Monday, August 10, 2009

Wizard World/Chicago Comic Con

This past weekend was one of the larger comic book conventions in the Midwest, run by the gang at Wizard magazine.

There were a few things notably missing at this year's convention. One of which was the presence of the Wizard logo and name. They now are using the Comic Con logo and name - something I think they quickly adopted before the gang who run the New York Comic Con could take that name and use it for their convention next year.

Another thing missing - the big name comic book publishers. No DC booth, no Marvel booth, no Dark Horse booth. While those publisher's booths never really offered a lot other than bright colors and specified book signings, it was quite obvious that they were not there. I always liked the DC booth because they'd have great displays of the upcoming toys.

Speaking of toys, I did not see Sideshow Collectibles or Mattel toys this year either. Those two also would have great displays of upcoming items that I always enjoyed checking out, and Mattel usually was selling convention exclusives.

And if you were at the convention on Saturday, or spoke to anyone who was, they'll tell you that it felt like the air conditioning was missing, or at least not working. We got there Saturday right as the floor opened and it already felt stuffy, so we knew it wouldn't get better as the day continued to warm up and the hall filled up with warm humans.

They had comic book panels this year, but there were never announcements for them. They seemed to take a back seat to the TV panels and photo ops that they were doing for shows like Battlestar and Twilight and Buffy.

But even without all of those things the convention was still a great time. The chalk artist was there working hard, showing off his amazing talent. Plenty of folks were dressed up in a variety of costumes. There were wrestlers, TV stars, movie stars, of course Lou Ferrigno was there and Margot Kidder-this year without her spooky Chirstopher Reeve Superman wax statue. While there were several empty tables in artist alley this year, those that attended seemed to have a GREAT turn out - many artists we spoke with had their sketech lists filled or had long lines as they did sketches on the spot. I have yet to figure out out artists decide on their rates for sketches at conventions, but that's another post for another day. There were plenty of vendors with a variety of items, and I saw plenty of people spending money. I even heard one vendor say they had loaded up on inexpensive items and only brought a few high ticket items, and they were surprised they'd sold completely out of the high ticket items first. I had some great conversations, got some great sketches, and had a really good time, even being so pregnant.

I also wanted to mention Mark Texeira and how cool he was. Back at the Baltimore Comic Con 3, yes 3 years ago now, we gave him $50 as a down payment for a Captain America sketch on Friday night. He'd promised he'd have it done Saturday AM, but Saturday morning came and went and he didn't show up at the convention. We'd asked his booth neighbors to let him know we were looking for him, and then left to go to Washington DC for the day. We returned at the end of the day and he was again not at his booth. We gave up - angry that we'd never see the $50. When Craig saw that Tex was going to be at this convention he decided he'd beg and see if he could possiblly, even though there was little to no chance that Mark would remember us at all, collect on that sketch. We stopped at Mark's table on Friday night and Craig told him the story, and he agreed to do a head sketch at no additional cost to repay us for the 3 year investment. Saturday morning went by and again Texeira was nowhere to be found. We were worried - figuring once again we wouldn't get this illusive sketch. But eventually he did arrive, several hours after the con started, but there. Craig asked if there was any way to get the sketch done by 5 pm, and Tex said he'd do it - but he had to work through his line of fans first, which was long and getting longer by the minute. Craig kept a warry eye over on Mark's booth, wishing away fans and wondering what Mark was working on. Finally around 5 Craig walked over and MUCH to his happiness there was an AWESOME sketch of Captain America courtesy of Mark Texeira. We were very happy and impressed that Mark not only did such a great job but was so cool about doing it after so long. Thanks Mark!! You're all right in our book. If you're ever in the Milwaukee area stop by Neptune.

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