Throwing a successful comic-book conference comes with great responsibility. Just ask any Spider-Man you might run into at the Fan Expos located around the country. The newly titled Fan Expo Chicago swung into Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois from July 7-10, 2022 with a great deal of fanfare including an after-party at the Crowne Plaza O'Hare Hotel on Saturday evening.
Formerly known as Wizard World Comic Con, this organization celebrated its 50th anniversary with the name change after San Diego Comic-Con trademarked the term "Comic-Con." It was founded in 1972 as Nostalgia '72 and was acquired in 1997 by Wizard Entertainment.
Every year the assembly has expanded in terms of more attention to pop culture adding an extra day in 2006. In 2020, the annual event was canceled due to the pandemic. The following year six of the Expo summits were sold to Informa PLC's Fan Expo company and rebranded.
No matter what the symposium is called, it is always a chance for celebrities, comic creators and cosplayers to gather together and immerse themselves in a world of like-minded individuals. The walls between professionals and fans can be busted down for the right price.
Several ticketed events throughout the weekend could be arranged at GrowTix.com to enhance the experience. For example, Lord of the Rings stars Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd joined together on Saturday for The Four Hobbits: An Unexpected Reunion where the quartet told stories onstage and answered questions. This came with an additional charge and backstage passes a possibility at $799.00.
Clerks star Kevin Smith signed autographs for the first time in more than a decadeor $70 apiece. On July 9, Smith and Jason Mewes presented Jay and Silent Bob Get Old with a separate ticket at the theater inside the venue with both priority seating and general admission options. For the price tag of $499, The Ultimate Jay and Silent Bob Show Package included the ticket, photo app and autographs from the dynamic duo.
New faces for Chicago in 2022 included Brec Bassinger and Joel McHale, both from The CW Stargirl series. Geoff Johns, creator of the free-spirited comic character Stargirl, was also in the building signing his work in the Artist Alley area. Other comic creators, such as Michael Goldenpart of the team that brought the popular X-men character Rogue to lifeand Image Comics artist Marc Silvestri both had lines of fans waiting to meet them throughout the weekend. Voice actors for animation and anime were present to represent the wide variety of guests eager to meet their followers this time out.
Although there were mask wearers of every type in the building, there wasn't much room to remain six feet apart, as both vendors and hordes of people were packed tight at times into the space depending on the surge of attendance. Some of the meet-and-greets did have barriers in place between the celebrities and attendees to protect them from germs.
This didn't seem to stop the tattoo artists from creating their up close-and-personal work on body parts, although gloves and masks were used. A VIP lounge offered some relief for high rollers from the sometimes overwhelming masses of people, depending on the date and time.
Another noticeable addition to 2022 was the scanning in and out of badges for crowd control. Overall, the layout was well organized on a bigger scale to it. Compared to the past the food court and beer vendors this year there were more stations to satisfy the sometimes Hulk-sized appetite of shoppers taking a break from the festivities.
Being different and unique was highlighted in the well-planned safe space at Stephens Convention Center over the course of four days. There was zero tolerance for bullies and tighter security throughout the center. In a world that currently needs more champions for good, Fan Expo Chicago showed anyone can be a hero for at least one day.
Fly over to FanExpoHQ.com for upcoming announcements and developments in the future.
A similar convention called the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) returns to McCormick Place on Aug.5-7, with tickets available at C2E2.com .