This hasn’t been my first visit to Wizard World but I think it’s been my favorite. The con seemed more organized than in previous years. They did a great job of best utilizing their floor space, putting celebrities in the middle for autographs and pictures and making real space for the artists alley between booths so people could really stop and enjoy the art without feeling like they had to move every five seconds. There were quite a few big names there, including as usual Lou Ferrigno & Bruce Campbell, and then some of the younger generation like Tom Felton & Nina Dobrev. Cosplay was wonderfully rampant and there didn’t appear to be a trend of just the “popular” costumes of the year. There were a few Banes out there and Batman, but there were plenty of classics and some really unique cosplayers who obviously love their characters.
In regards to loving their characters, the quality of artwork and creativity in Artist Alley this year was incredible. Many more booths had official banners waving and there were quite a few small companies of artists it seemed, but it was just overall amazing to see. Getting to sample the next generation of possible Stan Lee’s out there makes me excited to see what’s next. Additionally, there was quite a range of genres, from horror and “adult” to young children. One booth actually focuses on teaching children how to create their own superheroes, using letters and numbers as the beginning of their sketches. Another had an original storyline of a Chicago superhero. Since we were in Chicago, there’s obviously a market for it, but it was a nice change to see from the usual New York or completely made up location. Overall, Artist Alley took almost half of the floor and it was entirely worth it.
Vendors were pretty standard for a convention, with some random specialty booths scattered. There was a booth for basically just cat ears that move from brain waves which was a little creepy thinking of the science involved, but pretty fun to see on people walking around. One booth was practically only t-shirts and wardrobe paraphernalia for anarchists. The weapons booths were fun to peruse. There was a booth of entirely wooden only weapons, with superhero icons on the shields, which was definitely kid friends. One of the metal booths actually offered completely customized weaponry, which was hard to pass up.
One possible drawback to the booths this year was a lack of major videos or getting to sample up and coming video games. In the past, the big names of comic books and the major developers of video games would usually take over a corner of the con with some huge booths to showcase their newest creations. That wasn’t really the case this year but it was almost unnoticeable with all the other content available. Overall, Wizard World did not disappoint this year. They are definitely embracing new technology with a mobile phone app to provide scheduling and maps, which was a plus to the experience. Next year should be a fun time if you’re able to come and the price isn’t bad either.
** Check out my interview with a nerd-centric burlesque booth for some more information **