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Blago at Wizard World: Rod Blagojevich Signs for Cash at the Chicago Comic Con and Other Friday Happenings

When Rich Johnston told me convicted felon and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was going to be coming to Wizard World / Chicago Comic Con on Saturday, I was hoping he was joking.  I thought perhaps this was his revenge for my suggestion that a photo essay where I demonstrated pro wrestling holds on him would be a good traffic builder and educational for his audience.  (Just think of how many times a week Mark Waid would visit a picture of Rich trapped in a Camel Clutch.)  Alas, Rich didn’t seem to realize most wrestling holds don’t necessarily hurt and he also wasn’t joking about Blago (as Blagojevich is commonly referred to in Illinois).

Come to find out Blago is charging $80 for a picture taken with him and $50 for an autograph.  While there is some outstanding question as to how much Blago might charge to sign legislation (the jury was split on that sort of thing), it isn’t exactly hard to get Blago to sign an autograph or pose for a picture.  The dude likes attention and if you can catch him on the way in or out of the convention, I’m thinking you can get both for free.  Tell him you’re in his potential juror pool for the retrial and it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that he give you a back rub.

My opinions of Blago go back a few years.  Suffice it to say, I’m pretty disgusted he’s going to be at the show on Saturday.  Not sure I’ll be attending on Saturday, either.  Coincidence?  Well, let’s just say Rod’s a big believer in coincidence.

So what was the first full day of the reconfigured Wizard World like?  I’d like to preface that with “A Tale of Two Conventioneers.”  That is to say, the very contrasting days of two people I know that attended Wizard World on Friday.

The first conventioneer, we’ll call him “Larry,” has been coming to this particular convention for something like 10 years.  He’d popped for the last half hour or so of the Thursday preview night, so he had a vague idea of what the layout was.  On Friday, he walked into the convention center and looked around.  Being used to, well, a bit more comics programming at things titled “Comic Con,” he sat down in one of the seating areas in the dealers area, crestfallen and a bit depressed.  He looked up a few con-related things on his Blackberry and while doing so noticed that the crowd seemed to be happy.  Eventually he decided this just wasn’t his show and that he’d just come back on Sunday and bargain hunt.

The second conventioneer, we’ll call him “Daryl,” is a casual comics reader who’d never been to a comic convention before.  He’d come in with the purpose of getting a couple celebrity autographs/pictures and maybe browsing some comics.  A couple hours milling about and Daryl was over the moon with his three autographs, but wasn’t really quite sure to do with the comics portion of the show.  There weren’t really any publisher booths for comics he read, and as a casual reader, the idea of going through unsorted quarter boxes was a turn-off, since he didn’t really know what he was looking for.  While I had a break in my signing schedule, I took him around the dealer area and introduced him to the concept of “$5 tpbs.”  By 5:30, he had his autographs and some comics to read.  He was a happy boy and ready to split.

Two conventioneers, two very different experiences.  I’ve seen a handful of Larry’s and a whole bunch of Daryl’s.  A lot of the difference is in expectations.

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  1. I’ve seen a handful of Larry’s and a whole bunch of Daryl’s.

    It’s a well-known fact that there are always more Daryls than Larrys.


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