Convention Roundup: Wizard World Chicago 2012

Written on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 by Kyle posted by kyle

In our 7 years of self-publishing we at Unshaven Comics have rarely missed a Wizard World. Every year has been a milestone for Unshaven Comics of some kind (the premiere of our first book, the first year of sales over 300, etc). This year we celebrate two new and exciting milestones in our company- The first is the premier of the first all new all Samurnauts comic – Samurnauts: Curse of the Dreadnutz. This action packed issue gives our readers their first taste of Samurnauts outside of their premier in Disposable Razors. The second is directly tied to the first, in that we hit a brand new high by selling 333 comics this year, including all 270 issues of Curse of the Dreadnutz.

Selling that many books doesn’t happen without an amazing fan base. In fact, we owe a special mention to Kayla Mowbray- who was declared our #1 Fan Of Chicago Comic Con this year. She came and saw us multiple days and purchased books from us every time. We also owe a special thank you to Michael, Greg and our new friend Sam coming across multiple states to see us and coming to dinner with us. It didn’t hurt they were also sporting our new Unshaven Bear shirts (which will soon be available on the website). Every year the people we meet make these shows an awesome experience.

Now that we’ve covered ourselves and our fans it’s time to turn to the convention itself. As most attendees noticed right away this year, the layout was a little different than it’s been the last few years. Artist Alley was located against the far back wall and spread across the top of the whole floor instead of pushed to the side. I’ll be blunt I heard very little positive responses to this on the convention floor. Other vendors told us about things like photo op lines obstructing their booth for hours. We even had a fan on facebook tell us they were never able to find our table. With all these issues it’s important to ask why Wizard World thought changing layout would improve their show? It’s long been a complaint of fans that the programing isn’t what it was 5 years ago. Without any of the big publishers or huge name talent there, it’s just harder to attract the other necessary elements for a big show. A new layout that seems centered on the autograph section was not the way to turn this around.

This year did have its steps in the right direction. Stan Lee was in attendance and the Situation from Jersey Shore (ultimately) wasn’t. Wizard wants to position itself as a Pop Culture convention like San Diego but considering the much smaller pool of resources Wizard World has to play with this might not be the best call. C2E2 is quickly taking the title of Chicago’s best Comics only convention. So our advice (if they care to listen) is to think about how to make this a better comic show. Bring back Stan Lee and more people like him. Care about the small publisher’s and people in artist alley, we need things to move and flow around, so put the famous people at the end of each row so their fans don’t block anyone. Most importantly make things easy on the fans. If people get lost, don’t get the assistance they need or don’t have a fun experience they won’t come back, and that’s what really matters.

One Response to “Convention Roundup: Wizard World Chicago 2012”

  1. Jay says:

    I’d have to agree. I remember attending the show for the first time back in 1998. I’ll admit, it was my first convention so I was impressed by the experience alone. But I was so enthralled by the presence that DC, Marvel, and the other publications had. They were giving away free swag and promotions and everything was flashy. I loved it.

    I was visiting form out of town then, and I hadn’t been back to WW since about 2-3 years ago. It is a shadow of what it used to be. The panels aren’t that exciting, the price is outrageous, and overall I just don’t have fun. I agree, C2E2 is just doing things right. They even have the support of the big companies with huge booths and displays. I might have to skip WW next year.