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A Look Back at Chicago Comic Con 2010

Nothing says loving like enjoying a day at a comic book convention.

 My favorite cosplayer at CCC. One of of the few.
Friday, August 20th, 2010 - I walk the convention floor at Wizard's Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont, IL. As I skim through 50% off trade bins, an announcement blasts over the PA system: "Attention Chicago Comic Con attendees, Rob Blagojevich will be signing autographs in his booth in 15 minutes." I uncontrollably begin booing. Blagojevich recently squirmed out of all but one of the 20-some odd counts of corruption, trying to sell off President Obama's seat, after he left his seat as Illinois' senator. What does this have to do with Chicago Comic Con? Exactly. 
 
Chicago Comic Con used to be a huge event. One of the largest comic book convention in the country, next to San Diego. I didn't get a chance to go last year, so I took it upon myself to revist the place where my love for comic books was reborn 8 years ago. The Chicago Comic Con, then called Wizard World Chicago, was a place where you could get all the newest comic book news, meet people in the industry, check out some of the people dressed up as their favorite comic book character and take a picture, or visit your favorite publisher and see what they're offering. In 2010, times sure have changed. 
== TEASER == 
 Jubilee and Gambit TOTALLY had the hots for me.But only the security guard had the gumption to ask for my phone number.
The 2010 Chicago Comic Con was more of a "swap meet" than anything else, and don't get me wrong, I got some great deals on some books, but I was expecting a comic book convention, not the local "flea market." Let's start with the first thing you think of when you think of comic book conventions: Cosplayers. Maybe it was because I was just there on Friday, and didn't go any other time of the weekend, but the cosplayers were few and far between. In total, I saw about 20 people dressed up, after walking the floor for 6 hours that day. Where were they all? I'm hoping they all went Saturday and Sunday.
 
 How come when I walked into the con without a shirt on I was kicked out?
What about great news and panels? Well, there were some panels, but nothing worth mentioning, unless you care about what horror movie Lionsgate Films is doing next. (The Last Exorcism) The Friday I was there, there was nothing going on other than a screening of that movie Devil (AKA Elevator because it takes place all on an elevator). Again, I was hoping that at least something was happening Saturday and Sunday, but from what friends and customers at my shop said, it was a huge let down. Well, at least you can visit your favorite comic book companies at the con, right? No. As of last year, both Marvel and DC dropped out of the con, and everyone else followed. So, who was there? For comic book companies, I only saw Avatar, at least they were the only recognizable company I saw. There wasn't anyone else. There were a few movie companies and video game stations though, but nothing really worth checking out.
 
There were not big names in the business signing books; however, there were a lot of WWF (Sorry, "WWE") wrestlers from yester-year. As much as I'd like to be a little sarcastic and pretend to be annoyed by this (Especially by ex-governer Rob Blagojevich.. and Johnny Fairplay), it was really awesome to see Big Daddy Diesel Kevin Nash, and the Million Dollar Man. But, there really a lack of people involved with comics or even comic book related shows and movies... Unless you took a walk down Artist's Alley. This is the one place within the con I felt was an A+. Lots of great local artists showing off their craft and selling their wares. It was large, and there was a large variety of people. I spent a few hours wandering around there mainly... and visiting a few friends. The only other great part about this con was the local, and not so local retailers selling their wares. I found a lot of great deals. Many of the retailers had boxes upon boxes of trades, and all of them are half off. As for toys, you had to search a little harder, but the deals were there. In case anyone is wondering what I picked up, here's the short list of trades. Warren Ellis' Red, Bizarro World and  DC Archive Edition: Golden Age Flash Vol 1, which I've been trying to find for a decent price for quite some time now. 
 
 He hand one hand his pocket and the other one was shooting a peace sign... a literal sign made of peace.
So what do the people of Chicago do now for a more conventional convention? Well, there's C2E2 in April. From the look of this past year's C2E2, that's going to be the place you're going to want to go for your news and to check out all your favorite publishers. As for Chicago Comic Con, don't think of it as the same thing that C2E2 or San Diego Comic Con offers. It's one giant swap meet, so bring your cash and be prepared to spend it next year. Thinking back, I think I explained it best to a friend on Saturday night, when he asked about the con. Last month, I was at San Diego Comic Con, the mecca of all comic book related conventions. It was like the first time I had a pint of Guinness, and for years, I always drank Bud Light. It's hard to back to Bud Light once you've had a Guinness. 
 
 
~Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a comedian, teacher, comic book writer, comic store employee, and a man who likes a good stout beer after a good convention.
27 Comments
Posted by Omega Ray Jay
@inferiorego: That sounds just like every convention we ever have in the UK, Ex-wrestlers and old TV personalities a plenty with zero to none attendance from any major publisher. 
Posted by Lunatyk

 yeah... sounds like it was a waste of time...

Posted by inferiorego
@Lunatyk said:
"  yeah... sounds like it was a waste of time... "
Nah, not completely. Like I said, it's great for finding deals on trades
Staff
Edited by ComicMan24

At least you found some things you liked. I would like to go to a convention one day. There was one here a few months ago but unfortunately I couldn't go.

Online
Posted by SupremoMaximo

I just found out that Wizard World is bring a con to Austin, TX.  I ran down the list and it read a pretty lame list.  I was wondering why Marvel and DC weren't included.  Now I know to avoid and maybe try to go to C2E2 or SD eventually.

Posted by sora_thekey
@inferiorego:  I'm guessing it was not packed of people either then?
I wanted to go next year but this doesn't sound like something I would like to spend a plane ticket on though...
Moderator
Posted by Dek7264

I had no idea this was going on or I would have tried to go. I love shopping for discounted trades.
Posted by inferiorego
@sora_thekey said:
" @inferiorego:  I'm guessing it was not packed of people either then? I wanted to go next year but this doesn't sound like something I would like to spend a plane ticket on though... "
I guess it was packed Saturday and Sunday, but not Friday. Probably because most kids are back in school, and many people are at work.
Staff
Posted by Ender7884
@inferiorego:  Saturday actually had a really good crowd.  It definitely thinned out closer to the end of the show though.  I snapped a few good pictures of some cosplayers (Bebop, Rocksteady and Baxter Stockman were possibly my faves), hopefully I'll figure out how to get those on here later today.
 
@Dek7264:  There were SO many deals there.  I picked up a ton of trades for $5 each, and even got the Captain America Omnibus (vol 1) for $40.  Going in with an empty backpack and a budget was a very wise decision.
Posted by Dek7264
@ender7884:
Damn, those are exactly the kind of deals I want in on. So bummed I missed it!
Posted by Texan75

I also went on Friday with my Nephew, who has never been to a convention.  And while, I agree with most of your article. I will say I pleasantly surprised and disappointed at the same time.  I missed it last year due to surgery, I hadn't missed one in 12 yrs, and heard it was horrible so this year I didn't know what to expect.  
 
The artist alley was great. I wish they had some more big stars but I got some cool sketches and prints.  The merch, well, there were plenty of trades and action figures but not much else.  I bought a shirt or two.  I wish they had more Statues and MB's.  Then came the "Stars" ugh! It was great to see some of the people in real life and get to shake their hand or say they were great in so and so... But to charge $25 a pop for an autograph for some of these shmoos, was just outrageous!

Posted by SuperTide

I woulda went just for the trades. heh

Edited by THALASTDRAGON

i was there tha whole weekend, and there were a ton of costumes, i took plenty pictures. i picked up a load of back issues i wanted, and most of them were 25/50 cent or a buck. i was posted up most of tha weekend with my friends from panelsonpages.com at tha table we had. we were doing free sketches and just having fun lol. as for tha actual show, there wasn't much going on comics wise. since tha publishers aren't there, so i wasn't expecting anything too much regarding comic panels. got to meet joe mad finally, which was great. hung out with ethan van sciver and he bought me and a buddy of mine dinner saturday nite, then we watched him play piano and sing some hilarious songs saturday nite at a late panel.
Posted by N7_Normandy
@SuperTide said:
" I woulda went just for the trades. heh "
Posted by jordama

I would have given gambit my number.
Posted by ElJuano

For Smallpress booths like the one i was in, Hallboy Comics, it was a great show. People came and actually stopped by and wanted to know more about what we were all about and what books we had coming up. Many a posters and merchandise were sold and I did a lot of commission sketches which was great. I see your point though inferiorego it is no longer the WWCC it once was, I for one realized this last year when Marvel, DC, Dark Horse were among the many who where no where to be found. One silver lining to this otherwise dark cloud was the fan response to small press and Artists Alley all together was phenomenal.

Posted by inferiorego
@ElJuano said:
" For Smallpress booths like the one i was in, Hallboy Comics, it was a great show. People came and actually stopped by and wanted to know more about what we were all about and what books we had coming up. Many a posters and merchandise were sold and I did a lot of commission sketches which was great. I see your point though inferiorego it is no longer the WWCC it once was, I for one realized this last year when Marvel, DC, Dark Horse were among the many who where no where to be found. One silver lining to this otherwise dark cloud was the fan response to small press and Artists Alley all together was phenomenal. "
I could have lived in Artist's Alley all weekend. It was very nice.
Staff
Edited by Storm Rider

"Blago" Rod thought it was  a Comical Chicago Cons convention, that's why he showed up. Avatar Press was there because it's only a hour-and-a-half drive up interstate 57 from their home base (which is, in turn, two blocks from mine) and it was a cheap trip for good publicity. When no one else shows a mid-level indy like Avatar ends up getting more press for being there (as evidenced here). I know Antarctic Press and Top Shelf were there, too, and a few other small publishers. Gareb Shamus and company did a nice job of alienating the big publishers by charging them set-up and booth fees, hoping he could turn it into a multi-media expo like San Diego.  It didn't work and it makes Chicago look kind of feeble.
 
I actually prefer a comic convention to focus on COMICS, not movies and other entertainment. If the big publishers were at Chicago then I think it would've been exactly the type of show I'd prefer: a place to interact with fans and creators and get some some sketches and cheap comics. I loved it when I used to go years ago, but the Shamus family business model has turned me off to going in recent years. Besides, I don't want to get badgered by Virgil to give him twenty bucks again.

Posted by inkbot01

I had the same complaint with the Philly Con this year. No major publishers showed up, the few panels that were offered were all pretty underwhelming, and the Cosplayers were few and far in between. I mean I got a great deal on trades, which is really a given for these type of events, but it just wasn't the same as it used to be. Maybe its because I'm so used to working the NY comic con, but then again The Mocca convention in NY had better panels ;(

Posted by Darkmount1
@Lunatyk:
Hey! I actually thought it was great! I was there last Saturday, and I had a decent time. I sat through a panel hosted by Avery Brooks (he's a good speaker, by the way), and when I asked Adam West and Burt Ward questions at their panel, they called me and my Q's intelligent! THAT, my friends, is an honor like no other!.....And I got some decent autographs.  Sure, the big companies weren't there, but the experience is more important. (Though I wish I had gotten the autographs of Karl Kesel, Mike McKone, Mike Grell, and Michael Golden....)
Posted by ViciousCesar!
@inferiorego: was virgil there with the million dollar man?  
 
he was at wizard world anaheim and he was borderline begging me for money. lol
Posted by inferiorego
@ViciousCesar! said:
" @inferiorego: was virgil there with the million dollar man?   he was at wizard world anaheim and he was borderline begging me for money. lol "
Virgil is always there, but they weren't sitting near each other
Staff
Posted by theArtisanRogue

This was the first really major show I'd attended out of state, as I drove up from Kansas City. I can't say I was disappointed, as the sheer number of people there was incredible, but I also didn't know what to expect. 
 
I had heard from other creators that last year was really bad as far as a whole and that it had been from both DC and Marvel dropping out.  I was under the impression that they would both be there, if only because it's a comic convention. It actually took me until Saturday night that I realized they weren't there. 
 
Otherwise, Artist Alley was actually a lot of fun, and there were a lot of people that came out both on Saturday and Sunday, with a lot more cosplay evident on those days.
 
I can say that the crowds were incredibly dense up by the Star Trek booth which had a lot of people who way later in the day finally came around the back wall of Artist Alley saying that it was hard to want to fight through the crowds to GET to Artist Alley.
 
The term "flea market" was overheard a LOT from what I understand in reference to the vendor's area, and that's in no way a slam on the vendors, but I can understand why convention goers were so reluctant to buy anything at first glance from vendors or artists, as after you got in, there was little else to do there aside from spend your money. That's great for us indie publishers and for vendors and the  talent they brought to the show, but doesn't make for a great overall experience for the attendees.
 
"Would it have been so hard to rent some arcade machines?" "Why does it seem they held the costume contest in a custodian's closet?" "Where is Marvel?" "Why are the photo ops so expensive?" "Why aren't there more industry companies like Adobe, Strathmore, or stuff like that here?"  These are questions I heard quite a bit while talking to people there.

Edited by Bruce Vain

I mean the show was ok - I had alot of fun. But that was because I saw and hungout with friends including you and had a blast at the hotel. Partying with Angus Oblong and the Zombie Hulk (Eric) and a few chickies. But it did feel like we were Brodie in Mallrats hanging out at the local flea market ha ha ha.  Like you said it's good to find some really comic book deals and for artists to promote their stuff. There were ups and downs at the show - few good costumes ( and yea Saturday was a better day for the cosplayers) and the celebs that were there. And thank you for calling it WWF I never refer to it to WWE , screw that. Other then that I had a blast at the show ( mainly at the hotel ha ha) but I'm glad I didn't pay for a pass either ha ha. Btw I love how Colossus looks a bit bashful in the pic ha ha - Oh and he did have a really good Godzilla costume.  
 
Excellent well written article
 
And this was the highlight of our Saturday night evening at the hotel - meeting Big Sexy Kevin Nash  and probably my biological father ha ha. It may not be Glenn Danzig after all ha ha   

n.W.o. 4 Life
Posted by Bruce Vain

Oh and Mat 
 
THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by inferiorego
@Bruce Vain said:
"
Oh and Mat 
 
THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
No,

THANK YOU!

 
Next time, we need to get some pictures of us flexing together.
Staff
Posted by Bruce Vain
@inferiorego said:
" @Bruce Vain said:
"
Oh and Mat 
 
THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
No,

THANK YOU!

 Next time, we need to get some pictures of us flexing together. "

Sir, it's truly my honor to THANK YOU to bestow your presence with us at the show. ;) 
 
Sounds like a plan to me - But you sure you can compete with this ? 
 
RAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR