Wizard World Wrapup
I don’t remember whether I said this before or not, but this was my first Chicago con since the first year Wizard took it over. When I mentioned that to some staffers, they said this was their tenth anniversary running it. My, how time flies.
The official attendance figures are now available:
Wizard World, the country’s foremost touring event for pop culture and comic books, announced today that it once again exceeded attendance expectations with its tenth annual Chicago event at The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, attracting more than 58,000 attendees over three and a half days, making this past weekend’s convention the largest Wizard World event to date. Guest of Honor Jeph Loeb, a comic book writer (Superman/Batman, Batman: The Long Halloween, Ultimates 3) and a film/TV producer/writer (NBC’s Heroes, Lost, Smallville) headlined the event that saw fan turnout top last year’s 56,000 attendees — growth attributed to Wizard’s ongoing commitment to providing fans with the opportunity to meet some of the biggest stars in comics, film and television, and explore the worlds of comics, cards, toys, anime, manga, and gaming.
(Except that all the manga and anime fans and retailers were at Otakon, which would have been a better choice for me.)
Many people don’t believe the numbers, based on attendee experiences. That article by Tom Spurgeon has some advice for the show promoters which makes sense and talks about why plausibility in one’s announcements is a concern. (An early piece of PR mentioned 200,000, which was completely unbelievable and was probably the result of over-enthusiasm.)
I cut out the rest of the PR because most of it focused on TV and wrestling and other non-comics “celebrities”. Mike Chary defends the show in a post that says it’s not fair to compare it to San Diego because Wizard is still mostly a comic show, although that’s not how they themselves present the event.
So of course, what did I do for my official writeup at PW Comics Week? Compare it to SD. (I do agree with Mike that there was too much else going on in Chicago that weekend and that Chicago would be better placed earlier in the season.)
Looks like the rumors about a week’s difference between Chicago and San Diego next year were wrong, thankfully. (San Diego is July 25-29, 2007, and Otakon is the week before that.)
Wizard World will return to Chicago next year August 9-12 with a Preview Night for advanced registration VIP attendees on Thursday, August 9.
The more I read about Wizard World, the more I realize how many people I missed seeing there. If I’d found more of them, I might have had a better time. Among those I regret: Max Riffner (whose Quick Step will be a must-have minicomic), Kris Dresen, Kalinara and Ragnell, and online friends Hannibal, Bryan, and Joe.
One of my commentators, Lucas, said he had no problems finding people I was looking for, so maybe some of it was just bad timing.
And hey, less than a month until Baltimore!
Here are my previous posts on the convention: