It’s hard to find much coverage about this weekend’s Chicago Comic-Con/Wizard World Chicago that didn’t involve disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. That was definitely THE big story, from his meeting with Ethan van Sciver to his encounter with Adam West and an attempt to steal the Batmobile.
Despite the presence of some 500 actors, artists, writers, pro wrestlers and models, Blagojevich was touted atop the show’s website and enjoyed prime real estate on the convention floor with a booth near the entrance. While Blago got no appearance fee, he kept proceeds from autographs ($50 each) and photos ($80 a pop).
Blago’s presence at the Nerd-lebrity fest did not escape notice among fellow attendees — the frequent announcements of his signings were greeted with lots of booing, and one fan was incensed to note that the convicted pol was “charging more than Shaft” for an autograph.
As for his own reactions to the show, Blago told Fox News his profits from the show were negligible
“I didn’t really get any money from any of the photos I took, because I took probably hundreds of them and couldn’t bother to ask anybody for any money for that. Those were free. I did sign some signatures. I was there because I was invited at the last minute by the promoters, and it was an opportunity to get out there among the people,” he added.
Blagojevich climbed into the Batmobile while at the show and even joked when picking up the Batphone that he was calling his lawyer. He said at the convention in suburban Chicago that the superheroes inspire him with his own battles. He told Wallace he has to fight these battles and do what he can for his family.
BTW, did you know Blagojevich has his own Chinese News Animation?
Dean Trippe summed it all up with his recreation of the meeting with Adam West:
And there’s nothing wrong with just showing up for the fire sale. I have a roommate that gave up on the programming five or six years ago and just shows up on Sundays to buy. A flea market with an expensive cover charge? Maybe, but it is what it is.
From what I could tell, most people seemed to be enjoying themselves, so it’s time to admit the show has just changed.
Marc Alan Fishman went for ComicMix:
We entered the show floor, nearly 40 minutes after getting the tickets. The girls split off from us to see the parade of mostly retired actors and semi-celebrities. My wife, a movie buff, was excited to meet the original Mike TeeVee and Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka. I was shuddering at the $20 a pop she’d have to pay to get them to sign their picture. Later, she’d return with an autographed picture AND golden ticket replica. Sure shut me up right quick. As promised, my day today concerned the dealer room. Thus, I bypassed the day’s promising panels… including Ethan Van Sciver singing the Blues, a Q and A session with “It’s only 17 months late, so I’m gonna go make video games” Joe Maduriera, and a screening of an independent Vampire flick. Oh, and in Room A, a day long parade of celebrity signings and music videos. For you, my readers, I tore myself away from those enticements, and dove headfirst onto the main con floor.
Maggie Thompson has lots of actual comics-type reportage, such as a chat with Jim McLauchlin about The Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award. She also notes that the show was — despite all the carping from old-timers — very well attended, and here’s a picture to prove it:
So I approached a chunk of the line at random and asked each of about 50 people in turn, “Is this your first Chicago Comic-Con?” Slightly more than half said it was. There were many families coming as groups, often with toddlers in strollers, looking forward to the adventure. When I entered the hall, I was stunned to find the first booths in the hall jammed with people – and, as noted, most of the Saturday crowd hadn’t yet entered the lobby to purchase their tickets. Here’s a shot taken much later in the day from a vantage point overseeing a portion of the hall floor. Whuf!
Chicago Now has some photo galleries, and the presence of Harry Potter-as-Snape, Lara Croft(?) and Number 23 shows that while it may have strayed from its original focus, WWC/CCC is a successful show for autographs and dressing up and so on. The term “comic-con” is now a brand name for a certain kind of fun that doesn’t even involve comics.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.