Wizard World Chicago 2008: Day Three Report
The booths are broken down and all that’s left of this year’s Wizard World Chicago convention are empty mylar bags blowing in the wind and streets littered with Marvel Comics promo cards.
Sunday was another slow one on the show floor, with many creators (and a few retailers) packing up and bailing out well before the 5 PM close of the show.
So what were the highlights of the last day?
First on the list would certainly be Guest of Honor Warren Ellis completing a grueling schedule of signings that seemed to have him in action for a significant chunk of each day — with far more signings than any other creator in attendance, as far as I could tell. As I mentioned in my Day One Report, this was Avatar’s show, and that was no less the case on Day Three than it was on Day One.
I made it a point to sit in on Wizard’s "Twisted ToyFare Theatre" panel on Sunday, as ToyFare magazine’s signature fumetti-style strips (and now, animated shorts) continue to impress the hell out of me. With the addition of animated shorts to the TTT mix, ToyFare continues to make a strong case for itself as the title with the most potential in Wizard Entertainment’s stable.
The Marvel Comics booth continued to be the source of a never-ending roar on the show floor, as the publisher seemed to kick off a new "whoever makes the most noise wins" competition every 30 minutes or so. It was so loud, in fact, that when I and several other members of the industry media were waiting to interview Marvel creator Brian Bendis, he asked us to follow him into the mens’ bathroom to conduct the interview — just so we could hear each other. Unfortunately, the sound was so loud that even the bathroom walls couldn’t dampen it, and interviews had to be postponed until the latest Marvel crowd contest died down. Attendees who were standing in line for signatures echoed a similar complaint, telling me that they weren’t able to chat with the creators signing their books due to the noise.
Some of my favorite spoils from this year’s show included:
- Issue #36 of G.I. Joe: America’s Elite, the double-sized finale of the series now that Hasbro has ended its licensing arrangement with Devil’s Due Publishing. The issue isn’t due on shelves until this week (or possibly next week), but DDP received an early shipment prior to the show.
- Joshua Hagler’s The Boy Who Made Silence is a project I noticed a while ago, but it had slipped my mind until I bumped into Hagler’s table in Artists’ Alley. I was impressed with the look of the book when I first encountered it, and it didn’t disappoint when I finally picked it up this weekend.
- From Avatar Press, the Crossed sketchbook provides a glimpse at the latest gore-fest from Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows, while the "exclusive first look" at Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks is a nice teaser for what looks to be a very cool project.
All things considered, the presence of Warren Ellis turned what would have been a completely forgettable show for attendees, retailers and publishers into an event with a few memorable moments. It felt like a bit of a let-down to attend the excellent Ellis Q&A on Friday night and then have nothing comparable for the remainder of the weekend. During last year’s show, the sneak peek at The Dark Knight occurred late in the programming schedule and provided a nice build-up event for the show — but that event was essentially a stroke of luck for event organizers, with nothing finalized with Warner Bros. until the morning on the day the panel occurred.
The general vibe of the show this year was such that you felt as if everyone was waiting until San Diego for anything important (except Ellis, of course). Outside of Avatar, the rest of the publishers in attendance simply went through the motions, and it was painfully obvious that Wizard World Chicago in its current incarnation is struggling to find its role in a convention scene that’s evolved dramatically over the last few years while Wizard World stays the same.
Missed some of our Wizard World Chicago coverage here on ComicMix? Here are some links to the weekend’s stories: