Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wizard World Comic Con 2010

Portrait of the artist as a Comic Con man. Photo of Steve Guzelis (left) and a colleague taken from Steve's Facebook page.

It’s been a while since I bought a comic book, but there’s something about events like Wizard World’s Comic Con that dazzle my imagination. Held at the Rosemont Convention Center this past weekend, it featured tons of vendors selling comic books, games, t shirts, action figures, Jedi laser swords, and countless other fantasy and sci-fi related artifacts.

Some people came dressed in super hero costumes, and where else are you going to see Captain Jack Sparrow and Harry Potter walking side by side? Perhaps the biggest draw for most people is the chance to meet with celebrities. This year’s guests included William Shatner, Linda Hamilton, cylons from Battlestar Galactica, Adam West & Burt Ward from Batman, Julia Jones, and James Marsters.

It’s also a place where large media corporations, as well as individual artists, come to hawk their wares. I encountered an attractive model in a revealing school girl uniform who was hyping a graphic novel called Bad Kids Go To Hell. I told her the art was very good as she stood by my side slowly turning the pages, and she readily agreed. Bad Kids Go To Hell will also be coming out as a motion picture. A young guy representing Carpe Chaos handed me a postcard for the new online comic, and pointed to some art work attached to a board. “You can pick any of that art and we’ll give it to you,” he said. SuicideGirls, a racy and cutting edge website had two new DVDs for sale.

Artists Alley is a sprawling marketplace where artists compete for attention from the people passing by. A lot of the work here was interesting, from artists and publishers like Alan S. Dyson, Chuck Perkins, Little Eva Ink, Sean Forney, David Mack Guide, Astounding Tales Comics, Jason Chalker, G2 Comics, Rob Hassan, and Ken Branch. I ran into Steve Guzelis of Strange Fun Comics, who sold me a couple posters at last year’s Comic Con, and who also created a poster of The Hollies for me. He’s been a great sport about my using one of the posters, Bands Of The Psychedelic 1960s, as a running gag in my Manchester Gallery online sitcom. It turns up again in the episode that will be on this week's Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff.

Wandering through the celebrity area, I stopped and had a friendly talk with Ernest Thomas, who was well known for his role of Raj on What’s Happening, and more recently played Mr. Omar on Everybody Hates Chris. I also shook hands with Larry Thomas (no relation to Ernest) and remarked that his Soup Nazi on Seinfeld was probably one of the most imitated characters on American television. Mickey Dolenz left his booth just as I was approaching, so I didn’t get a chance to voice my support for The Monkees being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

It was a kick seeing supermodel Angie Everhardt, as well as Bess Motta from 20 Minute Workout and The Terminator, but I wasn’t sure what to say to them. I spotted Linda Blair from behind, and was afraid her head would suddenly spin around to confront me. There were a lot of strange sights at Wizard World’s Comic Con 2010, but that would have been a little too much to handle.


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