Let me start out by saying I was excited to travel to America’s Dairy Land to cover this convention. Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Driving down the road with the radio turned up, a hot cup of coffee and road construction/congestion everywhere.
The event was easy to find at the Alliant Energy Center and parking was reasonable at $7.00. The attendants for parking, security, and general staff were courteous and friendly. The event center was also very desirable and clean.
I have been going to Wizard World Chicago for years and walked into this convention expecting something closer to the size of that. Nope. This event was much smaller in size and had less celebrities and fewer vendors. There was no real big name celebrity draw, but they still charged the same entrance fee as Chicago.
It seems the biggest draw for WW Madison was the costume contest, which was awarding $10,000 for the first place, fan-chosen favorite. In “My” opinion, choosing a winner in this manner is less proof of skill and showmanship and more of a popularity contest. On the upside, the finalists are chosen by the judges, but the overall winner is still an audience vote. They do have online voting, but the at-home fans are offered a poor quality cellphone video to determine their vote by. But again, it’s who has the most friends that want to see them win the BIG PRIZE.
I attended the convention on Saturday, which is normally the prime day for any convention. I expected aisles to be packed with people shopping, or those in line to see the artists and the celebs. The only challenge to getting up and down the aisles was the narrow width of some of them. As for being jammed with people…not so much. There seemed to be a steady flow, but the attendance was more the size you would expect from the smaller, lesser-known conventions.
Cosplay is another aspect of comic and entertainment conventions I love. I love to see all the creativity of the wearers and to watch some of their skills grow as I see them at the various conventions.
I figured that with the big cosplay prize offered I would see a ton of cosplayers wandering about enjoying the con and waiting for the contest to start. What I actually encountered was a small amount of cosplayers wandering around until about 3:00 to 3:30 PM. That’s when the cosplayers gunning for the prize money started arriving. So they weren’t even there for the convention itself, they were only there to get a shot at the money.
I’d have to say on the whole, I was a little disappointed in this convention and other than the costume contest, I don’t think it will have much of a draw for me in the future.
With that said, I give Wizard World Madison 3 out of 5 stars, partly on the premise if you are charging Chicago prices, provide the fans with Chicago draws.