The fall of the Chicago Comic Con
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 21:08
For several years, the Chicago Comic Con (formerly Wizard World Chicago) was the undisputed king of Midwest region comic conventions. Fans and professionals alike held the convention in high regard, and year after year it never failed to impress.
Unfortunately, several missteps and changes to the Chicago Comic Con, which ran from August 9-12, have turned the show into a shell of its former self.
Walking the show floor, it was hard to deny the annual turnout was considerably smaller than previous years. Even Saturday, which is traditionally the busiest day of the show, seemed to draw fewer visitors than ever before. This could be due to the dramatically increased ticket prices ($80 for a 3-day pass as opposed to last year’s $50) and the continued absence of comic publishers such as Marvel and DC. Attendance was by no means a failure, but the decrease in turnout was easily noticeable.
The layout of the convention was altered this year, placing autograph signings with celebrities in the center of the show floor. This led to severe bottle-necking in several areas of the convention center, while the outlying areas ended up resembling a ghost town. To their credit, the aisles were widerthan previous years to help people navigate the show.
All missteps aside, there was still plenty to see and do at the convention. Legendary comic creator Stan Lee and professional wrestlers CM Punk and John Cena drew massive crowds to the signing areas, and fans were able to meet celebrities such as Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” film series), Bruce Campbell (“Evil Dead”) and the cast of “The Boondock Saints.”
The convention also gave local talent a chance to be noticed. The Chicago division of the Ghostbusters was on hand to greet fans and pose for photographs in full uniform. Also in attendance was local nerd-themed burlesque troupe Gorilla Tango Burlesque. The group performs tongue-in-cheek shows with a heavy focus on pop culture and video games, such as the upcoming “A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque.”
While the convention was far from an outright failure, it is still just a shadow of its former greatness. With increased competition from other shows, including the immensely popular newcomer C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo), the Chicago Comic Con is clearly on the decline.