It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . No. Let me rephrase. Waiting sucks.
I was in line at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. Shoulders smarting, back stiff as a statute, legs wobbly like a wooden easel, I was waiting for Josh Peck, a guest at this year’s (August 21-24) Chicago Wizard World Con. Josh is best known for starring opposite Drake Bell in the Nicklodeon show Drake & Josh. My daughter loved that show, and I was standing in line for her.
Josh finally arrived, and a great cheer went up–until he realized neither he nor his handler had any photos for him to sign. So we waited another 20 minutes. Chatted him up (his take on appearing in the remake of Red Dawn: “Awesome.”). Someone asked if he would yell “Megan!”, his signature line from Drake & Josh; he politely declined. Oh, and I got a selfie.
(OK, it wasn’t a selfie; I asked someone to take the pic. Shows you how superannuated I am.)
Josh was friendly but ill-at-ease. You could tell he was a convention novice, as opposed to, say, Lou Ferrigno. A regular at Wizard World cons, Lou is best known for his role as the Hulk in the 1978 CBS television series. I got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes.
Me: How did you get started doing conventions?
Lou: I was out with a friend of mine one time, and I went to a place in Hollywood where they had a convention. I walked around, and they kept telling me I ought to do a convention because the fans really want my autograph. I’m so used to giving autographs, and I thought, why not have a table? That’s how it started. It’s a good living.
Me: How long have you been doing conventions?
Lou: About 15 years.
Me: What are some crazy fan stories you can share?
Lou: I had a woman one time who came to me about a year ago, and she had a Hulk tattoo on her leg, and she had my signature tattooed on her leg. She had both legs done, and she wanted to take a picture, and her husband is standing there looking like, every morning I have to get up and look at my wife’s legs with your signature and the Hulk’s picture.
Me: I guess we saw where her loyalties lie. How did you get into character to play the Hulk?
Lou: It came naturally to me. I use pantomiming, acting without speaking, and they just loved it. I used the sensitive part of me to become the character.
Me: You have talked a lot about an actual actor playing the Hulk versus CGI. You’ve said people have told you they preferred your version.
Lou: Over 90% of the people have said that.
Me: Why do you think that is?
Lou: CGI cannot compete with a human Hulk. There is no sensitivity. The Hulk, the character I created, with his vulnerability and sensitivity—it can never be replaced.
Me: When I was growing up, my mother didn’t let me watch the Hulk because she said he was “vulgar.” Did you ever get negative comments from people who didn’t like the character?
Lou: The only negative was a lot of mothers hated me because their sons ripped their shirts and walked around the house that way.
Another headliner was Stan Lee, whose first autograph session was scheduled for 5:00pm on Friday. I had paid online for an autograph ($80!), and though the ticket was good all weekend, I thought going the first day would help me eschew half-day lines. At 4:00, I strolled to his booth, saw about 20 people standing there, and got in line. Wonderful! I thought. Then: this doesn’t seem right. Next, I noticed three things in the span of 10 seconds:
The Stan Lee VIP badges around the necks of the people in front of me;
- To my left, a separate line of proletariat-looking people, where I clearly belonged; and
- A con staffer walking toward me.
Once I was moved to the correct line, I waited about an hour, which isn’t bad. At one point, someone said Stan Lee was somewhere in the exhibit hall posing for pictures FREE. I found him, took this picture, and noticed something strange. Do you see it too?
Five points to Gryffindor if you recognize that this person isn’t Stan Lee. I don’t know whether he was a cosplayer, a doppleganger, or something else, but I later got a candid (read: surreptitious) pic of the real deal.
Stan was terrific, charming and humble, and his line managers took a bend-but-don’t-break approach that I appreciated. In fact, all the crowds were well managed. One helpful feature was a signing schedule at every celebrity’s booth, like this one at Josh Peck’s.
Despite being the biggest event in the Wizard World portfolio, Chicago was a delight. I did a lot of waiting, but that is unavoidable, and I passed the time gawking at some world-class cosplayers. The rooms were laid out well, prices were clearly advertised, most things happened on time, and I saw little tension among staff or attendees. CGC was doing comic book grading on site, and that also went well, probably because Stan Lee had his own booth.
If you go to only one Wizard World con ever, make it Chicago. You’ll have a ball. Here are a few more pics to show you why.
No, this isn’t security removing an unruly attendee; it’s just a cadre of cosplayers.
The long and short of it.
Doin’ the Cybertron shuffle.
Looking forward to the Ant Man movie in 2015.
Even the queen had a good time hanging with a few (dis)loyal subjects.
Inker Jay Leisten (Uncanny Avengers, Uncanny X-Men, Mighty Avengers) appears at Challengers Comics on Wednesday, October 1st from 5:00 – 7:00 pm to sign DEATH OF WOLVERINE! Jay is a dedicated comic professional and has worked for just about every publisher. He’ll have original art, prints and is available for sketches.
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Lucy Knisley (Relish) appears at Challengers Comics on Friday, September 26th at 7:00 pm to sign her new book from Fantagraphics, AN AGE OF LICENSE!
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Michael Moreci (Hack/Slash, The Curse) appears at Challengers Comics on Wednesday September 24th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm to sign his new Image Comics title Roche Limit
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
SEAN DOVE appears at Challengers Comics on Friday September 19th at 7:00 PM! He has a beautiful hardcover art book coming out, called THE LAST DAYS OF DANGER, featuring full page illustrations inspired by classic Spy Movies. This is the official Release Event for the book and Sean will be on hand to scribble in your copy and to talk James Bond with you all night
1845 N. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Meet writer/artist Tom Kyzivat appears at GRAHAM CRACKERS COMICS DeKALB on Wednesday, September 17th from Noon – 5:00 pm signing copies of his book & showcasing his artwork.
Enter a world that hearkens back to a time when toy shelves ruled our lives, cereal tasted better with a prize inside, and Saturday mornings were king. The faces might look familiar, but the story isn’t: in a
post-Apocalyptic wasteland, a small group of war survivors struggles to stay alive under the iron fist of a tyrannical madman. Obsessed with an ancient artifact he believes will awaken a long-dormant evil, the small, blue pygmy known as Ego tightens his grip on a dying world. His industrial empire, The Engine, slowly chokes what life if left from the dusty landscape, causing all to live in fear and hide in the shadows. But the survivors won’t give up so easily. Led by a stalwart woman known only as “Red”, a survivor from the fall of the Kingdom of man, she leads a rag-tag group of soldiers of circumstance. A bear who just doesn’t care anymore, a short, stout potato man, a deer-like satyr, and a free-spirited girl obsessed with bright colors and explosions, will seek out the aid of a once-powerful magician and rise out of the ashes of their world to become The Revival. It’s going to be one berry rough day.
Graham Crackers Comics
901R Lucinda Ave. DeKalb, IL 60115
Danielle Fishel signs her memoir at Anderson’s Bookshop on Friday September 12th at 7:00 PM!
You loved her as Topanga on Boy Meets World, now stop by as Naperville meets Danielle Fishel! She visits with her new book, Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern. Fishel’s memoir is entertaining and down-to-earth. Perfect, from the girl next door from Boy Meets World.
123 W Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL 60540
Local creator Scott Larson appears at Graham Crackers Comics on Wednesday September 3rd from noon till 2:00 PM for a signing and the release of his new graphic novel The Saint: The Man Who Wouldn’t Die.
Graham Crackers Comics – CHICAGO LOOP
77 E. Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60602
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy,’ David Boreanaz Q&A’s, Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival, Creator Sessions, TV & Film Screenings Headline Programming At Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
‘Gotham’ Screening, ‘Star Trek: TNG,’ Reunion, ‘Doctor Who,’ John Barrowman, Karl Urban, Stan Lee Sessions, Game Show, Leonard Nimoy Via Skype, Speed Dating, Film Festival Among 150+ Hours Of Panels At Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, August 21-24
ROSEMONT, Ill., August 13, 2014 – In its largest and most diverse programming schedule to date, Wizard World Chicago Comic Con will feature more than 150 hours of Q&A’s, movie and TV screenings, special events, creator sessions, meet and greets, parties, fan-driven panels and more over four full days at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Thursday through Sunday, August 21-24. Most programming is included as part of the standard event admission.
Sure to be among the most popular panels are the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival (13 film screenings and several themed panels) and exclusive screening of the highly anticipated new Fox drama series “Gotham” (Sat., 1 p.m.). Q&A’s featuring Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy standouts Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Michael Rooker (Yondu) (Saturday, 5:15 p.m.), “Doctor Who” stars Matt Smith and Gillan(Sunday, 10 a.m, requires additional ticket), David Boreanaz (“Bones,” “Angel”) (Saturday, 2 p.m.), John Barrowman (“Torchwood,” “Arrow”) (Saturday, 4 p.m.), James Marsters (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Caprica”) (Friday, 1:30 p.m.), Karl Urban (“Buffy,” “Angel”) (Saturday, 11 a.m.), Stan Lee (Sunday, 11 a.m.), a Skype session with Leonard Nimoy (“Star Trek”) (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.) and other celebrities are also big fan favorites. “Bruce Campbell vs. the Audience” (Sat., 6:30 p.m.) as well as Wizard World Presents: Bruce Campbell’s Fanatic’s Face-Off, a frenetic game show (Friday, 7 p.m.) are among the offerings hosted by the inimitable star.
Some of the other Wizard World Chicago Comic Con programming highlights include the following:
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” Reunion Event, hosted by William Shatner and featuring series stars Sir Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Gates McFadden (“Dr. Beverly Crusher”) (Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N River Rd., Sunday, 5 p.m. requires additional ticket)
“Arrow” stars Katie Cassidy and Michael Jai White in a discussion of all things Starling City (Sat., 5 p.m.); and “How to Survive a Killer TV Show” with Sarah Wayne Callies and Scott Wilson(Sun., noon)
FILM:CON Presents Special Guest Kevin Conroy, the animated voice of Batman in dozens of films and shows, includes screening of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and discussion (Saturday, 6 p.m.)
Individual Q&A’s with Josh Peck (Fri., 3 p.m.), J. August Richards (Fri., 4:30 p.m.), Erica Durance (Sat., noon), Jason David Frank (Sat., 3:30 p.m.), Nicole Behaire (“Sat., 4 p.m.), Peter Criss(Fri., 5 pm.), “Elvira” Cassandra Peterson (Sun., 1 p.m) and others.
Informative discussions with noted comics creators Marv Wolfman, Tom Richmond, Jason Yungbluth, Danny Fingeroth, Dan Mishkin, Alan J. Porter, Gillian Porter, Michael Golden, Jenn Blake, Leinil Yu, Kevin West and more
Screening of The Crow (Saturday, 7 p.m., preceded by 6:30 p.m. “Creating the Crow with James O’Barr”) as well as exclusive viewing of the pilot of “Scorpion” (Sat., 3 p.m.)
Evening Events including “Wizard World Game Night” (Thurs., 8:30 p.m., Five Roses Pub, 5509 Park Place) (21+ only); “Creator Pro Am: Drink & Draw, (Fri., 8:30 p.m., Five Roses Pub) (21+ only); Wizard World After Party (Sat., 8:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr) (21+ only)
“Con Radio Live” with host Mo Lightning and Aaron Sagers, with special guest Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
Costume contests for adults (Saturday, 7:15 p.m.) and kids (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.), plus cosplay-themed sessions with featured cosplayer Eric “The Smoke” Moran and others
Wizard World Comic Con Film Festival, featuring selected shorts and music videos (Thurs., 3-8 p.m., Fri. noon-5 p.m., Sat., 10-11:30 a.m., Sun., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
Sci-Fi Speed Dating (Thurs., 5 p.m.; Fri., 2 p.m., 5 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m..; Sun., 11 a.m., 2 p.m.), 90-minute sessions
Meet-and-greets with Jason David Frank (Fri., 11:30 a.m.; Sat., 9:30 a.m.; Sun., 10:30 a.m.) (paid events) and Joel Hodgson (Sat., 3 p.m.)
Kids Day (Sunday), with an array of kids and family activities designed just for the younger set, highlighted by the Half-Hour Of Power With The Green Power Ranger (1:45 p.m.)
Unless noted, programming events take place in the designated General Programming Rooms at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. VIP tickets or additional costs may apply to ensure access to select activities, as noted. (*Note: Frank and Hodgson Meet & Greets, “Doctor Who” panel with Smith and Gillan, “Star Trek: TNG” Reunion require separate respective tickets.)
A full list of Wizard World Chicago Comic Con programming is available at http://www.wizardworld.com/
Wizard World Chicago is the 10th of 16 events scheduled in the 2014 series produced by Wizard World, Inc. (OTCBB: WIZD) and will also feature a top-drawer collection of well-known comics artists and writers and a variety of activities, exhibitors and special attractions. For more on the event, visit http://www.wizd.me/ChicagoPR.
About Wizard World:
Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD) produces Comic Cons and pop culture conventions across North America that celebrate graphic novels, comic books, movies, TV shows, gaming, technology, toys and social networking. The events often feature celebrities from movies and TV, artists and writers, and events such as premieres, gaming tournaments, panels, and costume contests.
The full event schedule can be found at http://www.wizd.me/PR.
“Dangerous Curves” Around the Bend at Wizard Chicago! (Thanks to artist Michael Golden)
Chicago– Fresh off the presses, the new hardcover, deluxe format, full color sketchbook by Michael Golden will debut at the upcoming Wizard World Chicago show, Aug. 21-24, at his table in the Featured Artist section of this year’s show.
“Michel Golden: Dangerous Curves” is a lush book, at 48 pages, full of powerful pieces by this renowned artist and storyteller.
But why call it “Dangerous Curves?”
Because the name is multi-layered. Golden is known for his strong female characters with their piercing eyes (and yes, curves). And indeed, Michael always says that the first thing he draws for any female character IS the eyes–the window to the soul. And each of Golden’s women express their own strength and individuality on every page, drawn in an authentic and complimentary style.
But “Dangerous Curves” also features other characters–those that lurk around the corner as well as those that seek adventure–providing a good sampling of familiar characters, human and otherwise, providing the drama and/or confronting it.
Being the master storyteller that Michael is, known for his work on “G.I. Joe,” “Spawn,” “Bucky O’Hare,” “The ‘Nam” and much more, of course each piece in this book tells a story of it’s own on each page, with a solid and substantial art style that roots them firmly in your imagination.
In addition to the new book making it’s debut at the show, with the artist in attendance to sign it, all VIP packages for the show will include a free Michael Golden poster in a limited edition. Ask for details on the Wizard World convention website!
“Michael Golden: Dangerous Curves” is limited to 1,000 copies. So, if you haven’t ordered yours from Diamond Distribution, you can still order one while supplies last from email@example.com
For more information on the artist or for ordering, contact firstname.lastname@example.org