I?ve always wanted to go Chicago. To tour the city, ride the L, see Wrigley Field?

Unfortunately, that?s going to have wait for another trip. You see, while I just got back from Wizard World Chicago, I was never in Chicago itself. WW Chicago is actually held in Rosemont, IL, which is outside of the Chicago city limits (much like WW Los Angeles was actually held in Long Beach). Rosemont is a sleepy little ?burg, it has an airport, a convention center, some hotels and not much else. All things considered, that?s pretty disappointing.

As for the WW con itself? it was actually really good. It was the second biggest comic show I?ve ever seen. Behind San Diego, of course. It?s not as multi-media oriented as SD, but that?s starting to change. A few video game companies made the trip out, as did a few movie studio reps. And, hey, I saw an actual Marvel booth for the first time in years!

Catching a flight out was no problem, (though I could have done without the five hour layover in Oakland) but as I mentioned last week, I had some problems finding a hotel room. Thanks to everyone who wrote in with hotel suggestions, I appreciate that.

Anyway, I ended up staying with Craig Taillefer, the creator of Wahoo Morris (http://www.wahoomorris.com) and Jack Briglio, the writer of Growing Up Enchanted (found here). Neither of whom I knew before the convention. We were introduced by mutual friends, and they were kind enough to share a room with me. So, I?d like to thank them again for putting me up for three days. They?re good guys putting out good comics, so check out those links.

And now, here?s the news and rumors from this year?s Wizard Word Chicago:

Ultimazation

Ever since the San Diego con, I?ve heard rumors that DC?s upcoming line of books featuring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman might not come to pass. The line, which some have derisively called ?Ultimate DC?, does appear to be a direct response to Marvel?s success with the Ultimate titles. However, several sources both inside and outside of DC expressed skepticism as to whether or not it would actually go forward.

Fortunately for DC, the rumors coming out of Wizard World tell another story. Additional details about the first round of titles spread like wildfire among the attending professionals. According to what I?ve heard, the initial creative teams lined up are:

  • Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.
  • Batman by Jeff Loeb and Jim Lee
  • Wonder Woman by Geoff Johns and Adam HughesRight now, the plans seem to call for six to twelve issue arcs by rotating creative teams. At this point, the line is still in an early stage of development and may not even have an official title yet. It also appears that the editorial reigns will run through Wildstorm.This Has A ?World?s Finest? Factor of Seven Out of Ten

    Up And Atom

    Remember the Atom revival mentioned here a few weeks back? I?ve heard that Grant Morrison may also be writing that title as well. According to the original rumor, DC is looking to make The Atom ?a top tier book.? If that?s still the plan, then Morrison would certainly be a good choice for the title.

    Additionally, there?s word going around that J. Scott Campbell will be working on a DCU project after he finishes WildSiderz, sometime in 2005.

    This Has A ?Walk On? Factor of Six Out of Ten


    Re-Buffed

    The rumors linking Joss Whedon to X-Men 3 are simply rumors? for now. Whedon expressed interest in the project several times during the convention, but also mentioned that he doesn?t know if there is any truth to the reports that he?s a contender to direct or write the next X-Men film.

    In other Whedon-related rumors, there?s some potential good news for Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. Whedon is said to be in discussions with Dark Horse regarding an ?eighth season? of Buffy, to be chronicled as a monthly comic.

    This Has A ?Scythe Wielding Manic? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


    Battle Kirkman

    If you had a chance to stop by the Image booth over the weekend, you may have seen Robert Kirkman, Robert Kirkman and a few other Robert Kirkmans. There?s not actually more than one, though that would explain how he?s able to write so many books in a month. Where did the Legion of Kirkmen come from? Image Comics shared the booth with Kirkman, which resulted in numerous badges that read ?Image/Robert Kirkman? Eventually the other Image creators got tired of the name confusion, and crossed out the ?Robert Kirkman? on their convention badges.

    As for the real Kirkman, in addition to an already heavy workload, he?s making plans to get Battle Pope back in print, this time in full color. Kirkman explains:

        The colorist, Val Staples has always wanted to color the book. And now that my books are selling a little bit better, it?s something that we can feasibly do. Erik Larsen and Eric Stephenson at Image are cool with doing it, so we?re going to make it happen. It?s just up to Val, whenever he wants to color it.

    I?d like to get it ready before June of next year, so we can ship it monthly from there on out. But we?ll see. It?s all up in the air at this point.

    This Has A ?The Pope Must Die(t)? Factor of Eight Out of Ten


    Alley Wars

    One of the main differences between the San Diego Convention and WW Chicago is the size of their respective Artist?s Alleys. Here at WW, the alley is vast and expansive, while in SD it?s getting smaller and smaller every year. And the fight to get in at SD is more heated than ever. Several disgruntled artists mentioned that they were denied a table in this year?s San Diego Artist?s Alley because they didn?t contribute to the art auction or volunteer a donation. Some artists are so frustrated, that they?re planning to skip San Diego altogether for the foreseeable future.

    This Has A ?Stray Artists in Need of a Home? Factor of Six Out of Ten


    Bar Hopping

    Maybe I?ve been spoiled by the Gaslamp District in San Diego, but the biggest problem I have with Rosemont is that there?s NOTHING to do at night!! Nothing except hanging out in the hotel bars, which incidentally was where most of the attending comic professionals could be found. Knuckles Sports Bar at the Hyatt was by far the most popular destination among fans and pros alike, with the crowd often overflowing into the surrounding lobbies.

    So, when in Rome? or in Rosemont as the case may be. I spent the better part of two nights there catching up with some friends and meeting various creators. The latest I stayed was about 2AM on Sunday, but I heard that David Mack was breakdancing around 4AM?

    Now that would have been something to see.

    This Has A ?Disco Bombing? Factor of Five Out of Ten


    Cardsharks

    Of course, some of the better-connected professionals had more entertainment options. For example, on Friday night, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (http://www.cbldf.org/) held its annual Wizard World poker tournament. Scott Dunbier and Gareb Shamus ran the tournament, with over thirty-five participating comic pros, including Jim Lee, Jim Calafiore, Matt Hawkins, Andy Parks, and Michael Turner. Kevin Smith and Jason Mues were also playing, and both were eliminated surprisingly early. The tournament was initially described as a ?friendly amateur poker game?, which turned out to not be the case. The professionals involved were serious poker players and the competition was intense. There were even cash prizes and trophies for the top five finishers.

    However, by all accounts the tournament was a rousing success, with close to a thousand dollars raised for the CBLDF.

    This Has A ?Royal Flush Gang? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


    Expanding the Empire

    There?ve been several rumors flying around lately that Wizard is looking to run a few comic conventions in Europe in the near future. When asked if the rumors were true, Gareb Shamus replied:

      We do a lot of things outside the US already. On the show side, there are a lot of cities throughout the U.S. that we want to be in. And there?s no question that there are a lot of opportunities throughout the world for it. But right now, we?ve got a couple more cities coming up in the U.S. first. That?s the next phase to go.

    On another persistent rumor, regarding Wizard?s possible interest in adding a Florida convention, Shamus answered:

      No, we?re not doing Florida. Right now, they have a great show? the MegaCon down there. So, that?s not a city that we?re currently looking at.

    This Has A ?Yellow Brick Road? Factor of Six Out of Ten


    Goon TV

    Eric Powell, the writer, artist and creator of The Goon was reportedly approached by a producer at WW, in regards to bringing The Goon to life as a weekly television series.

    However, there?s no word yet on whether anything came of the meeting.

    This Has A ?Keeping the Undead in Line? Factor of Five Out of Ten


    Flash in the Pan

    It seems that last week?s announcement about Top Cow publishing Flash Gordon comics jumped the gun. No one at Top Cow knows anything about it, nor is there a deal in place. There is speculation that it was from a previous deal, but at this point they doesn?t even know who announced it. However, Top Cow remains very interested in the Flash Gordon license.

    In related news, Top Cow is talking to Marvel about a deal, which could conceivably put Top Cow artists on some upcoming projects from Marvel.

    This Has An ?Ice Caverns of Mongo? Factor of Seven Out of Ten


    And that?s all for now. See you Sunday.

    Later,
    Blair

    PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at blairm@silverbulletcomicbooks.com. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.


     

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