49Wizard World Chicago, aka Rosemont is kicking off in earnest today, and it’s a bit strange not to be there. We’ve missed a few over the years, but we’ve been to most for the last decade, and always had a really good time. After the San Diego madness, it’s usually a place to kick back in Knuckles and hang with pals, tell jokes, and watch fights. Chicago is the cut loose con…lobby soccer, taserings, dislocated thumbs, bachelor parties, hot dogs.

But not this year. Oh we have a few spies on the scene to report on the goings on. And if we could be there, we would, but physically it’s just not possible. And besides, we’re a little conned out. Some folks are trying to get us to buzz down to Otakon in Baltimore this weekend, but after last year’s Bruce Campbell sighting-palooza, that might seem like a let down, too. We want to spend time with Inky, catch up on correspondence, and see our local pals.

So everyone who is at the show, have a good time. We do have out usual gripe about Wizard World, though, and we’ll trot it out again, like we do every year, even though no one will care.

The guest list for this year’s WizWorldChi includes only one woman creator: Jinky Coronado, the co-artist, writer and creator of Banzai Girl. We’ve met Jinky, and she’s very nice and we have no beef with her. It doesn’t bug us that she has a dual career as a model who has appeared in Femme Fatale and the Filipino edition of FHM in a scantily clad layout with her sister. Hey, you’re only young once, so we say go for it.

What does bug us a little is that Coronado is a guest and Carla Speed McNeil and Jill Thompson aren’t. Now, Wizard is admittedly stingy with their guest lists, but this year’s show is a bit spotty in that regard, and many younger artists are making the jump to guests, like our good pals Paul Azaceta, Ivan Brandon and Andy MacDonald. Good for them. But Thompson is a Chicago native who goes to the show every year—she has two TV SHOWS to her credit, for crying out loud. What does it take to make the jump to guest? (I should point out that Thompson is one of DC’s guests, and for whatever reason, none of the DC guests are on the list, so it isn’t necessarily all Wizard’s doing.)

As for Carla, she’s at the show every year, and has been nominated for several Eisner Awards (IIRC, Jill has won TWO Eisners, including Best Painter.) and she’s one of the best darned indie cartoonists working. In fact now that you don’t have BONE and STRANGERS IN PARADISE around any more, Carla might just be Queen of the Hill.

Anyway, it isn’t anything that Wizard cares about, we know that, but at the end of the day, we think Jill Thompson and Carla Speed McNeil have as much right to be listed as guests at a comic book convention as Jinky Coronado. That’s all.


  1. This is first year I’ve missed WWC, and I had been attending Chicago Comicon before Wizard bought it, so this is my first missed Chicago in over a decade and it’s rather got me down. I’ve had a great time every year, even the year I dislocated my thumb. Here’s to hoping I don’t miss another one for another decade.

  2. Usually convention planners invite guests based on who they think will draw more paying attendees, not on who they personally think is deserving of accolades. And WWC is notably a super-spandex-focused show, with a small cluster of indies and their readers along for the ride.

    (Although after the madness that SDCC has become, a simple capes’n’tights fest might seem rather refreshing.)

    Speed and Jill are certainly deserving of accolades, but outside of their devoted fan bases, do they have “star power?” I think they could, potentially, but the WW organizers clearly don’t think so. I am hopeful that Speed’s move to the Internet will boost her market value (and I’ll bet she is, too).

  3. I think Jill and Carla have ‘star power’ but it *might* be with a different crowd.

    I’ve heard some retailers say the same folks that buy alt-indy book are also buying 52 and Civil War. So maybe not.

    But still, even within their superhero devoted con, you’d think they would invite Gail Simone, Devin Grayson or one of the other female superhero writers.

  4. There were plenty of female types there on Friday (as exhibitor’s … assistants?). Many of them, (dare I say most?), were scantily clad.

    (Btw, Wizard had the wrestling ring set up again this year. It might have been a boxing ring, though, as I saw the ‘card girls’ walking around inside the ring.)

    I did notice that there was a large percentage of couples and families there.

  5. The thing I noticed most on Friday was the wide open spaces. It could have been my timing (I got there at 2), but “crowded” certainly wasn’t the word to describe the floor, particularly in the dealer area. (I stood in one of the aisles in the dealer area, talking to a friend for 10 minutes. Usually, doing this is asking to get bumped and jostled for the entire time. No one came within arms length, because they didn’t need to) Artist Alley looked very busy, though one person claimed it was smaller, not that I’d know.

    I did see plenty of families, including several children being kept on leashes. I can not say I’d seen a leashed child at Wizard World in the 10 years they’ve had their name on it. Progress?

    Does anyone know if there were some big parties last night? Knuckles was dead, dead, dead. All tables were full, but that was it. The Sofitel was as subdued as normal.

    Now, I readily admit that all this blandness may be negated today. Crowds may be intense. Maybe the Fire Marshall will have to close this Con too. I suppose it’s possible. But based on my Friday impression, this is going to be a small show, for better or worse.