Time to dig out the green body paint and the Spandex suit—the Chicago Comic Con is coming. Wizard World's annual fantasy extravaganza features guest celebrities and wares calculated to impress the discriminating geek.
Fanboys and girls can stop by the exhibit booths in Artists' Alley, sit in on a Q&A, get their pictures taken with a star, and, of course, buy stuff. This year's roster of special guests draws from the realms of film (Harry Potter's Draco Malfoy, Tom Felton; cult actor/director Bruce Campbell), TV (cast members from Smallville, NCIS, True Blood, Fullmetal Alchemist), wrestling (WWE champ John Cena), and comics (Marvel icon Stan Lee, DC mainstay Neal Adams).
Among the more intriguing events: portfolio reviews for aspiring artists (Thu 8/9, 3 and 5 PM, Fri 8/10, 2 PM), sci-fi speed dating for those hoping to meet that special android (Fri 8/10, 3 PM, Sat 8/11, 1 and 4 PM), and costume contests for cosplayers (adult contest Sat 8/11, 6 PM, kid's contest Sun 8/12, 1 PM). Star Trek captains (ret.) William Shatner, Avery Brooks, and Scott Bakula boldly reunite on Friday (5 PM), and later that evening James Marsters—a former Chicago actor best known as platinum-blond, undead Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer—sings in a concert to celebrate his 50th birthday (7 PM, Muvico Rosemont 18, 9701 Bryn Mawr, Rosemont, $25).
Stunt coordinator Nick Gillard, who choreographed the fight scenes for the Star Wars prequels, presents a Jedi Lightsaber Master Class (Thu 8/9, 7 PM, Fri 8/10, noon and 2:30 PM, Sat 8/11, noon, 2, and 2:30 PM, Sun 8/12, 2:30 PM, $150)—which sounds pretty cool, even if you don't acknowledge that Star Wars prequels exist. There's a family saber session, too, "specially tailored so that parents and children can learn how to ward off evil together" (Sun 8/12, noon, $100 for kids under 14).