This years Wizard World was one of the most disappointing convention experiences I've had. I'm not sure what happened since last years convention, I know that the last organizers had been let go after last year's convention and a new team was in place, but it just felt like Wizard didn't have that much to offer this year. There were less guests, heck even Kevin Smith didn't make his annual pilgrimage to Chicago to rehash old stories and share with us why he isn't the most timely guy in the world. Having said that, I also must defend Wizard regarding this year. I think this was a transition year for the convention, having to take place so soon after San Diego has never been a good thing. It's always felt like we got the San Diego left over's.
Next year the convention is moving to earlier in the year, the end of June, back to he time period that the original Chicago Comic Con used to take place before Wizard bought them out. I think this is a banner move for Wizard to make since it will put them in a better position for more important announcements, and have them poised for the middle of the Summer movie season and next year promises to be a big one. I think that may have come into play with this years event, perhaps the focus of making the move and trying to line up another event in such a short time may have lead to this year being kind of an half hearted effort, and I don't really blame them. Since San Diego has been getting bigger and bigger, fighting for relevance has become harder especially when you have your convention mere weeks after the "big show". I'm sure San Diego is a major expense for companies and to ask them to incur the same type of expense so soon afterwards may have lead to the simplifying of their efforts. This may not be such an issue next year with almost a month between the two, hopefully things will be more lively next year.
Also in Wizards defense, there wasn't really much for them to focus on this year. There were no real big movies or "events" coming in the near future so trying to drum up excitement when there wasn't a whole lot to be had must have been very difficult for the Wizard staff to arrange. When your big media attractions are actually sponsored by exhibitors, you know there isn't much going on. Granted having Tricia Helfer, and Michael Madsen (among a few others) on the bill seemed exciting, but without them being attached to larger "events", it seemed anti climactic.
One thing I will say for Wizard though, they scored a major coup, by being able to arrange the surprise Dark Knight panel for Saturday night. Being able to have cast members and the film makers at the convention, along with the trouble they went to to make it all worth while, said something for the organizers. Granted the film was shooting in Chicago, but after their "snub" of San Diego, it did not seem like there was going to be much of anything from their camp at Chicago, and boy did they surprise us. I appreciate that they gave folks a heads up Friday at one of the Panel so they could plan ahead and have a days worth of anticipation. They really did a good gob setting that up.
The only real complaint I have about the convention is a minimal one, but one worth noting. Generally when you ordered advance tickets, you are allowed to enter the convention floor an hour early. they would let you in to an area behind he convention floor and line people in pens and let you in through the back. It was orderly and everyone was kept informed as to what was going on. This year they decided to change things a bit. I'm not sure if it was for the photo opportunity or if it was because of something going on within the convention center itself, but this year folks were lined up outside. Now ordinarily that wouldn't be much of an issue, but do the math here- High temperatures + High humidity + A generally hygienically challenged group of folks = A really aromatic experience. Granted Friday morning there was a breeze, so it wasn't too bad, but Saturday was not good and Sunday even worse since it rained the night before.
All that having bee said- let's bring on the pictures.

This was the best costume I saw all weekend. Too bad I didn't get a better shot- the Kid's Jawa suit even had those crazy light up eyes.

The latest offerings from the Mattel Batman line

More offerings from the Batman line.

The first of many shots showing the JLU Figures from Mattel

Some higher profile Batman figures

The Man-Bat convention exclusive

The Goonies are finally good enough

There's no need to fear...

Some nice looking higher end dolls featuring some of them Potter kids...oh and Dobbie from the Tonner Doll Company

Way better than Barbie, the Tonner Doll collection is aimed for the higher scale collectors

Nice offering from Tonner Dolls from the Spider-Man 3 movie

Spider-Man once again wondering why on earth he didn't put pockets in his outfit

Spider-Man giving his best "come hither" look

Wizard World 2007 saw the local debut of the new United States Postal Service Marvel Comics Super-Hero stamps. Following last year's DC Stamps, the Marvel issue features a block of 20 stamps with images of your favorite Marvel heroes and some of the most memorable cover images.

More of the presentation of the new stamps, there was also a booth that the USPS was running inside the con where you could purchase the stamps and if you wanted they could apply a special one time Wizard World Chicago 2007 cancellation of the stamps.

Apparently I wasn't the only one taking pictures

Paul Jenkins was at the Hero Initiative booth all weekend taking pool challenges from all comers who made a donation to the Hero Initiative.

Two shots later Paul Jenkins lost this game by driving the eight ball into the corner pocket, well before he should have. The game right after this he did the same thing. I'm not sure what the final tally was, but part of the way through Sunday his record was 77-5. And I was there for two of the 5 (after the second one, they told me to go away I was a jinx)

That guy going in the door there, that's Rick one of the store helpers-on Friday he got there at around 11:00 and had to park at the top of the deck. That's why you get there early.

The Saturday morning line in the holding/drop off area

The Saturday Line

Some pictures caption themselves

L' il Spider-Man appears to be embarrassed to be seen with his Distinguished Competition

Not even Captain Marv...er um Shazam can defeat the line. By the way Capt. Boomerang is giving me one heck of a look, hopefully his tinfoil boomerangs don't come my way.

Saturday line down around the corner and across the street This would be a good time to say something about this. Seeing how Wizard World has be decent enough to grant me a press pass each year to over things, I would lie to put in a little request. Even though we are granted the privilege, it would be nice to be able to not have to wait in like so that perhaps we could better cover things, rather than spending the first hour trying to get in and get out bearings. But beggars can't be choosers.

Saturday indoors as they were letting every one in

This table, at least to me was the best part of the convention. This girl here is named Layne Toth, she and her sister Peri Toth write and draw their own published comics. If you are a frequent reader of "The Pulse" web site, then you may be familiar with the Pulse Junior Cub Reporter features filed by Layne from time to time. Often times she is interviewing artists and writers at the conventions and offers a nice fresh view to things. besides the interviews on the Pulse web site presented by Comicon, she and her sister also have their own web site, Sisters Comics. You can click on the link and find out more about what she's working on and see additional interviews and pictures.

I asked Layne if she would be able to do a sketch for me and she said she'd be happy to. She asked me wait I wanted and i said just go ahead and do whatever she thought would be good. She was looking at a program from the Superman celebration from Metropolis, Illinois, and there was a picture of Helen Slater in there as Supergirl. She took a short look at that and started to work.

Layne Toth presents her finished work
She started with pencils, moved to ink and went straight on to coloring. This took her about 20 minutes and it was great watching her work through the process.

Layne Toth presents her finished work

After Layne was done with her work, I asked Peri to draw a sketch for me as well. She went right to it.

Peri Toth working on her sketch. I think it was great that they happened to be at the show. It's nice to see kids involved in the creation of comics. Too much of today's stuff is aimed towards the teens+ age bracket, so it's a good thing to see younger voices around to hopefully bring a more youthful view to comics. Take the time to stop by and visit their site, Sisters Comics, and if you can pick up some of their books.

Somebody in this picture needs to borrow the "dork" shirt from the guy in one of the previous picture. Word!

Somebody is looking for Brock Sampson.

Most people would argue with me when i say that I know talent, but here is proof. This is Cory Carani, I went to high school with him and he actually went on to bigger and better things. After a stint working with DC Comics, Wildstorm, and Marvel among others, Cory is now working for Ravensoft. Who is Ravensoft, perhaps you've heard of Jedi Knight II or X-Men Legends or perhaps this little known game- Marvel Ultimate Alliance? Well, Cory is one of those guys behind the scenes. Hopefully soon I will be bringing you an interview with him talking about how he went from Mc Henry High School student to working on some of the biggest hits in the video gaming industry. Look for it soon.

Matt Wagner and Christopher Golden at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Sketch Auction.

Tony Moore and Phil Hester at the CBLDF sketch auction

Let the stories and auction begin

The Matt Wagner Batman went first and the second was a Christopher Golden Dr. Strange Sketch went second. Sadly neither of them went to me. It was hard to bid on anything with the wife sitting right next to me wielding her rolling pin of doom.

Jeremy Bastain- Author and Writer of Cursed Pirate Girl

Not the greatest picture but this is a sketch he did featuring his character, from what you can see it is quite detailed.

Tiara, the happy recipient of the sketch above

Recognize this guy? You should he was at the sore for a signing (August 28th 2004) a while back. Well this is David Rodriguez and this year he's back and with a new publisher, Archaia Studios and a new Starkweather story, which the first few issues should be available now. The zero issue has the honor of containing the first original story written by Piers Anthony for a comic book. Granted his characters may have been adapted before but he had never written an original story for a comic book before. how did David get him to do it? Look for an interview shortly detailing it, and make sure to look for his book in stores.

Perennial good guy David Mack and Tiara

David Mack shows off some of Tiara's artwork

I think someone tried to take part of Hawkgirl's pizza slice

Trick question- What do this Superman and Wonder Woman have in common? If you can't figure it out, i am not telling you.

Behold the Mighty Monarch, also looking for that Brock Sampson fellow, because where that Sampson is, Dr. Venture can't be far behind....

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