Wizard World Chicago: Day One

Maya Dinerstein ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Wizard World Chicago started out slow and steady today. Lines to get badges were shockingly clear by 3:30 when I arrived, only half an hour after the show floor opened. This year’s convention was reorganized in comparison to last year’s, with everything except photo-ops and one of the programming rooms on the first floor. Dealer’s and exhibitors shared two large halls with autographs and artist’s alley, though the latter was towards the back of Hall A, which is not the most ideal placement. The hall did offer a comfy seating area/charging station provided by the Frankly in the front.

Of the limited panels that took place, I attended the #Popcultureprofessor’s Whedonverse panel as well as the Cosplay, What does it mean? panel. Continue reading for summaries of both as well as thoughts on the topics:

Dr. Rebecca Housel opened her panel by introducing herself and letting us know that she had met all of the Whedons except Joss, and is good friends with many Whedonverse actors, including James Marsters, who is in attendance at the convention this weekend. She followed her introduction with a photo-montage set to 1980’s music, featuring production and behind the scenes pictures from Whedon productions. As this was played, she drifted in and out of topic, never really making a clear point about the Whedonverse, except that, according to her, it has affected all science fiction and even all culture since its inception. She talked about Whedon’s father and grandfather setting Joss up with a history of men who wrote ‘strong female characters’ implying that this would inevitably lead us to a female president in the near future. According to Dr. Housel, Joss has 17 unfinished projects, yet she encouraged the audience to trend a hashtag and start a kickstarter to bring back Firefly, the TV series. The panel lasted slightly less than it’s 45 minute timeslot, much of the time attributed to Dr. Housel’s off-topic and errant flirtatious comments towards the general audience. The one thing that was learned from the panel was that Joss is apparently short for ‘Joseph.’

Damien Buerer opened his cosplay panel with a couple minutes of the webshow “Superpower Beatdown”, featuring the White Power Ranger epic battling Scorpion, both in costumes created by Buerer. Despite initial technical difficulties, Buerer kept a professional and friendly manner. The panel focused on non-sewing cosplay, but was incredibly inclusive. He showed pictures of various cosplayers (all used with permission) of all shapes and sizes, all who used different materials and techniques. Buerer said, “Body type doesn’t matter… go out there and have fun!” He actually asked members of the audience to explain how they had made their costumes, to give examples to the more novice costumers in the audience. These examples supported Buerer’s point that cosplay is a community and the point is to enjoy oneself. The panel went over time, but since it was the end of the convention, no one was in a hurry to leave. Though the panel could have benefited from a little more specificity, as an introduction to cosplay panel, Buerer got nothing wrong.

Wizard World Chicago continues through this Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. Maya Dinerstein will be reporting back on it throughout the weekend.

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