As is to be expected, the convention floor of Wizard World Atlanta 2014 was packed with artists, creators, writers, celebrities, vendors, and so many more who were there exhibiting their various wares and services for all the world to see and admire. Naturally, I wasn’t able to visit every booth and speak to every person manning those booths, but below I have compiled a list of some of the most interesting booths I did get to see.
The first booth to catch my eye was home to the brightly painted covers of Native Comics‘ Protectors of the Native Order. Native Comics is devoted to bringing a refreshingly open voice to the comics industry with titles that focus on African-American and other ethnic cultures. At their booth, they were showcasing their newest title G-Man, a new comic series about a “street kid with hi-tech power, stepping up to defend his city”; it feels a bit like Static Shock, and I loved/still love Static Shock.
Dorkside Toys began life as an eBay store in 2005 and now offers a large selection of toys both on eBay and on their website. Their booth was, obviously, one of many toy vendor booths at Wizard World Atlanta 2014, but I chose to single them out simply because I like their name; sometimes it pays to have a catchy name. One other thing their booth did was participate in what must be the fastest spreading epidemic to hit Atlanta since the zombie apocalypse struck The Walking Dead: Funko Pop! Vinyl Figures. You could not turn around without ending up face-to-face with one of those little bastards. I love them, and apparently everyone else does, too, because absolutely every toy vendor on the convention floor had a metric ton of them to sell, and I wanted to buy them all.
The booth from Exotic Lenses featured a massive wall of eyes staring at you with what seemed like millions of variations of specialty contact lenses. Exotic Lenses is a company that makes and sells contact lenses that are inspired by movies, television, comics, etc, and all of their contact lenses are FDA-approved, so you don’t have to worry about them doing harm to your eyes. Well, unless you’re unfortunately like me and cannot wear contact lenses to save your life. Seeing these great lenses make me want to try so badly, but I just can’t. If you can, though, they’re very cool.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Zenescope Entertainment, since they are one of the largest and most successful independent comic creators out there, but in case you haven’t, Zenescope focuses on the reimagining of classic fairy tales into modern comic stories that are largely not for people below a certain age. Think Fables but less procedural; Once Upon a Time but decidedly darker and serious. They were showcasing their title Myths & Legends and a very interesting series called Demons: The Unseen, which focuses on Masumi, a “silent warrior” who uses possessed swords to fight evil spirits; tell me that doesn’t sound awesome, and the first issue is killer. Definitely recommend checking that one out.
Electro Flash Media
Electro Flash Media is a company that specializes in creating products (apparel and accessories) that light up to the beat of music. It was one of the most interesting booths of the convention, and I wish the video I took of the products in action would have come out well enough to use because they are impressive, especially with them all displayed together and all lighting up to the sound of one steady beat. They make shirts, ties, hats, sunglasses, shoe laces, headphones, banners, and pretty much anything they can put their electroluminescent technology on and/or in.
Chrisinvicta Designs makes and sells several items. From necklaces to wrist cuffs to collars, you name it, and they probably have something you’ll like, but what impressed me the most were the outstanding prop guns they had on display. They requested pictures not be taken of the guns but pointed me to their website for photos. As you see in the photo below, these guns are exceptionally well designed, painted, and weathered. What you may not notice, at first glance, is that these guns are actually repurposed and painted NERF guns. That’s just fantastic, and it shows the ingenious craftsmanship you will always see at any comic convention; whether it be on display in a vendor’s booth or holstered on the hip of a cosplayer, the ability to repurpose items is never not impressive. Plus, while they are not intended to be fired, I believe these NERF guns actually do still work. Time to do some steampunk battling.
Speaking of impressive weapons, Blade Daddy Swords lives up to its name by offering recreations of some of your favorite swords from pop culture. King Arthur‘s Excalibur? They have it. Inuyasha‘s Tessaiga? Yep. The crazy double-helix sword from The Legend of Zelda? Do you even have to ask? There were a few weapons displays at Wizard World Atlanta 2014, but Blade Daddy was the one that I felt had the most variety available.
Clifton Collins Jr.
Collins is a fantastic character actor whose career has spanned across such varied films as One Eight Seven, Traffic, Capote, Star Trek, Boondock Saints II, and Pacific Rim. As I mentioned in my overall report on the convention, I got the chance to meet Collins and had a very brief conversation. In that conversation, I was most interested in Collins’ directing work. You may not be aware that Collins has directed quite a few great music videos for artists like Metalachi, Zac Brown Band, Jamey Johnson, and The Soul of John Black, but he has, and he’s very good at it. From Spike Jonze, to David Fincher, to Michel Gondry; some of the most visionary directors of modern film have gotten their start in music videos, so I’m very interested to see how things go, when Collins does eventually make the leap into feature film directing. I may not have to wait too long, either; in our conversation, Collins mentioned that he actually had a meeting coming up this week for a potential directing job on a film. We’ll see where that leads; until then, enjoy this great Slash video I was not aware Collins had directed, until he told me himself.
Another person I mentioned meeting in my earlier overall report, Milo Ventimiglia is a great actor who you probably recognize most from the NBC series Heroes. Since we’ve been rewatching Heroes for our Throwback Thursday podcast (which I mentioned to him), I’ve found that I’ve had a renewed fandom not only for Heroes, but for several of the actors on the show; including, but not limited to: Zachary Quinto, Masi Oka, Jack Coleman, James Kyson Lee; and, of course, Milo Ventimiglia. When I had a chance to briefly speak with him, I had to ask just what he has coming up–you know: movies, television series, what? After a short conversation on how I came to be a Chicago Cubs fan living in Georgia, Ventimiglia clued me in on The Whispers, a new Spielberg-produced television series based on Ray Bradbury’s Zero Hour that was just ordered to series on May 8th. It’s coming to ABC next year and co-stars the fabulous Lily Rabe (American Horror Story).http://youtu.be/_yj1Y4XPhyE
That wraps up our coverage of the booths at Wizard World Atlanta 2014; be sure to check back here all week for more coverage on the convention’s terrific panels, film festival, cosplay costume contest, and more.