I recently had the pleasure and honor of being able to cover Wizard World Comic Con: Chicago now for the 3rd year in a row, and I can honestly say that it was the most organized and BIGGEST con yet. Click here for all the images – iRATEfilms Facebook
I want to start off by saying that if you live in the Mid-West and have the opportunity to go, YOU BETTER GO! This year proved that the people at Wizard World know how to organize a con, and they really drove that point home this year. The organization, in the past, may have been questionable, but the lines flowed smoothly, and the staff and volunteers did their best to make sure everyone (press, talent, guests . . . everyone) had the best time.
They addressed venue issues and they expanded out more which gave room for more vendors, but it also gave room to breathe a little easier as well. This year they even had a smart phone/tablet app that people could download that had all the information a person would need in the palm of their hands.
The app was a helpful tool when wanting to know different booth locations, Q & A locations and time, and also to get a complete and up to date list of all the stars that would be available. The app was a greater help than the multiple maps and events sheets that were also available, definitely a must for the con geek.
This year was all about making sure that everyone had a great time, did I mention that yet? There were some familiar faces and some new ones with guests including Stan Lee, The Boondock Saints (Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flannery, and David Della Rocco), Jon Bernthal (Shane of the Walking Dead), Sam Trammel (Sam on True Blood) C.M. Punk (WWE Champion), John Cena (WWE Superstar), George Perez (Comic Book Artist Extraordinaire), and too many more to list here. Check out the official website for the whole roster, here: Chicago 2012!
The celebs I got a chance to chat with were all VERY friendly and seemed to genuinely enjoy the opportunity to meet their fans. There were also a couple new additions this year with the Jedi Lightsaber Training Classes, and even Sci-Fi Speed Dating. Yea, they had something for everyone this year.
While I was walking around, I was lucky enough to get a few words and a handshake in with Jon Bernthal. He told me he has a few projects in the works and will miss working with his “Walking Dead Family.”
When I spoke to Sean Patrick Flannery he was adamant about how much he loves the fans, and just loves the opportunity to interact with fans of all of his projects.
One of the more humorous people who I got to talk to at some length was David Della Rocco. David lives up to his moniker “The Funnyman” that was given to him in The Boondock Saints. He will take the time to chat about anything and everything and was very personable. The most memorable thing for me, being a HUGE fan of “The Boondock Saints” was asking him if he had to audition for a part that used his ACTUAL name. He said “Yeah, I went into the audition and they asked me to say Fuck in a variation of ways, so I did.
After I was done they told me that was all they needed and I got the part. I would’ve been pretty fucking embarrassed had I not gotten the part of Rocco that was written for me!”
I didn’t even attempt to talk to Norman this year, because his line was ALWAYS packed, and he was a machine taking pictures and signing autographs for EVERYONE who took the time to wait in his line. I also had the opportunity to meet and talk to Cindy Morgan. I remember her from the first time I saw Tron and Caddyshack. I was a bit intimidated to approach a person that is such a viable part of one of the FUNNIEST movies of all time. I can honestly say that she didn’t disappoint. She was very friendly, and such a class act as well. The fact she knew of the site (hear that Rick Swift?) and was a fan really put a HUGE smile on my face. When I asked for a picture of her, she said “ONLY if you’re in the picture with me!” That is a memory I will not soon forget! Thank you, Cindy.
I was able to live out a dream when I met George Perez. For those who don’t know, George Perez is a LEGEND in the world of Comic Book Art. I remember REALLY getting into comics when I was younger due to the art of a Marvel arc called “Thanos: The Infinity Gauntlet”. Those of you who don’t know who Thanos is, recall the first post credits part of The Avengers. He was the menacing purple dude at the end. George Perez has drawn for Marvel and DC, and his artwork is amazing.
I was fortunate enough to have him draw Thanos for me and while he did, he told me that an old friend of his was actually Thanos in The Avengers. He was excited to see one of his “babies” wasn’t given the CGI treatment, but there is/was an actual actor portraying Thanos. That was awesome news to me, and it made me appreciate the end that much more. George Perez also shared one of the most touching stories I have ever heard, but I’m not going to get into the sappy stuff here.
I had a great time just walking around all weekend as well. Visiting the different vendors (especially the Suicide Girls who were awesome and very cool to me; Hey Churtch!), and meeting people from all over the place; even AUSTRIA! There is such an eclectic group that arrives at Wizard World Chicago, and it becomes an adventure when you start seeing people over and again in this huge mass of people, but with my experience, it’s like I become a part of the event. I have found that when you keep seeing the same people over and again you start to develop friendships that you would most likely not have in any other environment.
It is truly a situation where you could walk in knowing nobody and walk out with a 100 new friends. And I learned the BEST way to make new friends is to just start high fiving people. Nothing puts a smile on a person’s face better than a high five. Even Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter Movies) had a smile on his face after I gave him a simple high five.
I must reiterate the point of how great a job everyone in the staff, volunteers, security, vendors, EVERYONE did this year. This year was the best of the past three years. Each year keeps getting better and better, and I’m excited to see what the future holds in store. Wizard World Chicago is the Mid-West equivalent to International Comic Con in San Diego. I really feel honored that I have watched it grow in a very short period of time. It is something that the whole family can enjoy too, and it really does have something for everyone. Check it out next year; I may just give you a high five!
Check out my past experiences here: