* So, the Bruce Campbell VIP Experience was $150. Breaking that down, the regular four day admission is $50. The Bruce is charging $30 per autograph (he's a working class actor, I have no problem giving him some cash to support his trip and career), and I'm guaranteed two autographs. That takes me up to $110. Then I'm guaranteed one photo op with The Bruce. The web site doesn't list how much that is, it says TBD. However, the cheapest photo op listed there is $30 (and it's likely it would be more). So that takes me up to $140. So, for $10, I get preferred placement in line for autographs, two pics, two guaranteed sigs and a pic with The Man Himself, guaranteed seating at the Bruce Campbell panel, a special lithograph, and a special badge. Since I was looking to spend the money anyway, and I've been hearing the line may be long enough, the preferred placement may be my only hope of meeting him, $10 is really nothing to get pissed about, especially given how much I spend watching movies I know will be bad.
* There are other VIP passes for other celebrities, but they are only good for that particular celebrity. If you are, say, a James Marsters nut AND a Bruce Campbell nut, you would need to shell out $300 total for the VIP experience with both of them. I just wonder if they could make it a little more accommodating.
* That said, the celebrity VIP packages beat the shit out of the regular VIP package, which gets you a random CGC graded comic (no hint what it might be) and a bunch of lithographs by several guests of honor like Mike Grell and Michael Golden. I don't know, but $150 for some extra art prints just seems kind of chintzy to me. I remember the first year Wizard did a VIP program. They not only had a bag check in, but there was a section off to the side with tables, chairs, and soft drinks to chill out a little instead of sitting on the floor or paying for the outrageously overpriced (and sometimes undercooked) expoteria offerings. I still have the badge from that show, in fact. I would love it if they brought that back.
* Apparently, Wizard is running a thing where you can commission a Michael Golden sketch, requesting and paying for it over the Internet. It is, of course, unlikely that you will see it that weekend. And after the "Patience is a vi(r)tue, Mister Turnball" bullshit...well, I have, somewhere in one of my boxes, the first appearance of Rogue. I ain't interested in getting that signed, let alone pay whatever Golden is charging for a sketch.
* No Beth Horn this year. She was there the last three years, and she was always a delight to talk to (the fact that she squee'd over my Sound Waves comics was also a plus). I tried looking up her official web site, and it's gone. It's always good to run into good people. A couple of years ago, she asked me if I wanted a picture with her, but I was still a little camera shy. Last year, I did get a pic with us back to back like TV detectives. Looks like it's a good thing I got over it.
* Lots of fan groups this year. In fact, there appear to be more than I ever remember. Besides stalwarts like the 501st Battalion, there's a Ghostbusters group, a few Browncoats (including one premiering their own Firefly fan film at the con), some gaming groups, LEGO train enthusiasts, and so on. The Windy City Jedi will be there. IIRC, they were the ones who commandeered the table on my left at the Kankakee Fantasy Con last June. Definitely got to say hi to them.
* Comic publishers? Anyone? I see Avatar (who is local) and Top Cow, but aside from a couple of small publishers (Victory Comics, which does Christian comics. Somehow, I don't think a pesky renegade Christian like myself will fit in very well with them), I don't really see any actual...you know...COMIC COMPANIES there. Should I try talking to Top Cow? I don't know. The Image studios do tend to like those with name recognition, somehow, I don't think I'll warrant more than a "Go away kid, ya bother me."
Sadly, I don't see Ape there, either. Now, THAT'S frightening. I get along good with the publisher/EIC, and was hoping to chat with him again (no, I'm not going to bear a grudge over them rejecting Quantum Redshift. What would be the point of that?). Ape has started doing licensed comics. In my experience, any time an indie starts doing licensed comics, they don't last too much longer. Ape has one of the best reputations in the industry, they are good people, I would hate to see them go. But last year, they didn't even have a booth, they just sat at a table in the exhibitors' section. I hope they are still okay.
And as long as I'm on the subject, Image is going to be doing a MacGuyver comic, courtesy of the guy who created the show. Tick... tick... tick....
* Hey, Wizard World. Did you know Jodi Benson lives in the Chicago suburbs when she's not doing voice work? Considering how many local voice actors you have turning up at Wizard World Los Angeles, you could try and run Miss Benson down up here.
* I'm hearing a LOT of bitching from exhibitors about Wizard this year. Usually, Wizard cuts a deal depending on how many tables you get. None of that this year, you are charged a flat rate for the first time since they took over the show. They pissed off the publishers, they are pissing off the fans, they are pissing off the talent, and now, they are pissing off the exhibitors. Is Wizard World TRYING to kill off the ChicagoCon? Then again, I'm surprised there was a Wizard Show this year, I expected last year to be the last. But usually, when you want someone to get better, you don't smack them in the head with a shovel repeatedly.
* Note to self: Wizard has a separate registration for small presses as opposed to indie comic creators. I wonder what the price difference is, if any. Must ask my friends in the trenches while I'm there.