Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
June 13 - June 16 | Table Cost: $375
https://wizardworld.com/comiccon/philadelphia
(5 votes)
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WW is backsliding again
I’ve done this show every year for 5+ years now. Wizard World has certainly had it’s ups and downs during that time, but it is definitely on a downswing yet again. Last year was my highest grossing show ever. This year was my lowest grossing show with WW ever. Attendance has serious dropped off - which I think was in large part due to the celebrity guests they had. The guys from Cheers and some people from Once Upon a Time. No comic book guests (actors or artists) at all and they are usually the biggest draws. The attendance was obviously way down from last year and this was the emptiest I have seen it in years. People still attended, just no where near in the numbers they have in the past. When you’ve been doing this con for years, it becomes painfully obvious when attendance has dropped.

This year also drew people into the con who don’t normally attend. People who wanted the autograph of, say, Ted Dansen aren’t typically the people who frequent a con like this. I ran into many first time attendees who balked at the cost of a $3 keychain (seriously) or a $30 handmade plushie. People came in, got their autographs or photo ops, and left. Many of my regulars who visit me at this convention did not attend this year due to the lack of celebrity guests or comic book artists. It was a different crowd of people and you could tell.

Thursday was abysmally slow, Friday was ok, Saturday was ok, and Sunday was the slowest Sunday I have ever been through. I was lucky enough to make a profit still (though my profit was waaaay down from last year) but there were plenty who did not.

The organization of the con and the communication from WW leading up to it was horrible. It was near impossible to get a response to an email heading into the show. At the con, getting checked in was slow and it was discouraging how many empty artist alley tables there were. Several sections were dismantled and put awa because not enough artists signed up and any other open tables were like a free-for-all with artists claiming those in addition to the booth space they paid for. Some very greedily took two and three additional spaces to put their stuff on. But, when tables cost $400+ you can see why people would clamber for more.

The nice thing about this con is its location as well as how close it is to Reading Terminal Market. It is easy to find good food around the convention center!

Honestly, I’m not sure if I will buy an artist alley space next year. I am so discouraged by how this convention went and I’ve lost a lot of faith in this company (and I’ve been losing that for years). Between the high cost to attend and the low profit relative to previous years and the amount of effort I have to put in, I’m thinking I will schedule to do some other shows instead.
June 16, 2019, 5:33 pm
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A great time!
I made a sizable profit at this show. They were very organized and even gave us breakfast! Four days is a real commitment but it was worth it. The only negative was parking is super expensive in Philadelphia if you want to park close. And they encourage making special items for the show. I printed a limited edition of my comic with the Wizard World logo on it and the collectors loved it! They sold out quick because they were featured in the Wizard World magazine. Great work by WW!
February 11, 2019, 11:21 am
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Getting Better Each Year
This is my 4th overall Wizard World Philadelphia and this year was my highest grossing show ever. There was a lot of attendance and a lot of very engaged customers and I had a pleasant convention experience. WW typically drops the ball on communication and organization, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were pretty on point this year. I had no trouble contacting a staff member for help and getting signed it was a breeze (neither of these were true in previous years). I believe it was Heather who provided me with the most assistance and she was fantastic! Definitely a great communicator - which is a welcome change from previous staffers that were inaccessible or just plain disinterested in helping anyone. The company has faced a lot of trouble and uncertainty in recent times, however, they seem to be trying to get themselves back on the right track and I’d say they are making some good progress.

I do think WW is making a lot of positive changes within their organization and that will be a boon for the future if they stay this course. Of course, there were some negatives to the show though. I absolutely hated the layout and I am disappointed to hear they are using the same layout for next year. Artist Alley is alllll the way in the back of the venue and the space they rented was smaller than in previous years. However, the number of vendors they took were not, so things were very cramped and the show floor got quite congested at times. Yes, I made my best profit ever at this show, but I still wound up with a pretty significant number of people who were completely out of cash to spend by the time they got to me and that is understandable due to the high cost to enter, the autographs/photo ops, and all the vendors people have to walk through to get to you.

The cost to purchase a table is still exorbitant at $425 minimum - making it one of the most expensive shows in the industry. However, despite that, I still have a great time at the show, met some great people, made a fantastic profit, and (for once) have very little to complain about with their staff. I think they are headed in th right direction. Granted, not every artist I talked to did well for the weekend, but others did fantastic too. If you are an established artist with some comic con experience under your belt, I do encourage you to attend. If you’re a newbie, I’d definitely recommend starting at a smaller convention fist before jumping into a huge commitment like this.
July 26, 2018, 6:01 pm
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Not great for artists
We went to this only once, they had some huge name stars, including big Dr.Who and DC tv stars, but it was expensive and we barely made table fees. They put artists at the farthest back section, so attendees walked through almost 2 city blocks of resale vendors before reaching the artist alley area. The only reason most attendees walked past at all was for the photoshoots behind the artist alley area, where they waited in line for hours and spent up to $850 for a shoot, then went past in the way out saying “I am soooo broke”.... there is zero affordable nearby parking, we literally drove back to our air bnb and ubered in & out rather than pay the exhorbitant local lot fees. Loading in and out was confusing, we wound up dragging our whole booth across the ENTIRE convention center trying to load in & out because no one could clearly explain to us where the loading dock was at first then we were told the wait for the dick was hours long. Worst con experience we’ve ever had, and we’ve done some clunkers! We were also put next to an “artist” selling very poorly done porn of DC characters. Like, I have seen high schoolers do better, and this guy didn’t even sit at his table for 50% of the show! Not to mention most passers-by glanced at his awful softcore garbage art and averted their eyes to rush away giggling, so we were passed by as a result. They apparently let ANYONE sell ANYTHING in the artist alley section, no quality standards at all. So unless you are a reseller I would skip it.
July 18, 2018, 12:04 pm
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Fun in most respects
Overall, this convention is a ton of fun! You meet lots of great people there and I have always found it to be very profitable for artists. The layout seems to shift a little each year, but this year, I loved having artist alley near the celebrities. People had to walk through AA to get to the celebs and that made for great foot traffic. I loved the concept of "Artisan Alley" which was a special few rows dedicated to artists who do not solely make 2D art. Granted, some of the other artists I spoke to did not seem to be doing well with sales, but I think every con has its ups and downs depending on what you're selling.

I love the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It's in a great location and the building is massive. Definitely stop at Reading Terminal Market for lunch! As for the layout itself, I loved the extra wide aisles that made it so much easier for people to move. This was much better than the more cramped spaces of years past.

However, the Wizard World staff put a damper on the entire convention experience. I found that staff were oftentimes unhelpful. I'd ask a question (such as where to go to get your badge) and I'd be passed off to different staff members who had no idea what to do. Your table is supposed to come with 2 chairs, a trash can, and a sign, but that almost never happens. I had two chairs but no trash can and, no matter how many times I asked for one, I never got one. They give you a number to text if you have questions or problems, but it's rather useless since they do not answer. This year was especially chaotic as they had many new staffers. Artist Alley had no signage for aisles, so finding your own table on the first day was near impossible and staff were entirely unsure as to where aisles began or ended.

Minus all of that, there is a high degree of buyer engagement and sales were good. I got to chat with a lot of great customers and other artists. That in and of itself made the experience infinitely better and negated all of my irritations with the staff.
December 30, 2016, 3:24 pm
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