It was the 20th year for the Wizard World Comic Con to be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL., just outside that great city of entertainment, Chicago! Nerd Nation attended on Friday and Saturday (August 25 and 26) of the 4-day event and we have a wrap up to share with you!
The last time we attended the Chicago event was about 5 or 6 years ago so we were interested in what had changed in that span of time. Well, the event has grown immensely! Previously, vendors, artists and celebrities were all in one hall but this year, we found vendors and artists in one hall, celebrities (for autographs and photos) in a separate hall and another space for fan experiences, with a variety of vehicles that fans could have their photo taken in. It was great to see some extra space to browse and take in everything the Con offers!
On the downside, food selections for those putting in a whole day are nothing to write home about. A couple of snack bars offering hog dogs, pizza and burgers are available as well as a few scattered mobile food sites serving pulled pork/potatoes but there is so little seating, it is difficult to grab a bite comfortably. There is a restaurant attached to the convention center but it offers the same type of food as the snack bars, in cafeteria style. The other noticeable concern was the overcrowding of restrooms and no family restroom. But these are Convention Center concerns, and not Comic Con issues. We just want to report it all for those who have never been and would like to check it out next year!
As for the Convention itself, if you’re a shopper or an art lover, you will be in nerd-vana!! There were over 200 artists and close to 300 different exhibitors! If you go home empty handed, well, that would just be insane!! From fossils to lightsabers, clothing to Pop! Vinyls, cookies, dice, and of course, comics, there is something for everyone!
The celebrity list included, as expected, some big names, some not so big names and some that make us say, “Why?” Unfortunately, we were most looking forward to seeing and hearing David Tennant and he was a last-minute cancellation. Other celebrities included Paul Bettany (Avengers Vision), Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents of SHIELD Simmons), Cobie Smulders (Avengers Maria Hill), Alex Kingston (Dr Who), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy Yondu), and Summer Glau (Firefly). In the “Why?” category: Gene Simmons (KISS), Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati), and Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Are we missing something here? There are just some guests we’re not sure fit into a comic convention. Correct us if we’re wrong.
As always, one of the best parts of Convention is the small treasures you find throughout the center. Such as a great cosplayer in costume, or an enlightening panel or an incredibly cool talent like Dancakes! (more on that in another post). But overall, this year, there was not as many fabulous cosplayers, or entertaining panels and that was a disappointment. Besides the celebrity panels (which is the only opportunity to get close to the celebrities without paying extra for an autograph or photo), the panel selection includes a lot of sessions for aspiring artists, comic writers, and cosplayers and includes such offerings as speed dating, yoga, trivia and other time-fillers, which is all fine but not particularly for the average fan. Maybe there are more people than we know that want to start an Etsy store or take an inside look at Second City, which may be full of laughs but does it fit in the comic (not comical) convention atmosphere? Current, up-to-date substantial panels based on comics, entertainment, movies and more hold more appeal for the nerd masses. Stay out of the past when there’s so much great future! Here’s another example. One panel was entitled Star Wars vs Lord of the Rings: Which is Better this Year? Is Lord of the Rings even a thing this year? Not current, not interested.
All in all, Wizard World Comic Con is sure to offer something for everyone! No matter what you’re passionate about, if you’re a nerd, they’ve probably got something perfect for you to discover and enjoy.
Stay tuned for more Comic Con posts, including panels from Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Henstridge and Cobie Smulders and our chat with Dancakes!