Thousands of people — many clad in elaborate costumes — will attend a Wizard World Tulsa pop culture convention this weekend.
A celebrity guest suggested Wizard World attendees are going to see a “doctor.”
“People love getting away from real life, just for a second,” actor Christian Kane said.
“And so when they come and see the people that help them do that, it’s almost like doctors, man. Norman Reedus is a doctor. William Shatner was a doctor. They help people get over real life.”
Reedus, alias Daryl Dixon from the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” will be among Wizard World Tulsa guests for a second consecutive year. Shatner was a Wizard World Tulsa guest when the convention debuted in 2014.
Reedus and Jason David Frank (he’s the green Power Ranger) are the only returning celebrity guests from the acting realm. They’ll be surrounded by a new cast of convention co-stars.
Wizard World spokesperson Jerry Milani said the guest lineup is changed each year “more for the sake of providing a new experience to fans each time they attend. There are certain guests who may appear year after year at a particular city’s show, but, in general, we want the celebrity roster to be mostly different from the past year.”
Because comic cons have evolved, guests hail from all over the pop culture universe.
Actors: Kane, Reedus, Bruce Campbell, Sean Astin, Tricia Helfer, Sonequa Martin-Green, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Taryn Manning, Alexandra Breckenridge, Milo Ventimiglia, Ted Raimi.
Pro wrestlers: The Undertaker, Seth Rollins, Charlotte.
Voice actors: Charles Martinet, Kevin Conroy, Phil LaMarr.
Rock star: Motley Crue’s Vince Neil. (Billy Martin, lead guitarist and keyboardist for the band Good Charlotte, doubles as a comic artist.)
And, of course, there will be comic book creators, including Neal Adams and Michael Golden, who provided the cover art for the Tulsa World’s Wizard World preview issue of Weekend magazine.
More people are going to see “doctors” than ever before. Wizard World held cons in eight cities in 2013 and 16 cities in 2014. It is staging 24 cons this year.
If a person has never been to a con, why should they sample one?
Kane, who was raised in Norman, said it’s great to meet someone you admire and be close enough to touch that person and realize “this person is just like me because you never think that, especially in Oklahoma. When I was growing up, none of these people existed. They were only on film. They weren’t real. They weren’t flesh and blood.”
Continued Kane: Not only can you see these people in flesh and blood. They’ll smile at you and shake your hand and tell you how appreciative they are of fans.
“We don’t exist without our fans, so it’s very important to take care of them, and this situation allows us to do that,” Kane said.
Kane got on the subject of comparing convention guests to doctors when talking about escapism. People who plop down on a couch after work can experience a different life by watching television or playing a video game. Sci-fi, for instance, can transport a TV viewer to a different world. So can a pop culture convention.
Katrina Johnson, 34, was cosplaying as Codex from the web series “The Guild” as she waited in line to see a Bonnie Wright Q-and-A at a Dallas Comic Con Fan Days pop culture convention last weekend.
“You spend a lot of time making costumes or planning out what you are going to do and, when you get here, you feel like you are in a community of people,” Johnson said. “We enjoy ourselves, and we don’t have to worry about other people judging you because you are all doing the same thing.”
No matter which guest she or anyone else wants to see at a con, it’s a getaway.
Johnson said she has a stressful job. “So, coming here, it’s a lot of fun, and I don’t have to worry about that.”
Wizard World Tulsa runs Friday through Sunday at Cox Business Center.