So I kept saying I was going to “Comic Con” in Chicago, when a comic-convention nerd friend of mine says: “You mean Wizard World?” I’ve heard it called both, so I figured it’s like when people interchange Comiskey Park and Sox Park — oops I mean U.S. Cellular Mitosis Field. Maybe the Wizard of Oz would have the answer?
But for any related blog posts I’m going to bow to the usage of “Wizard World” because the storm clouds that we drove into to get to Rosemont, IL seemed like a scene out of Harry Potter. Oh, and there was hail too, but not the kind that pummeled our car and roof last month. Here’s a pic of those mad wizard clouds before the storm, I felt like Helen Hunt driving into a tornado in Twister. Or maybe the Wicked Witch in a funnel cloud if she’d been driving a car instead of a bike.
As we began the game of Okay, You Go Jump Out of the Car and Save That Parking Spot, my friend Amanda started talking about how she has some old comics in boxes somewhere, like the Superman from when (spoiler alert!) Superman dies. I was more of a Archie and Betty and Veronica reader myself, I think it partially had to do with the fact that I could read the balloon bubbles better. And sure, maybe I liked Veronica’s outfits and Betty’s tomboyishness, but looking back on it now, I wonder if reading those were the best thing for a young impressionable girl to be reading, I mean here you have these two girls constantly fighting over this guy, I mean, really? And over ARCHIE? Hey girls, let’s go drink some more of that Kool-Aid.
But one of my faves from that realm was a series of Veronica travel comics (sans any Archie drama) that had her going to different parts of the world, I remember I couldn’t wait for it to come in the mail. There’s “Veronica in Japan, “Veronica in Greece, “Veronica in Mexico”….
In “Veronica in Hollywood” her and her father try to help save a film studio, and an assistant busts in to announce opening day figures for their recent release: “It’s going to be a bigger blockbuster than even ‘STAR WARTS’!”
Speaking of Star Warts, or rather Star Wars — check out the blinged-out C-3PO-esque Star Wars headset I got! Maybe I’ll be DJ Princess Leia for Halloween. I started to gain inspiration by taking pics with any Princess Leia I saw, and the next day played Radio Producer Leia for the green info-tainment show I do work for, “The Mike Nowak Show.”
So I bought the C-3PO headset from a booth for a store in Naperville, IL called Toy+Life. They also had some mad screenprints — the Yoda is by Free Humanity a graff crew out of LA, and the Marvin the Martian is by Arvik:
Oh! And we happened upon the booth of an insane clown that was Angus Oblong, an amazing artist and creator of The Oblongs, this rad animated series about a family whose members are missing an arm or leg here and there due to the tainted water in their hometown, the pharmaceutical capital of the world. It’s based on Angus’ book called “Creepy Susie & 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children.” The limbless 1950s-like dad is voiced by Will Ferrell, and the rest of the characters and aesthetic remind me of like Ren & Stimpy meets Futurama meets Family Guy. In the episode “Please Be Genital,” Ferrell’s character, Bob Oblong, is at work at Globocide — he opens up his lunchbox with his nose, peers inside, and says: “Hmm, ironic. We spent all morning capping pesticides, and my Manwich has been gnawed by a rat.” The clip also features an ever-so-necessary John Denver Film Festival.
And okay, here’s — deep breath — Anthony Michael Hall! He was there because of Dead Zone (a TV show based on Stephen King’s 1979 novel), and he was one of the first people we saw when we walked in — okay, the second, Vivica Fox was the first. It cost like $40 to get your pic taken with him, so we just gawked for awhile. Then about an hour later we saw him just walking around, and bee-lined toward him like Judd Nelson toward Molly Ringwald’s crotch in The Breakfast Club. Amanda shouted “He doesn’t even have a license, Lisa!” from Weird Science. Then I chimed in with, “You gave me a birth control pill?!! Do you know what that can do to a guy my age?!!!” from Sixteen Candles. He laughed and his lip kind of curled up, just like his geeky Farmer Ted character but without the braces.
So, Wizard World…Amanda thought it was just going to be a bunch of stodgy nerdy comic collectors, but decided to come along anyway, and was so jacked that she bought like 10 T-shirts. I bought a couple The Lost Boys film stills from Hollywood Book and Poster Company, and then accidentally left them behind. But thankfully held on to the two music DVDs I got too, “The Best of Beat Club” and “Glam Rock.”
So maybe it’s best they don’t call it Comic Con after all, because that makes people think that the only things being shopped are comics. Which is obviously not true, just ask this guy carrying a life-size blow-up Superman doll up a jammed stairwell in the parking garage: