Wizard World Chicago Con Report

by Paul S.

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So we, Brian and I, went to Wizard World Chicago this year. It was a pretty awesome experience, especially since the focus at this con is definitely comics. Here are some of the highlights.

The first thing we did was go to the WIZkids booth so Brian could buy a Fin Fang Foom colossal figure for Heroclix. He spent an extra ten bucks to get a bunch of free stuff too.

We then went to the Hero Initiative booth to buy our Ultimate Spider-Man Cover collections. We spent $25 to get the Con-Exclusive hardcover. You could also donate $30 to the Hero Initiative to play pool against Paul Jenkins to win a special prize.

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The next thing we did was head for Artist Alley but we past the Avatar booth and I stopped Brian when I saw that Jacen Burrows, the artist for Chronicles of Wormwood, was signing and doing sketches for people who bought a copy of 303. He was one of the coolest and nicest guys we met at the con. He said he would even be interested in doing a signing at our store. So if you are interested in that let us know and we could make it a reality.

Next, at Artist Alley the first people we saw were David Finch, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks. David Finch and Phil Hester were doing sketches. Ande Parks, the author of one of my favorite graphic novels, Capote in Kansas, was inking some of Hester’s pencils. Brian stayed and got Hester’s autograph and had him do a sketch for his Fallen Son cover. I, regretting I hadn’t brought my copy of Capote in Kansas, left Ande Parks to look around more.

I turned the corner and found that the Arthur Suydam line was rather short for what I expected. I decided to jump in the line. Little did I know that this would be the longest, short line ever. He seemed to be doing sketches for everyone that was in line which seemed even crazier when I finally got to the front and found that he’d only do my Fallen Son cover for a $100 donation, but I think he was just referring to the Fallen Son cover for that price tag.

Arthur Suydam was a really nice guy. He was doing a lot for charity and he was always at a booth signing and sketching. He deserves a lot of thanks for all the work he put in to making everyone have a great time. He didn’t deserve to be laughed at during the fan awards for speaking slowly though since I’m pretty sure English is a second language for him.

Anyway. Brian found me while I was in line and he showed a piece of original art that he bought from Tony Moore, the original artist, for The Walking Dead. The art is actually from Brit, another awesome Robert Kirkman book that we have in trade. Unfortunately, he also found out that Tony Moore was asking $80 for an original sketch. The quest to find someone to do my Fallen Son cover for an affordable price was beginning to look quite grim.

Serendipity struck when we walked over to the more indy part of artist alley. We saw an empty table with markers strung out all over the place. We discovered it was Jim Mahfood. Since he wasn’t there and we were close, we decided to check out the Heroclix gaming area. It was really cool to see all those people playing in a bunch of tournaments. After a quick look around we headed back to Mahfood’s booth. He was there and like the awesome guy he is he signed my Wha…Huh? and did a really quick, really awesome sketch for my Fallen Son cover.

Brian and I had been there for a little over two hours and we had already gotten most of the stuff done that we wanted to do. Around this time we both needed to use the restroom and get something in our bellies. Nothing like a $5 slice of pizza and a $2.25 Pepsi to appease one’s appetite. The pizza was pretty good though.

After lunch, we headed for the Mondo Marvel Panel. I got to ask if the Marvel Zombies’ Omnibus is coming out after the sequel which I didn’t get an answer to since James McCann wasn’t there. I also asked what Quesada was going to draw after One More Day and he said he didn’t have any plans. We left when they started to beat the dead horse of the Mary Jane topic.

Quesada then proceeded to go play pool with Paul Jenkins while people could bet on the winner and the people who were right had their name drawn for a prize.

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After the Panel, we split up for a little bit and I went and checked out some indy stuff(some of which I’ll post about later) . We met again in the conference room where the Wizard Fan Awards were given away.

The Wizard Fan Awards ranged from the interesting and serious to the lame, irrelevant, and downright goofy. Mark Millar supplied most of the humor while accepting most of Marvel’s awards. 52 won best ongoing series and Marvel won publisher of the year. If you want to know all the winners of what, check out the next issue of Wizard.

We went to the Hyatt after putting our stuff in my truck but it was crowded and expensive so we just went back to our hotel and ate at Bennigan’s.

When we got back to the hotel, I found that I had lost my convention pass and my camera. Not a great day.

We got up early, went to Bennigan’s and got my camera. When we got to the convention center they gave me a new pass for free. A great day.

When we got in we saw a huge line for wristbands to get into the Dark Knight panel. Brian and I both wanted to see the Doctor Strange movie that was at the same time so passed on that. We did a little shopping before splitting up. We even picked up a Beta Ray Bill toy for Carroll. We have it displayed in the store and you should all take the chance to talk Carroll about Beta Ray Bill whenever you get the chance. He’s one of his favorite characters.

We split up because Brian wanted to shop and I wanted to run around the con like a chicken with my head cut off. I swear, I must have done like 20 laps around the convention center. All the while taking pictures, checking out artists, buying indy comics, and buying another @#$%ing $2.25 Pepsi.

I got to see Mark Millar buying a Fantastic Four T-shirt before his big announcement.

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We met up again for the Civil War and Rememberance panel and I got to ask how the story setup was going to be for Millar’s Fantastic Four. He said it’ll be like a soap opera with each story arc leading into the next. We stayed for the whole panel since Millar was hilarious.

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Millar then proceeded to go play pool with Paul Jenkins while people could bet on the winner and the people who were right had their name drawn for a prize.

When that was over, Brian was hungry so he got himself a pretzel and we played Heroclix while he ate it. He stomped me so bad I think I had internal bleeding when it was over.

We then split up again and I did a couple more laps around the convention center. This time I bought some crappy DVDs. We met up for the Doctor Strange showing.

Let me tell you, the Doctor Strange movie is the best of Marvel’s recent animated offerings. Christopher Yost, I think, helped out with writing the movie. He’s one of the writers on New X-Men so it’s no wonder its so great.

After that, we did one more lap around the convention center and left. It took a little longer to get back since we missed a turn, but as you can see from reading this we are ok.

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