Wizard World Chicago – Stray Thoughts

It’s been a few days and I have a few stray thoughts regarding Wizard World Chicago 2008.

Generally, I enjoyed myself at the convention and I’ve been doing it long enough that I know how to circumnavigate myself around the floor, where the best bathroom is, where to find a cheap good breakfast and how to avoid ridiculous lines outside the convention.

This year I skipped the Thursday preview night and drove up Friday morning. I didn’t hit rush hour traffic until about ten minutes from the River Road exit. If I go again next year (and there’s little reason not to at this juncture, but hold that thought), I’ll probably do the exact same thing.

In no uncertain terms, this was Avatar Press and William Christensen’s show. Bringing in Warren Ellis and making him the centerpiece basically made the show worthwhile for a great many people. The downside was his talk was Friday night at 9:30 in the evening. The show simply peaked early and slowly crept to a close on Sunday.

As I understand it, the news of Michael Turner’s passing made waves over at the Hyatt Bar very late on Friday. By Saturday morning, it made the front page of Newsarama and an announcement hit the show floor. I stopped by the Aspen booth Saturday morning and mentioned how sad it was.

I read online how DC and Marvel were thinking of pulling out of the Chicago show. I think that’s a bad idea. However, I do think DC needs to freshen up their convention booth plan to make it more contemporary and probably less of a hassle to bring to these kinds of events. For several years, Marvel had a seriously crappy booth highlighted strictly with a place for creators to sign books. This year, they upgraded with an 8ft life sized Hulk and lots of flat screens.

For the last couple of years, Artist’s Alley has been a hopping place. Personally, I think it’s because there are several big time creators mingling in with the semi-professionals and self-publishers. I could stand in one place at AA and see Talent Caldwell, Zander Cannon, Peter David, Mike Norton, David Mack, B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun. The rumor was that DC and Marvel was just going to fly their creators out to the show and buy them tables in AA. I don’t think that’s the wave of the future, but I do admit the fan-pro interaction is at an all time high in AA.

The horror convention and wedding going on at the same time as Wizard World certainly made for some interesting elevator moments. I saw an elderly couple noticeably confused by the blood soaked child, the Star Wars stormtroopers and Jason Voorhees in full hockey mask glory entering the que for the five elevators which were incredibly slow for some strange reason.

I purchased a Flip Ultra for the show and had a blast digitally recording as many things as possible. Most people thought I had a still camera instead of a digital video camera. One of my friends viewing the videos thought I was slightly stalker-ish in my pursuit of the girl dressed like Nancy from Sin City. I sincerely apologize to the girl and her boyfriend. I wasn’t trying to creep you out… seriously.

I bought a lot of trades this year. Yes, I’m the one killing the industry because I’m waiting for the trade. I still buy single issues, but most of the good stuff eventually gets collected and they look so much better on my shelf than in a long box.

The fabulously talented Grant Chastain wants me to come out to San Diego next year. I probably ought to since I hear its three times larger than WWChi with more than enough pomp and circumstance. Still, I love WWChi for all its charm. I remember the damn wrestling ring. I remember when Todd McFarlane commanded the entire fountain signing. I remember the near riot for Kevin Smith seating. The memories make me smile. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of going to WWChi and I really shouldn’t miss it.