Saturday, August 10, 2013

Heroes in the Night at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con: the report!

Thursday was truly a fantastic day for me as I made an appearance at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con to support my upcoming book Heroes in the Night (out Oct. 1, Chicago Review Press) by hosting a panel discussion with some Real Life Superheroes.

The panel included the Watchman and Blackbird of Milwaukee, WI, Electron from La Crosse, WI, Geist from Rochester, MN and Moon and Crimson Catalyst, both of the Chicago area.

After arriving at the con, I got a big stack of postcards that featured info on my book and on the panel from one of Chicago Review Press's marketing people, Mary. She was dressed for the con in a fantastic Doctor Who themed ensemble. Me and the RLSH handed out about 300 of this postcards before the panel and a quite a few more afterward.
Blackbird (left) and the Watchman field a question.

The panel took place in Room 42 at 5PM, and it went absolutely great. I was not sure what to expect for attendance and we had a really good turn out. I had the RLSH sit in the last row of the room and led with just under ten minutes of slides, quickly breezing through an overview of a short history lesson, how I first got involved in the story, and relaying some of my travel for the book. After the slides, I called forward the RLSH, introduced each panel member and asked them a question that I thought would be a frequently asked question or something relevant to who they are.
Panel members (l-r) Moon, Crimson Catalyst, Electron.

After that, I opened the floor up to the audience, and we got a lot of thoughtful, curious questions. Not one single stupid question.

The Defuser questions the panel.
We got an audience question from a surprise guest-- Jarrett Crippen aka "The Defuser," the winner of the second season of Stan Lee's reality show Who Wants To Be a Superhero?  As a law enforcement officer, he expressed concern about RLSH getting in the way of law enforcement, and the panel expressed how they try to avoid such situations.

Toward the end of the panel I pointed out two RLSH who we weren't able to get on the panel, but who had shown up in their gear to lend support-- Wraith and Crusader Prime. They helped me by handing out more postcards as the audience left. I invited the audience to pose for pictures in the hallway after the panel, and we spent another 30-45 minutes posing for pictures and answering more audience questions.
L-R: Electron, Geist, Crimson Catalyst, Tea Krulos, Moon, Crusdaer Prime, Blackbird, the Watchman, Wraith.

After that, I wandered around the con, taking in the sights. Wow! I was reminded yet again how important the superhero mythology is to our culture. At 7:30 we all met up again to take a walk down the road to a pizzeria to have dinner together. But first a small crowd gathered in the lobby and we had another photo session. In the pizzeria parking lot (while waiting for a table), we again had fans from the con (and some bewildered looking Chicagoans) request pictures. We sat down and as I sat down with the colorfully clad RLSH for pizza, I thought about how uniquely great this experience of writing Heroes in the Night has been.

We split ways after pizza. Thanks much to Mary from Chicago Review Press, my lovely assistant Mary Beth, my family who showed up to support me, and most of all the panel of RLSH who all did an excellent job of representing themselves. And, of course, the audience-- thank you, you guys were awesome! I'm really hoping to organize similar panels at future cons.
Meet the fans: the RLSH were a hit everwhere they went, even the parking lot of a pizzeria. 
P.S. We will have a video of the panel available soon, so you can watch it for yourself!

You can find a list of my upcoming October appearances in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and the Twin Cities HERE.

Book available OCTOBER 1, 2013!

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