project. (Personally, I think it’s a good choice — Ramos has done 25 issues of Spidey, and they’ve been very well received.)

Jimmie Robinson talked about the difference between creator-owned projects and working with publishers on IPs. Though he makes a bit less for his creator-owned properties, he does retain all future rights. Robinson also discussed having to write and draw a comic based around a super-villain (Bomb Queen) who runs her own city — “I have to basically write down all the things I would never do.”

Rivera, having won the Eisner Award for Daredevil, discussed his transition from doing interiors to doing exteriors. The audience got to see a cast poster for Iron Man which was very limited in print and handed out to cast members for the movie. Rivera mentioned the possibility of doing interiors this year, and how his work output increased when he moved over to digital.

Nguyen also discussed doing digital — the benefits of efficiency and speed vs. not having original pages for sale on a secondary market. Nguyen stressed he was more about quality and getting the art done right rather than focusing a little on cashing on art sales. He also said his favorite projects were ones that had no determined look or parameters that left him free to create and define at his own will.

After that panel, I spent the rest of the day shopping. I picked up a graphic novel, a couple of t-shirts, and participated in a raffle for some electronic goodies. At the end of the day, I picked up my Rivera commission, thanked him, then left the convention minutes before the doors would close. It was a productive weekend, and I was eager to get home and get some more commissions on the wall.
Paolo Rivera

Previous Article: Day Two — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014

Day Two — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014

“The line is over there.”

Where the line ended was out the door, around another building, and spiraling back towards the front of the line.

When the doors opened for day two of the Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con, a flood of visitors marched into the Sacramento Convention Center proving the Comic-Con a huge success.

I spent the first part of the morning standing in line for a Humberto Ramos commission with a purpose. One of my top priorities at the convention was to get James Hong’s autograph, and since I had nothing to get signed, I thought I’d get something one-of-a-kind.

While I waited, I had a great discussion with the others in line. We shared commissions, stories, some gossip, and I found out Jim Lee took some private commissions a few years back. (There was a screenshot, so there’s proof.) There were also some horror stories — I spoke to at least two fans who had lost their sketchbooks at conventions. One of them got theirs back after a year or so, but with great pain.

When Ramos’ handler showed up and took down our requests, I let him know mine wasn’t conventional.

“I want a Lo-Pan. Can he do that?”

“Ramos can draw anything. We just need a great reference.”

And it would be the first one that Ramos had ever done.

At 12:15pm, I went over to the film festival to find out when Ghost Light would be screened. Ghost Light’s cinematographer is Tim Kang, a friend of mine who couldn’t make the showing because he’s in Chicago working on a documentary. PJ, the director, and Patrick, production designer, would be there, and they were expecting me.

I also got word that Ghost Light had already been designated best in show — “Don’t make the announcement until the official announcement,” I’d been told — and I wanted to be there to congratulate PJ and Patrick on a job well done.

I got a bit of background from the panel, and I had the opportunity of hanging out with PJ and Patrick for a short while. Ghost Light began as an idea inspired by American folklore from the Midwest. As a fan of Tales From the Crypt, PJ wrote the story with a little bit of horror infused into the short along with some 80s sci-fi influences. The result was a 20-minute short (including credits) about a father and son who encounter a ghost light and end up in a strange diner hidden along Route 66.

We talked about the set — a sudden snowstorm destroyed it forcing PJ to make the decision of bringing in comic-book style transitions — and working with Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) as producer — “I would work with him again,” PJ told me.

PJ and I split at the autograph booth for Billy Dee Williams, and I was off to Ramos’ booth to check in on the Lo-Pan. Another request had been given priority because the one making the request had to leave early. Since mine was a simple black and white, I was told to come back in half an hour.

I circled the floor a few times, then I was off back to Ramos’ table. James Hong was scheduled for autographs at 3:00pm, and I wanted to make sure I got an autograph — Stan Lee was scheduled for Friday and Saturday but fell ill, and I didn’t want to miss my chance, especially with a commission of one of Hong’s most famous characters.

“He’s working on it right now.”

I walked behind the booth and looked over Ramos’ shoulder. While I oogled, Ramos turned around.

“Oh, hey!” he said, recognizing me from Portland. “Is this yours?”

When I came back to pick up the commission, they requested I come back to tell them what Mr. Hong thought about the piece. At the autograph booth, a sign said Mr. Hong would be back in 10 minutes. I decided to wait behind three other women who I assumed were in line, but when I asked them if they knew how long it would be, they turned out to be members of Mr. Hong’s family. I got a quick tour of the booth along with some tidbits of information about Kung Fu Panda and the possibility of a sequel.

When Mr. Hong came back, his family brought me forward, and I handed him a letter I had written — I didn’t want another Adam West geek-out moment so I planned ahead — and he read it on the spot. He signed the Ramos commission — “What color do you want?” he asked, and I chose gold — adding what I’m assuming is his Chinese name down the right side and tagging it “LO PAN” under his signature.


I got a picture with him, thanked him again, and returned to Ramos’ table.

“He loved it,” I told them.

Humberto Ramos and James Hong

With one thing off my list, I worked on the others. I decided to visit Eisner Award winner Paolo Rivera who was trying to fit me into his schedule for a commission. Rivera was busy accommodating visitors who wanted simple sketches and autographs, and he was gracious to me the entire weekend even when I felt I was bugging him a little too much. I think I checked in with him about seven times total, and each time he showed me where he was at with the work that was currently on his plate. I could have just let it go, but Rivera told me he wasn’t planning on anymore conventions in California for the rest of the year.

Once I got the okay to check back in another couple hours, I went to Buzz’s table to see what the status was for a Batman commission I requested earlier in the morning. Buzz was great to talk to, and he told me the most time-consuming part of drawing a commission is finding a composition that he’s happy with.

For the next few hours, I wandered the main floor taking photographs of cosplayers, shopping for comics and collectibles, and waiting for the cosplay contest. I picked up a copy of Watchmen — finally! — and read it while I waited in line to get into the cosplay contest room.

There were over 100 contestants for the contest which was hosted by Eric “The Smoke” Moran and judged by special guests Ivy Doomkitty, Ryan Frye, and Vegas PG. Some of the contest highlights were the Spaceballs group, RoboCop, a duo of Predators, and MechaGodzilla, though every one of the cosplayers deserved recognition.

You can find the gallery here.


Previous Article: Day One — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014
Next Article: Day Three — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014

Day One — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014

The first day of Wizard World’s first Sacramento Comic-Con is over, and it’s one for the books.

Tickets for today were sold out days ago, and the Sacramento Convention Center was packed, packed, packed with visitors. Several times, I overheard someone on the verge of being overwhelmed — “There’s so much!” — and there were likely many first-time con attendees whose heads were similarly spinning out of control.

Unlike Wizard World Portland’s Comic-Con which started off really laid back on its first day, Sacramento’s Convention Center was stuffed with geeks, fans, cosplayers, and their children. Over at Chris Claremont’s booth, one attendee’s daughter caught the famed writer’s attention with her outfit. The parent mentioned to his daughter, “I’ve read everything this man’s ever written.”

Lines were long for Amazing Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos, animator legends Phil Ortiz and Tom Cook, as well as the legendary Neal Adams. Several of the artists I approached about commissions had their lists already full less than an hour into the con.

I started off my day with a quick trip to CGC. Then, I went hunting for commissions, scoring some information from Eisner Award winner Paolo Rivera and placing a request from Ethan Van Sciver for a black and white Batman. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a vengeance to get on at least a couple more lists.

For autographs, I got my X-Men #1 signed by Mr. Claremont with the hopes of getting Stan Lee’s signature on Sunday. In case I don’t get on Rivera’s commission list, I’ll at least end up with a signed Magneto #1.

The rest of the floor was loaded with vendors — so many vendors selling a variety of things. If Portland is Wizard World’s Carmel-By-the-Sea, Sacramento is Black Friday. There were 50% off sales, huge collections for the comic starter, and cosplay row, featuring Ivy Doomkitty, Eric “The Smoke” Moran, Ryan Frye, and

At 5:00pm, real-life superhumans Lou Ferrigno and Sacramento’s own Urijah Faber were front and center for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Several media outlets were there to capture it for the evening news and get some interviews with the cosplayers who also attracted a lot of attention.

After taking some photos of the two Predators (one of whom snuck up on me and growled in my ear), a Daenarys, and an anime cosplayer (my anime-ese begins with Akira and ends with Cowboy Bebop), I spent the rest of the day watching short film after short film during the film festival. The film festival is an awesome experience that feels very homegrown. There were some locally shot films with some panels sprinkled throughout whenever the cast and crew for a particular film was present. I’ll admit some of the films went over my head, and some I just didn’t get, but each one had a thing to say, and there’s something for everyone.

There was stop-motion with action figures, a little puppeteering with Power Rangers parody, voodoo horror, a kidnapping mystery, some beautifully-shot fantasy, and an awkward short that captured a microcosm of geek-life with a discussion on Game of Thrones over a backdrop of a board game night.

Right now, my eyes are ready for a good night’s rest before I get up early tomorrow to go for another round. In addition to getting some commissions, I’m hoping to get an autograph from Lo-Pan himself, James Hong. I’ll also be roaming the main floor in between panels to get some photographs of cosplayers, so if you see an Asian guy with a huge camera, feel free to stop me if you want to be on our gallery.


Next Article: Day Two — Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con 2014

Comic Creators Featured at Wizard World Sacramento
Ethan Van Sciver Limited CyberFrog Lithograph

The first Wizard World Comic-Con for Sacramento takes place March 7-9, and it’s going to feature a host of talented comic creators.

Hall of Famer Neal Adams, legendary X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, Superior Spider-Man penciller Humberto Ramos, and the Zombie King Arthur Suydam — just to name a few — will be on hand for panels, autographs, and commissions.

Fans are encouraged to head to the Artist Alley at the Con where they can meet with the likes of Phil Ortiz, Greg Horn, and Michael Golden. It’s a great opportunity to get in touch with the people responsible for producing your favorite comics and to purchase books and art directly from them.

The list of artists makes this year’s first Wizard World Con at Sacramento an even bigger occasion to go along with appearances by Chris Hemsworth, Norman Reedus, William Shatner, Bruce Campbell, and James Hong.

Check out the press release below for more details, or head to the Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con site for a look at what’s to come.


SACRAMENTO, Calif., February 18, 2014 – Eisner Award Hall of Famer Neal Adams, writing legend Chris Claremont, Eisner winner Paolo Rivera and nominee Ethan Van Sciver are among the more than 50 leading comics creators scheduled to attend the inaugural Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con, March 7-9 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Adams, perhaps best known for having revived the “Batman” and “X-Men” franchises and Van Sciver (“Green Lantern,” “Action Comics”) will appear all three days, while Claremont (“Uncanny X-Men,” “Spider-Man”) and Rivera (“Daredevil,” “Avengers”) are scheduled to attend on Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9.

Among the other internationally-known artists and writers to populate the first Sacramento Comic Con Artist Alley are Phil Ortiz (“The Simpsons,” “Muppet Babies”), Humberto Ramos (“Amazing Spider-Man,” “Impulse”), Greg Horn (“Walt Disney,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”), Michael Golden (“Batman,” “Hulk”) and Arthur Suydam(“Marvel Zombies,” “Army of Darkness”).

Eisner Award Hall of Famer Stan Lee will also appear in the celebrity autograph area, along with superstars Norman Reedus of “The Walking Dead,” Chris Hemsworth of Thor, “Star Trek’s” “Captain Kirk” William ShatnerWWE® Superstar Sheamus® and many others. Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con is the third of 16 events currently scheduled in the 2014 series produced by Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) and will also feature a variety of activities, exhibitors and special attractions.

Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con show hours are Friday, March 7, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday, March 9, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

A first-class lineup of topical programming takes place all three days at the event, with celebrity Q&A’s, comics-themed sessions, costume contest, movie screenings, evening parties and more. Sunday, March 9, is also Kids Day, with an array of activities and programming specially designed for the younger Wizard World fans.

Sacramento Comic Con is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor, often stopping by the Show Stage, the ideal place to see and be seen.

For more on the 2014 Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con, visit

About Wizard World:

Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and social networking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.

The full event schedule can be found at

Wizard World 2014-15 Schedule
March 7-9 – Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con
March 28-30 – Wizard World Louisville Comic Con
April 4-6 – Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con
May 2-4 – Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con
May 30-June 1 – Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con
June 19-22 – Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
August 1-3 – Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con
August 21-24 – Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
September 12-14 – Wizard World Richmond Comic Con
September 26-28 – Wizard World Nashville Comic Con
October 2-4 – Wizard World Austin Comic Con
October 31-November 2 – Wizard World Ohio Comic Con
November 7-9 – Wizard World Tulsa Comic Con
November 21-23 – Wizard World Reno Comic Con
January 9-11, 2015 – Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con
January 23-25, 2015 – Wizard World Portland Comic Con