(Metagame Archive) The Wizard World Los Angeles Experience

By Mary Van Tyne

You spend weeks playtesting your deck and trying it out against every single possible matchup. You spend too much money on a flight from your hometown to Los Angeles, and when you get there, it takes you five freeways and several side streets to find your hotel. The convention center is massive and hard to navigate, and since you didn’t get much sleep the night before, you don’t do so well at the tournament. Your record of 6-4 leaves you a little depressed.

Well, cheer up, tiger, because Wizard World Los Angeles isn’t just about playing Vs. System. If you go down to the convention hall, you’ll find all sorts of great things to see and do.

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into the exhibit hall is the Hulk at the Marvel Comics booth. He says, “You won’t like me when I’m angry!” but the swarm of fans around the booth prove otherwise, as they seem to like the Hulk pretty much all the time. If you’re a Marvel Comics fan, you can get your comic books signed by popular Marvel Comics artists like Skottie Young, Danny Miki, and Mike Mayhew.


You may have heard of Vivendi Universal as the owners of a little software company called Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard’s team has created some of the most universally enjoyed video games of all time, such as Starcraft and World of Warcraft. Vivendi’s booth is promoting their new game Red Ninja: End of Honor. You can try out a demo of Red Ninja after you check out their Ninja-themed racecar.


Of course, a comic book convention wouldn’t be complete without comic-book themed stuff. After the release of Galactus at game conventions last year, WizKids brings fans a new, extra-large figure to collect and play with. This new figure is Dark Phoenix. Now we can finally settle the question of, “Who would win in a fight?”


There are also several hundred different kinds of collectibles to satisfy the hardcore collector. This stylish bust of Professor X would look pretty cool on your mantelpiece, or you could bring it to the next tournament to intimidate your opponent with the Professor’s psychic powers. It’s only $45.00, and you can get your own at the Diamond Comics booth.


Perhaps you’re interested in history. If so, you need to check out the Century Guild booth. They claim to have “the finest art of three centuries,” and they aren’t kidding. There are original prints by Alphonse Mucha and several other Art Deco artists. “This is the root of comic book art,” Gail Potocki, the booth proprietor, told me. She paints art in a similar style to the antique art shown here. Check out the Century Guild’s website and purchase some great art for your walls.

 Speaking of the roots of comic book art, the Creative Interests Agency has that covered. Rich, Dan, and Steve Donnelly are three brothers who collect and work with original pieces of comic book art. Do you ever wonder how your favorite character looks so stunning on the cover of that comic book? Artists get a concept from the art department, then draw the art in pencils. Inkers go over the art, and color directions are added. Check out how this original Moon Knight cover art contrasts with the finished and printed comic book.

Spider-Man meets Thor in this page from the Spider-Man Annual from 1966. Notice the artist’s signature at the top of the page. Though John Ramita drew this page, Steve assured me that the lettering was done in the style of Stan Lee’s original comics. You can check out thousands of pages of original comic book artwork at the Donnellys’ website.


Another great thing about conventions is the opportunity to get things signed by famous comic artists. Phil Noto appeared at the Wizard booth on Sunday afternoon, and he was gracious enough to draw a sketch of everyone’s favorite Superman. You might have seen Phil’s work on such Vs. System cards as Tim Drake ◊ Robin, Young Detective, Poison Ivy, and Barbara Gordon ◊ Batgirl.

A sketch like this makes me wish I had a notebook with unlined paper. If you get the chance, grab a notebook and go around a convention asking the artists for sketches. You may have to wait in some long lines, but the book you’ll end up with will be completely worth the wait. Try this at the next game convention you attend!

If you’ve got a taste for spandex and capes, you can dress up as your favorite superhero. Robert from Livermore was the most striking Boy Wonder seen all weekend. “I’m Tim Drake,” he said, “the good Robin!” Batman and the Green Lantern were also spotted on the convention floor, but declined to provide their names. Guess we’ll just call them Bruce Wayne and Hal Jordan.


A game convention is also a great place to meet your friends, and to make new ones. After you partake in all that Wizard World Los Angeles has to offer, it’s important to take time out to spend time with your friends. Matt Tabak and Chris Wong demonstrate the importance of friendship to me in this final photo.

Now that you’ve seen all the great things to do at a Wizard World game convention, brush up on your skills and join us at an upcoming $10K Championship tournament! We’d love to see you there!


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