Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

August 9, 2007

All Industry Eyes Fall On Chicago


Actually, not all industry eyes. The Wizard World shows have more of a specific focus than other prominent comics-related conventions, tending to spotlight the mainstream comic book publishers and related show business concerns. Well, okay, pretty much Marvel takes the main stage at these things, with DC in second -- and not really even a close second, but second like the way Richie Cunningham was the second most popular character on Happy Days. Everybody else falls somewhere between Ralph Malph and Jenny Piccalo, except for the alternative publishers, some of whom haven't exhibited in years (or ever), making them Chuck Cunningham.

Extended crappy metaphors showing my age aside, Wizard's Chicago show has some interesting backstage elements as an industry event worth watching. At one point a couple of years back, Wizard's convention arm seemed on a mighty roll, with some thought that Chicago had supplanted San Diego as the best mainstream comics show and rumors that the company might challenge CCI on their southern California turf. A couple of years of Reed Exhibitions picking the New York plum right underneath Wizard's nose, so many professionals backing Heroes Con at the idea of a competing con's expense, new hires, and, finally, general malaise at the smaller shows make it a whole new ballgame.

Wizard will move the Chicago show out of its role as the San Diego Hangover event and back towards its early to mid-summer roots starting next year, but I think they need a big, buzz-worthy event to give them some momentum in doing so. I could see a time in the very near future where this is Wizard's only show, or at least their only one that matters, and for them to stay in the con business it needs to do well every year for the next few.
posted 11:14 am PST | Permalink

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