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Comic News:
WizardWorld Chicago Breaks Records
By Brian Jacks


Wizard Conventions has announced that WizardWorld Chicago 2003 (coverage here) was the most successful pop culture expo in the company's history. With a crowd of 48,000, including promotional and paid attendees, the world's largest pop culture show was held August 8-10, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.

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"We're ecstatic to announce record breaking numbers of attendees and exhibitors at this year's Wizard World Chicago," said Gareb Shamus. CEO and Chairman, Wizard Conventions, Inc. "I attribute the growth to higher awareness of pop culture characters in the media, increased consumer excitement about the products they buy, the incredible list of exhibitors, guests, workshops and seminars. This show has an excitement level that is unmatched."

Wizard World Chicago fans mingled with their favorite celebrities like writer and director Kevin Smith, actor Sean Astin from "Lord of the Rings" and Guest of Honor Batman penciler Jim Lee. Pop culture enthusiasts witnessed a record setting show floor that included hundreds of exhibitors ranging from toy, gaming, movie, anime, manga and comic book companies.

Convention highlights included discussion panels from Marvel and DC Comics, a Q & A session with Kevin Smith, a sneak peak at Hasbro's upcoming toy lines and gaming tournaments with WizKids and Score Entertainment.

The annual Wizard Fan Awards were also announced at Wizard World Chicago on August 10. Winners included:

§ Favorite Writer- Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil)
§ Favorite Penciler- Jim Lee (Batman)
§ Favorite Inker- Art Thibert (Ultimate Spider-Man)
§ Favorite Painter- Alex Ross (Battle of the Planets)
§ Favorite Editor- Axel Alonso (Spider-Man books)
§ Favorite Hero- Spider-Man
§ Favorite Heroine- Batgirl
§ Favorite Villain- Lex Luthor
§ Favorite Publisher- Marvel Comics
§ Favorite Comic Merchandise- HeroClix
§ Favorite Comic TV OR Movie Project- "Spider-Man"
For a complete list of winners, go to www.wizarduniverse.com

Next year's Wizard World Chicago, which will take place August 13-15, 2004. Wizard World Chicago was presented in part by WizKids and Palisades Toys. The event is produced by Wizard Conventions Inc., also the producers of Wizard World Philadelphia, May 21-23, 2004, Wizard World Texas, premiering November 21-23, and Wizard World Los Angeles, premiering March 19-24, 2004. For information visit www.wizardconventions.com.


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