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Rain Doesn't Stop Flood of Fans at Chicago Comic Con

For some celebrities it's fun; others are all business

There was a good bit of smudged makeup and more than a few damp capes, but the weekend rain couldn’t keep die hard fans away from the Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont.

It was the culmination of months of preparation for many, including Mike Perri of Kenosha, Wisc., who started planning his costume just after the 2010 comics mega-convention, organized by Wizard World, ended.

With beads of sweat dripping from his Batman beak, he posed over and over again in photos with children, fellow conventioneers and solo at Comic Con, held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

"Some of it I bought, some of it I made," Perri said. "I don't even know how many hours I spent on it."

For Perri and for many others striking poses throughout the crowded convention center throughways, being seen was a bigger thrill even than seeing the celebrities, merchandise and comic book art on display.

Posing and autographing

One woman spray-painted blue to imitate the Avatar female lead Neytiri, spent almost the entire time she was there posing with one person after the next.

On the other side of the convention center, celebrities were charging up to $25 per person for the same privilege, depending on how recently their sci-fi, fantasy or action movie, television show, video game or “webisode” was released.

Becky Locker of Cleveland, Ohio, waited in line more than two hours to meet Christopher Lloyd, who, unlike many of the celebrities, still closely resembles his most famous character, “Doc” Brown of Back to the Future.

Though he’d left to participate in a panel discussion, she remained firmly planted and declared it was “completely worth it” to meet her idol.

Grizzled veterans of the Comic Con circuit, like “The Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno, were able to describe the trite comment or joke that they almost expect fans to make.

For Ferrigno, who stays in muscled form and still works quite a bit as an actor, (most recently in “I Love You, Man”) the comment goes something like this: “If I had your body I’d lay off the weight training.”

Erin Gray, who played the sexy Col. Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, said the single comment she hears most often “from men and women” is that she was their first crush.

As if on cue, Jim Pitts of Crown Point, In. confessed that very thing – that Gray, along with Kate Jackson of Charlie’s Angels, were his two television obsessions.

From idol to agent

Gray makes only occasional appearances at the larger comic conventions to sign autographs, but she’s made a career out of them nonetheless.

Through Heroes for Hire, her comic talent management company, Gray books other actors for paid appearances around the country. Her clients include Alaina Huffman and Julia Benson of Stargate Universe and legendary B-Movie actor Bruce Campbell, among others who were busy signing autographs.

In the longest line of the day, Frank Giunta waited to meet Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, who was there promoting a new professional wrestling circuit called Resistance Pro.

“Wrestling and comics go together like peanut butter and jelly.” Giunta said, explaining the apparent disconnect. “They are really not that far apart.”

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