Get ready, comic book fans, super hero aficionados and TV/film buffs, because the 2012 Chicago Comic Con is shaping up to perhaps be the best one yet! This year's lineup of special guests are impressive and quite exciting: William Shatner, Stan Lee, Tom Felton of "Harry Potter" fame, WWE Superstar John Cena, "Jersey Shore" star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino (he will probably be wearing a shirt, sorry ladies) and a mini Star Trek reunion.
All aboard the Starship Enterprise
One of the highlights for Trekkies will be a Captain's Reunion, featuring none other than the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, along with Scott Bakula (Captain Archer) and Avery Brooks, who played Captain Sisko.
While Shatner, especially back in the day, was not exactly at the De Niro or Pacino level of acting as we all know, he did certainly create a beloved character, no doubt. In later years, his work on "Boston Legal" was stunning, and he is always a fan favorite with a trademark self-deprecating sense of humor. It will be interesting to hear Mr. Shatner and his fellow "captains" compare stories on what it was like at the helm of the Starship Enterprise.
The legendary Stan Lee
Having the legendary Stan Lee on hand this year is what really pushes this fest over the top. Lee is of course the creative genius behind Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Fantastic Four and so many more memorable characters.
Mr. Lee has received several awards for his work, including being inducted into the industry's Will Eisner Comic Book and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, was honored by Los Angeles and Long Beach, Ca. with Stan Lee Day, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also started the Stan Lee Foundation, a non-profit that "seeks to provide access to literacy, education and the arts throughout the nation."
He still seems very down-to-earth and genuinely appreciative and respectful of all his fans and critics alike, and surprisingly, still has a youthful spirit, even at age 89.
"Buffy," Vampires, "Hercules" and more
Other celebrities and industry professionals at the Chicago Comic Con include former "Hercules" star Kevin Sorbo, Lauren Holly of "NCIS," the lovely and talented Hayden Panettiere of "Heroes," and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star James Marsters.
"Buffy" fans are in for big thrills, because not only will there be a "Buffy Reunion," but the Muvico Theaters in Rosemont, Illinois are hosting a 50th birthday party for Marsters, which fans can attend if they purchase a particular Comic Con ticket package.
Sci-Fi lovers and Obi-Wan wannabes
Other interesting events taking place include a "The Vampire Diaries" Q&A with Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto, a screening of the new film "Contamination - A Convention Story," which is an in-depth look at the fans and celebrities who attend horror, sci-fi, and pop culture conventions (this should be a "scream!") and guests can pay (of course) to hang out and party with fellow Wizard World revelers at the Artist and VIP Launch Parties. This could possibly be a terrific networking opportunity, especially for those that work in some aspect of the entertainment business.
Loving for love or to become the next Obi-Wan Kenobi? There will be a Sci-Fi Speed Dating party, which sounds like a unique way to alter your single life, and devoted "Star Wars" folks can attend a Jedi Masters training seminar.
A full slate of cool activities specially designed for the youngsters are also planned, including face painting, spooky stories, arts and crafts and a costume contest.
Comic Con 2012 info
Chicago Comic Con 2012, which is part of North America's largest pop culture touring expo, will take place August 9-12, 2012 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.
Tens of thousands of people will be on hand throughout this festive weekend to celebrate some of the best in movies, comics, toys, video gaming, television, original art, collectibles, contests and more. For a full listing of special guests, and information on ticket prices and VIP packages, please visit their website.
What is enriching about this event is how it's a community of sorts, for both young and old, some who attend every year, and those who visit for the very first time. They are enthusiastic, devoted and, at times, fanatical, but even for skeptics, this kind of convention is certainly infectious, and leaves people with a lot of positive memories, new friendships and plenty of stories for years to come.