What kind of a comic-book convention is this? There aren’t any geeks dressed in Dragonball Z costumes, no signs of Lou Ferrigno or Adam West aimlessly wandering the aisles giving out their John Hancock’s for minimal fees. There are some oddballs crowding around a table of DC back issues like famished vultures, but other than the guy with the bad goatee wearing a red satin cape tied around his neck, this looks pretty low key. Apparently, for the organizers of this year’s Windy City Comicon, that is the goal.
“We wanted this to be a very creator-driven show along with a good shopping experience,” says Chris, the co-promoter of today’s convention. This is a hardcore comic lover’s event. There are more than seventy-five artists and creators strewn around the modestly sized room in the Center on Halsted, most of which are locally based. Thomas of Century Guild says this reminds him of what cons were like in the seventies, when it was all about the comic book and not the commercial aspect of it all.
There is everything from small independent presses to award-winning artists, including local Geof Darrow, who is most commercially known for his work as a conceptual designer on all three “Matrix” movies. If this were any other convention, the line for his table would be hours long, where as in this intimate setting, fans wait less than five minutes to speak to the animation hero as he sits next to his 9-year-old daughter—who also happens to be a successful comic artist.
On my way out, I overhear a conversation about the impossibility of cloning robots, and it’s clear that these fans are at home. (Jonathan Kaplan)