The first couple days are dominated by shopping. Panels are going on, but the majority of attendees are there to walk the exhibitors booths and empty their wallets in exchange for that elusive back issue or that saved for collectible.
If you’re a fan of comic books, this is one of the best cons I’ve been to for that. The exhibit hall was lined with aisle after aisle of booths dedicated exclusively to the funny books. I came away with more than a handful of sought after purchases and more than my share of future buy ideas.
Day 1 (Thur) and 2 (Fri) are very light in terms of attendance so, it’s highly recommended you visit during one of those days if you want to find some good buys. Saturday gets pretty crowded and it’s very likely that item you might have been looking for will have already been snapped up.
Panels begin on Friday and run through the final day (Sun) of the convention. Highlights for me this year were the Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) panel and the Terminator panel co-hosted by Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn.
Director Neil Marshall was there to promote his latest film, CENTURION which screened the night before his panel to rave reviews. During the panel which was MC’d by Capone of Aint It Cool News. It was revealed that the film was Neil’s answer to Zack Snyder’s 300. Marshall wanted to make a men at war film that was more realistic and indicative of what happens in sword on flesh war. Consensus is that he succeeds quite gruesomely.
Newsworthy information outed during the panel was that he’s currently working on a horror film with Sam Raimi (Spider-man, Evil Dead) producing. The film which is in the script stage is tentatively titled BURST and it’s about…well, it’s about people exploding. That’s all he’d reveal plot-wise. His goal is to shoot all the gore and exploding effects practically. He anticipates a very bloody set. I look forward to seeing this film which sounds like it’ll give Meet The Feebles a run for their money.
Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn co-hosted a rather candid panel with a particularly awkward moment where Biehn confessed to having fallen in love with Hamilton during the filming of the first Terminator film. Hamilton was genuinely unaware of this and was visibly in shock as she’d just got done telling the crowd that both her and Biehn were married during filming and both their spouses were very uneasy about the filming of the love sequence in the film. Hamilton described the period to be quite uncomfortable, with Biehn following her answer to describe it quite differently.
Ofcourse the panel wasn’t all dominated by sexual tension. There was a moment of humor where in answer to an audience members question about which film either of the actors had done that was a guilty pleasure (a film that sucked, but that they each enjoyed being a part of). Hamilton mentioned her stint on King Kong Lives as a rather enjoyable time, although she was disappointed that the gorilla was not fully there. They had a head, a foot, and a hand and any damage to the mechanisms would take weeks to fix. Biehn admitted to not having a guilty pleasure because he basically either did a movie for love or for money. He and Linda both added that the big movies they do often make them less money than the crap films they work on.
In the “of note” department, Linda briefly responded to a question about her involvement on the tv show CHUCK. IMDB lists her as Chuck’s mother and for those that have seen the show it’s suggested that she’s probably either an agent-of or is the head of the Ring. Hamilton apparently was rumored to be in CHUCK long before she was ever actually approached to be on the show and even though she has already shot a scene for the tv series, she still has not been told who she is or really anything about her character.
The cosplayers (costumed players) are out in full swing Saturday. In particular because of the costume contest that occurs that same evening. As with most comic-centric conventions, the costumed fans are always a highlight of the visit. The amount of passion and effort most of these attendees put into their outfits is something few can scoff at. Here are a sampling of the many and varied visitors I ran into on my visit to the Wizard World Chicago convention.