Episode 29-Wizard World Comic Con
What a fun day meandering among some interesting characters and bearded folk! I meet some of the most interesting people at these types of events, I guess that is why I try to go to as many as I can and meet the people! Wizard World Comic Con came to Cleveland March 17th-19th for it’s third appearance at the Cleveland Convention Center. There were a ton of comic, sci-fi, role-playing, pop-culture, and bearded fans in attendance-it truly was a sight to see. I went down Saturday afternoon with no expectations of what type of time I was going to have, I just wanted to slowly walk around and take it all in. There was a lot to take in from artists, content creators, costumed role players, comics, celebrities, games, books, toys, and just great people!
Like I said, I wanted to take my time and just slowly take it all in. There is so much to investigate and absorb at an event this large. I wasn’t able to take a lot in a few years ago when I went with my friend Bald Faced Josh and his daughter, and The Child. The kids were ready to go after 30 minutes and Josh and I couldn’t really check out all the greatness that Wizard World Comic Con had to offer. This time I was going to take advantage of going solo and take my sweet time and check out what I wanted to see!!! I wasn’t there to find anything specific, other than interesting bearded or mustached folk to chat with, but I found myself really drawn to the artists and illustrators this year. There were so many great ones on site, so much eye candy and talent. Though I was there to check out everything my main goal was to search out interesting people to converse with. One may ask how I may find someone interesting to talk to just by looking around. I say to them, “I am The Beardcaster, I search for the great beards, and behind those great beards are the interesting people I seek!!!”
The first beard I stumbled upon was my good friend Joshua Jenniges. You may remember him from episode 2 of The Beardcaster. One of the most amazing artists I have ever met, Josh is just one of those kind souls whose red beard pulls you in for friendship. He was there with his fiancé, Lydia, to help find some inspiration for work and for his personal growth. As the two of them walked around Josh ran across an artist by the name Mark Kistler, who had a PBS show called, "The Secret City", when he was a child. Josh told me that he was a real inspiration to him growing up and that he was part of why he became an artist. Make sure you listen to the podcast to hear that whole conversation!
The next bearded gentleman I ran across was a Alex Demko and his fiancé Bridget. It was good to see this bearded man who I have known for a coons age, as they say. Alex has recently embraced the bearded lifestyle and is currently sporting his longest beard I have ever known him to have. They were there to enjoy the sights and see what was going on in the world of Sci-Fi. Bridget was dressed in a classic Federation dress, which she wore very well! We talked about the different Star Treks that have been around and the re-boot series and which were our favorites. The discussion took a turn when I asked about her favorite bearded Trek character. This lead us into Lando and Chewbacca and their facial hair. She was an interesting one to talk to but it took her bearded man to help me find her fascinating story...
The highlight of my afternoon took place shortly after my discussion with Alex. I was slowly strolling down an isle when my eyes were drawn to something incredable, as if being called synchronistically by a strange force. I couldn't believe what my eyes brought forth, something so magical, so mysterious, so perfect. I almost didn't believe my eyes as they rest upon a table with a comic book laying on it titled Beardo. The magic didn't end there. As I scanned the table and let out an exclamation of shock, our eyes met. I hear the author, Dan Dougherty, say something along the lines of “WOW!” and the next thing you know…we are instantly friends!!!! There were two beards guys standing at a booth with a comic all about a bearded guy and the struggles of his life and how he copes and gets through each day, smiling ear to ear; we found each other. This was honestly a very surreal moment for me as I felt that this was some weird cosmic moment laid in my lap telling me I was on the right path. Dan had such charisma and his nice tight beard had me “Hello”. We spoke for awhile as the booth next to his just laughed that we were going nuts over the fact that we “found each other!” and we couldn't believe the coincidence and the fact I have never ran across his comic on-line. We had a great conversation and I purchased a copy of his Beardo comics which he so graciously signed and made a character of The Beardcaster!
Touching Evil- http://www.beardocomics.com/touching-evil
The next person I ran into was a fella by the name of Steve Goetz. He was an easy grab, his large beard drew my eyes from afar, but as he got closer I knew this was the guys I needed to be talking to! He was wearing a Stranger Things t-shirt and a Machine Head beanie, a favorite show, and a favorite band of mine. I knew we would hit it off and have good conversation just because of his beard, hat , and shirt. We talked about him meeting Millie Bobbie Brown, "Eleven" from the ground breaking Netflix series "Stranger Things" and he showed me the picture he got with her. We speculated if she may have a beard in season two which is slated to premiere this October. Our conversation turned from Wizard World to Machine Head and our thoughts on the band and both our personal interactions. I tried to convince Steve that he needed to find the world of competitive bearding but he seemed a little reluctant. I assured him that he would be a welcome part of our family and he would defiantly bring good nature and possible winnings if he competed! I asked what his inspiration was for growing this great beard. I was caught off guard by his answer, it was an inspiration I had yet to hear from talking to someone when asking about why they grew. I guess you are going to have to listen to the podcast to hear what his answer was!!! ...I'm such a dick!!!
I walked by Andrew Heaths booth a few times before I mustered the confidence to talk to him about his artwork. Intimidating it was for both of us to meet I could tell, his artistic vision and his prints blew me away, something I just don't have! Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, Andrew has used his skills to make a career as a designer and illustrator and had some great examples of his screen printed art on display. Pulling many ideas from pop-culture there were recognizable images that we all could relate to from Dr. Who to Bob's Burgers and Star Wars to Star Trek. Check out Andrews designs by going to his website-I can almost bet you will find something you would like!
My last guest this episode is a man named Jerry Milani who works for the Wizard World Comic Con organization. I asked him some questions about how they got this massive monster of a traveling pop-culture convention going. We talked about some of the great celebrity guests they have booked and how they are trying to book more of a variety to expand the draw for these various Wizard World events. He told me about the involvement of Gene Simmons this year and how excited they are to expand this pop-culture fest by incorporating a music element into the mix. Though Jerry is a proud "bald faced" mortal, I had fun talking with him and he was a great source of information about Wizard World Comic Con! To hear more about what he said check out the podcast. Keep your eyes peeled for me at next years Wizard Con, come and find me and we will chat!!!
This year was by far more magical for me at the Wizard World Comic Con. I was able to see more and experience it like it should be. Take your time to take in the sights and absorb everything that is there. There is something for everyone and it is a place to be something special. It is a place you can be a superhero for the day, a real princess, or a galactic bounty hunter in search of a bearded guy to collect a handsome reward for. Wizard World is more than a traditional comic and pop-culture convention, it is an expression for many and a place to find a "family" and be a part of a community.
Here are some more fun pictures from Wizard World-
music provided by:
What kind of content do you want to hear? What do you want to know about? I am looking for ideas for things that are important to you. Do you want more beard care information? Do yo want more interviews with the more known and popular people in the scene? Do you want more shows where I go to events YOU are interested in and talk to the people that attend? Do you want more personal adventures covering aspects of my bearding adventure and how I got to where I am? What interests YOU and let me try and give you something you want to hear! Email your thoughts and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently did a blog post/music review. The band, French Donkey, the album-Make Gold, check out link to the blog here and make sure to stick around till the end of the show to check a song out from this release. Loved the album so check it out!!!- Blog post review can be found HERE