The above quote was taken directly from my friend Lazer when I asked his opinion of his very first comic book convention. Wizard World – Chicago marked a big step for both of us, with it being his first comic book convention and my first convention where I had press credentials. Believe it or not, I was able to get in for free for the WHOLE weekend thanks to my handy little website. It’s almost like it really counts as something really real! Not wanting to take pictures of myself and posting them online, I instead took pictures of Lazer with cosplayers in hopes of making him feel awkward. I think it worked!
Within minutes of arrival, I had lost sight of Lazer, only to find him sorting through every single vintage G.I. Joe in the box you see pictured. Apparently he is building upon some sort of collection, and was disappointed in both the price they were trying to be sold for, as well as the abundance of the newer versions of these characters. Bullshit.
One section of Artist Alley had a guy with a whole bunch of custom LEGO sets that he made, and this Arrested Development scene was pretty creative. As far as why, out of every bit of pop culture that ever existed, someone decided to recreate Arrested Development in LEGO bricks is a question for another time.
Immediately before this picture was taken, Spider-Man and Anti-Venom were posing with a young child, joking around with him and giving him high-fives. When I asked if Lazer could get in there, you could hear them groan through their masks at having to take their picture with this man-child.
Knowing how awkward females make Lazer, I made it a point to get him in a picture with at least ONE female. Lucky for me, and them, that I found two of them together. Not only does Lazer get uncomfortable around females, but even more uncomfortable around teenage females, so I was scoring lots of bonus points on the game of Awkward Bingo.
Jackpot! One of the Cosplayers actually made physical contact with him! And yes, Power Girl might just be a man in a blonde wig. But still, it’s physical contact! Totally counts!
I was really hoping to take a picture of people dressed up while they were eating, and I made it a point to talk to people who were at a food table. Sadly, they were more excited to take a picture than eat their overpriced food. Don’t worry though, I did catch Silk Spectre with her cell phone, which is less out of place than Harley Quinn.
My press credentials also ensured me a spot at the “Red Carpet V.I.P. Event”. I had no idea what I was doing there, or who I was going to be taking pictures of, but I figured I’d milk my credentials for all they were worth.
Sure, the red carpet was small, but I was fucking standing on it! Not that other short bitch who got there AFTER me but asked if she could get in front of me because she was short. Sorry, ya snooze ya lose.
I tried to get a moment to ask Vivica A. Fox about her involvement in Independence Day 2 and 3, but unfortunately she had to run off the carpet and onto the set of Booty Call: 2 Fast 2 Furious. There’s always next time.
I was this close to talking to the Crazy Babysitter Twins from Robert Rodriguez movies, a.k.a. Elise and Electra Avellan, but then some guy from Brazil hopped in there and started speaking some crazy language. I think it was…Chinese.
I’m sure if anyone could remember the names of these actors then they wouldn’t have appeared under the title of “Those kids from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory all grown up and shit”. In case you don’t recognize them, from the left, you see Augustus Gloop, Mike Teevee, Veruca Salt, and Violet Beauregarde. Hey, at least they aren’t dead!
Here you can see Chad Lindberg, who was yet another famous person who was looking everywhere but me while I tried to take a picture. He is apparently in a TV show called “Supernatural” which I believe was the reason he was appearing, but I know him better as the guy who had to play a mentally challenged character in the I Spit on Your Grave remake. I was able to talk to him briefly and complimented him on his portrayal, and asked him what the vibe of the set was like. He mentioned:
“We had to crack jokes because of the intense subject matter…the material, it was the kind of stuff that made the hairs on the back of our necks stand up.”
He also mentioned it was “the most creatively fulfilling role of my career”, so I felt better about bringing it up.
You might not recognize who you see in front of you, until I ask you whether or not you’ve seen Hostel. Have you seen Hostel? Okay, good, well, remember those girls that drugged the main characters? Well, this is one of them, otherwise known as actress Barbara Nedeljakova. Before Hostel, I’m sure no one in America knew who she was, and even afterwards, people might not recognize her, but they remember her part. I was able to ask her if she had any that she would be involved with a movie that reinvigorated contemporary horror films.
“Actually, to be honest, I had no idea what was going to happen. It was a really nice surprise to see it turn out to be such a success”
I also asked her what her role coming up in the currently filming Strippers vs. Werewolves would be, and if she’d be a stripper or a werewolf. I hate to spoil things for you, but her answer was “both”.
That brings my red carpet experience to a close, but that doesn’t mean my Wizard World experience was over. I went back the next day, alone, with no real goal other than to maybe spend a couple bucks and maybe see if anyone I liked was alone to chat with them for a few minutes. Luckily for me, but unluckily for him, I got to ask Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night/Fell/Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse) a few questions. If you remember my previous experience with Ben, you’ll remember me embarrassing myself in front of him at C2E2. Going along with that trend, I was able to embarrass myself again by accidentally saying “Chronicles of Wormwood” instead of “Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse”. FUCK! Ya see, Chronicles of Wormwood was written by Garth Ennis, and didn’t appear until AFTER the first appearances of Gentleman Corpse. As if confusing these two titles wasn’t bad enough, I said the title that came out after Templesmith’s work, and have never even read “Chronicles of” and have read every issue of “Gentleman Corpse”.
Ben managed to be a gentleman about it and managed to still let me talk to him a little bit. His most famous work is probably 30 Days of Night, due in part to the fact that it was made into a major motion picture. Rather than talk to him about that movie, I asked if there were any other of his stories he could see making it to the big screen.
“I don’t think like that about Hollywood stuff, that’s a separate beast. I’m concerned more about the comics, and about doing the comics, and making a good comics, and if someone wants to turn that into a movie then more power to them…and they can pay me a lot of money to do so. I hope that my humor comes across there.”
Don’t worry, I understood you were joking, but I wanted to make a point that Ben mentioned not liking interviews that were recorded and transcribed because jokes come across incorrectly. Friendly reminder, the part about lots of money was made in jest. Ben continued:
“I don’t dream of having a certain director work on something, but some properties would suit movies more than others, but it’s a different medium. It’s not about turning something that’s suited for one medium into, necessarily, something for another medium. It’s all about what is suited for that particular medium. Some books should never be a film or a TV show. A lot of comics shouldn’t be movies, they should possibly be TV shows instead. It’s all about how you adapt something. A lot of them are done badly so I don’t even bother thinking about it. I like doing comics for comics.”
I also made sure to bring up bring up Squidgirls: Erotica Tentacular, which, as strangely as it sounds, tastefully combines erotic illustrations of women with, well, squids. It’s hard to describe this book to anyone who is unfamiliar with Templesmith’s work and explain that it’s not what anyone’s expecting. When I asked where he got the idea for it, he simply said:
“I like squids and I like girls.”
Thus concludes my weekend at Wizard World – Chicago 2011. Special thanks to Lazer, of course, for coming with me, and to the PR people at Wizard World for getting me my credentials. Also thanks to the people I met on the red carpet for chatting with me, and another thanks/apology to Ben Templesmith. However, I did mention while speaking to him that I would guarantee to make myself look like a big asshole, so I guess I was just adhering to my promise.
UPDATE: Just wanted to include pictures of Spidey and his wife dressed as Wormwood and Phoebe Phoenix since he was nice enough to take a picture with Lazer. Well, also because he tracked me down and has been sending harassing emails where he has been threatening my life…JUST KIDDING! Anyways, enjoy some more Cosplay photos, as well as a photo of the pair with Mr. Templesmith himself.