Fan Expo Philadelphia (formerly Wizard World Philadelphia) kicked off their debut show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from April 8-10, 2022 for three full days of celebrity meet & greets, a world-class Artist Alley, and topnotch exhibitors! True to its name, Fan Expo caters to the fans with all things geeky, sci-fi, and pop culture with interactive experiences, programming, sponsored giveaways, and more! Here’s what happened over the weekend and be sure to check out our photo gallery and video recap at the end of the article!
Between the celebrities, voice actors, and featured comic book creators, we’re talking about over 100 guests at the very first Fan Expo Philadelphia. Some of this year’s guests included: David Tennant, William Shatner, Ron Perlman, Ming-Na Wen, Carl Weathers, Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes, Ashley Eckstein, and a mini Clerks reunion!
Fans had the opportunity to line up to meet their favorite celebrities for autographs and, in some cases, tableside photo ops (with separate professional photo ops available) but a great way to get to know them was by attending one of the Q&A panels throughout the weekend (above: voice actor Billy West interacts with some fans)! And while all the guests had their own selection of prints & photos to be signed, you of course have the option to scour the Show Floor and Artist Alley for something unique and special:
Aisles and aisles of exhibitors were showcasing their specialty wares like art prints, etched wood, Lego mini figures, 3D printed sculptures, Pokemon cards, Funko Pops, and even mystery boxes. It isn’t uncommon to find something last-minute to get signed by one of the many guests at the convention so always keep your eyes peeled! And it wouldn’t be a Fan Expo event without the plethora of comic books:
Not only were there boxes and boxes of back issues for sale, but wall-to-wall key issues, graded slabs, hard-to-find exclusives (hello, Unknown Comic Books & Zenescope), and signed books too! And with the impressive Artist Alley represented at the con, chances are that you were able to get a good number of them signed by some of the creators who worked on them, like: Greg Capullo, Frank Cho, Kael Ngu, Marc Silvestri, Michael Golden, Ryan Stegman, Donny Cates, and hundreds of other mainstream & indie creators.
Above: Greg Capullo greets fans and signs comic books & prints
CGC Signature Series Witnessing facilitators were also present to help you submit signed books for grading & encapsulation. Whether you go with Captured Collectibles, Agents of Slabs, or Comic Sketch Art, you’ll be in good hands! We were able to submit a few books ourselves while at the show: a sketch cover by Celtis, a couple of books by Nik Virella, and a comic by Anthony Spay… Plus so many other creators we met along the way: Chris Campana, Ben Harvey, Isaac Goodhart, and George Vega.
As previously mentioned, Fan Expo has many ways to make fans feel at home and it was amazing to see a Cosplay Red Carpet (above) with no judges, no competition, no elimination: just fans enjoying cosplay and sharing it with other fans! And believe me, you’re going to see some of the best cosplay all weekend long! Plus with other fan experiences like a Doctor Strange green screen booth, Harry Potter scavenger hunt, Esports tournaments, and the official Fan Expo Karaoke, you’ll want to keep your camera handy at all times.
The first Fan Expo Philadelphia was an unforgettable event and if you’ve been looking for a convention in the area that’s all-encompassing, whether you’re into comic books or video games, this is the one for you! Walk around, get a little lost, and immerse yourself in the headquarters for all fandoms: the next Fan Expo Philadelphia is scheduled for June 2-4, 2023 but in the meantime… here are some more photos as well as a quick video recap: