FRIDAY – AUGUST, 12, 2011 – CHICAGO COMIC CON
So what do you do when there are two shows you need to attend on the same weekend? Simple, you pray that they are right across the street from one another, and then you wind up with the same weekend I just had! I will start with the comic show since I spent much more time there, so if you’re interested in the Flashback recap, just scroll on down to Saturday’s coverage.
This was my third year going to Chicago Comic Con/Wizard World, and this happened to be the most time I spent at the show in those three years! Amy and I headed up to the show on Friday; she was dressed as Phoenix. When we got up to the convention center the show had not officially opened yet, so the lobby of the Stephens Center was a bit crowded. We headed over to the booth that said Press Registration, only to be told that we were in the wrong line. Apparently the press line was now the Pro Registration line. I don’t get it either. So after getting the wristbands we were in.
Just like past years, the breakdown of the show floor is simple. Upon entering the room you have all the media guests, then the vendors, and in the back is Artist Alley. Now, it might have just been me, but I thought that the vendor and Artist Alley areas were larger this year. As with most shows we headed straight to the back to unload our bags with our good friends Rafael Nieves and Dan Dougherty. I had asked them how preview night went, to find out that it went well. While asking around the room I seemed to get the same response on Preview Night.
After dropping off our stuff, I quickly tried to get around to all the Dan Con alum and drop fliers on their tables. Hey, if I am going to be at a big show in the area, I gotta promote. I was able to say hello to tons of friends, and then quickly move on to get more fliers out for the public’s eyes to see. Practically everyone in the photo gallery is on the Dan Con list for 2012.
One thing I have to point out was this group of guys who brought their Lego displays. Being a HUGE Futurama fan I was quickly trying to figure out how to get all of the custom pieces back to the truck. Oh, speaking of the truck, for anyone who recalls last year’s drama, I made it safely to the show two days in a row. Back to the Futurama Legos, they were awesome and I got pics of each piece so I hope you enjoy them like I did.
The show on Friday was not too busy, but a good crowd was constantly moving through. I took this opportunity to get in some interviews for upcoming episodes of Discussions. I got a chance to sit down with Raf & Dan, Ryan Browne, Randy Field, Jay Fosgitt, Tony Mielo, The Underburbs, David Gruba, Brian Babendererde, Mark Kidwell, Nat Jones, and the crew of P.I. Jane. So you can look forward to that.
The final thing I did on Friday, and I waited until close to the end of the day, was shop. I had seen a booth selling trades for 4 for $20, and it was something I didn’t want to pass up. Since it was the end of the day the crowd was dwindling down, and there was really no one around the vendor tables. I was able to grab some great books for only $40, and one of those was Deadworld Classic Vol. 2, in which I wrote the foreword! HAHA! That was really it, Friday was a great day to be at the show, we had a chance to talk to so many people, it wasn’t over crowded, it was just a lot of fun.
SATURDAY – AUGUST, 13, 2011 – FLASHBACK WEEKEND
Saturday was a day of highs and lows. For example, I got to go to Flashback Weekend (High), however I got to sit in traffic for one hour while waiting to go less than one mile (Low). I can’t say that we were running on time when we left to head back up to Rosemont on Saturday, but when it took me one hour to get off the highway to a parking spot, I was already not too happy. I guess when you put a comic book convention, a horror convention, and a Selena Gomez concert on the same block, on the same day, it is going to be busy.
So finally we parked and it was time to go to Flashback Weekend. Now, this was my first time going to a horror convention, so I was excited to see what it was all about. We entered the Crowne and were greeted by one of my best buds, Don Johnston. Don is the AV guy for the show, so we got the secret tour, which means we got to see the rooms with a man on the inside.
The first thing we did was take a look at the Q&A room, where the Walking Dead panel was taking place. This room was huge, and so nicely laid out. Big screens to the left and right and the guests in the center. A great layout.
Next we took at look at the Dealer Room, but I think it’s safe to call it the Awesome/Fun/Party Room. The one thing that I noticed at Flashback were smiles, because everyone had them. People at this show were just happy to be where they were. Dealers were selling horror props, posters, movies, shirts, and even our friends who do the Descent of the Dead books were on hand. In the back of this huge room were the media guests, and people were in line for them! A quick side story, Amy and I watch Big Brother, and one of the past house guests, Matt, was at the show supporting TROMA, so we got to meet him and his lovely wife. All in all Flashback was a great time, but we needed to head back over to Chicago Comic Con, so we waved goodbye to everyone and crossed the street.
SATURDAY – AUGUST, 13, 2011 – CHICAGO COMIC CON
So now back across the street at Chicago Comic Con, we made our way back through the crowd to drop our stuff off with Raf and Dan again. The show on Saturday was SUPER BUSY. It was almost to the point where I was uncomfortable to really walk around. We spent most of the day looking for friends who were also attending the show. We had found a few, but not everyone, sadly.
The problem that you seem to run into with a larger crowd is not getting enough time to chat with friends. They are spending most of the day talking to potential buyers, so it’s best to stay out of their way. So while we were able to say hello to everyone, we quickly ran out of things to do. Walking back up front was too much of a zoo to try and get through, so as sad as it is to say, we were bored. I guess if there might have been a panel or two to check out we could have done that, but there was no program this year and I don’t even know if they had any panels.
I really don’t have a lot to say about the four hours we spent at the show on Saturday. The big highlight was heading over to the Hyatt after the show to have drinks with friends, where we also got to meet Chris Hardwick. It was a really great way to call an end to the evening, and con weekend.
The two things I have learned is that I really only need one day at Chicago Comic Con, and I need to see more horror comic creators at Flashback Weekend. The weekend was busy, but it was a lot of fun, so I cannot wait for next year when I can spread things out the right way and enjoy my time much better.
Chicago Comic Con was held August 11-14, 2011 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Flashback Weekend was held August 12-14, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Ohare Hotel.