Wizard World Chicago 2008: Day Two Report
Day Two of the show began on a somber note, as the passing of creator Michael Turner late the previous night was confirmed and marked by memories and moments of silence throughout the day. CBR has posted a touching message from Aspen Comics Editor-in-Chief Vince Hernandez on the death of his good friend and associate.
On a lighter note, I started my day sharing an elevator with Angus Scrimm, the "Tall Man" from the Phantasm horror films. Apparently, Wizard World wasn’t the only game in town this weekend, as the Flashback Weekend horror film convention was also in town for its annual get-together of fans and celebrities of the fright-film scene. This made for a particularly surreal moment later in the day when the beginning of the horror festival overlapped with the end of both a senior-age Christian meet-up and a young couple’s wedding. At one point during the day, the line that had developed for the elevators included the bridal party, a buxom, blood-covered nurse, a massive, costumed Jason Voorhees (complete with machete and severed, bloody head of Freddy Krueger) and a trio of seniors who seemed very concerned that no one else in the hallway was making a big deal about the nurse and her companion.
On the show floor, one of the fastest sellers was an Alex Ross-designed t-shirt modeled after his iconic image of Clark Kent ripping open his shirt to reveal the Superman costume underneath it. The popular graphic replaced Clark Kent with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, who was ripping open his shirt to reveal the familiar "O" campaign symbol.
As far as announcements go, it was another light day, as DC revealed a pile of Final Crisis tie-ins, while Devil’s Due Publishing announced they would be producing a comic based on the anime/manga series Vampire Hunter D. In one of the most surprising announcements, Dynamite Entertainment announced they had acquired the rights to the Judge Dredd/2000 A.D. line, as well as the rights to The Phantom. This last part was the real surprise, as the crew from Moonstone Publishing was under the impression that they still owned the Phantom rights. I’ll have more on this one later today.
Attendance was improved Saturday, with a crowd level that seemed more appropriate for the event. Much of the crowd lingered in the retailer portion of the show floor, while Artists Alley was a bit of a dead zone. Despite the lack of traffic in the Alley, many of the creators I spoke to reported a decent number of sales and commissions, but their sales were spread among a greater number of attendees than usual. According to several creators, far fewer people were buying up entire collections of small-press creators’ work (as interested fans typically do), and instead opting to buy just the first issue or two of a larger number of creators’ projects.
Marvel Comics’ continued to vie for the role of convention circus act (previously occupied by Spike TV), as the publisher’s crew spent much of day screaming into a loudpseaker for the crowds to "make some noise" and throwing free merchandise when the roar reached a certain jet engine-esque level. Here’s a marketing tip for any publishers or retailers with booths located near Marvel Comics during San Diego Comic-Con International next month: offer passers-by free earplugs with your logo. You will be loved.
The night concluded with drinks at the Avatar Press meet-up for members of Warren Ellis’ WhiteChapel forums. During the event, Avatar Editor-in-Chief William Christensen announced a few items of note that will likely be repeated at today’s Avatar panel, including:
- The start of four new, ongoing monthlies in 2009, including Warren Ellis’ long-anticipated Mission City
- Christos Gage will join the ranks of Avatar Press authors with an upcoming series
- Avatar artist Mike Wolfer will be illustrating a sequel to Garth Ennis’ Chronicles of Wormwood miniseries
- Christensen plans to bring FreakAngels artist Paul Duffield to a future Wizard World convention
Click here for my report on Day One of Wizard World
And just in case you missed our previous coverage of the show, here are some links to peruse at your leisure: