Annual Wizard World Event Still Longest Running In Country
By MIRIAM FINDER ANNENBERG
Journal & Topics Reporter
Superheroes descended on Rosemont over the weekend as the Wizard World Comic Con Chicago took over the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
For the 20th year, Wizard World Comic Con Chicago made the village the epicenter of all things comic book, superhero and pop culture Aug. 24-27.
The convention -- the longest running of Wizard World’s 20 held across the county -- featured costume contests, vendors selling all types of superhero and comic merchandise, artists, cosplay and more.
Wizard World Public Relations Manager Jerry Milani said there’s something for everyone at the convention.
“It’s a celebration of pop culture,” he said. “It’s a chance for people to come out for whatever they love best.”
Over the years, he said the Rosemont convention has grown from a three-day event in two convention center halls, to a four-day event taking over the entire facility and drawing attendees from across the Midwest. Tens of thousands of convention-goers visited Rosemont over the weekend, with two halls dedicated solely to registration.
Milani said the Rosemont event has helped the company expand throughout the region. People from around the Midwest often experience their first Comic Con in Rosemont and then encourage Wizard World to hold separate events in their hometowns.
Wizard World now has conventions in Madison, Minneapolis, Des Moines and other locations throughout the region.
During Wizard World Comic Con Chicago, attendees had the opportunity to mingle with superhero stars, such as Tom Wilson from “Back to the Future”; Cobie Smulders from “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”; and Lou Ferrigno from “The Incredible Hulk.” The celebrities participated in panel discussions, photograph and autograph sessions and Q&As. Panel topics included comic creation, anime, graphic novels, cosplay, the entertainment industry, and more.
New this year was an entertainment stage in the convention center entrance featuring music, dance, trivia and other performances for the duration of Comic Con.
“From the minute we open on Thursday at 4 p.m. to the minute we close at 4 p.m. Sunday, something’s going on,” said Milani.
The convention also included screenings, musical performances, sci-fi speed dating and a yoga/fan-fiction storytelling hybrid.
Milani said his favorite thing about the convention is the chance for people to connect with others with the same interests.
“You’ll meet people who love the same things,” he said. “People are making friends.”