Wizard World Chicago 2007

After a pretty uneventful drive down from Milwaukee, two wrong turns and a 24 oz can of rockstar energy drink we arrived at the Hyatt O’Hare and unloaded our stuff Friday afternoon and headed right over to the Rosemont convention center for Wizard World Chicago the 2007 version.

The Goddamned Batman!

The first thing we did was head over to the DC Comics staging area. Huge banners hung around it, plasma TVs in the middle showed previews of comics and up coming cartoons. I stopped and took it in, noise, lots of color, lots of people. I asked and was pointed to David Hyde who was with John Cunningham. These are the guys who you don’t normally see or hear about. They do the marketing and publicity. David used to edit one of our author buddies and John was the driving force behind St Martin’s Minatour imprint for mysteries. We spent some time talking about the book biz. No matter where we go, we find a way to talk about mystery novels.
The crew at DC really worked hard and they never stopped moving. People stopping by to ask for buttons, artists dropping off portfolios for a new talent search, and of course people stopping to meet artists and writers, which they had a lot of.

Brian Azzarello

As we headed out of the DC area we stopped to worship Brain Azzarello. For my money he is writing some of the best crime fiction today, graphic or otherwise. Having never met face to face this was a treat. Mr. Azzarello is charming and and funny and a real gentleman. The fanboy that I am I had to get a 100 Bullets mini poster signed.

Top Cow Booth

From here we kind of wandered, I had a few other people I wanted to meet, but we just kind of played it by ear. We ended up at the Top Cow Comics booth. Once again, I really appreciate how much work the publicity department does. We work with a great guy named Filip Sablik and he never stops working. Waiting to meet Filip face to face I took in the Top Cow layout, a big circle of tables like covered wagons waiting for an attack, inside men in black Top Cow shirts waiting to help fans, and artist busy working. I walked away with a bunch of Trade Paperback editions including The Freshmen volume2, a great comic.

We left Top Cow and were immediately at the ZENESCOPE Tables. They publish Se7en, a prequel of sorts to the movie which is every bit as eerie. They also do the highly entertaining Grimms Fairy Tales. Updated version with great cheesecake style horror art.I really love both these books.

Right around the corner of the same circle of tables was Silent Devil Comics.
They publish a number of different titles. I had to buy The Devil’s Panties just because of the title. As it turns out, its a really funny and smart collection of comics strips that I really enjoyed. We also picked up King Arthur Vs Dracula and a number of other titles. I really enjoyed THE LAST SIN OF MARK GRIMM. Noirish detective stuff with a bit of a twist. Really fine reading. Written by M.Seam McManus.

Vankin and Moore

Matt Wagner

From here we went to the Vertigo panel. A rundown of titles to come from Vertigo with a nice slide show put together by Fletcher Chu-Fang, DC’s convention coordinator. On the panel moderated by Bob Wayne, we had Jonathan Vankin (editor), Tony Moore, Matt Wagner, Brian Azzarello and Peter Gross. There was talk about the 20th aniversery of Hellblazer, and an upcoming title we’re really excited about, INCOGNEGRO. The question were a mix of actually interesting and typical fanboy stuff.

At this point we did what Ruth and I do at most conventions, we went outside to smoke. And as happens at most conventions we started talking with our fellow smokers. In this case it was a writer and an artist. R D Hall is the writer of American
, and Mark Kidwell is an artist who has drawn a lot of differnt things, including the first issue of American Wasteland. We like these guys right off the bat, they dig horror, they smoke, and they wear black.

Kidwell with his latest book.

Hall with new series artist Tony Bledsoe.

American Wasteland is a great book. I love the art and the story rocks, it’s a horror/action/zombie/vampire adventure and it kicks ass.
You should check it out.

Right now.

I finally got to meet Jeremy from Dark Horse. Having played phone tag since BEA it was nice to meet him finally. Jeremy rocks. He’s a tattoo wearing cool dude who really knows how to work the booth. Talking to me, halping fans and setting up for mat Wagner to come by and sign the new Grendel hardcovers all at the same time.
Jeremy – You rock.
And Dark Horse rocks too. Martha Washington ominbus coming soon, HELLBOY and B.P.R.D., Grendel. This is a great publisher with
some kick ass books.

We retired to the hotel to eat expensive burgers and read and sleep.
Most of the other fans styaed up really late, the hotel vibrated form the buzz.

Day two started with a look out the balcony towards the convention center

An hour to go and people were lined up around the block. We hung out, had breakfast and waited to go in till after it opened.

Saturday is the busy day. The costumes come out.

We tried to see a bit of everything. The line to meet Michael Madsen at the Fangoria booth went on forever. The man is a real trooper, smiles all day long, and he signed forever. Madsen is a class act. He is also as tall as he seems on film and has the same cool swagger. And a sparkle in his eyes according to my wife.

Walking around we saw Booby the Brain Heenan who was nice enough to shake my hand when I thanked him for hours of entertainment as a kid. Lou Ferigno looks great, still in shape and really nice to the fans. The original Lois Lane Noel Neill was also very ice.

Other celebrites included Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica fame. He also has a new series coming out soon.

We walked down artist alley and Ruth bought a print.

We stopped by a table because we liked the banner.

Dead City comics was a nice stop. I bought some issues of Insignificant Gods. Urban trippy noirish stuff. Really cool indie comics worth checking out. And van Derian is a reall nice guy, and Roxy is too cool.

Jon Cassaday signing a lot of comics.

The rest kind of becomes a blur of buying comics and meeting people. We ran into author Raymon Benson. I saw a life size Tardis.We saw really cool toys, I subscribed to Wizard Magazine for two years and got a cool prize.

Daily Planet for Hero Clix toys

We hit the Avatar comics booth a few times. We bought any cool books, shot glasses and t-shirts.I love Doktor Sleepless and Black Summer. Lady Death is really cool too and we met Brian Pulido, great guy, great artist.

Moonstone Comics had a table and I had to stop. Had to.
Well because they are doing books and comics with some of my favorite heroes!
Buckaroo Banzai, Kochak, The Avenger, Doc Savage, The Phantom.Moonstone rocks.
I picked up a great book called THE NAKED ARTIST by Bryan Talbot. It’s a kind of tell all about comic creators retelling stories from conventions and signings. I laughed out loud and woke my wife while reading.
Moonstone is doing some really cool stuff and you should check them out.

Saturday night we hung out with friends who live in the area. We went for dinner and had a great time.

Ruth is already talking about going next year and is deciding where we should stay.
I met a lot of great folks, and I have to say, the people working for Wizard did a great job. THe whole place, and it was pretty big, was running like a machine. These people put on a great show and if you’ve never been to a comic convention you need to go.
Wizard Entertainment is the site to hit for information.

So think you Wizard, I had a great time and I promise, we’ll be back.