The Chicago Comic-Con, formerly Wizard World Chicago, kicks off this weekend. There are tons of media guests and even a few comics folks, like Mark Millar, George Perez, and Dan Slott. And for a crossover, The Legion of Former Buffy Stars Who Write Comics is expanded by one as Emma Caulfield debuts a webcomic called…CONTROPUSSY.
The Chicago Daily Herald previews the show, and even confronts all the rumors swirling around the Chicago convention scene, though Wizard CEO Gareb Shamus expects “record attendance.”
Are the suburbs losing their biggest comics convention? Not a chance, Shamus says.
“We’re absolutely committed to the show and its location,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, we’ll be there forever.”
That’s good news for Rosemont and surrounding towns. The show, held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, brings an estimated 75,000 people to the Northwest suburbs over the course of the weekend. Rosemont officials say the event provides a nice boost for local businesses.
However, an Elite Beat operative checked out the scene last night at Preview Night and filed the following report:
The entire show has of course been re-branded “Chicago Comic-Con” on the signage and con program. No mention of “Wizard World” anywhere!
Judging from Preview Night, I can’t believe this was once the second biggest convention after SDCC. It was like a ghost town. Just about every publisher of note has bailed on this convention. I couldn’t even find Wizard’s own booth! No DC, no Marvel, no Image. I think Avatar had the biggest setup.
The best action was in the Artists Alley, since Chicago is still a great “comics pro” hometown and there’s always a renewable source of indie artists looking to sell their art and promote their newest comic.
Dealer wise, not much of interest. Most dealers I notice have switched from lugging around longboxes of singles to longboxes of heavily discounted trades. The old “vintage comics” standby dealers are still around, but they’re looking more and more obsolete as their buying audience ages. Of course there’s still the “sword and medieval weaponry” booth and the bootleg DVD guy.
When I got my wristband (instead of a badge, probably to discourage “badge swapping”), I asked the Wizard volunteer if it mattered if I took both of the “Wizard” swag comics (you’re supposed to get only one). She replied, “honey, I really couldn’t care less”
That’s probably the best way to sum up the general atmosphere of this show…