Wizard World 2017 Brings Pop Culture to Life

Wizard World Comic Con: where pop culture comes to life.

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(NEW ORLEANS, La.) — Wizard World produces pop culture conventions all across America, and the one in New Orleans was held the weekend of Jan. 6, 2016. Being a connoisseur of all things geek, I could not let myself fail to attend this year’s convention.

A tribute to Carrie Fisher was signed by attendees as they entered the hall (Photo from Wizard World Facebook)

The con took up all 103,365 square feet of Hall D in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and that isn’t even counting the lobby and the panel rooms on the second floor. The attendees even had to share the food court with some volleyball players who were having a tournament in the next hall over.

The line just to get into the hall extends all the way back to the food court.

I was invited to go to Wizard World with my brother and some of his friends. The only ones that had been before were myself and one other. We knew the joy of Wizard World, but we also knew the dangers. To the untrained eye, a comic convention can seem like a hurricane of maze-like aisles, creepy costumes, and body odor.

But even before all of that, there were the lines outside in the lobby. Thankfully, I bought tickets online, but the longest line was of people waiting to get in. People were lined up all the way into the food court to get their bags checked, and finally enter the hall.

Cosplayers dressed as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell perform an outstanding balancing act for the crowd.

The very first thing I saw going in was a big stage with lights and music playing around different performers who had signed up for a talent show of sorts. There was a blade-dancer, a stand-up comedian, a belly-dancer, and more.

Past that were the merchant’s booths, also known as the wallet graveyard. Rows and shelves of merch from all manner of comics, anime, games, and movies enveloped the first half of the hall. These booths were closely packed, and the traffic of people going to and fro made it hard to remember if I had been down this aisle before. It was the second of the three days this con was going on, so the sought-out, rare collectables had already been snatched up. But, there was still much to see.

Some comic book fans shuffle through the thousands of issues being sold at one booth.

In the middle of the hall were the special guests and celebrity appearances. Anyone could go up and meet a star at their designated booth, but there was almost always a price to pay for a picture or autograph. Naturally, the bigger the reputation of the celebrity, the more I was going to have to pay for a picture.

Past that was Artist Alley, a few aisles dedicated to featured artists that have worked on big-name pieces, as well as independent artists displaying and selling their work. Most of the artists featured prints of their paintings, but there were also some who displayed clothing, jewelry, metal-works, and even glassblowing pieces.

An artist attracts attendees with his painted renditions of famous pop culture icons.

Finally, in the very back, was the gaming section. There was a small stage showcasing tournaments in 1 vs. 1 fighting games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Killer Instinct. There was also a big section of gaming stations where anyone could play. It was here where I showed a couple of kids who was boss at Super Smash Bros.

I was in the hall for a long time, but didn’t end up buying anything. During that time, I had a lot of fun with my brother exploring and adventuring the convention hall. This year’s con was definitely worth the visit, and it was a Saturday well spent.

A group of attendees spectates a Street Fighter V tournament.
A group of attendees spectates a Street Fighter V tournament.

(All photos by Blake Franklin, except where noted.)



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