Wizard World Ohio: A History

An ISIS agent working security
An ISIS agent working security

In 1980, voice actor Roger Price founded Mid-Ohio Con as a fundraiser for various charities. The convention raised over one million dollars for its many charities, the most frequent of which was the March of Dimes. Mid-Ohio Con has a great history in the comics industry. In 1985, it featured the announcement of John Byrne’s relaunch of the Superman series while years later it featured the launch of Oh, Comics!. The series featured talent from Ohio based writers and artists and ran until 2008. After the retirement of Price in 2008, the show struggled. However, in 2010, it was purchase by Wizard. The name was then changed to Wizard World Ohio.

Unfortunately, the acquisition by Wizard had a certain effect on the show’s atmosphere. In the years past, the show had been more relaxed and open. It was the sort of small convention where fans had easy access to guests, and tickets were generally inexpensive. After the sale, Wizard World Ohio became a smaller version of the other Wizard World shows. Attention was drawn away from comics as the shows focused more on other media. Guest access became restrictive, and ticket prices skyrocketed. The profits of the show increased dramatically, and the Wizard World name allowed access to more famous and exclusive guests. Loyalists, however, will point out that there is no mention of the charities that the show used to benefit, and that the cost of attendance is a bit more prohibitive. The show also alienates smaller vendors, leading it away from its small press-friendly roots.

I'm always happy to see a full bar
I’m always happy to see a full bar

This year’s show featured a wide variety of guests. Marked in attendance, were WWE Superstars, The casts of The Walking Dead, The Boondock Saints, and Charmed, and a bevy of vendors. There were very few “big names” in comics (Jamie O’Barr and Neal Adams cancelled), as well as a pleasant smattering of small press creators. Even so, Wizard World Ohio draws large crowds every year, Filling the hall of Columbus’s convention center with throngs of costumed fans. This year’s convention was a blast and next year will mark the 35th anniversary of the show. Fans are already eagerly awaiting announcements of who will be attending the birthday bash.

 

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