Comic Con Chicago opens with a Pow, Zoom, Blam!

Thursday afternoon at the Donald E. Sptephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Wizard World brought Comic Con to Chicago. It will be here till Sunday, but there were already plenty of celebs, great costumes, and unique exhibits to witness.

I spoke to the general manager of Chicago Costume, Courtland Hickey, who was no stranger to Comic Con. "This is our second year at Wizard World. It's our third Comic Con." When asked what costumes people bought from their booth at Comic Con he replied, "Accessory pieces, small items. We have a lot of Batman stuff, we'll sell quite a few Avenger's things... Thor hammers, Captain America shields..."

Later on Thursday, I ran into Erik Hodson, an artist who has the rare Autoimmune Disease, Scleroderma. Erik's $5 sketch cards initially caught my eye. Then when he began to tell me about himself and his condition, I wanted to know all about him. Scleroderma mainly affects the joints and is the number three killer among Autoimmune Diseases.

Erik creates and sells $5 sketch cards to benefit the Scleroderma Foundation and raise awareness for this rare, but fatal disease. I'm very fond of the Wolverine one I purchased.

Erik told me what it was like being diagnosed with the rare disease, "I was first officially diagnosed in 2002, started showing symptoms as early as 1998. That was normal, it takes about three years to get a diagnosis. Scleroderma can look like Lupus, MS, Lyme Disease, and various other diseases."

I wanted to let Erik get back to selling his cards for his cause, and closed the impromptu interview by asking him what his life was like before his diagnosis and how has it changed now:

"I was a care-free, stupid, young twenty-something, but then I had this mystery in my life, starting with my symptons and no one could tell me what I had. It was a pretty scary time, fortunately for me, I was able to fall back on my faith and put my life in God's hands. It took about two years to train myself how to redraw. I just try to use my art as a way of advocacy." You can find Erik at Comic Con this weekend or buy his $5 sketch cards online for a great cause here.

Being a comic book nerd, I froze in my tracks once I saw a booth that had many first issues of my favorite comics including Batman, Spiderman, the X-Men and many more. Metropolis Collectibles COO Vincent Zurzolo informed me that their booth could be valued at around three to four million dollars. I never expected to see so many of the highly valued first issues I have only heard about or seen on TV thus far in my life, and it was one of my favorite parts of the day. You can check them out at Comic Con all weekend as well or go to their site for more info.

There are plenty more events at Comic Con Chicago all weekend long including photo ops, Q&A's, and autograph sessions with such legends as Stan Lee and William Shatner. You can go here for more Wizard World or Comic Con info.

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