Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Chicago Comic Convention Scene
Lots of conventions coming to Chicago in the coming months...
There is much talk these days about the fate of Wizard World Chicago. It is fast approaching, August 6th-9th at the usual place in beautiful Rosemont, IL. The fans still like Wizard World, in fact they have been clamoring for Amazing Fantasy to start pre-selling tickets for the show. I did speak to the lovely April over at Wizard via email last week, and I am happy to report that Amazing Fantasy should have tickets available to pre-sell next week, if all goes well. I'll keep you posted! I certainly hope that Wizard World Chicago (they have also officially gone back to the OLD name "Chicago Comicon") finds a way to make it work next year, and for many years to come. The fans always look forward to the show, which is a plus. Am I a fan of Wizard Chicago? Well, there are things I like about it, that's for sure. They are the only Chicago show that encourages retailers to pre-sell tickets for them. This is a nice perk. The extra income we generate at the shops through Wizard World ticket sales, is a very handy. (No, we don't get ALL the money, just a small percentage, but it adds up). I encourage you to wait to buy your Wizard World tickets until Amazing Fantasy's four locations have them available. It doesn't cost any extra to buy them through the shops, but it does help your local comic shop out, so do a good deed. The main complaint I've heard over the years about Wizard World Chicago is the lack of organization that is sometimes evident. I don't think it helps that the Wizard con staff changes every year. (For the first x number of years it was mostly the same folks, which made it easier for retailers, publishers, and creators). So we do have the staffing issues that make is challenging. There is still a chance that Wizard can fix this and other issues for next year and subsequent years. I've seen some speculation out there that the man behind Wizard is going to start pushing the Rosemont show's proximity to the gambling boats as a plus, time will tell if that will become a factor or not.
In September the Windy City Con will be happening at the community center in Boys Town: September on the 19th. This is only the second year of the show and I highly recommend it! We went last year as Amazing Fantasy and as Moonstone and Chris and the other folks that run it did a great job, especially considering it was only their first year. I expect this year to be even better! The main emphasis of this show are the creators. They get as many artists and writers to come out as possible. The show has a great atmosphere because it is a one day show (which is way easier on all exhibitors, creators, retailers, and publishers alike) and it's in the heart of the city. This means that there are plenty of spots to grab lunch, do some shopping etc. Oddly enough, the down side is the same as the up side: it's in the heart of the city. This means that it can be a challenge to find a parking spot and of course there is no way to predict traffic issues. If you get a chance to go this year, give it a shot, I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's $10 to get in for one day, not bad at all.
April 2010 sees the first ever comic con to use McCormick Place as the venue. This is something many of us have been hoping for for years! The C2E2 will be debuting next year! We couldn't be more excited. This show is being put on by the same folks that have done a stellar job with the New York Comicon. C2Ec stands for "Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo" just fyi. This is a pricier con that Wizard Chicago, but I certainly think it may just be worth it. The great thing about this show is the location, McCormick Place. It's right smack dab in the middle of Chicago, not in the burbs like Wizard Chicago. Close proximity to museum campus, the Loop, tons of restaurants and hotels, shopping and more! Perfect enticement to get some big name creators out here because there will be things to do OUTSIDE of the con, so they can bring their wives, husbands, girlfriend, boyfriends and kids WITH them. Suddenly it becomes a mini vacation, which for many creators is a definite plus. I think we will end up seeing many creators that have never come out to Chicago or rarely. It should be huge too, and McCormick Place is built for these kind of huge sprawling shows, just look at the Auto Show every year along with umpteen million other great shows that use McCormick Place every year. The only real down side I see to this show is launching it in the middle of recession will not be easy. I do think it's going to be a great event, and I encourage all of you to come out, if it is within your means. I have no idea if Amazing Fantasy will be pre-selling tickets for this show or not. As it gets closer we will have more information.
So look at that: 3 BIG FUN shows in the Chicago area in less than 12 months! The 2009-10 convention year could be a BANNER year for Chicago.