Comic book and pop culture conventions have become a hot commodity in the Twenty First Century. Comic-Con International: San Diego is considered the most prestigious of such gatherings, with Hollywood on hand to promote their latest film and television shows, while the New York Comic Con has set attendance records that top the 150,000 mark. Then there’s Wizard Entertainment, former publishers of Wizard and ToyFare magazines, which first entered the convention fray in 1997 when they purchased the former Chicago Comicon and have since expanded into cities across the country, including Albuquerque, Cleveland, Las Vegas and New Orleans. In January 2015, Wizard World purchased the former Pittsburgh Comicon, adding the Steel City to their ever growing roster of pop culture showcases and enhancing the region’s Geek Culture offerings in the process.
“We know there is a vibrant pop culture fanbase in Pittsburgh, and that other events have been successful there,” Jerry Milani, public relations manager for Wizard World, explains of the acquisition. “Fans from the area that attended our Columbus and Philadelphia shows indicated that we should take a closer look at Pittsburgh and we were pleased that everything worked out.” Milani adds that it can be long process to determine if a particular city is right for Wizard World. “We survey fans who attend our other shows in the region, as well as those who interact with us on social media,” he further elaborates. “Once it is established that there is a fanbase, we visit the city, determine if the convention center venue fits for our show, and start to work on potential dates that would fit our calendar, the pop culture festival calendar in general, and the convention center’s schedule. The process can take a couple of years until everything is in place.”