Wizard World Chicago 2012 Photos Part 5 of 5: Outtakes & Misc. — Costumes, Actors, Legos, Fun!

The miniseries finale! Rather than cut back to three hours’ sleep per night, I decided early in the process to pace myself and set aside some photo sets for the conclusion, rather than trying to post hundreds in the space of a single day.

Winning in the category of Best Fan-Made Inanimate Object was, for me, Lego Order of the Stick. I have a hard time getting into webcomics, but Rich Burlew bypasses this prejudice by reprinting his stick-figure fantasy-comedy in paper editions, so he gets a pass.

In Praise of Rich Burlew

We photographed several actors from a distance for value-added entertainment. Some didn’t really care, and would even offer free photos if you asked with utmost humility. In some areas photos were forbidden to keep throngs of amateur paparazzi from suffocating each other and ruining everyone’s weekend. In more than a few areas it wasn’t discouraged at first, and then later it totally was, as “No Photos in This Area” migrated from one table to another as stars came and went. For example, at one point early Saturday, The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal looked like this:

quick glimpe of "Walking Dead" costar Jon Bernthal

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Wizard World Chicago 2012 Photos, Part 4 of 5: Costumes! Costumes! Costumes!

My wife and I may have different goals and preferences at conventions, but one of our stronger common interests (besides a wish for better concession stand food) is a love of seeing other fans in costumes. All that inspiration, sartorial effort, and fashion derring-do enlivens and enriches even the most jaded, crowded, bizarrely laid-out of conventions.

Careful readers will note I’ve just reused the intro from Part 3. Not much has changed since then. We like costumes. Here are more. Please enjoy some.

X-Men are usually a staple, but this team has taken an uncommon direction in presenting the original X-Factor lineup from 1986, when Beast, Cyclops, and Iceman reunited after Jean Grey’s second resurrection. Angel was off-camera to the left, engaged in conversation. Leave it to billionaire playboy Warren Worthington III to find time for brokering deals.

X-Factor: First Appearance

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Wizard World Chicago 2012 Photos, Part 3 of 5: Costumes for the Win

My wife and I may have different goals and preferences at conventions, but one of our stronger common interests (besides a wish for better concession stand food) is a love of seeing other fans in costumes. All that inspiration, sartorial effort, and fashion derring-do enlivens and enriches even the most jaded, crowded, bizarrely laid-out of conventions. Of all the photos that we two snapped last weekend at Wizard World Chicago, these are my personal favorite costumes and scenes for random reasons.

Exhibit A: Pennywise is every nightmare you ever had. Bloodied nurse stands by, waiting to do her job after It is finished with you.

Pennywise is IT.

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Wizard World Chicago 2012 Photos, Part 2 of 5: Sci-Fi Actors Ahoy!

In our last exciting adventure, my wife and I attended Friday and Saturday of this year’s four-day Wizard World Chicago entertainment and comics convention up in Rosemont, IL. Much fun was had, many photos were taken, and extensive walking was required. These, then, are more of those photos, centering on those actors we met and approached (as opposed to actors we glimpsed from afar, which have been segregated for one of the future entries).

In the category of “Actors Whom One or Both of Us Met in Person”, my wife’s hands-down favorite of the lot was Dean Cain from Lois and Clark, who’s barely aged a day. Chalk it up to the effect of yellow-sun radiation on his Kryptonian physiology.

Dean Cain, TV's Superman

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Wizard World Chicago 2012 Notes on the Go: Saturday Report — A Few More Actors, One Q&A, and Photos from Artists Alley

After spending our Friday at Wizard World Chicago in a series of lengthy lines, our goal Saturday was to finish our autograph want list once and for all, and then roam the place at a leisurely pace, revisiting Artists Alley, perusing the dealers and exhibitors, and admiring all the costumes.

Our longest line of the day was once again the general admission line, for which we arrived over two hours before opening. Even though we had no pressing needs that demanded an early presence, we just felt like showing up early. It’s part of the experience, and sometimes it’s fun to hang out with other fans equally motivated to do likewise for their own reasons. The early Saturday wait was much more enjoyable than Friday’s. For the morning’s entertainment, we were regaled with the humor stylings of a WWC volunteer who was very low on sleep and high on Red Bull. For the morning’s shopping bonuses, a volunteer with a megaphone (it’s as if someone with power actually read what I wrote yesterday) passed out lanyards, which fans could redeem at the WWC merchandise booth for…things. I don’t know what. The megaphone wielder was distant from us and kept yelling in the opposite direction away from us. Much of the crowd near him hollered and cheered; those of us well behind him were left ignorant and without bonuses. This is still an improvement over Friday’s silent screams.

After one important initial errand, my wife and I sauntered through Artists Alley before the crowds descended upon it, to see if anyone could lure us toward them with their wares or even a simple “hi” broadcast in our direction. The winners of our unannounced WWC Saturday “Take Our Money, Please” contest were the following creators:

* The one and only legendary, trendsetting, boundary-redefining artist that is Neal Adams. At five minutes after opening, he had no line yet. I couldn’t believe the luck. I cheerfully bought a hardcover reprint of the 1978 Treasury Edition Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, which may sound a little odd today but still looks amazing on the inside.

Neal Adams

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Wizard World Chicago 2012 Notes on the Go: Friday Report — the Actors and Two Self-Publishers Who Won Our Day

I’m currently writing this from our hotel in Rosemont, where my wife and I are attending two of Wizard World Chicago’s four days of self-described “geek chic”, comics fun, sci-fi spectacles, and all the autograph lines you could ever want to live in. After four hours’ walking around the State Fair on Thursday and eight hours’ standing and walking today, we’re somewhere beyond exhausted, but excited nonetheless. And we still have one more day to go! (Other attendees have more. We simply don’t do Sundays.)

The least enjoyable part was the wait to enter the convention. Per our personal procedures, we arrived ninety minutes before opening time to ensure a sooner entrance than other fans who would be vying for space and line positions inside. Early arrivers are kept waiting in a warehouse-sized room with a barren floor that’s not terribly conducive to sitting through all those early minutes.

Even less charming were the WWC employees who kept shouting completely inaudible things at the crowd — possibly instructions, possibly encouragement, possibly rap-concert clichés, maybe even tapioca pudding recipes. I wouldn’t know because I couldn’t understand a word they yelled. Helpful practical advice to those guys, especially the one who was like a skin irritant to us at a previous WWC: that cavernous waiting room is not the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where sounds will reverberate like magic for one and all to take in. If your employers can’t be bothered to arm you with a microphone or even a megaphone, then you’re going to need to learn the difference between plain yelling and actually projecting your voice. They’re not the same thing, as one fan ably demonstrated when he returned the verbal volley well enough for all to hear and understand.

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Wizard World Chicago Clip Show: Memories of 2011, 2010, and 1999

My wife and I have just a few days left until we take off for tiny, action-packed Rosemont, IL, for Wizard World Chicago 2012. Even though this will be our fourth WWC, we’re still preparing and weighing our options. I, for one, have my comics want-lists to update and mull over. Do I really feel like rooting through countless musty longboxes for single issues I’ve been missing since childhood? Do I really think this will be the year I find Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool #5 and achieve closure with Alan Weiss’ underrated working-man sci-fi miniseries at last? Or should I aim instead for the bargain boxes stuffed with $5 trade paperbacks, 90% of which are Marvel Ultimate comics?

Then there’s the matter of autograph pricing (is Scott Bakula’s autograph really worth three Amber Bensons?), autograph materials to bring along for the actors (which season of Buffy or TV’s Angel was really Juliet Landau’s best?) as well as for the comics creators (must dig out Hourman #1…or was there a more apropos issue?), and the little things such as emergency snacks and note-taking supplies. Lots to do, lots to put off till the last minute because that’s when I do all my best thinking, unless you count everything I’ll forget because of the time pressure.

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Wizard World Chicago 2012 to Present Stan Lee, “Buffy” Alumni, “Quantum Leap” Reunion, a Superman, Comic Books

2012 will mark the fourth Wizard World Chicago that my wife and I have attended. Held north of Chicago in the village of Rosemont, IL, it’s a different animal from the first WWC we attended in 1999, and a different genus altogether from C2E2 (which we’ve attended twice), but we’re not among the haters who gnash our teeth in disappointment over the contrasts between the two shows. I enjoy meeting the comic book creators and discovering new works in Artists Alley, even if the major comics companies all but boycott it. My wife likes to check off the remaining Star Trek actors on her autograph want-list. We’re both always curious to see what other personalities will be on hand, whether they’re famous now or formerly. Most importantly, we love to take photos and share our experiences after the fact.

The most important reason to attend WWC in 2012 is Stan Lee. The one. The only. As in, this may be my one and only shot at meeting him before one of us passes away. If you don’t know him by name, let me know and I have a whole universe you ought to meet.

As far as actors go, this year’s biggest draws include the following (as of 8/4/2012; all lists subject to change without notice; please refer to the WWC main site for updates):

Scott Bakula. I prefer to remember him for Quantum Leap and Eisenhower and Lutz rather than for his last regular series. (No, I don’t mean Chuck.)

Dean Stockwell. Also from Quantum Leap, but my wife is dead set on adding him to her collection of Twilight Zone-related autographs (cf. “A Quality of Mercy”, the one where an American WWII soldier finds himself in a Japanese soldier’s shoes).

Tom Felton. Draco Malfoy himself! Also, one of the clichéd human antagonists from the otherwise excellent Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Amy Acker. Fred/Illyria from TV’s Angel, Whiskey from Dollhouse, Grumpy’s fairy friend from Once Upon a Time, an evil scientist in Cabin in the Woods, can I stop typing yet?

Amber Benson. Tara from Buffy. Buffy alumni have ranked highly for me ever since I finished watching both shows a couple years ago.

Juliet Landau. Drusilla from Buffy and Angel. Yay Buffy party!

Dean Cain. Superman from the oooold Lois and Clark TV show. I think my wife was a fan.

Jeremy Bulloch. Somehow my wife, an even bigger Star Wars fan than she is a Trekker, has never had the chance to meet the original Boba Fett. This inexcusable oversight obviously needs to be rectified. It’s not as though Bulloch is a recluse who never attends cons. Somehow the timing has just never worked out.

Colin Cunningham. Biker rebel Pope will be the first Falling Skies actor to appear at a con near us.

Doug Jones. Abe Sapien from Hellboy, the Silver Surfer from the second Fantastic Four film, and a lanky scary thing from Pan’s Labyrinth, among other inhumans.

Breaking down the other multimedia non-comics personalities into four different categories, triaged according to how they affect us:

People my wife and/or I have already met: William Shatner; Bruce Campbell; James Marsters; Avery Brooks; Jarrett “The Defuser” Crippen; Peter Mayhew.

People we haven’t met, but are aware of, and may or may not be opposed to seeing if the right mood strikes: Jon Bernthal; Norman Reedus (if only I owned a Walking Dead set for both to sign); Sean Patrick Flannery; Laura Vandervoort; James Hong; Craig Parker (Haldir from Lord of the Rings); Sean Young; Luke Perry; Lauren Holly; Joey Lawrence; Tyler Mane; Kevin Sorbo; Nick Gillard; Camden Toy (one of the Gentlemen from the Buffy episode, “Hush”).

Special section for you wrestling fans out there (not me): John Cena; CM Punk; Booker T (wrestler, not musician); Diva Lita; the Bella Twins; John Morrison; Kevin Nash; Maryse Ouellet; Melina Perez

People outside the above categories that you might find interesting: Paul Wesley; Holly-Marie Combs; Brian Krause; David Della Rocco; Colin Ferguson; Lesley-Ann Brandt; Katrina Law; Sam Trammell; Vic Mignogna; Scottie Thompson; Adrianne Curry; Torrey DeVitto; Sherilyn Fenn; Cleve Hall; Constance Hall; Cindy Morgan; Lou Ferrigno.

And then there’re comic book people! George Perez and Neal Adams number among the most historically prominent, but the full guest list has the complete rundown on all creators great, good, small, and wannabe. For me the biggest new name on the list is Tom Peyer, writer of the one-time astounding DC series Hourman, among other eccentric delights. I also wouldn’t mind meeting Barry Kitson, Greg Capullo, Bo Hampton, and any budding young creator willing to put down their iPhone for a minute, make direct eye contact with passersby, and step forward to huckster me into trying something new. (For extra credit, it’ll help if your bold new venture into graphic storytelling isn’t all about zombies, breasts, or zombie breasts.)

This year’s Wizard World Chicago will run Thursday, August 9th, through Sunday the 12th. My wife and I will be attending Friday and Saturday, and look forward to a great spectacle as usual, with or without the participation of the major comics companies. More money for me to spend on indie upstarts, then.

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