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Eliza Dushku out of Wizard’s Toronto and Anaheim conventions

Eliza Dushku-based ad for Wizard World Toronto, in happier times

Eliza Dushku ad for Wizard World Toronto

She was the top-billed star of the Wizard World conventions in Toronto and Anaheim — and briefly the victim of a case of mistaken identity with Warren Ellis. But now Eliza Dushku, the Joss Whedon mainstay who starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse, has quietly been dropped from the guest lists of both shows.

Is this a victory for the shows’ Con War rivals, Fan Expo (the same city as Toronto) and Reed’s Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (the same weekend as Anaheim), a sign that Wizard’s rapid convention-circuit expansion isn’t making it any easier to attract big-name talent, or just schedule churn?

Ellis: Don’t believe everything you read (at least about his con appearances)

Toronto Comic Con

Toronto Comic Con

Despite what that full-page ad suggests in Wizard’s ToyFare magazine, Warren Ellis won’t be a guest at next year’s Toronto Comic Con.

“First I’ve fucking heard of it,” Ellis writes this morning on his blog. “I’m presuming this is some kind of impossibly convoluted but innocent mistake, as opposed to ‘well, if we just SAY Warren Ellis is showing up, then he’ll HAVE to.’ But I’ve had no contact from Wizard World about this or any other show, so, god knows what actually happened for this to have somehow gotten printed …”

However, Tom Spurgeon notes that Ellis may be a bit generous in his assessment: “While I can’t speak to this specific incident, given the potential dissonance created by their appropriation of the term ‘Comic-Con’ and the direction of their PR regarding same, I wouldn’t be surprised if dubious strategies aren’t going to be par for the course in getting this new generation of Shamus-owned shows on their feet.”

Wizard CEO Gareb Shamus purchased the Toronto Comicon from Paradise Conventions in June, tweaking the name and adding it to a stable that now includes events in five cities. The shows no longer sport the WizardWorld brand.

Toronto Comic Con is scheduled for March 26-28, 2010.

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