Patrick and I just got back from Wizard World: Chicago! And...it was pretty lame. You could have probably guessed this (and indeed, we anticipated it) based on the panel schedule and creators present (and the fact that it's, you know Wizard). The truth is, I've enjoyed Wizard World: Chicago in the past. My first convention was six years ago, when I loved Crossgen and they were a huge presence. Two years ago, Joss Whedon was the guest of honor and we got to attend panels that included the man himself. Last year was eh, but this year was a new low. Beside the fact that several exhibitors were noticeably absent (including last year's attendees Image, IDW, Tokyopop and Viz - leaving manga all but unrepresented), top-notch creators from years past were nowhere to be seen either. No Joss Whedon, no John Cassaday, no Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison or even Brian Michael Bendis. The Ultimate Marvel panel included Joe Quesada with Jeph Loeb and a guy from marketing... Even the retailers were light. Where the floor was usually packed, there were entire areas void of anything but chairs for people to rest (or just blank space). And the attendance reflected it. Friday was dead. Light on the people and enthusiasm. Saturday picked up a bit, but aisles still weren't jam-packed with people clamouring over 50% off trades (less competition for me...). I attended a few panels aside from the Ultimate Marvel one: Cup 'O Joe and Vertigo, all of which were pretty sparce on announcements. While I did pick up a lot of good stuff, there's just so much fun one can have walking in circles for hours on end, looking at the same retailers and exhibitors. So Patrick and I decided not to go back on Sunday, even though we have 3-day passes. There's just no point really. The only companies properly represented were Marvel and DC. At least last year, we could go to a Tokyopop panel, or years earlier, Crossgen. Now, it's the big two or nothing. Indy comics were ridiculously slim, while there was an abundance of superfluous pop culture presences like the munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, Wrestling and a booth of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer toys. It's just not really all that fun... Patrick and I think we'll go for a day next year, and really, that's all you need. Gone is the diversity of years past. I hope it's a wake-up call for Wizard, but somehow I doubt it.
But that's all of the bad. There were a few pluses: Kristen Bell. Though I would rather have seen more comic creators than yet another pop culture icon, it was nice to have someone I respect present. Archaia Studios Press was also there, with Mark Smylie and David Peterson. I was too shy to say anything - I just quietly bought my final issue of Robotika that I was missing and disappeared into the audience from whence I came. Exclusive Kitty Pryde bust. You know I love Kitty. I want this bust. But to be honest, I want the completely-painted original version. Not just because of the flaw of logic that has Kitty turning invisible when her power is phasing, but simply because I think it would look better fully-painted. Kitty Pryde action figures from the Marvel Legends line were all over the place too, but going for between $20-$30 a pop, I couldn't justify the buy. And Kitty Pryde won best female hero at the Wizard Fan Awards for the second year in a row, putting her in the company of Captain America.
Anyways, the books I purchased:
- Dampyr (Volume 6): Lamia
- Eden: It's An Endless World! (volume 3)
- Ghost of Hoppers
- Lucifer (Volume 3): Dalliance with the Damned
- Queen & Country (Volume 2): Operation: Morningstar
- New X-Men (Volume 1): Choosing Sides
- New X-Men (Volume 2): Haunted
- Robotika #4 (of 4)
- Young Avengers (Volume 1): Sidekicks
And Patrick got...
- Arf Museum
- Modern Arf
I'll try to get my pictures developed soon...