I’ve had the privilege of attending several Wizard World shows over the years. Wizard World Chicago has slowly become one of my favorites to attend each year. There’s always an excellent mix of celebrities, collectibles, and of course cosplay. Wizard World Chicago generally runs four days, which is one day longer than their usual cons. This is largely due to the amount of guests and attendees that gather annually for one of Wizard World’s largest shows. The show ran from August 19 – 21st and we were on hand for the full con. The show got off to a congested and somewhat hectic start due to the main skybridge for the show being closed, but that wasn’t enough to stop us from having a great time!
We arrived early Thursday afternoon, picked up our press passes and hit the con floor. There was an immediate difference in layout this year, and I’m still unsure how I feel about them. Maria and I walked the floor, checking out all the latest editions to WWC. One of the most surprising moves we noticed was the smaller artists in “Artist Alley” had been moved all the way to the rear of the secondary showroom. Normally, Artist Alley is in the middle and served as a break between the toy vendors and comic vendors. With WWC being as big as it is, I feel like that move would’ve led to a bit of under exposure for the little guys. The main showroom floor was a bit of a ghost town, as there was still a little over an hour to go before the show officially started. We took this opportunity to get more familiar with where certain celebs would be placed for signings.
We floated around more of the con and eventually landed in the upstairs area where the largest change had occurred. The upstairs area normally housed specialty vendors and last year was the location of a replica cabin from The ‘Evil Dead’ movies. This year, almost all of that space was converted into a gaming area, similar to what you’d see at San Diego or Fan Expo. The gaming area had several PS4 systems set up to showcase some of the hottest games out right now, and one unreleased title. There was also a pretty solid tournament system set up that saw some of the best local and regional players competing against each other for bragging rights.
One major area for improvement within WWC would be the selection of panels for attendees. I really dig the fact that there were quite a bit of wrestling and TV oriented panels, but there’s always room for more variety. As big as WWC has grown to become, there should almost always be an exclusive panel there. Not exclusive in the sense of what’s being said, but exclusive to where you can ONLY see that panel at Wizard World. I would love to see a Walking Dead or Fear The Walking Dead, or Marvel or DC panel exclusive to Wizard World and Wizard World attendees.
The cosplay at WWC is always on point, and this year was no exception. While there were a ton of the usual suspects (Deadpool, Joker and Harley Quinn), cosplayers stepped up their game to bring an awesome and unique spin on several movie and video game franchises. There was a guy and gal dressed up like Buffalo Bill and one of his victims from the Silence Of The Lamb movie and it was great! The costume contest usually brings out the absolute best in cosplay, and there was no lack of variety. There were muppets, giant comedic demons, Punishers, and other costumes from just about any fandom you could imagine.
With all this considered, it’s easy to see why WWC is one of my favorite comic cons to attend. There’s never a shortage of fun, and there’s always something to do. If you can only go to one comic con in a year, and San Diego is totally out of the question, I would most certainly recommend a trip to Wizard World Chicago. You won’t regret it.