We took in Wizard World's Chicago Comic Con on Friday after a one year hiatus (ours, not theirs) and found the show larger and the floor significantly different than during our last visit in 2010.  The 2010 show was the first one that had adopted Wizard's new model, which relied heavily on autographs to draw attendees, and in 2012 the celebrity aspect of the show was expanded even further.  The autograph area took up the center of the floor, with queuing lanes set up for all the celebrities.  Top draws (based on prices) were William Shatner ($75), Scott Bakula ($75), John Cena ($60), and Stan Lee ($55).

The floor space occupied by the show had expanded significantly since 2010, with the usual booths for comic and toy collectors (this show has more toy booths than any other show we attend), and an increase in booths for apparel and tchotchkes.  Artists Alley also looked like it had grown.

Cosplay was significantly more in evidence than it was two years ago, reflecting, we assume, the nationwide growth in popularity of the hobby.

Aisles remain uncarpeted, making this a tough show to walk for extended periods, but it helps keep prices for exhibitors and attendees low.

Another element that hasn't changed--bootleg DVDs for sale on the floor, which are reduced from five years ago, but about the same as they were two years ago. 

This article and its companion give a feel for the show and its attendees.

Poison Ivy, Black Canary, and Catwoman all seemed happy to be there.

Nice make-up, promoting a seasonal haunted house.

The pixel heads from the videogame Minecraft were a popular item at the show.

This Baron Zemo costume may not have been perfect, but he was enthusiastic.

One of several family groups we saw. Here we have Robin, Black Canary, and Nightwing.

Promoting a different haunted house, this one Fear City, with a friend (watch the hand, mister).

Silk Spectre and Storm, comparing boots.

Some autograph areas were crowded…

…and others were not, depending on the celebrity’s schedule.

Funny, we never thought about how great it would be to smell like an Avenger, but now we can, with these fragrances from Jads International.

An edgy comic retailer name and slogan, BiPolar Comics ("we have issues").

Click here for Part 2.