Wizard World Comic Con came to Nashville’s Music City Center Sept. 25-27 with a ballroom full of merchandising booths, a gaggle of celebrity guests– including comic industry professionals and cast members of hit television shows– and hundreds of cosplayers.
The 19th of Wizard World’s 2015 convention series, the event itself was a whirlwind of activity, color and absolute geekdom. Held in the MCC’s Grand Ballroom and other rooms scattered throughout the complex, the convention had an outlet for fans of any kind, from the off-world interests of the Trekkies to the miniature constructions of Lego enthusiasts.
Running through the whole event all three days, the merchandising booths sold everything from phone chargers to full-sized replicas of “Game of Thrones” armor, from comic books to handmade leather goods. One booth even went so far as to complete any con-goer’s experience with the opportunity to get a tattoo in the middle of the exhibition floor.
Graphic artists and designers were also on-site to sell their pop culture-focused works and to create some new pieces in a vibrantly crowded environment; more than one fan left with a personalized caricature that had been drawn in front of them in minutes.
Convention attendees could also get their photos taken with replicas of the Batmobile from the 1966 “Batman” television series and the General Lee from “Dukes of Hazzard” or pay to get an autograph or take a selfie with the star or industry professional of their choice.
Panels offered included Danny Trejo discussing how he went from prison inmate to famous actor, a reunion of the “Dukes of Hazzard” cast with John Schneider, Tom Wopat and Catherine Bach, a Q-and-A with mixed martial arts fighter and former “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” star Jason David Frank and a Marvel trivia contest hosted by historians Jacob Rougemont and Danny Fingeroth.
The event seemed more than family friendly, with an appeal for fans of every age: kids and parents put together complementary costumes, attended panels together and trotted by with arms full of their favorite pop culture merchandise.
After the MCC closed on Saturday night, guests were invited to attend a karaoke party hosted by Wizard World at Ms. Kelli’s Karaoke Bar. Admittance was free with a wristband from the convention.
Only a few things could have made the con experience better. One-on-one interactions with special guests ran from $25 to $40, which– after parking, entrance fees and money spent on merchandise– may have seemed a little steep to some visitors. The panel rooms were also spread so far out that in order to make one session, a con-goer might have to leave another 15 minutes early.
However, the inconveniences were small when it came to the overwhelming energy that came from the crowd– a group passionate about pop culture and excited to meet the people behind their favorite television shows, films and comic books.
This article was written by Sam Cowan and Riley Wallace. Photos by Katelyn Foehner and Riley Wallace