Pop culture buffs will once again reunite this weekend with Wizard World’s 14th annual Philadelphia Comic Con at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
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This year’s event will feature several first time guests, including David Boreanaz (“Angel,” “Bones”), Whoopi Goldberg (‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Ghost”), Anthony Mackie (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”).
Jerry Milani, spokesman for Wizard World, notes the diversity of the programs offered at Comic Con.
“It’s called Comic Con but it’s more than just comics and sci-fi,” Milani said. “Our show is everything [from] movies and television [to] art and popular fiction and all that encompasses the world of pop culture.”
Milani went on to describe how there is “something for everyone” at Comic Con. To describe it, Milani relates the possible experience of a Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”) fan.
“They are coming to the show because they want to meet Lou Ferrigno and on their way walking in to get to Lou, they see an artist who draws 'Hulk’ things,” he said, “and then they’ll turn to the other side and see an exhibitor who has some merchandise that’s ‘Hulk’ that they’ve never seen before.”
This year’s Comic Con also marks several innovations with the expansion to nine different show rooms and the inclusion of Awesome Fest, a film festival programming board based in Philadelphia.
“The one element we saw that was missing [from Comic Con] was an actual film festival,” said Josh Goldbloom, founder of Awesome Fest. “It just seemed like it would be a great fit for us to take our style of programming and add this to that convention space.”
The Awesome Fest portion of Comic Con will showcase films and Q&A sessions with several notable names. Films shown range from a 30th anniversary celebration of “The Karate Kid” to the premiere of “To Be Takei,” a documentary following the journey of “Star Trek” star George Takei.
Awesome Fest panelists include ‘Karate Kid” stars Ralph Macchio and Daniel Kove, Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown of the “Back to the Future” trilogy, Uncle Fester of “The Addams Family” films) and John Carpenter (director of “Halloween” and “The Thing”).
“You’ve got just about every nerd topic covered,” Goldbloom said.
The Philadelphia Comic Con is only the first convention Awesome Fest will participate in this year. After the Philadelphia convention, the festival will travel to Chicago Comic Con from Aug. 21-24. Goldbloom said the end goal is for Awesome Fest to travel throughout the country.
“We’re going to give it our best in Philadelphia,” Goldbloom said. “We’re going to take it to Chicago and hopefully, the sky’s the limit for what we can do.”
If you go
Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con
Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, noon to 2 a.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pennsylvania Convention Center
One Convention Center Place, 1101 Arch Street
For more information, visit www.wizardworld.com
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