Befitting of a city that has stood in for Gotham, Chicago is filled with geek stuff and destinations. You can find like-minded individuals at comic book stores in Chicago, but if you're searching for the ultimate meeting spot for fans of comics, anime and horror movies, you need to hit the convention floor. From the South Loop to suburban Rosemont, we've rounded up conventions where you can show off your cosplay skills, shop for merchandise or snag an autograph.
Best Chicago comic book conventions
Each year, C2E2 brings a ton of comic book creators and some notable TV and movie stars to McCormick Place. If you hit the floor, you'll find costumed attendees mingling in a sea of comics, toys and assorted memorabilia. The event also offers a slate of panels, including apperances by Stan Lee, the kids from Stranger Things and local horror movie buff Svegoolie. Show off your cosplay prowess or bring the kids and hang out in the family HQ.
When August arrives, Wizard World fills Rosemont with comics, costumed attendees and lines for celebrity autographs. Not many guests have been revealed for this year's three-day event, but we do know that KISS frontman Gene Simmons will be in attendance, as well as former Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno and Batman voice talent Kevin Conroy.
For readers of independent comics and small press publications, there's no event more sweet than CAKE (short for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo). Each year, the covention brings creators and fans to the Center on Halsted for two days of panels, workshops and discussions. Notable guest at this year's event include New Orleans artist Ben Passmore and Smut Peddler editor C. "Spike" Trotman.
A crowded convention center may not be the safest place to withstand a zombie attack, like the ones depicted on The Walking Dead, but it’s your only chance to meet stars of the AMC show. There's also a boatload of undead merchandise and the opportunity to get a reanimated corpse tattooed somewhere on your body.
For fans of Japanese pop-culture (which encompasses anime, video games, musicians and outlandish snack foods), there's no larger Midwest celebration of the island nation than Anime Central. The annual convention allows like-minded otaku to mingle, admire the gravity-defying hairstyles sported by cosplayers and meet voice-over talent from imported cartoons. When the convention floor closes, the party continues at the popular Soap Bubble dance and late-night anime screenings.
The festivities are always a scream at Flashback Weekend, an annual festival that features actors from slasher flicks and horror films. When you're not standing in line for autographs, you can browse through movie memorabilia or enter a horror-themed costume contest. This year, the convention welcomes special guests Robert Englund (best known for playing Freddy Kreuger) and Lance Henriksen (Bishop in Aliens).
Forget about all of those caped crusaders on the big screen—Heroes & Villains Fan Fest puts the spotlight on actors bringing characters to life on television. The convention (which occurs in tandem with Walker Stalker) brings the cast of shows like Arrow, The Flash and Gotham to the city for two days of panels and signings.