After thousands of miles of travel, and almost every single kind of mode of transportation possible, I am finally home from Wizard World Madison Comic Con 2016.
Having never visited Madison, WI before now, the invitation to present my “Expanding Firefly ‘Verse” panel gave me not only the chance to visit my family in Chicago, but also a chance to see a new city! Plus I got to visit cosplay friends I don’t see very often. Oh yeah, and bring my panel to more folks… and see Jewel Staite in person.
The trip began on Wednesday night when I took a train into Boston. I stayed the night with a friend and then took the first Silver Line on Thursday to catch my 7am flight to Chicago. Once in Chicago, I stayed for just one night before getting up early and taking a train to the bus that would eventually take me to Madison. I traveled on the Van Galder bus line, which is $30 no matter what and resembles a double decker Megabus. I got the best seat in the house: the front row on the top deck which means huge windows all around. This bus had great wifi, but also randomly leaked through the ceiling at times. 8/10.
I stayed with my friend SparrowStyle who happens to live right near the bus stop. We ate lunch before heading to the convention. Day one was relatively slow. We walked the entire convention floor (comparable roughly to the size of Wizard World Philly the first year that I went, or the Rhode Island Convention Center), and scoped out the room where I would be presenting my panel on Saturday. After that, we called it a day and headed home for sushi and Netflix.
Saturday, we headed to the convention around 11 in the morning, so I would have time to set up the room for my panel and make sure my laptop hooked up correctly. I met up with my co-panelist, and we went over a few things before the panel started. This panel was a lot more in depth than the last time I presented it. I included information about new graphic novels (the next one comes out in less than a month during Free Comic Book Day) as well as about QMx’s partnership with Loot Crate for the Firefly Loot Crates. I also added information about fan films that exist or are being made, including Browncoat Redemption, The Verse, Browncoats: Independence War, and A Faithful Companion.
You’ll have to catch me at a convention to see the whole panel (and have a chance at some of the shiny things I give away at panels), you can check out future panels and events by clicking here. SparrowStyle and I walked the floor again, stopping here and there to pick up art. SparrowStyle and I also entered the cosplay competition, before I headed over to see Jewel Staite’s panel. I caught the tail end of the Agents of Shield panel and, as that was emptying out, managed to get a seat in the very front row of Jewel’s panel!
We didn’t get much new info from Jewel, but she did talk about being a new mom: her son is now four months old! She did talk about how she almost got a role in Buffy, but scheduling meant she couldn’t. When she was cast in Firefly, she was asked by Joss directly to film a tape for Kaylee, she didn’t even have to put in a general audition. She did mention reading the character descriptions and wanting to read for River. Jewel also mentioned being so grateful for being able to travel all around the world thanks to Firefly, and how she still runs into people who’ve seen it or are just starting to watch it. She’s been working a lot lately, including a recent episode of Legends of Tomorrow and an upcoming episode of Castle, where she loved working with Nathan Fillion again.
After the panel, we spent more time around the convention floor before lining up for the cosplay competition. This year (unlike last year, according to SparrowStyle), the competition was held in the Arena, rather than the main convention center. This is also where all the celebrity panels were held. We lined up in the main convention center before we were escorted us over to the Arena (the area between the two was outdoors and pretty chilly). We waited backstage, and then were announced and had our four seconds to shine! Madison Comic Con had tons of fantastic cosplays this year in the contest. There was a whole group of Doctors (as well as the Doctor’s daughter and Amy Pond), a guy who made the power armor from Fall Out, and even a set of hands of blue. You can see pictures from the whole convention on the Wizard World Flickr page.
Overall, I had a fantastic convention experience. Madison is definitely an up and coming convention that I see getting bigger and bigger every year. I hope to be invited again in the future!