This past weekend, Wizard held its largest event ever. Wizard World Chicago 2014…and 8daysageek was there. Our Editor-in-Chief and I made the long 315 mile drive to Rosemont, Illinois to partake in the festivities. We even took some video of our excruciating trip that will be posted to the site soon for your geek enjoyment. We started our trip Thursday morning and found ourselves rolling into the outskirts of Chicago that afternoon. After a brief stop to check in at our hotel and get settled, we headed for the con! We only had a couple hours at the convention Thursday night, but that was all we needed to realize that this year’s Wizard World Chicago was going to be an incredible event. We got the lay of the land, perused some of the merchandise booths, and headed back to our hotel for some much deserved rest. Although, not before stopping at a Chicago landmark restaurant for some dinner. If you are ever in town, stop by Portillo’s for some of the best hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches you’ll ever eat. Friday morning we headed out bright and early and arrived before the con had even opened. A throng of con-goers gathered in the adjoining hall awaiting entry. We snapped some pictures of some amazing cos-players that you can see some of here. After spending quite some time touring BOTH halls that the convention floor was being held on, we retired to a panel on women in geek culture for a bit of a respite. After a lesson in geek feminism we headed back out to the floor for more pictures and more merchandise. A couple hours later and it was time for another panel. This Star Trek geek had to get his fix on. We headed to “On the Enterprise with The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn”. For those non-trekkers out there, that’s Counselor Troi and Lt. Worf from Star Trek: the Next Generation. This turned out to be an incredibly interesting panel. Marina Sirtis told some very amusing stories and seems to be a rather wild gal. Even after years off the show, her chemistry with Michael Dorn was still impeccable. Finally, it was time to hit the floor one last time. That’s where we saw Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner walking the floor and checking out the merchandise for himself. Apparently, I nearly tripped over the man without even realizing who he was! Knowing we had an even longer day ahead of us on Saturday we headed out of the convention for a bite to eat and a viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy at a local theater. Saturday was the longest day I’ve spent at any convention. It began when we arrived an hour before opening at 9am and didn’t end until after 10pm when the costume contest came to a conclusion. As you can see by this photo we snapped at 9am, the con-goers were already packing themselves in for the biggest day of the biggest Wizard World ever. By the early afternoon, the convention was absolutely jammed! At noon we decided to get a break from the floor of the convention halls and ducked into the “One on One with Erica Durance” panel. I watched every season of Smallville and enjoyed listening to Erica recount stories and answering questions about her role as Lois Lane and what may be in store for her in the future. If you’re a fan of Wonderwoman…you may want to learn Erica’s name. It was then time to head back out on to the floor! It amazes me how much time can be spent just walking up and down the aisles of one of these conventions. No matter how may times we walked the floor, I was constantly noticing something new. Whether it was artwork, merchandise, or amazing cosplay, there was always something new to see. We had yet another chance encounter with a celebrity on the floor of the con as we came across The Walking Dead’s Scott Wilson posing for pictures with Iron Man, War Machine, and some other amazing cosplayers. As a monsoon struck the Chicago area outside, and the power flickered in the convention center briefly, we headed to the panel rooms. It was time for “Meeting Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”. Dave Bautista entered first, followed by Michael Rooker. Rooker came out and immediately went into his own rendition of the dancing Groot scene from the end of Guardians. The two men answered questions and entertained the fans for almost an hour, culminating in Rooker requesting the audience ask a final ten questions as quickly as they could, while he and Bautista answered them in rapid fire succession. This earned the duo a lot of laughs and massive applause as the panel came to a conclusion. We stuck around in the same hall for the next panel on the schedule. It just so happened to be the panel I was most excited to see. Back in April, we attended Wizard World St. Louis and i lost track of time on the floor and ended up missing this same panel. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen again. “Bruce Campbell vs the Audience” was well worth the wait. Campbell put on the funniest panel I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. He and his pal Ted Raimi gathered fans from the audience and proceeded to have a contest to determine who was the most interesting person in the room. Campbell jokingly insulted people as they explained why they believed themselves to be worthy of the title. He handed out cold hard cash to people who had funny comments and ideas, even took money back that he had handed to a small child once Ted convinced the girl that Bruce wasn’t as awesome as she believed. It all culminated in a lightsaber battle onstage between a gentleman dressed as Briscoe County Jr. and Raimi himself. If you ever have the chance to see Campbell put on a show like this, I would highly recommend taking the time to go see it. He is pure entertainment.
It was then time for the costume contest. Eric “The Smoke” Moran hosted the show which had somewhere around 250 contestants. Some costumes were absolutely amazing…others a little less so. However, the audience cheered for everyone until the final contestant had left the stage. This geek was very happy to see an old school Battlestar Galactica team win the Best in Show award at the contest. The contest itself took a little longer than we had anticipated and by the end we were absolutely ready to get back to our hotel. We had one more day at the con and a long drive back home to St. Louis.
Sunday morning we arrived shortly after the con opened and after a lengthy process of getting the car parked, we headed inside for one last trip through the aisles of merchandise and to do a little shopping for ourselves. I grabbed up a couple t-shirts and got an incredibly good deal on some trade paperbacks. Finally, it was time to head home. We bid the con farewell, packed up the car, stopped by the local landmark Superdawg for some lunch, and hit the road. It was an amazing weekend at Wizard World Chicago. We would like to thank the Wizard staff, volunteers, the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, and the city of Chicago for hosting the con and allowing 8daysageek the pleasure of sharing it with all the other fans. We can’t wait until next year’s show! Until then…Allons-y!