Philadelphia Comic Con 2012 begins tonight

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Wizard World’s Philadelphia Comic Con 2012 kicks off this evening with a special preview night and runs though Sunday, June 3rd at the Philadelphia Convention Center. While the show still is still heavy on celebrity appearances ranging from science fiction television and professional wrestling superstars to Deal or No Deal suitcase models, the organizers continue to raise the bar for comic book creators in attendance. The biggest comics name for 2012 is easily Stan Lee who will joins the likes of Marvel Studios’ Thor, Chris Hemsworth, WWE Champion C.M. Punk and Star Trek’s “Five Captains” in Philadelphia this weekend.

We went out of our way to meet Stan Lee at last year’s Baltimore Comic Con and it’s nice to see him in attendance at another East Coast show. Stan’s signing and photo appearances have increased in recent years, and if he’s a creator you have any interest in meeting it’s never been easier. Autographs and photo ops carry a heavy price tag at $200 (as they do for other “VIP packages” guaranteeing a chance to meet a marquee guest) and Lee’s “meet and greet” sessions are only scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

It was a thrill to meet Stan Lee last Summer, but other exciting comics names on this year’s Philadelphia guest list are legendary artists Neal Adams and George Perez. Adams appears at many shows and conventions while Perez’s schedule tends to be a bit more limited, but their appearance at Wizard’s Philadelphia offering speaks to a genuine effort to make comic books a focus. They’re exactly the type of guests comics vendors have wished for in previous years, and their inclusion could be a direct consequence of the change in leadership at Wizard. They’ll be joined by other comics creators that are doing amazing work currently like Batman‘s Greg CapulloNew Avengers‘ Mike Deodato, Jr.

We talk a lot about wrestling every week here on MLD, and I was happy to see that the regular roster of professional wrestlers at Philadelphia Comic Con has been shaken up a bit for this year’s show. I’m a big fan C.M. Punk and he’s a comic book fan himself, so having the current WWE Champion in attendance is a real treat even if he’s only appearing on Saturday. Also appearing this year are regular’s like Ted DiBiase and “The Smoke” as well as new faces like Diamond Dallas Page, Lita, and the Bella Twins.

Once again, if you’re a Star Trek fan this looks to be a great show. I certainly enjoyed meeting Patrick Stewart two years ago, but that has more to do with his playing Charles Xavier than Jean Luc Picard. This year the show boasts “Five Captains” in attendance with Sir Patrick’s return alongside William Shatner, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula. I’m not the biggest Trek fan, but I get why this is cool even if Bakula stands out more in my mind as Chuck Bartowski’s dad than as Captain Archer.

Tickets for this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con are available for $35 per day for Friday or Sunday, and $45 for Saturday. Four-day weekend tickets that include tonight’s preview of the show floor are $80 on site and $70 in advance. We’ll have more to report here as the weekend progresses.

Read about previous Philadelphia Comic Cons on MyLatestDistraction.

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