PopCultHQ’s Wizard World Chicago 2015 & Bruce Campbell Film Fest Recap!

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Wizard World Chicago Comic Con 2015!

PopcultHQ has finished its intense week-long coverage of Wizard World Chicago 2015, along with the Bruce Campbell Film / Horror Festival. Both events went off simultaneously without a single hitch which gave this year’s show so much more content from every corner of the geek, pop culture and horror fandom worlds combined.

I (Manny) will be your guide to the #ConLife experience that can only be witnessed exclusively on the Wizard World Convention tour! I will give a recap of the 5 day events I experienced as PopCultHQ’s website owner and show off content only seen here on our website. I have been going to Wizard World shows since 2001 and this year’s show in Chicago had so much amazing content I almost had trouble seeing everything the entire weekend had to fully offer the pop world fans. But trust me…..I did my best to catch it all for our readers.

Wizard World Kickoff Party (Wednesday Night): 

While the main convention does not begin until Thursday night, there was an exclusive Wizard World Kickoff Party that is open to fans who purchase a ticket for the bash. Thanks to Wizard World, PopCultHQ was there in attendance to cover the event and have time to interview celebrity special guests Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead) and two high-energy dudes from Epic Ink: Josh Bodwell and Chris 51!! Held at Chicago’s Level257, the kickoff party was a blast for everyone who showed up.

Comic Book Creators and Special Guests:

This year at the convention from Thursday though Sunday I mainly wanted to focus more on the comic book aspect of this year’s “comic con.” To show that the creators of comic books and the extremely talented artists are the backbone of what the comic con experience is all about. Getting to meet for the first time legends like Arthur Adams, Simon Bisley, James O’ Barr and animator Tim Cook was an honor. Catching up some of my favorite artists like Neal Adams, Arthur Suydam, Greg Horn is always great for some comic book talk and behind the scenes comic book talk as well. Many of these fantastic artists signed books for my personal collection, along with signing many great future PopCultHQ giveaway prizes!

Wizard World Cosplay:

Wizard World is one of the absolute best conventions for cosplayers around the world to converge and enjoy the spotlight. With Wizard World’s famous cosplay contest, contestants and just the normal walking around audience, I swear my mind was having a complete overload of cosplay goodness!!

PopcultHQ official cosplayer – Laird (Bagged Fantastic Four) is PopCultHQ’s OFFICIAL cosplayer for quite some time now. His personal relation to one of our top writers and my relationship with him for a whole year now has shown me he totally has deserved the official title months ago! His Fantastic Four “Sell us back to Marvel” cosplay has gone completely viral and we are very proud of the him!

Introducing Reptile (PopCultHQ’s official logo) – Laird, would not be our official cosplayer if he didn’t do things like this. On his very own, Laird took the initiative to design and build (because he is a master cosplayer you know) a perfect version of PopCultHQ’s official logo character “Reptile”! PopCultHQ’s logo character was created by me (Manny Popoca) and drawn up for us by The Living Corpse comic book crew – artist Buz Hasson and Blair Smith.

Cosplay – As I mentioned before, Wizard World is the absolute best place for cosplayers to unite and compete on stage in front of the massive convention crowds. Our cosplayer expert April already has posted tons of spectacular photos of adults and children’s cosplay from each day. Please be sure to check out all her amazing articles and photos!

Wizard World Chicago Cosplay Sunday

I still get stopped in my tracks when I see cosplay that catches my eye. Here are just a few of the one I had to take pics of as I wondered the show floors.


Bruce Campbell Last Fan Standing Series Kickstarter! Bruce Campbell announced the Kickstarter campaign to help launch a full studio enhanced style game show at selected Wizard World convention locations.  More on this panel can be seen here in our coverage including an interview with Groovy Bruce Campbell himself!

Stephen Amell: The star from The CW hit TV series Arrow, based on the DC comic book property The Green Arrow. Amell is also going to play Casey Jones in the upcoming sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Stephen dropped hints of Ryan Miller – “Constantine” (who was supposed to be at this convention but canceled last minute, hmmmmm) and him were filming scenes already. Amell made a special showing of Friday at the convention since he was going to be wrestling in WWE’s SummerSlam pay-per-view in just a few days. He is a trooper to his fans!

Jeremy Renner: Had a blast at Wizard World Chicago for his very first visit. Not much actual information was learned from this panel other then Hawkeye in the Avengers movie will not be wearing a mask. Renner also said as far as he is aware, he does not think a Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers movie crossover will happen anytime soon.

Gotham: Was in attendance at the convention with stars. News of when Bruce Wayne might turn into Batman were given. Ben McKenzie dropped some hints on when the fans might see Batman finally on the show. If you’re waiting for that to happen you better be strapped in for the long haul. That won’t happen until the very end.

Nathan Fillion: The eccentrically geeky cool actor (Firefly, Castle, Slither, GotG) was at the show but nothing new was offered to the fans about any news of a Firefly reunion. This was a bit of a let down since quite a few of the cast were at this Wizard World show. The one big nugget that Nathan did give fans hope for (but will never happen) is the comic book superhero he would next like to play is Booster Gold from DC Comics.

PopCultHQ’s Upcoming Exclusive Interviews:

As always, I was a VERY busy man knocking down interviews with people whose work I enjoy and want to spotlight on PopCultHQ. We will have spotlight articles with special guests from Wizard World Chicago! This year I wanted to focus more on the comic book aspect of a “comic con” to show that the creators of comic books and the extremely talented artists are the backbone of what the comic con experience is all about.

James O’ Barr (Creator of The Crow) – The man who created the graphic novel that the blockbuster movie The Crow was based on talks to us about the new film in the works! We also discuss the career of Mr. Barr and his inspiration for writing the classic graphic novel tale! I hate to say it but this one might be quite possibly the best interview I have ever done and it was truly an honor!

Bruce Campbell – We spoke with Bruce Campbell about launching his Kickstarter campaign for  “Last Fan Standing” and the future potential of the show. Check out that interview along with all you need to know about the Last Fan Standing Kickstarter!

Bruce Campbell talks to PopcultHQ about Last Fan Standing kickstarter

Michael Rooker –  This is PopCultHQ’s first interview with the Guardians of the Galaxy and The Walking Dead star. Though I have met Michael Rooker and interviewed him quite a few time already in past works, this was by far the most memorable time I have had with the man who is famous for busting balls. Not to be missed!!

Epic Ink – Chris and Josh from Epic Ink were the coolest tattoo artists I have ever met. While talking ink, geekdom, and what’s in store for the future for these guys, PopcultHQ has become instant fans of the two tattooists.  Get to learn what inspires these two fellow geeks, as well as being tattoo lovers, and see some pics of them in action doing tattoos at the actual con itself!!

Whilce Portacio – One of the gentlemen who created Image Comics and nicest people in the industry. We spoke with Whilce about those years the Image comic book company was first created, what the comic book landscape looks like now and everything else we could talk about in-between there.

Cast of “Synapse” (Charley Boon and Will Rubio) – The cast of the sci-fi film Synapse talks to PopcultHQ right before their film is screened for a world premiere at Bruce Campbell’s Horror / Film Festival. Charley Boon is a monster on-screen but a gentle giant in person. Will Rubio is not the normal movie comic relief that is so overused in movies. As this natural funny man demonstrates, he has lots of range.

David Della Rocco – The man, the myth, the legend! David Della Rocco! Best known for his role in Boondock Saints, we talk about filming the classic movie and life in Hollywood. A great conversation with a man adored by his fan just as much as his fellow Saints cast mates are.

Rob Prior – One of the most talented artists I know with a paint brush and that’s before you find out he can paint with both hands at the very same time with his eyes closed!! Rob Prior comes off a summer concert tour with hip-hop artist Tech N9ne where he painted as the rapper performed his show. How did Rob deal with so many eyes watching him do his thing on stage LIVE?!!

Ken Lashley – Ken Lashley is killing it at the moment with his fantastic artwork in the comic book world. But that is not the only place his work has been the last decade and a half! The man I call the most improved artist in the industry ever (even if he doesn’t like the compliment) is now a mainstay in monthly shelves! From where he started at Marvel, to working with so many of pop culture’s most iconic brands and turning heads with his artwork. PopCultHQ is going to spotlight the work and career of Mr. Ken Lashley.

Marat Mychaels – Marat Mychaels has been in the industry since the boom of the 90’s and has stayed busy ever since doing what he loves most….working in comics. Mychaels has a new exciting project in the works and has been pumping out some very cool covers the last decade. If you have not Mychaels….now is the time to do so!

Brian Linss – Brian Linss is an extremely talented artist who specializes in the pop culture world and PopCultHQ specializes in bringing the best of the pop culture world to the fans. We are going to be talking about Brian’s work, mutual love for Twin Peaks, X-Files and so many other geek pop culture loves. PopCultHQ will also be showing lots of Brian’s work on our site since we have so much in common in our pop culture loves.

Genese Davis – Author, Host and Media Personality, Genese Davis has a book on the market that is touching on so many levels of passions, of geekdom, of gaming and blending them into one fantastic tale. A tale not just for the young reader crowd but for the reader that have the same like-minded passions and follow them. Genese was a the most enjoyable interview of the bunch.

Jeff Balke – Jeff Balke a 15-year veteran in the industry who has earned his fellow artists’ admiration and respect! From legends like Neal Adams, Michael Golden, to the current top convention artists around the nation, Jeff is recommended as one of THE best colorists this comic book industry has to offer!

Bruce Campbell’s Film / Horror Festival:

Not only did Bruce Campbell show films for their horror film festival, the entire second floor of the convention was dedicated to horror and classic horror film movie actors. Check out our coverage from April as she tackled the Bruce Campbell Horror Festival portion of the Wizard World Convention floor. Her article can be seen here

The Bruce Campbell Horror Festival

Wizard World Show Spotlights from PopCultHQ’s: 

SynapseSynapse was the only sci-fi film shown at the Bruce Campbell horror fest and with quite possibly the lowest budget ever for an indie film of this quality, Synapse blew many people away who saw the movie! Written by hot new Hollywood screenwriter Adam G. Simon (Man Down) who also acts in the film and is surrounded by a very talented cast that includes Joshua Alba (brother to Jessica Alba), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Henry Simmons and Ravenswood actress Sophia Brown. Directed by Kenlon Clark, a famed music video filmmaker, Synapse was by far the highlight of the film fest for PopCultHQ. We even spoke to Bruce Campbell himself about the film and his direct quote on why a sci-fi movie was in a horror film fest, “My judges make sure there are no stinkers in the bunch!” He was totally right. Synapse was brilliant!! Read more about it in the upcoming PopCultHQ’s interview with two of the stars of the film, Charley Boon and Will Rubio!

MadMax custom car – I just love Hollywood movie cars. Jim Martino of Flashback Custom Cars made this killer MadMax replica car that was so movie accurate, he even had labeled dog food cans! A car this good cost well into the $58,000 figures but I have to take my hat off to the craftsmanship work done. Great Job Jim!

Knight Rider K.I.T.T. custom car – NotchbackKITT (which can be found on facebook) is gosh darn sexy!! I love to take these grill shots of Hollywood movie cars and this is by far one of the best replicas Knight Rider KITT’s I have ever seen.

Additions to PopCultHQ’s exclusive media partnerships:

One thing I like to do is build official media partnerships with companies we actually endorse

3DYou – PopCultHQ has built an exciting relationship with 3DYou – a very unique portable 3D picture-taking company that we believe will reinvent what this technology can do at all future comic con conventions. How would you not only like a 3D picture of yourself……but you can get a mini bust or a statue custom made from 3DYou that is highly detailed! From the normal patron who walks the show floor, to cosplayers, professional cosplayers and maybe even celebrity 3D pictures down the road! Lots more exciting news and information coming with PopCultHQ and 3DYou’s new official media relations partnership and future spotlight article!

Action Lab – The publishing house that brought you the ultra hilarious Zombie Tramp and is now making huge waves with books like Wake is one of the comic book publishing houses PopCultHQ wants to work with. We will spotlight their unique lineup of comic books from their even more unique creators! We are excited to see what Action Lab Entertainment has in store for the comic book world and we want to be to bring it all directly to the fans with this new official media relations partnership.

Zenescope  – Zenescope comics has been a force in the world of comics for over 10 wonderfully inspiring years. PopCultHQ is extremely proud to work with such a publishing house with fan-pleasing titles like Grimm Fairy Tales long-running line up. Zenescope Entertainment has been a great place for creative minds to create freely and that is just the kind of comics we like. Superheroes are no longer the place for expressive comics and we strongly feel the best comics come from Indie publishers like Zenescope.

In closing Wizard World Chicago Overview:

To be completely honest…..Wizard World Chicago 2015 was the biggest show I had experienced as a whole entirety in quite a long time. While technically this was two conventions converted into one, the entire show just felt right. There was something for EVERYONE at this convention; from the horror crowds who enjoyed the films played in a fantastic theater just across from the convention grounds, to the celebrity hounds or true fanatics who wanted to meet their favorite star or personality just to have a lasting memory of the event, to the fellow comic book geek that wants to experience a comic book convention to the max with outstanding cosplay, rows of vendors and the astounding amount of fantastic artists at this year’s convention. Like I mentioned, I specifically went after more comic book content this con then in past Wizard World conventions to show that comic books and their creators are still a very valuable part of the “comic con” experience.

2 thoughts on “PopCultHQ’s Wizard World Chicago 2015 & Bruce Campbell Film Fest Recap!

  1. Really appreciate the mention and comments Manny. It was great to meet you, and thanks for stopping by to give KITT some love! -Joe (NotchbackKITT)

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