WIZARD WORLD WELCOMES RECORD ATTENDANCE AT 10TH ANNUAL CHICAGO EVENT
Congers, NY (August 7, 2006) - Wizard World, the country's foremost touring event for pop culture and comic books, announced today that it once again exceeded attendance expectations with its tenth annual Chicago event at The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, attracting more than 58,000 attendees over three and a half days, making this past weekend's convention the largest Wizard World event to date. Guest of Honor Jeph Loeb, a comic book writer (Superman/Batman, Batman: The Long Halloween, Ultimates 3) and a film/TV producer/writer (NBC's Heroes, Lost, Smallville) headlined the event that saw fan turnout top last year's 56,000 attendees - growth attributed to Wizard's ongoing commitment to providing fans with the opportunity to meet some of the biggest stars in comics, film and television, and explore the worlds of comics, cards, toys, anime, manga, and gaming.
Highlights of this year's show included a highly successful art auction hosted by Jeph Loeb and Erica Durance (Smallville) held to benefit the Sam Loeb Scholarship Fund that raised over $72,000; technique demonstrations by fighters from the International Fight League, and an amazing fan costume contest that included everything from Ghostbusters and a complete Justice League to Transformers. Contest winner Steven Kleman designed an incredible reproduction of Bumblebee from The Transformers and took home over $1,000 in graphic novels, action figure, statues, and other merchandise. Crowds gathered to listen to a Q&A delivered by writer/director Kevin Smith (Clerks 2) and to wait for autographs from actress Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), actor Thomas Jane (The Punisher, The Mutant Chronicles), writers Peter David (The Incredible Hulk, X-Factor), Paul Jenkins (Civil War: Frontline) and many others.
Other celebrities who took time out to greet fans and sign autographs at Wizard World Chicago included: TNA wrestlers Raven, Ron Killings, Sonjay Dutt, Gail Kim and AMW; Richard Kiel (James Bond: The Spy Who Loved Me); Dirk Benedict (The A-Team); Wrestling superstar Virgil; Lou Ferrigno (TV's Incredible Hulk); Noel Neill (TV's original Lois Lane on The Adventures of Superman) and others.
Wizard World Chicago also presented top creators from the comic book industry with the 13th Annual Wizard Fan Awards. Highlights included Marvel Comics' win for Favorite Publisher and Astonishing X-Men taking home the Fan Award for Favorite Ongoing Series. DC Comics' Villains United won the award for Best Miniseries, while DC's Geoff Johns (Green Lantern: Rebirth) took home the Fan Award for Favorite Writer. John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Planetary) won for Favorite Artist. See below for the full list of Wizard Fan Award winners.
"From autograph signings and Q&As with some of the most celebrated names in comics, television and movies, to the highly anticipated Wizard World-exclusive Michael Turner cover to Civil War: Frontline #1, fans at Wizard World Chicago found plenty to get excited about," said Gareb Shamus, chairman and CEO of Wizard Conventions. "Our Chicago event continues to experience tremendous growth, including new and ongoing partnerships with Spike TV, the International Fight League and Video Games Live, which gives fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with more of the stars who are shaping the entertainment they love."
Wizard Conventions recently attracted 30,000 attendees to its fifth-annual Wizard World Philadelphia event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in June. 2005 was Wizard World's most successful year, drawing more than 125,000 attendees nationwide, making it the largest pop-culture event series in the country. Wizard World Texas is the next show on the tour, slated for November 10-12 in Arlington. Wizard World will return to Chicago next year August 9-12 with a Preview Night for advanced registration VIP attendees on Thursday August 9.
For more information about Wizard, visit the company online at its recently re-launched website www.wizarduniverse.com.
13th Annual Wizard World Fan Award Winners
FAVORITE PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
FAVORITE ON-GOING SERIES: Astonishing X-Men
FAVORITE ONE-SHOT: Countdown to Infinite Crisis
FAVORITE MINI-SERIES: Villains United
COMICS' GREATEST MOMENT: "No more mutants" (House of M)
FAVORITE WRITER: Geoff Johns (Flash, Green Lantern: Rebirth)
FAVORITE PENCILLER: John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Planetary)
FAVORITE INKER: Scott Williams (All-Star Batman and Robin)
FAVORITE PAINTER: Alex Ross (Justice)
FAVORITE COLORIST: Laura Martin (Astonishing X-Men)
FAVORITE LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulous (Ultimates 2)
FAVORITE EDITOR: Axel Alonso (Amazing Spider-Man)
FAVORITE BREAK-OUT TALENT: Allan Heinberg (Young Avengers)
FAVORITE COVER-ARTIST: James Jean (Fables)
FAVORITE HERO (MALE): Captain America (Marvel Comics)
FAVORITE HERO (FEMALE): Kitty Pryde (Marvel Comics)
FAVORITE VILLAIN: Winter Soldier (Marvel Comics)
FAVORITE SUPPORTING CHARACTER: Jessica Jones (Marvel Comics)
FAVORITE COMIC MERCHANDISE: Batman Black/White Mike Mignola Statue
FAVORITE ACTION FIGURE LINE: Marvel Legends (Toy Biz)
FAVORITE COMIC MOVIE PROJECT: Batman Begins (Warner Brothers and DC Comics)
FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOW: Lost (ABC)
FAVORITE DVD RELEASE: Batman Begins (Warner Brothers Home Video and DC Comics)
FAVORITE VIDEOGAME: X-Men Legends II (Activision)
About Wizard World
Wizard World Los Angeles, Wizard World Philadelphia, Wizard World Chicago and Wizard World Texas are produced by Wizard Conventions Inc. Wizard Conventions is a sister company of Wizard Entertainment, the industry leader in the comic book and collectibles market that publishes four magazines, Wizard: The Magazine of Comics, Entertainment and Pop-culture, InQuest Gamer: The Gaming Magazine, ToyFare: The Toy Magazine and Anime Insider, as well as co-publisher of Toy Wishes: The Ultimate Guide to Family Entertainment. Wizard's publications have a monthly national readership of more than 2 million and are currently sold in 25 countries and five languages. Wizard can be found online at www.wizarduniverse.com.