Wizard World 2004
Last weekend Paul and I attended the super happy fun time that is Wizard World Chicago. There we saw comics, comic artists, movie and television stars, porn girls, cool toys, many supposedly illegal bootleg DVD booths, and lots of nerds. Some of these attending fans wore some awesome costumes, and others wore costumes that brought shame and new found hilarity to their chosen characters. As always though, it was a great time. Prepare yourself for a lavish double-dipping of convention commentary.
I like comics, but I'm not into them as much as I used to be. I think itís more the atmosphere and the people that make Wizard World fun for me. There was the usual collection of comic publishers, creators, discussion panels, and sellers of all things nerdly. I think everyone that goes will end up buying all kinds of garbage they don't need simply because of the availability of the junk. I didn't escape this either, because for some reason I really needed a Captain Scarlet doll... I mean action figure.
The collection of "celebrities" was a little less than stellar. Who really wants Marc Singer's (AKA The Beastmaster) autograph anyway? Still, if I starred in some crappy sci-fi or fantasy film I'd try to milk it for the rest of my life too. Screw working in a factory when you can sit on your ass and sign your name all day.
Wizard World also creates the opportunity for the unexpected that can occur even outside the convention. One such unexpected event was a two night "You got served" dance off involving my friend Matt and a big group of his buddies. Imagine a bunch of white guys having a dance off in the middle of a gigantic hotel lobby in front of a hundred or so people and you get the picture. The first night he drunkenly asked Kevin Smith to get served, who promptly ignored him. This kind of stuff doesn't happen every day.
There were a few negatives this year of note. For me I was a little disappointed by the lack of any kind of presence from Hasbro, and the lack of a Troma films booth again. Worst of all though was the horrid body odor emanating from a few of the socially inept, but I expect at least one stinky geek every year.
At any nerd con there will be hot women luring horny men to buy things, such as naked pictures or videos. This year was no exception, and despite the lack of regular Ginger Hill there were about four other adult entrepreneurs to take up the slack. Most notably was internet sensation Aria Giovanni, but there were a few other girls there as well. One girl had such a hideous face that it broke my camera, but the other girls werenít half as bad as her.
- Paul 08/20/04
Mini-Interview with Jasmine Grey
The nicest of these geek magnets was Jasmine Grey. We asked her a few quick questions, much to her dismay.
DMB: If you were a contestant in the Miss America pageant, what would your talent be?
Jasmine Grey: Um, lighting a lighter using my toes.
DMB: What do you honestly think about this whole comic book convention thing? HonestlyÖ
Jasmine Grey: This is the second one I've done, the first one I did was in San Diego and it creeped me out a little bit, just because of all the costumes and the people staying in character. But, I'm a little more used to it now and I'm having a little more appreciation for it.
DMB: Do you have any advice for the struggling adult star to be?
Jasmine Grey: Get tested, get tested, get tested.
DMB: You mean like in math and reading?
Jasmine Grey: No.
If you'd like to check out Jasmine's site you can do so here. Here's a warning though, like most good things in life you have to be 18 to go there.
Now that youíre done feasting your eyes upon the busty Ms. Grey let me talk about things you can get at the Ďcon. Like every year previous, this Wizard World featured many exclusives you can only get at the convention, or possibly eBay shortly afterwards. There were comics with exclusive Wizard World Chicago covers, like the Capcom Summer Special 2004 by UDON, containing short stories for Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and Rival Schools, and an exclusive Army of Darkness #2. The Capcom comic was really worth getting because for an extra $5 one of the UDON artists would sketch whatever Capcom character you wanted on the back of the comic. Iíve seen all the various anime and read all the previous comics and this new series is the best.
There were also plenty of exclusive figures this year, like a mini version of Palisadeís new Optimus Prime statue, Quentin Tarantino as a Crazy 88 from Kill Bill, and another Masters of the Universe figure, this time of She-Ra. To get She-Ra you were given a ticket for a drawing. If they called your number you didnít win the figure, you were given the right to purchase the figure. I donít know, Iím not as much a hardcore collector as I was a few years ago, but even if they did this back then I donít think I would have done it. It seems like a lot of work to get something thatís either going to sit on a shelf or remain in its box forever. Not that I really do much with the stuff I do have. Anyway, I had to pick up the Tarantino action figure and all I had to do was give the booth guy money. Besides, how many times do you really get the opportunity to hold spurting action little Quentin in your hands? Err, wait, donít answer that.
Paul's right though, there was slim pickings for celebrities this year. But, for other celeb-types there was Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (now present every year), Kelly Hu (Lady Deathstrike in X2), and the Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno. Ferrigno is there every year but is always a welcome and rare sight of uber-manliness in this building filled with overweight comic book guys. Surprisingly the Star Wars Men Behind the Mask tour was absent this year. With all the conventions they've been to over the years though, I'm sure everyone has something signed by them. Plus, they may be getting too old for this thing. Of course there are a ton of comic artists and many of them will sign something for you, if you ask nicely.
Iíve been going to this thing for a long time so this whole convention has become second nature to me. There are a ton of great deals waiting on the floor. Some you may have to hunt for and others youíll have to wait until the last day, but theyíre there. There are also a lot of not great deals, so always shop around the booths before you buy anything, unless you really know for sure that it is a good deal, then plop down the cash and rejoice in your victory of being a thrifty, deal seeking nerd.
If youíve never been to a Wizard World then I highly suggest you attend one. The only one left for this year is Wizard World Texas. If you can make it there then go, otherwise youíll have to wait until March 2005 for the next round of Wizard Worlds to begin. Even if youíre not into comics at all, or that much, youíll have a grand olí time. I have a friend that isnít into comics in the least, but has a great time whenever he attends, so Iím sure youíll love it. You may even find something you absolutely must ownÖ like a Captain Scarlet doll.
- Shawn - 08/20/04