Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wizard World Comes to Chicago

By Tom Wray and Phillip Powers
Windy City Banner
Wizard World, Chicago's largest comic con, took place this last month and it was huge. There were celebrities, cosplayers and, of course, miles and miles of comics. We attended as members of the press and were in awe of the magnitude of it.
First of all let’s talk about the celebrities that were there. Patrick Stewart of “Star Trek” fame was there as was Levar Burton. Vivica A. Fox from “Independence Day” and “Kill Bill” was there as well as Kai Owen and Gareth David Lloyd from “Torchwood” and Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca in the original “Star Wars” movies just to name a few.

WCB supporter Jeff Woods, actress Vivica A. Fox, editor Tom Wray and
writer Phil Powers at Chciago Comic Con. Tom was at that point in full freak out.
Our editor Tom Wray actually went into fanboy meltdown at meeting Kai and Vivica. Both were friendly and very classy people. The editor, on the other hand, was reduced to croaking while he shook Vivica’s hand and let out a squee heard by dogs in Schaumburg when meeting Kai. He’s getting medication now and is much better.
One of the few Kaylee's we
saw. Stormtroopers were every-
where, however.
Some of the celebrities had very long lines, Patrick Stewart among them. The line for autographs from literally half the cast of AMC’s “Walking Dead” stretch halfway around the Ronald E. Stephens Convention Center. The Joss Whedon pantheon was represented by Felicia Day (“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog”), Charisma Carpenter (“Buffy,” “Angel”) and James Marsters, who also held a concert on the Saturday of the con. Old school fans also had chances to meet Gil Gerard and Erin Grey of the early 1980s “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” Erin, by the way, is still looking great.

Also the “Boondock Saints’” Norman Reedus  and Sean Patrick Flannery as well as David Della Rocco were there and the lines were insanely long to meet them. There was a screening of the movie too.

There were cos-players (people dressed as their favorite characters ) from shows such as Firefly and Torchwood and animes like Bleach and Naruto and from video games like Final Fantsy XIII and Infamous 2. Running contests were held in the lobby of the convention center for the best costumes, with winners being decided by applause.

Chicago-area fan groups were also there in force, with the Chicago Ghostbusters bringing their own Ecto-1. They even let our writer Phil try on one of the proton packs. People could also see the 1960s-era Batmobile, the Delorean (do we really need to say from what movie) and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine.

Phil starts his training with the local Ghostbusters franchise.
There were also lots of vendors selling just about anything you can think of and the sheer volume of comics was enough to make any geek pass out with excitement. T-shirts, patches and even swords were available for purchase. Name a sci-fi fandom and they were present and being sold to.

The prices of the vendors were surprisingly high but still affordable and the snack bars prices were up there as well case in point three pieces of not so good pizza two bottles of water and a bottle of iced tea cost twenty seven fifty.

There were panels going on all day each day of the con as well as Q & A’s with the celebs. From James Marster’s concert to panels with “Walking Dead,” “Evil Dead,” “Boondock Saints,” and more than we can list here. The was even a chance to talk with the children from the 1971 “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

This was as close as they let us get. Our insurance is paid up,
we wouldn't hurt it. Maybe take on the Kennedy...

The con drew a huge crowd, with the crowds outnumbering the actual residents of Rosemont. The traffic from people coming in actually filled the streets of the small suburb to overflowing. If attending next year, the Blue Line El is definitely the way to go.

Overall, however, the con was a resounding success. We’re looking forward to next year. When we’ll bring hiking boots to go along with our own cosplay.

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