Monday, July 07, 2008

Wizard World 08 wrap-up

Well I suppose its a bit after the fact now, but I've honestly been just too damn busy to post about what a great time I had in Chicago two weekends ago. It was fantastic. I had a great time hanging out at Wizard World, and I got to spend some quality time kicking it with my cousin Kelly around town.

Since most of my time was spent at the actual convention though I think I'd better stick with that for now. It was also a really big part of why I wanted to go in the first place. I've been to San Diego, I've been to Wondercon here in San Francisco, but Wizard World Chicago seemed like it would be just the size and scope to be right up my alley, and I have to say I was not disappointed. The show itself was a very manageable size. Big enough to feel like there was really a lot to see, but small enough that I was never overwhelmed. I still didn't get to all of the panels I was hoping to, but thats really to be expected with any convention I think.

Above are some great pictures from the show. you should definitely check them out. On the show floor itself I had a very good experience. There were lots of friendly people in and out of costumes, and there were a suitable number of booths dealing in both direct entertainment and major marketing (Marvel, DC, Dell, Dark Horse, Wizards of the Coast, Aspen, Top Cow), to the minor celebrities (Lou Ferrigno, Iron Shiek, The Amazing Race goth couple), to dealer and toy tables (In Stock Trades, Sideshow, and two amazing $5 trade tables), to an artist alley littered with fun outgoing people (sorry Mice Templar guy for insinuating your book was like Mouse Guard...).

I seemed to pretty much immediately spend all of the money I had set aside for the show... but I'll tell you honestly it was totally worth it. I've never ever seen a %5 graphic novel table, it was like comic geek heaven. I picked up the Annihilation series (those are like $30 books each!), and a few other little things. I filled in my missing House of M trades, picked up some stuff like Ultimate Vision, the new 1602 TPB, and even found a copy of Give Me Liberty to replace the one that someone stole from me. A very VERY worthwhile bunch of purchases if you ask me. I would've of course liked to spend a bit more asa there were some great things I didn't have a chance to get, but there's always next time...

Since I spent all my money on comics, I didn't have much else to do but wander and hit up a few panels. The wandering part was easy. My photos can attest to that. I did also have some fun picking up a few freebies. Managed to snag a shirt for the new Futurama movie, as well as a number of free stand alone comics, like Hellboy, Cannon and my favorite (so far of the free stuff) The Living Corpse...

The panels I caught were on the whole excellent. While Chicago didn't seem to draw the film crowd I've enjoyed at SDCC so much, it definitely had a solid comic book focus that was appreciated. My only problem with that is that I'm behind in current continuity across the board so checking out too much could easily spoil things for me. That said, I did attend the Ultimate Marvel panel where they discussed largely how changes in the near future are going to reshape and streamline the universe considerably. I guess there had been some talk of Ultimate Spider-Man being canceled. While Brian Michael Bendis himself assured us that was not going to happen, its clear that there will be some serious reconfigurations to the stories that are being told. I also attended the highly touted Bendis vs Johns panel. And I have to say I was impressed. While no one seriously addressed my concerns for 'event fatigue' in mainstream comics. it was definitely fun to see a panel of Marvelites on one side and a panel of DC kids on the other, sometimes poking fun but mostly showing each other the the respect they've earned. Finally I attended two rather disappointing panels. The first was Steve Sansweet and his standard Star Wars panel. It was basically more of the same from him. They always save all their big info for San Diego, or their Celebration so we didn't get anything new.... And the other was a Disney panel. If you'll remember a month or so ago Disney announced that they were launching a comic book company called Kingdom Comics. Well, this was a panel to show that they are serious. They've hired Ahmet Zappa, and Christian Beranek to head it up and both were on hand to 'answer questions'. Unfortunately the company is just getting off the ground and they couldn't even announce a single title. All they said was that they intend to cull from the Disney library of live action properties throughout the ages, and they only intend to produce graphic novels, no monthly issues. My intentions for going though had much more to do with Zappa being executive producer on the long awaited Fraggle Movie little news as well though. Yes its coming along great. Yes he would like to get some of the original songwriters involved. And no he can't give any details.... What a . On that front he managed to share disappointing lame-o. Overall though I did enjoy the panels. Its good to break up the day with them as they give your feet and your mind a bit of a break from the sensory overload of the show floor. And in a double edged sword kind of way, there was a good amount and not enough interesting panels at Wizard World for me. Any more and I would've had problems attending, but I wish the ones I saw were more exciting.

Wizard World had some great fun stuff. Erica won a raffle and we took home a $140 Cho Chang doll. Well we took it out of the con and gave it to my Harry Potter obsessed cousin. Still cool to win something. I even took some video of the action. When I get a chance I'll cobble something together for you so you can get a sense of the vibe there.

I felt like overall the show was manageable, and fun. I'd definitely go back, although we'll see if we have the money for this kind of thing again. As it was this turned into a sweet trip, and I'm definitely grateful I had a chance to go. If you'd like more concrete news from the con, you can check out Newsarama, as they're always good.

I also stepped outside the con for a day, a very healthy recommendation for anyone in that situation. But I think I'll leave that stuff off for another time. Its late and I should be going to bed... either that or moving onto another blog post. Whichever comes first. Thanks for the kicks Shytown, TTYL.

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