Costumes, caricatures and bookmarks: Comic Con in Rosemont a 'creative stage' for pop culture fun

  • Portraying characters from "Batman," Jamie Koala of Wheaton, left, is Poison Ivy and Cait Manning of Chicago is Harley Quinn as they mingle at the front entrance Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

      Portraying characters from "Batman," Jamie Koala of Wheaton, left, is Poison Ivy and Cait Manning of Chicago is Harley Quinn as they mingle at the front entrance Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Armando Vargas and his girlfriend Verenis Cuevas of Chicago are dressed as Mario and Luigi on Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

      Armando Vargas and his girlfriend Verenis Cuevas of Chicago are dressed as Mario and Luigi on Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Scott Eckelberry of Warrenville dons his Beetlejuice garb Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The four-day convention concludes Sunday.

      Scott Eckelberry of Warrenville dons his Beetlejuice garb Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The four-day convention concludes Sunday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Seth Frishman of Downers Grove poses for a selfie with actress Charisma Carpenter from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

      Seth Frishman of Downers Grove poses for a selfie with actress Charisma Carpenter from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" on Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Ashley Michelle Pomplin of St. Charles and Rebekah Stair of Wheaton are dressed as Tinker Bell and Peter Pan on Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

      Ashley Michelle Pomplin of St. Charles and Rebekah Stair of Wheaton are dressed as Tinker Bell and Peter Pan on Saturday during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Pop culture enthusiasts crowd the aisles of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on Saturday in Rosemont as the four-day Wizard World Comic Con Chicago convention swings into full gear.

      Pop culture enthusiasts crowd the aisles of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on Saturday in Rosemont as the four-day Wizard World Comic Con Chicago convention swings into full gear. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Alex Golbuski of South Bend, Indiana, holds the head of his Haku costume from the Japanese animated fantasy "Spirited Away" on Saturday while waiting in line during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

      Alex Golbuski of South Bend, Indiana, holds the head of his Haku costume from the Japanese animated fantasy "Spirited Away" on Saturday while waiting in line during Wizard World Comic Con Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

There is a "creative stage" at Wizard World Comic Con in Rosemont, but it's a misnomer. Really the entire four-day-long convention of artists, actors, gamers, writers, entertainers and fans is a creative stage for the celebration of all things pop culture.

Creativity comes out in the costumes many people there wear, turning themselves into pirates, ninjas, Wonder Woman, Hermione or Captain America.

Creativity shines in the original artwork for sale, as caricatures, metal bookmarks, ties, tote bags, headbands, pillows and hand-painted mugs become unique souvenirs.

Creativity finds its way into the food, too, as Max & Benny's Custom Sweets sells "Heroic Cookies" decorated to represent characters like Kim Possible, shows like "Ghostbusters," or "Full House," and even a Pokemon pokeball.

The event concludes Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont with vendor displays, seminars, competitions, autograph sessions, trivia, giveaways, costume contests and concerts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As part of a national series that celebrates what organizers call "the best in pop culture" -- movies, TV shows, comics, graphic novels, gaming, technology, sci-fi, toys, art, collectibles and live entertainment -- Wizard World's Chicago convention this year brings a long list of talent.

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Tom Welling of "Smallville" and "Lucifer," Pom Klementieff and Michael Rooker of "Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Outlander" writer Diana Gabaldon and cast members Graham McTavish, Lotte Verbeek, Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton were among those who appeared in photo ops, panel discussions and autograph sessions for fans between opening day on Thursday and the event's longest day on Saturday.

Fans from near and far, such as Nathan Korel of Michigan (dressed as Spiderman), took advantage of Saturday's autograph sessions to meet some of their favorite characters. For Korel, that meant Kim Possible, voiced by Christy Carlson Romano, and Team RWBY, voiced by Lindsay Jones, Kara Eberle, Arryn Zech and Barbara Dunkelman.

Other fans checked out seminars and discussions to hear from their favorite stars, such as Charisma Carpenter of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and Holly Marie Combs of "Charmed" in a panel on Women of Pop Culture.

The panel began on a light and funny note, but with some questions, fans got the actresses to share their thoughts on deeper topics of insecurity and dealing with criticism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"In this business, there's a lot of scrutiny, physically and otherwise, and you have to sort of shrug it off," Combs said. "I learned how to separate me from what they see as the product."

"Some of the most beautiful women I know could not be more insecure -- everyone has it," Carpenter said. "Trust your purpose and why you are here and that you are valuable."

Fans like 11-year-old Brooke Keesecker of Moline and Shenita Coleman of Chicago didn't just listen but chimed in with words of praise, too.

"Thank you for choosing women-empowering roles," Coleman said.

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