Rachel takes on the Wizard World Comic Con

Date: June 17, 2016

Day 1

The Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia is an annual event that has been around for sixteen years. Held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the event kicked off on June 2 and continued until June 5, 2016. Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson, the three main characters of “Back to the Future,” all made appearances.

Immediately people on the street were complimenting my “Back to the Future” hat that I decided to sport for the day since it is one of my all time favorite movies. Upon entering the Pennsylvania Convention Center, even more compliments flooded in, people calling me Marty McFly and some even asking to take photos with me.

Having a four-day-pass, I took this day to prepare and scout out what I wanted to dedicate my time to. I redeemed all my photo ops and autograph tickets for the smaller official passes, as well as picked up a few of the gifts that came with VIP admission.

I walked around the show room a few times just browsing and seeing what kind of exhibitors were there this year. A few that stood out to me included a table full of vinyl painted with images like Jack Skellington, Betty Boop, and Invader Zim, a table selling prop replica kits that require assembly and painting, and a table selling functional prop replicas such as “The Handbook for the Recently Deceased” from “Beetlejuice”.

I also donated to the Michael J. Fox Fund for Parkinson’s Research by taking a picture with a replica Delorean. The car is real and has been driven by Christopher Lloyd on several occasions while touring for Team Fox.

In comparison to the New York Comic Con, this event provided a different, but still exciting experience. While the crowd was full of the same great people, all passionate about their favorite movies, television shows, anime, and more, the event seemed less crowded than NYCC. This allowed fans to easily get around, and gave everyone quick access to activities. I was even able to walk up to a PlayStation 4 console and play Namco’s Pacman without having to wait. Definitely something that would never happen at New York Comic Con.

Day 2

Celebrity guests began to arrive today. In attendance were Christopher Lloyd and Bob Gale, both celebrating “Back to the Future.” I was fortunate enough to meet the both of them.

So what is a celebrity like when meeting them? When I was in a line that wrapped around several poles with probably two hundred people in it to get Christopher Lloyd’s autograph, I thought he was just signing and moving on. With a line like that, I didn’t expect him to take long at all with a single person. To my surprise, when I got closer, I saw that fans were taking pictures with him, as well as exchanging a few words with him. One particular girl, no older than ten years old, said something that I didn’t catch to him, and he responded with “Great Scott!” in a voice that replicated his role in the film perfectly.

Upon meeting him, he shook my hand let me take a quick picture with him. Bob Gale was even more personable, actually posing for a photo and asking for my name to dedicate his signature to.

The day continued with more fans than the previous day, all excited for their own autograph sessions and photo ops.

There’s no way to really describe what the crowd at a comic con is like. When we’re in line for an event, everyone shares a similar interest. When a celebrity is late, nobody actually complains, which is interesting. In fact, people just joke about how they can make us sit there waiting all day just because they hold that power in their hands. Even better about the fans is how willing we are to give up a spot in line.

When a ticket holder in line has another conflicting ticket, they go to a staff member who then asks someone in the front of the line if they may go ahead of them. Hardly ever is there a time when a fan says no. At a place like comic con, everyone understands that there are time schedules and sometimes events overlap. That’s what makes a place like this so interesting.

Days 3&4

My last two days of Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia was magical. Conventions like these provide opportunities not only for fans to meet other fans, but to also meet the actors and actresses from their favorite movies and television shows. I am one of the luckiest people to be able to say I met my favorite actor, Michael J. Fox.

This was only Fox’s second comic con, the first being earlier this year. I would like to give him a lot of credit for his efforts. Fox had a short-lived acting career, mostly famous for the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Doc Hollywood”, “Teen Wolf”, and “Family Ties”.

In 1992, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but did not tell the public about it until 1997.  Fox had to leave his television show “Spin City” because the disease was becoming more and more noticeable on screen. While his acting career was put on hold, he started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

To date he has raised over 500 million dollars for stem cell research, but not without the help of longtime friend and fellow Parkinson’s patient, Mohammad Ali. On Saturday, the news of Ali’s passing was everywhere, and I personally wondered if Fox would continue with his appearance.

He did not disappoint, however, and got to every single fan that purchased a ticket to meet him. For me, it was the greatest time in my life, and because I was wearing a shirt purchased off of his foundation’s website, he complimented my shirt which was more conversation than most people received.

The rest of the weekend went just as planned, with an autograph session with Lea Thompson and a photo op with Christopher Lloyd. Just as the others, Thompson was very kind, personalizing my autograph and allowing me to take a photo. Lloyd was just as kind the second time around, embracing me for the photo as well as greeting me.

It is amazing how these celebrities don’t need to do events like comic con for their fans, but they do and they give the guests such an amazing time. Everyone I met was absolutely amazing and I am forever grateful for the opportunities provided to me. 

In four days, I met people who knew more about "Back to the Future" than I did, and those who shared the same passion as I do. This just shows how great comic con is for fans to interact and meet each other. The crowd was absolutely fantastic and it's one of the best environments to walk around in without the fear of being judged. Another successful comic con over, and I can't wait for the next one!

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