The Wizard Toronto Comic-Con must have been a blazing success, because as this widely circulated pull quote indicates, Wizard con organizer Gareb Shamus is planning to ramp up his show schedule even more:

…Gareb Shamus, the CEO of Wizard, said Monday that the reach and duration of the 12-city schedule is alluring to publishers, studios and game makers who might get lost in the din of the San Diego scene.

“We want to create an atmosphere that’s different than San Diego, one that has real access to the stars and is about celebrating these characters in many media, which includes Hollywood films but goes well beyond that,” Shamus said. “San Diego has done a spectacular job. It took them 40 years to build it up to what it is. But there’s other ways of doing things, and people are responding to that. We have 12 shows that we started or bought, and next year we expect it to be 20 to 25. There’s a lot more coming.”

Just where those 8-13 extra shows might go is open to question — Wizard’s schedule is currently big in the Midwest and East with only the Anaheim Comic-Con next weekend representing the West Coast. And as the article quoted above shows, the concept of “comic-con” is getting to be a popular activity with many different groups, not just comics fans, so a tour isn’t necessarily impossible.

Speaking of Anaheim, this story previews attendance for the upcoming show:

Already, the Anaheim convention has lined up more than 150 special guests, ranging from reality-show stars and 70s T.V. actresses to pop singers and sci-fi heroes. But the most-established Wizard event in Chicago for the 15 years had about 100 television and movie stars, Shamus said. Wizard is still adding more stars to its Anaheim convention every day. Organizers are unsure exactly how many attendants will show up. The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau is expecting between 8,000 and 10,000 convention goers, while Wizard projects an attendance of up to 30,000. “We are getting a tremendous response to the event,” Shamus said. “Not only from celebrities, but from our fans.”

No matter who’s right, it’s a great preview for the proposed move to Anaheim for San Diego. Where will people eat? Where will they sleep? Where will they pee and put on their armor?

So who’s going to Anaheim? We’re looking for on site reports!


  1. I’ll be there with a table in Artist’s Alley. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever exhibited at a Wizard World convention and I’m very curious what sort of reception I receive there. After participating through 40 years of SDCCI, you can bet I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open to report on WW as well as the Anaheim venue.

  2. I’ve been going back and forth on this one since they announced it. I mean, one one hand, it’s literally 15 minutes away, but on the other, I just got back from WonderCon!

    The thing that’s got me leaning toward going at this point is the fact that Anaheim is bidding for CCI. I’ve only been to the Anaheim Convention Center once since it was remodeled almost(?) a decade ago, and I was fighting through a summer cold and the haze of DayQuil at the time. So, really, I’m more curious about the convention center than the convention itself.

  3. The Anaheim Convention Center is NEVER going to get Comicon International. It’s a pipe dream, and there is no telling what was in the pipe. Comicon will stay in San Diego for at least the next decade, and probably more.

  4. I predict attendance will be in the neighborhood of 25,000. Do I have any inside information? No, but the person who will be reporting the attendance is the one who owns the show.

    Wizard cons may very well expand in the next year. Shameless has conne-, er, excuse me, convinced someone with big money to get involved with his cons. As long as that money lasts, Wizard cons will expand.

  5. You know… there are a lot of major cities with a lot of nearby population and available convention center space…

    Growing up in Omaha, I used to salivate over the Marvel Mart ads showcasing conventions held elsewhere. If we were lucky, the local shopping center held a collectibles show once a year, and the SF Con would bring in a writer or artist.

    It would not be difficult to turn a Con into a travelling event. Advance teams set up the venues, another team preps the site, another runs the show. 40-50 dates a year (schedule shows far away from the Majors, avoid Christmas season). Offer bulk rates to exhibitors, artists, retailers (the more shows, the cheaper the rate). Partner with a retailer so that they anchor EVERY show (a moving warehouse). Movie studios could send lower-level staff to do sneak peeks, celebs for bigger shows. Start with hotels, then grow into convention centers if necessary. Locale not profitable? Make that city biennial.

    I always marvel that Houston, the fourth most populated city in the country, has almost no tourist identity. No conventions, little tourist trade, but lots of people, and easy to get to. (Heh… call the show “Oil Con” and make the Tin (Woodsman) Cowboy the mascot.)

    Criteria: How many people live within two hours of the locale? (Small town residents will make a day of the show, like going to the State Fair.) Have there been science fiction conventions nearby in the last decade? How many college and high school students live in the MSA? Does the locale have Geek Cred? (Houston=NASA) Any favorite sons? (Omaha has Jamie King and Nick Nolte) Industry connections? Sports teams? A rabid fan base of some sort?

    Think of it as a “fifty state initiative”. Local fans get an extra thrill when their city or state is mentioned in a comic book like The Initiative, or the hero is from some mythological town like Blue Valley, Nebraska. The lokels are not as jaded as us Big City Sophisticates…you bring Hollywood to them, they’ll come to you, excited, with money.

  6. I live in L.A. and haven’t read anything about an Anaheim show next week. Let’s hope they’ve done a better job of getting the word out in Orange County…

  7. I went to the Anaheim Comic Con and had a blast. It was seriously a fun time with way more access than the San Diego event (a lot cheaper too)!

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