A lot of people have been saying that this year’s Chicago Comic-Con (formerly Wizard World) was the nail in the coffin for this particular event. The major publishers pulled out. Wizard had their name pulled from the title. The programming lineup didn’t have the big names of past and the scheduled times were a joke. Big name guests were being kept out of the loop and booths were rearranged at the last moment… And it was only one of the greatest experiences of my life. Hit the jump to read on true believers…
What a weekend! Was it a shame that Marvel, DC, and Image weren’t there? Of course. But with San Diego just a couple weeks ago can you blame them? These events cost some major dough to do right, and with nothing really that new to announce it only makes sense that they were absent. The smaller publishers that did show up were busier than usual. The exhibitors had more customers shopping. The artists had more foot traffic to showcase their work to. This was NOT a nail in the coffin but maybe a sign that this might not be a “national” event anymore. And that could end up being a great thing. Chicago Comic-Con could end up being the great regional convention that the midwest needs for the smaller fish in the bowl. With the addition of C2E2 in April, where the big guns are confirmed, Chicago could be in an envious position of having a solid medium AND large event in the same year. Win on all sides as far as I’m concerned.
The highlights for me were almost hourly over the three days I attended. It got off to a rocky start thanks to American Airlines and a canceled flight, but we got there and that’s what mattered. I found just about everything I wanted to buy and then some. It seemed like there was an endless amount of cool shit at every turn of the head. Costumes were out in full force; some great, some…um…impossible to forget (or photograph). Artist Alley was alive and kicking. I could have spent so much more time just looking at every piece I couldn’t afford.
The Ultimate Marvel panel was decent, but nothing much new to announce. I had seen nearly all the new art and books announced previously in San Diego, but it was still great to hear Mark Millar’s Scottish accent in person (and yes, you only understand about every third word!). But after that was one of the best things I saw all weekend…Mark Millar’s panel on his upcoming movie “Kick-Ass.” Millar showed about 16 minutes of footage and holy shit was it awesome. Like Tarantino awesome. With superheroes. It seemed to be a perfect transition from his book of the same name. Mark my words…Hit-Girl will be a HUGE star after this. And not just because she’s a 10 year-old cutting off thugs legs and dropping C-bombs…it’s because she does it with a smile. I really hope she’s ready for the spotlight she’s about to step into.
Then came the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of on Saturday. The Nerd City panel. It sounds like I’m shamelessly plugging this site and it’s awesomeness (I am) but it truly was a surreal experience. The room ended up not only full, but standing room only! It was titled as Podcasting 101…whoops. While we did cover that, it was only to an extent. But I think that only strengthened the presentation. It was almost a continuous, evolving conversation about everything that makes this site what it is. The alcohol being consumed helped that as well (a panel where beer was brought out of bookbags, under the table, and drank on stage…WOW!). We also had a fun and lively audience. The questions that were asked were pretty thoughtful and hopefully the answers will get a few blogs off the ground. If we can do it so can you. Laughs were plenty and it seemed the guys were hitting on all cylinders for most of the hour. I gotta say…tip of the hat to Tim Seeley. He graciously joined us on stage for some Q/A and to discuss “nerd” in general, which turned into a fantastic conversation. Throwing candy (Smittles and Smarburts), prizes, an honest to god professional in the industry, a fun and energetic crowd, the full Nerd City staff in person, and Max in a green tracksuit. Best. Day. Ever.
Windy City, see you again in the flesh at C2E2 in April.