Wednesday, August 17 2016 23:33

Preview: Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con is this Weekend!

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I've been attending the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con since the late 90s, first as a fan, then as an exhibitor, and eventually as a listed guest and creator (2008's launch of the DEATH WALKS THE STREETS comics - complete with a Wizard Exclusive variant). After officially becoming "The Rock Father" in 2009, I've been more on the media side of things, and after taking The Rock Daughters™ to their first proper Wizard World last year (covered here), the time has come for another trip back to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois for the 2016 edition, running August 18-21. If you're coming to the show - or thinking about it - here's some highlights to look forward to...


Q&A sessions with STAR WARS' Princess Leia (or General Leia Organa, if you prefer) Carrie Fisher, BACK TO THE FUTURE stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson, X-FILES headliners David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and William B. Davis, and DAREDEVIL's Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, and Elodie Yung, costume contests, comics-themed sessions, screenings, gaming and more are among the programming highlights at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago this year.

Panels, Discussions and Special Events:

There's over 150 panels and special events on the schedule for Wizard World Chicago this year, and some highlights include...

  • Interactive Q&As with Back to the Future standouts Fox, Lloyd and Thompson (Saturday, 1 p.m.); “X-Files” stars Duchovny, Anderson, Pileggi, and Davis (Saturday, 2 p.m.), “Daredevil’s” headliners Cox, Dawson, Woll, Henson and Yung (Sunday, 11:30 a.m.)
  • Solo Q&A sessions with Fisher (Sunday, 12:30 p.m.); “Ash vs Evil Dead’s” Bruce Campbell (Saturday, 3 p.m.); “Heroes” Milo Ventimiglia (Friday, 3 p.m.); “Arrow’s” Colin Donnell (Saturday, 11 a.m.); “iZombie’s” Rose McIver (Saturday, noon); The Karate Kid’s Macchio (Sunday, noon); Boondock Saints stars Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco (Friday, 6 p.m.); Clerks’ Jason Mewes (Friday, 6 p.m.); Bill & Ted’s William Sadler (Friday, 4 p.m.); “The Librarians’” Christian Kane (Sunday, 11 a.m.); and Power Rangers Megaforce Andrew Gray (Saturday, 2 p.m.)
  • “In the Ring” with WWE® Superstars Becky Lynch™ (Friday, 2 p.m.), Seth Rollins™ (Thursday, 6:30 p.m.), Dean Ambrose™ (Friday, 4 p.m.), Bayley™ (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.), and The Bella Twins™ (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.)
  • Learn everything about Back to the Future with Michael Klastorin , author of “Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History” (Friday, 4 p.m.)
  • Celebrate 40 years of the (Wizard World) Chicago Comic Con with Mike Gold, George Hagenauer, Larry Charet, and Maggie Thompson (Friday, 3:30 p.m.)
  • Sessions featuring superstar creators “Spider-Man’s” Danny Fingeroth, “Gargoyles’” Greg Weisman, “The Red Hook’s” Dean Haspiel, and “Dream Thief’s” Jai Nitz (Saturday, 6 p.m.), “SNL’s” J.J. Sedelmaier (Friday, 3 p.m.); and many others
  • Live painting demo with world-renowned ambidextrous artist Rob Prior (Thursday, 6 p.m./Saturday, 2 p.m.)
  • Cosplay instruction with Wizard World’s cosplay pro Brit Bliss (Saturday, 3 p.m.), and Mogchelle (Friday, 5 p.m.)
  • World famous Wizard World Costume Contest for adults (Saturday, 6 p.m., with pre-show concert by Critical Hit) and kids (Sunday, 3 p.m.)
  • Gaming tournaments featured: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, Tekken 7, Street Fighter V

The Coming of the POKEMON...

On Saturday, Wizard World Chicago will host a series of Pokémon GO meet ups and events within its popular and growing Gaming area. The events will be an exciting new facet of Wizard World’s largest and longest-running pop culture convention, set for Thursday through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Wizard World will be the first major convention to provide meet-ups and specific events for Pokémon GO players. Beyond presenting a meeting space, Wizard World Chicago will be sponsoring three Pokémon Trainer Team based meet ups, complete with exciting raffles with prizes and other opportunities for Pokémon fans.


Located in the XP Lounge (on the second floor), Pokémon fans will be able to hang out with fellow Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct members!

Pokémon Fan will be able to swap tips, plan local Gym takeovers, win prizes and share in the experience of meeting like-minded people through this unprecedented social mobile game.

Times are as follows:

  • Team Valor – 12PM
  • Team Mystic – 1PM
  • Team Instinct – 2PM


The Superstars of the WWE:

The appeal of the WWE transcends generations and spans pop culture interests, and in recent years there has been a growing presence of WWE Superstars at Wizard World events. Having moved beyond the rings of RAW and SMACKDOWN!, the WWE Superstars have been seen in television and film, comic books, a full line of action figures from the likes of Mattel and JAKKS Pacific, and they've even crossed-over with animated characters such as Scooby-Doo! and The Flintstones. WWE® Superstars John Cena®, Seth Rollins™, Dean Ambrose™, Sasha Banks™, The Bella Twins™ and Becky Lynch™ will all be checking-in at Wizard World Chicago this weekend.


Variant  Covers of SUPERMAN and  BATMAN for Wizard World VIPs:

The first 800 “Wizard World VIP” attendees will receive copies of the “Batman #50” and “Superman #50” exclusive black & white variant covers, both drawn by Patrick Gleason. The Midwest’s largest pop culture convention is set for August 18-21 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Note that this applies to “Wizard World VIP” purchasers only; celebrity VIP packages are not included in this offer.

Batman has returned to Gotham City! In this extra-sized conclusion to Snyder and Capullo’s epic story “Superheavy,” Bruce Wayne returns to the cape and cowl to battle Mr. Bloom alongside Jim Gordon for the fate of the city they both love. “Batman #50” is written by Scott Snyder, with art by Greg Capullo and Danny Miki. Gleason’s cover is an homage to Jim Lee’s Batman #608 2nd Print.

Superman returns in all his glory in this very special issue that sees the Man of Steel back to full power as he faces his greatest enemy and also comes face to face with the pre-Flashpoint Kal-El! At last, it’s the meeting of the Supermen you’ve been waiting for! “Superman #50” is written by Gene Luen Yang, art by Howard Porter. Gleason’s cover is an homage to Jim Lee’s Superman #204.

Dozens of Special Guests from all facets of Pop Culture... but there's more:

While the appeal and draw of actors and personalities from television and film mixed with sports entertainment is undeniable, for me the real appeal is the show floor itself. It's like a mecca for all-things cool, where you can shop an unbelievable array of merchandise both new and vintage, run into your favorite comic creators, and find some real treasures and unexpected things. Couple that with meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones, and a yearly visit to Wizard World is a must. And ya never know... your little Batgirl just might run into Harley Quinn (fresh from SUICIDE SQUAD) on the show floor like ours did:

Check out WizardWorld.com for tickets and programming times and details.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

Learn more here

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