With heavy-hitters DC, Marvel and Image all absent from Chicago's Comic-Con floor this year (Chicago Comic-Con is the new name designated by owner Wizard Magazine), this year's convention seemed dead right out of the gate. And it's true: panels were sparse and pretty lame. No Cup O' Joe, the DC Nation panel presented by a lone guy...the highlight was probably the "New Moon" panel that Wizard desperately advertised as featuring a guest appearance by "the New Moon cast," but really only had three B-level actors from the film. That being said, Marvel did make some announcements this year at the "Marvel Mondo" panel that were pretty exciting, including the follow-up to "War of Kings," a new assault on Olympus in the pages of "Incredible Hercules," and Jeff Parker taking over writing chores on "Thunderbolts." I also saw some staff members handing out flyers advertising all panels available on-line, which is a pretty cool endeavor. But aspects of the floor that were usually pushed off to the side, like wrestler and C-level celebrity booths, were front and center to hide the fact that there were hardly any publishers present, and retailers covered a considerable amount of space. Which is actually fine with me - buying cheap trades and back issues is what I've had fun doing at this convention for the past few years as it's gotten progressively lamer. And with more retailers, there were more aggressive sales, which makes the consumer the winner. And you know what: it was really quite busy on the floor. There were more people walking the convention floor that I remember from year's past. It may be that I was there on the busiest day (Saturday), or that the panels were so lame, it forced people onto the floor, but the "Mondo Marvel" panel we went to also had a really long line that I haven't seen since I went to see Joss Whedon when he was the guest of honor years ago (and this was a Marvel panel with a panel of no big names). Despite the surprisingly strong attendance, I still believe this will be one of the last conventions from Wizard, especially with the strong line-up announcements so far at next April's debut C2E2 show.
Here's what I walked away with:
"We Were There (Volume 1-3)" by Yuki Obata (3/$20)
"Hulk: World War Hulk TP" by Greg Pak & John Romita Jr. (1/2 off)
"Incredible Hercules: Against the World TP" by Pak, Van Lente & Pham (1/2 off)
"Incredible Hercules: Secret Invasion HC" by Pak, Van Lente & Sandoval (1/2 off)
"Incredible Hercules: Love & War HC" by Pak, Van Lente, Henry & Espin (1/2 off)
"Annihilation (Volume 2) TP" by various (1/2 off)
"Athena Voltaire/Black Coat One-Shot" by Steve Bryant & Ben Lichius ($2)
"Spiral Bound TP" by Aaron Renier (1/2 off)
"Devil Dinosaur" by Jack Kirby ($10)
Geoff Johns' "Green Lantern: Secret Origin HC" (1/2 off)
Geoff Johns' "Blackest Night #0-1"
Geoff Johns' "Green Lantern #39-44"
Geoff Johns' "Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1-3"
Jack Kirby's "2001: A Space Odyssey (#1-10)
Jack Kirby's "Machine Man (#1-10)
And we finished it off at Gino's East for some sinfully good deep dish.