Wizard World Chicago: Day Three Oh, My Gosh, the Crowds

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The morning started with a chat with Wizard's Gareb Shamus, as we both surveyed the line of Saturday-only attendees waiting to get in to buy their ticket to join the fun. The line (which had already begun to filter in through the convention center doors) was moving fast but still stretched further than I think I'd ever seen it at a Chicago comic-con. (The view above doesn't begin to capture it; this is a chunk of the portion that hadn't yet reached the covered entry area, which probably had a hundred or more closer to the door and a couple hundred more stretched along the building behind these folks - and there were still people approaching the building who hadn't yet joined the line.) Gareb mentioned the outreach into the community and commented that I'd be surprised how many in the crowd were first-time attendees.

So I approached a chunk of the line at random and asked each of about 50 people in turn, "Is this your first Chicago Comic-Con?" Slightly more than half said it was. There were many families coming as groups, often with toddlers in strollers, looking forward to the adventure. When I entered the hall, I was stunned to find the first booths in the hall jammed with people - and, as noted, most of the Saturday crowd hadn't yet entered the lobby to purchase their tickets. Here's a shot taken much later in the day from a vantage point overseeing a portion of the hall floor. Whuf!


Anonymous,  August 22, 2010 at 8:14 PM  

that was the line for the advanced ticket buyers, yep you read that right ADVANCED tickets. yes the line moved fairly fast, 20mins in all to get through but really COME ON!!!! also, move the autographs for big names somewhere else, right in front is not a good idea!

Anonymous,  August 23, 2010 at 4:38 PM  

Best. Show. Ever.

I think it was actually BETTER not having Marvel or DC throwing their weight around. I love having Bendis and Bagley and Millar at a show but with the short reins Marvel gives them at a show, you're lucky to wait an hour in line to get a comic signed. Bah.

This however was an amazing mix of comics, creators and fans. No big whig publishers messing it up. For me the highlights of this show were all artists...Bill Sienkiewicz was SUPER nice. Greg Horn was also super nice and very approachable. And surprisingly, Michael Golden was sitting in Artist Alley just waiting to talk with fans.

Sunday was the best day by far; got to chat with the Buffy actors and purchased lots and lots of comics 10 for a dollar. I think, as a pure comic book show, this show CRUSHES San Diego. Excelsior. Excelsior!

Anonymous,  August 26, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

"I think, as a pure comic book show, this show CRUSHES San Diego."

Which show were you at? Because the one I went to had the most pathetic line-up of comic book creators I've ever seen at the Chicago Comic Con.

I thought last year was pretty bad, but this was downright awful - no publishers' booths means no A-list talent, and even the single, larger publisher (Avatar) that did have a booth there couldn't be bothered to bring any notable creators.

Check out the guest list for the Baltimore Comic Con if you want to see what a real comic book show looks like - the Chicago Comic Con is a complete joke compared to what it used to be.

When you can't even persuade local creators like David Petersen, Jeremy Bastian and Alex Ross to come to your show, you should realize that you have a major problem. Here's a hint: filling your show with even more Z-list wrestling stars from the 1980s is not the correct way to solve it.

And what was the deal with having people with wristbands wait in line for an hour on Saturday and Sunday because there was only one entrance to the showfloor?

Unknown August 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM  

I'm looking forward to when I can make it MY first Chicago Comic Con. Not that I don't love the So Cal ones, but I always feel like I'm missing a part of the world of comics that so many others experience all year.

Maggie Thompson August 29, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

My guess is that the "CRUSHES" comment was addressing, not so much the publisher presences - but the bargains to be had when it came to old comics. I was whining pretty loudly to myself when I had to leave the exhibit floor to catch a ride home on Sunday, because many of the prices that had been low on Friday and Saturday were even lower on Sunday. But time, tide, and the ride home would not wait. 1950s comics for $1-$2 were pretty keen. Beat-up but keen.

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