by Rob Balder
Wizard World Chicago
August 11–14, 2011
I did this very large, very expensive comics expo as an experiment. I’d have to call it a failure.
This con was four days of loud misery on the bare concrete floors of a warehouse. It’s attended well (20,000+), because they pay premiums for all the top media guests (Patrick Stewart, Bruce Campbell, and dozens more like that). They then make back their investment with $75 autograph sessions and special badges, and $9,000 nachos. Our table sales were barely enough to break even on expenses. Other exhibitors were blasting music and shouting at the top of their lungs just to get some attention from the shuffling crowd of freaked-out soccer moms with kids in Green Lantern tees and homemade Princess Peach outfits.
Impression: Predatory event. Exploiting the half-assed fandom of the suburban TV addict, with none of the fun of being a fan present anywhere. My four days would have been better spent volunteering in a soup kitchen, and I’d feel better about humanity afterward.