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Wizard World Chicago Trip: Part 2 of ?

My morning on Friday was RUSH, RUSH, RUSH. Rush HERE...Rush THERE! I wanted to see everything now that the show was in full swing.

I'd packed a few books to have them signed and also knew that there were a few artists I'd wanted sketches from (for some reason, I didn't pack my sketch book from 2001 on our trip in 2004...odd.)...I tried to spread them out throughout the three days, but got the first two pretty immediately.

Well, first, after seeing the art done by Paul's table neighbor, Tom Kelly, I couldn't resist and had him do a pair of his Hello Kitty/Superhero mashup drawings: Zan and Jayna (the Wonder Twins).

Then, I went to the Top Shelf Comics booth in the main booths section of the floor and met Andy Runton who does the book "Owly" (if you've never read it, RUN to your nearest comic shop or bookstore or here's a link to the first volume on Amazon). I had him sign my first three volumes, bought the fourth volume (which he also signed for me), bought a hardcover of the first volume (which I had him sign for Maia's sixth birthday present...her birthday is coming up in August), and had him do a sketch of Owly/Wormy as a Skrull on my "Secret Invasion" #1 sketchbook variant cover (I later showed it to Brian Michael Bendis, writer of the "Secret Invasion" who said it was adorable.).

From there, it was BACK to Artist Alley for me, but first, I had to rummage through one of the cheaper comics places for artist reference for another sketch I'd wanted. I looked through some of the 25 cent box places and 50 cent box places, but ended up having to spend $1.00 (But it was worth it in the end), for an old issue of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld (yes, I AM that gay, why do you ask?), for Art Baltazar (one of the creators of DC Comics' "Tiny Titans").

After getting these sketches, I ran off to my first panel of the day..."Mondo Marvel" (the links I'll provide to the panels are from http://www.comicbookresources.com and are VERY thorough). Probably the thing I'm most looking forward to that were announced here were the Storm mini-series and the House of M "What If?" one shot (What if Wanda had said "No More Powers" instead of "No More Mutants"?)

After that panel, I headed back out onto the floor and ended up at one point at the DC Comics booth, where I first encounted Jann Jones, an editor for their Johnny DC line, who had commented about my Threadless shirt (actually, wait a minute, I think I'm already remembering it wrong, because it was the shirt I was wearing on Thursday that she first commented about...("Cookie Loves Milk").

Anyway, I later went to the DC Nation panel (but first, out in the hallway, I met the guys from Raging Bullets, an all DC podcast. They seemed really cool and once I've got my computer back up and running (hopefully, the parts won't take TOO long), I'll be subscribing to their show (I've just got to find a comic book oriented podcast that I can LIKE (I've listened to a few and I always get turned off by at least one of the on-air hosts).

It was at this panel that I think I first saw Mr. Dan DiDio (I have been over the years, I think, confusing him with Mr. Bob Wayne, whom I first memorably encountered back in 2004 at that Bendis panel where shit got out of hand and Mr. Wayne declared that a proposed Bendis written Batman/Daredevil crossover would be dead until/unless Mr. Joe Quesada lost his job as EIC of Marvel). I know that Mr. DiDio gets a LOT of drubbing in the fan press, but he is a very funny, jovial guy who seems to have a sincere love of the business and truly wants to hear from the fans. I think I surprised him when he asked who the audience's favorite "Flash" was and I yelled out "Keep Barry Allen Dead!" -- He even asked me to stand up and explain why. I was a little nervous, but my main reason for thinking this is that Barry is basically a bland character with very little personality. He saved the world in Crisis by sacrificing himself (which I think would be diminished by his return). Also, his death lends some gravitas to other characters, especially Wally West (originally his sidekick) and Hal Jordan (his best friend in the superhero business), that would be otherwise missed in their respective characterizations.

I do think that the writer of the column I linked to might be a little dense when it comes to the Secret Six news (from Gail Simone). Either that, or he's being purposely obtuse. There will be two new characters introduced into the team (which we all know if we are reading our Previews). She referred to the original character repeatedly as "he" and the other character (which we know is female) as an "A-List Batman Villain" (considering there are only really three females that fit that category: Catwoman, Poison Ivy and MAYBE Harley Quinn)...the fact that she also said that there would be two similarly dressed characters fighting in the second issue doesn't make me think Batman/Catman but Catwoman/Catman...isn't that pretty obvious? Especially, since the new series starts when Catwoman's solo series has ended the month before?

One of my favorite quotes from the panel, came from my new friend, Jann Jones: "Monkeys are like cheese, they make everything better"

After that was the Bendis/Johns panel...which turned into an interesting "unofficial DC AND Marvel panel"...it pretty cool and I think that the columnist sums it up fairly well.

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After the panel, I tried to head back to the table, but Paul had already headed back to the room. I headed back out and somehow I beat Paul to the room (don't know how I did that...but it was only a couple of minutes).

That night, we decided to go to Maria's Mexican Restaurant. There was a half-hour wait there as well, but it was worth it. Paul had a trio of enchiladas and I had a grilled chicken breast with melted cheddar and spinach (both served with rice and refried beans). Each of our meals was accompanied by a small house salad. I added a BIG margarita to my meal.
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When we got back, I got to read one of that day's acquisitions: The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman (careful, 'cause the wikipedia entry does contain spoilers). I've been having this book recommended to me for a while, both at the comic shops and online. I snagged the first three volumes for $25.00 total (actual retail price: $37.97) and the first volume is signed by Robert Kirkman. Awesome read. I devoured that first book that Friday night!

...I know I still have a whole TWO DAYS of Wizard World to post about, but it's late tonight, I'll be working an open-to-close shift my first day back at the store and Friday is the Fourth of July and I'll be attending a barbecue/pool party before the fireworks. I don't go in until 5pm on Saturday, so I'll continue the story of our con trip then...(hopefully, I will have been able to scan the sketches I had done by then)...for some pictures, see my myspace or facebook accounts...

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