There’s an alternate Illinois that lives in the pages of comic books. It’s an Illinois in which Ghost Rider comes from Waukegan. Where Blue Beetle was born in Chicago. Where Kitty Pryde hailed from Deerfield. Where Beasts grew up in Dundee. Where Nightwing worked in Chicago.
It’s also one that lives on screen in movies based on comic books. As Gotham City in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. As “New York” in Spider-Man 2. As Metropolis and Smallville in Man of Steel.
But sometimes, the pages of the comic books spill over into real life. It happened when DC Comics named Metropolis, Illinois as the “Hometown of Superman” in 1972. It also spills over at the state’s many comic conventions, held annually. Here’s some of the conventions you can look forward to each year.
It’s the third-biggest comic book convention in the United States. It takes over the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont for four days each summer, attracting tens of thousands of fans, as well as writers, artists, filmmakers, actors and everyone else that contributes to comic book culture. It’s been running since 1972, and it’s the can’t-miss event for comic enthusiasts each year.
This is a newer con, having started in 2010, but it’s quickly grown to be a monster rivalling Comic Con. Each year it brings dozens of special guests to McCormick Place, along with merchandise, cosplay competitions, panels and screenings.
It’s a con for true comic book lovers. It’s affordable and accessible at less than $10 for admission, and you get dozens of artists, writers, vendors and special guests across more than 100 tables and booths. On top of that, there’s cosplay contests and gaming tournaments. Oh, and you get a free comic book with entry. What’s not to love?
It’s run by the same folk as the DuPage con, so you can expect a lot of the same fun and excitement – only with three times as many tables and booths.
This is Chicago’s newest con, holding its first event in June 2018. Like Wizard World Comic Con, it takes place at the Donald E. Stephens Center in Rosemont. Its aim is to “celebrate comics and the creative arts” by putting the creators of comics, games, toys, film and movies at the heart of what they do. With early successes, they’re already preparing for future events.
Comics aren’t just about your household name superheroes. CAKE celebrates independent comics, a medium with a thriving history – and, no doubt, future – in Illinois. Fans of underground and alternative comics come together to meet the talented artists and writers who create them, and to take workshops to learn how to make their own.