Wizard World Des Moines Is This Weekend (5/13 – 5/15) – Here’s What You Can Expect

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Wizard World has already kicked off a great 2016 with a number of conventions so far. Their next stop? Des Moines, Iowa beginning this Friday, May 13th. The three-day con is filled with artists, creators, gaming, cosplay, comic book publishers, retailers and celebrity guests. PopCultHQ has your look at Wizard World Des Moines and what you can expect!


Chloe BennetChloe Bennet (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actress – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [Skye])

Bennet was educated in the Montessori system, where she developed a love of performing and singing. At the age of 12, she joined the Second City Youth Ensemble, where she studied acting and improv. At 15 she was discovered by a music manager who immediately signed her and arranged for her to move to China, where she lived with her paternal grandmother and began intensive Mandarin studies in Shanghai. During this time, she began making regular trips to Sweden to record with some of the same songwriters and producers behind Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, among others.

Bennet recorded and released her first single/video in China for her song, “Uh Oh.” The song and the video were shot in English and Mandarin and went on to become hugely popular in China. She has been featured in print advertising and on billboards throughout China, and was sponsored in China by Nike, Ports 1961 and Umbro. She has also been featured in fashion and lifestyle articles in Chinese Vogue, Elle, In Style, Cosmopolitan, China Daily and numerous other Chinese publications. In the summer of 2010, Bennet landed her first role as a co-host on the TeenNick television show, “The Nightlife.” She recently guest starred on ABC’s “Nashville.”

Casper CrumpCasper Crump (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actor – Legends of Tomorrow [Vandal Savage/Dr. Curtis Knox]; Arrow; The Flash)

Currently seen on the hit CW show Legends of Tomorrow as Vandal Savage, Danish actor Casper Crump got his start acting in Danish productions before making the leap to American screens.

Crump’s first film role was in the 2004 Danish production Lost Generation. The multi-generational story saw Crump cast in a small role but eventually lead to much more notable parts including a role in the Danish television drama The Protectors, the soap opera 2900 Happiness and a prominent role in the 2009 film Above the Street, Below the Water as well as an appearance in the original Danish production of the series The Killing, later to be remade in America by AMC. Crump landed the role as the villainous Vandal Savage on the CW series The Flash in 2015. Cast in anticipation of a much larger role in future DC Comics television productions, his performance was a hit with fans and lead to an appearance in the series Arrow that same year.

In 2016, Crump was featured as the lead villain in the CW’s latest superhero hit, Legends of Tomorrow. Featuring characters from various DC Comics series, brought together by time traveler Rip Hunter, the series follows the exploits of a ragtag group of heroes as they fight to stop Vandal Savage from destroying the world and undoing time itself.

WWE SashaWWE® Superstar Sasha Banks™ (Friday only)

(WWE® Superstar)

Sasha Banks’™ Friday Des Moines Schedule
5:30PM – Photo Ops – VIP’s 1st then General Admission
6:15PM – Autograph Signing – VIP’s 1st then General Admission
7:30PM – Q&A Panel

Some people are born Bosses. Others have Bossness thrust upon them. Sasha Banks is the former, although she didn’t always know it.

An independent wrestler out of Boston, Banks worked her way through various promotions before finally landing a foot in the door in WWE NXT. Eventually, the quiet but talented young woman found her voice and realized that, well, she kind of ruled. The Boss was born. Since then, Banks hasn’t looked back for a second, though she turned plenty of heads throughout her astounding rise to dominance within NXT’s ultra-competitive women’s division.

As one of Full Sail’s “Four Horsewomen,” Banks helped usher in a new era of competition that would eventually make its way to WWE’s main roster as the Divas Revolution. Joining up with Naomi and Tamina to form Team B.A.D., Sasha honed her skills by taking on some of the most talented Divas WWE has to offer, from Becky Lynch to Nikki Bella. As if cult-hero status wasn’t enough — no matter her alignment, “We Want Sasha!” chants are a given — she’s already made history only a few years into her young career as part of the first-ever women’s WWE Iron Man Match in history.

So, yeah. Sasha’s a Boss, and only further Bossness awaits.

Talent subject to change © 2016 WWE. All Rights Reserved.

WWE DeanWWE® Superstar Dean Ambrose™ (Friday only)

(WWE® Superstar)

Dean Ambrose’s™ Friday Schedule
4:30PM – Q&A Panel
5:15PM – Photo Ops – VIP’s 1st then General Admission
6:00PM – Autograph Signing – VIP’s 1st then General Admission

Dean Ambrose is a dangerous man.

The Cincinnati scrapper began his path to WWE with a fearless career on the independent scene, notable for his ability to absorb and to distribute punishment in equal measure. Through his years toiling away in obscurity, Ambrose competed in some of the most vicious environments imaginable, sacrificing his body and blood in the pursuit of inflicting as much damage on his opponent as humanly possible. Victory was incidental. What mattered to Ambrose was always his message: No one is safe.

If you thought the PG-friendly environment of WWE would be enough to contain The Lunatic Fringe, Ambrose’s brutal debut as one-third of The Shield certainly put that notion to rest in a hurry. As did his record-setting reign as U.S. Champion while he was one of the brothers in black, as well as his increasingly manic attitude after The Hounds of Justice imploded, during which Ambrose pursued rivals such as Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper with all the intensity and lack of self-preservation instincts you’d find in a rabid animal. This unpredictable nature proved virtually unstoppable and allowed Ambrose to capture the Intercontinental Title from Kevin Owens at WWE TLC in 2015.

Crazy stuff, right? Dean-o is definitely onto something, though: The WWE Universe has latched on to his mad machinations in a way few Superstars can compare with. It seems whatever twists and turns The Lunatic Fringe takes in his career, it’s only a matter of time before this inmate runs the asylum.

Talent subject to change © 2016 WWE. All Rights Reserved.

Sean MaguireSean Maguire (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actor – Once Upon a Time [Robin Hood]; Meet the Spartans [Leonidas])

Sean Maguire began acting at age five in the motion pictures VOYAGE ROUND MY FATHER with Sir Lawrence Olivier and WATERLAND with Jeremy Irons. He went on to television fame in the United Kingdom in the hit Children series, DODGEM and GRANGE HILL followed by DANGERFIELD and the hugely successful series EASTENDERS.

Immediately upon arriving in the U.S. Sean landed the title role in theTNT movie PRINCE CHARMING with Christina Applegate and Martin Short. He went on to work in the independent films, THE DUKES, THIRD WISH and L.A. BLUES before being cast in the lead role in the Fox genre comedy, MEET THE SPARTANS.

On American television Sean has had lead roles in the series OFF CENTRE created by the Weitz Brothers for the WB, EVE for UPN and last season’s comedy series THE CLASS for CBS, created by Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane (Friends).

On stage, Sean has performed in ROMEO AND JULIET as Romeo, Joe Orton’s LOOT and FUNNY ABOUT LOVE. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Shakespeare Company headed by Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks and a member of BAFTA Los Angeles.

Born in London on April 18th, Sean live is Los Angeles and keeps a home in Ilford, Essex.

RebeccaMaderRebecca Mader (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actress – Once Upon a Time [Zelena/Wicked Witch]; Lost; The Devil Wears Prada)

Rebecca worked consistently booking guest spots, then in 2006 she booked a series regular role on the Fox legal drama, Justice opposite Victor Garber and Kerr Smith. Mader’s big break came two years later when she was cast on ABC’s Lost as series regular “Charlotte Lewis.” Though the character was originally written as American, Mader convinced producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to make her British, and her eight-episode stint soon grew to 20 episodes. While “Charlotte” experienced an untimely death like so many of her island companions, Rebecca’s career continued forward at a vigorous pace with recurring roles on ABC’s No Ordinary Family from creator Greg Berlanti and Fox’s Fringe. During this time she also focused on honing her comedic chops, with fantastic comedic guest star roles on Stella, Friends with Benefits and 30 Rock. Rebecca’s dreams of working in comedy came true in 2012 when she was cast in the ABC ½ multi-comedy series, Work It. The show gave Rebecca the opportunity to showcase her charm and personality, which garnered notice by Hollywood creative’s.

Highlights of Mader’s film credits include Fox 2000’s The Devil Wears Prada, where she played fashion editor “Jocelyn” opposite Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. She followed up Prada starring as Ewan McGregor’s ex-wife in The Men Who Stare at Goats, also co-starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Bridges. In 2010, she booked the Max Winkler directed coming-of age romantic comedy, Ceremony opposite Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano and the Antonio Banderas noir mystery, The Big Bang playing meth addict “Zooey.” Most recently, she was featured in 2013’s box office hit, Iron Man 3.

Recently, Rebecca was upped to Series Regular for the 5th Season of ABC’s hit Television Drama Once Upon A Time, as the delightfully evil and compelling Wicked Witch of the West.

Robbie KayRobbie Kay (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actor – Once Upon a Time [Peter Pan]; Heroes Reborn [Tommy Clark]; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)

Robbie Kay has quickly become “one to watch” for 2016, landing some of the hottest projects in film and television today. He most recently starred in NBC’s “Heroes Reborn,” a continuation of the hit drama series “Heroes.” Kay shined in the series as ‘Tommy Clark’, a typical high school student who has been on the run with his mother for the last year due to his special powers, of which he must hide to avoid persecution in a world full of Evo-hating humans. Tommy and others with special powers fight to save the world as well as themselves and those that they love. Kay will also reprise his celebrated role as Peter Pan in ABC’s “Once Upon A Time” in 2016.

On the film front, Kay will be seen starring as Ben Redfield in the indie thriller “Cold Moon” which is based on the book “Cold Moon Over Babylon” and stars Josh Stewart, Rachele Brooke Smith and Christopher Lloyd. “Cold Moon” follows a man who is head of a bank that begins to see things and succumbs to his psychosis caused by demons from his past. The film is slated for a 2016 release.

Kay went on to land in roles in a handful of high profile films including: “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” [Walt Disney Pictures], “Fugitive Pieces”[Samuel Goldwyn Films], and “Hannibal Rising” [MGM].

When he is not on set, Kay enjoys spending time with friends and has many to keep up with from his travels around the world. He enjoys video games, running, and he loves watching rugby and soccer. He has also worked with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society which is a cause that he became attached to after playing a character with Leukemia. Kay currently resides in Los Angeles, and loves to visit his family in Houston when he has time off from filming.

Billy BoydBilly Boyd (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actor – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy [Peregrin Pippin Took]; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1968, this talented young boy, inspired by Star Wars to try acting, got his first taste of it in his school’s production of Oliver Twist when he was 10. Boyd’s parents were extremely supportive, driving over two hours to get him to the performances, but sadly they passed away when he was 12. He was thereafter raised by his grandmother. He realized that he enjoyed acting very much and told his school counselor that was what he wanted to be, but the counselor discouraged this choice and told him to keep it secret. When he was 17 he left school and went to work in a book-binding workshop. He worked there 4 years as an apprentice and 2 years as a workman. Ironically, during the years he worked at the book-binders, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was printed and bound there, many copies bound by his hands. After the 6 years as a book-binder, he was thoroughly sick of it. Billy planned on going to America for a year, but before he went he called the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and asked about applying for when he got back. But it so happened that they still had space for this year and they asked him if he wanted to apply and he did. He was at the drama school in a 3-year course for his bachelor of arts degree, meanwhile studying everything from Shakespeare to puppet-making. During this time Billy had a few small roles in TV series such as Down Amongst The Boys and Taggart. After graduating he performed in many plays like The Slab Boys, The Diary of Adrian Mole etc. at The St. Andrews theatre which were his first paying roles.

He then received a call from his agent about the Lord of the Rings movies and if he would like to audition for them. He went along not expecting much, but within a few months Peter Jackson came out to Scotland to meet him and to audition him personally. While rehearsing for a show he received a call from his agent who said that the part of Pippin had been offered to him – if he wanted it.

Kevin SorboKevin Sorbo (Fri. – Sun.)

(Actor – Hercules, The Legendary Journeys; Andromeda; Meet the Spartans; Kull the Conqueror)

As a strong leading man and a hunky half-god, Kevin Sorbo brings a refreshing cadence to Hollywood. He has appeared in over 150 commercials and made prime time appearances as a guest star on shows such as “Dallas”, “Cheers”, “The Commish,” and “Murder She Wrote.” He also had leading roles in two pilots. “Aspen Extreme” for ABC and “Condition Critical” for CBS.

Sorbo received international stardom when he booked the lead role in “Hercules, the Legendary Journeys” (1993-1999). Originally designed as a 5-movie mini-series, the innovative action show received a tremendous response and proved that Kevin was just what Hollywood was looking for. The movies were transformed into a weekly show and exploded onto the mainstream, passing up ratings topper “Baywatch” as the most watched TV show in the world, airing in 176 countries. Sorbo also directed and wrote on the series. The worldwide success of Hercules spun off two other series: “Xena, Warrior Princess” and “Young Hercules”, starring Ryan Gosling as the teenage Hercules.

In 1996, on hiatus from Hercules, Sorbo starred in the Universal Studios feature film “Kull, the Conqueror”, the prequel to “Conan, the Barbarian”. Sorbo also guest starred on a number of sitcoms including “Just Shoot Me, “Cybill”, “Two and a Half Men”, “Dharma and Greg”, “According to Jim”, “Gary Unmarried”, “Don’t Talk to the B in Apartment 23”, and “Hope and Faith”. You can also add “Psych”, “Hawaii 5-0”, and a recurring role in the final season of “The OC”.

Austin NicholsAustin Nichols (Sat. & Sun.)

(Actor – The Walking Dead [Spencer Monroe]; Ray Donovan [Tommy Miller]; One Tree Hill [Julian Baker]; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [Miles Lydon])

Austin currently plays ‘Spencer Monroe’ on AMC’s hit horror drama The Walking Dead, which is based on the wildly popular comic book series written by Robert Kirkman. Austin previously appeared on SHOWTIME’s hit series Ray Donovan, opposite Liev Schreiber and in a starring role on The CW’s hit drama series One Tree Hill.

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and raised in Austin, Texas, Austin was bit by the acting bug at an early age and moved to Los Angeles after high school. Shortly after graduating from The University of Southern California, Austin appeared in the critically acclaimed series Six Feet Under. This propelled him into taking movie starring roles, including The Day After Tomorrow, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Wimbledon, opposite Kirsten Dunst.

Kevin ConroyKevin Conroy (Fri. – Sun.)

(Voice Actor – Batman: The Animated Series; Justice League; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman Beyond)

Vocally, Kevin Conroy is best known to audiences for his role as Batman in Batman: The Animated Series. Conroy continued to voice-play Batman in the subsequent series The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. His tenure in the role also includes the DCAU films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. He also voiced Batman for the character’s guest appearances in Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock and The Zeta Project. Apart from the DCAU, Conroy has also voiced Batman in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies Batman: Gotham Knight, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

Conroy is well remembered by fans for being the first person in animation to use two distinct voices to portray Bruce Wayne and Batman, which was Conroy’s idea. In a tally of performances that include every episode, movie, and guest appearance made as Batman, Conroy has portrayed the superhero longer than any other actor in either live-action or animation.

Additionally, he also voiced Batman in the video games The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Batman Vengeance, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, as well as the 2001 revamp of Batman Adventure – The Ride, located at the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park in Queensland, Australia. Conroy also voiced the Phantom Stranger and an alternate Batman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, another animated series unrelated to the DCAU.

Most recently, Kevin returned to voice the iconic Batman role in a trilogy of blockbuster video games, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, and the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight. The first two games released in the series have sold over 10 million copies combined.

Wizard World

Official press release from Wizard World:

Chloe Bennet (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Casper Crump (“Legends of Tomorrow”), WWE® Superstars Dean Ambrose™ and Sasha Banks™, Billy Boyd (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World ) and Rebecca Mader (“Once Upon a Time,” “Lost”) headline the roster of celebrities attending Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines, Friday through Sunday at the Iowa Events Center.

Marvel franchise headliners Chris Evans (Captain America:The First Avenger, The Winter Soldier, Civil War ), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The First Avenger) and Anthony Mackie ( Captain America: Civil War, The Winter Soldier, Avengers) and others plus Back to the Future stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson, David Duchovny (“The X-Files”), Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”) and WWE® Superstar John Cena® are among the stars attending Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia, June 2-5, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Wizard World comic and gaming con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, television, sci-fi, toys, video gaming, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

Wizard World is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event.  Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed –  will roam the convention floor.

WW JSA feature


Wizard World, Inc. and James Spence Authentication (JSA) today announced a partnership by which Wizard World Comic Con attendees can utilize the services of the leader in autograph authentication on line or at the autograph kiosk at Wizard World events beginning this weekend in Des Moines.

JSA will offer a variety of authentication services through the agreement. The Wizard World / JSA Autograph Authentication Service COA, for $20.00 flat fee per signer for a Basic Certificate of Authenticity (includes 8x10s / memorabilia); and Wizard World / JSA Autograph Authentication Service LOA for $40.00 flat fee per signer for Letter of Authenticity (high-end items valued at Over $200 (i.e. Original Artwork, etc).

Fans can follow http://wizd.me/JSADesMoines or http://wizd.me/JSAPhiladelphia to purchase online for those respective shows.

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About Jason Bennett 8225 Articles
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett