Wednesday, August 15, 2007

That was three days ago? A Rundown of Wizard World Chicago

This past weekend I set aside my internship and other responsibilities to attend yet another year of Wizard World Chicago with Shions_Glasses. It’s awesome to see every year more and more women and girls attending the con—the first year I went there didn’t seem to be a lot of us, but this year there was lots. It’s a good time to be a fan girl.

I don’t know if it was just me, but Wizard World seemed tiny this year. There just didn’t seem to be as many panels or booths. Hell, the Nintendo booth wasn’t even there. A shame because I was looking forward to getting some more free Pokemon cards and downloading a rare Pokemon or mystic ticket for my copy of Diamond.

Marvel’s booth had me a bit disappointed. I’m always impressed with free swag, even if it’s just DC’s Countdown pins and Batman temporary tattoos. I was crossing my fingers for a John Cassidy X-Men poster or something like that. There was a glossy poster for Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter that was definitely cheesecakey, but a little outside my taste.

I was surprisingly impressed with Sony’s booth. They seemed to aiming for some accessibility by being kid friendly. The PaRappa the Rapper port for the PSP was getting a strong push, as was the strategy-RPG Jeanne D’Arc. I grabbed a gorgeous poster for Jeanne D’Arc, and Shions_Glasses was given a PaRappa t-shirt that’s about five times too large just for posing for a few pictures with the PaRappa mascot.

On Saturday afternoon we made sure to stop by the DC booth to get Will Pfeifer’s signature. Other than that, we didn’t have too much to do with the big two. Instead of going to any of the panels we spent our time flipping through back issues and wandering around Artist Alley. We picked up about 20 issues of Gotham Cental (all for $1.50!) and grabbed Spider-Woman: Origin and the Metal Gear Solid TPB for half-off. In the Artist Alley I searched out David Mack (as I do every year) and bought the second and third volumes of Kabuki. Before we left for the evening we caught some Beck (dubbed, yuck) in the anime screening room. I’m a bit annoyed that they were only showing Funimation licensed anime this year. What about Manga and Bandai? They were there too.

Saturday night was probably my favorite part of the convention, though it wasn’t specifically Wizard World-related. In my part of Chicago they were having a neighborhood festival, and in celebration my local comic book shop invited their regulars to come hang out and drink some beers. There wasn’t too many of us there, which was more than alright with me. I was content with talking the whole while with a woman who didn’t even stop at home to change out of her Catwoman costume. The whole experience was a bit surreal: where I grew up I bought my comics from a video rental store, so there was never a place for me to go and hang out and talk geek.

Sunday was more of buying. For 35% off we picked up the first volume of Monster (manga is always seriously lacking at WW), Coward, the three TPB volumes of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive and Tales of the Slayers. We also stopped by Artist Alley and grabbed a copy of Winter Beard by Cathy Hannah and The Exploits of Aimless Boy by John Aston Golden, who is actually a regular at my comic book store. We waited in line for the Wheel of Doom and I won my cat a rubber band to play with (the topic I chose was Lunar: The Silver Star and they unfortunately didn’t know what the hell I was talking about) and Shions_Glasses won a hardcover book of Wizard covers, which he promptly gave away.

It was after this point that the con went sour. We stopped one last time at the Sony booth to check out the Heavenly Sword demo. Some guys came up behind us, and one of them decided that it’d be a ton of fun to verbally harass me. I don’t feel like going into too much detail, but his comments involved such things as upskirt shots, masturbation, and rape. Unable to contain my anger, I told him to please shut the hell up, and went on to furiously explain that rape is not a joke, it’s a hate crime, etc. but as he only seemed to get more belligerent with my every response. So I went to security and he disappeared into the milling crowd. At least I can say that security did take me seriously and even profusely apologized.

Yet getting harassed sucked any fun that was left out of the con. We did go afterward to check out the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, but it was difficult to enjoy.

With all the internet harassment that’s been going on lately in the game and comics community—the avalanche of racist comments regarding Resident Evil 5, the hijacking of, and getting hacked— being harassed at the con just fit in too perfectly.


Amy Reads said...

Hi 100,
Some guys came up behind us, and one of them decided that it’d be a ton of fun to verbally harass me. I don’t feel like going into too much detail, but his comments involved such things as upskirt shots, masturbation, and rape.

I seriously, seriously Do Not Understand how anyone can think that this is in any way Something To Do. I am So Sorry, Friend, that you had to experience such a terrible thing at what seems to be a Good Time before this happened.

Take care of You.


100LittleDolls said...

Thanks so much, Amy, for your words of support. I'm still mind-boggled that it happened.

Ragnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ragnell said...

I wonder what would happen if we contacted Wizard about this, what would they say? I know you went to con security, but do you think maybe they'd try somethign preventative next year?

Mickle said...

:( that's so awful. ((hugs))

100LittleDolls said...

That's a good question, Ragnell. I think I'll write up something to Wizard over the weekend and ask.

I can't imagine that they'd be too dismissive--since more women attending their cons (and feeling safe) means more money for them. But that might be wishful thinking, however.

Thanks, mickle.

KPhoebe said...

Oh, that's disgusting! My sincerest sympathies, and following up with Wizard seems a really productive thing to do. Go you!