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Dispatches From Chicago Comic-Con: Night One

bostwick rooker

Photo via Becky Smith

I’m not a big con-goer, but I probably would have bought a day pass to this year’s Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con even if I weren’t covering it for Graphic Policy. Basically, they had me at “Evil Dead reunion,” and then they put together a Firefly panel featuring Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, and Adam Baldwin (who, despite my distaste for his politics, I can’t bring myself to hate).

But I’m just as excited about the variety of comics artists and writers – many of them part of a growing, under-appreciated Chicago indie comics scene – who will be at the con, and my dispatches will be mostly about them. I’m hoping that at least some of them will see my stylish Press wristband and chat with me about their creations.

There might also be some pictures of cosplayers.

But the focus Wednesday night, at a “Kick Off the Con” event at a bar/arcade deep in the suburbs, was on Barry Bostwick and Michael Rooker, who did Q&As with fans and press. (There was also a Pac-Man tournament, which I did not attend.) Here are some highlights from the two actors’ interviews, plus some great pictures courtesy of Becky Smith.

bostwick mike cropped MQ

Photo via Becky Smith

Graphic Policy readers are most likely to remember Barry Bostwick from Rocky Horror Picture Show, although he spent more time talking about his role on Spin City. He’s also had a long career in arch, self-referential sci-fi and horror B-movies, which he clearly loves. I wish I had realized before last night that he has starred in both FDR: American Badass and Helen Keller Vs. Nightwolves. Both sound like book reports I would have written in fifth grade, only with more kitschy violence. But he said he was most excited about his role in anthology horror movie Tales of Halloween. “I play the Devil, and I couldn’t be happier,” he said. When asked where he’d found inspiration for the role, Bostwick quipped, “You remember your first marriage.”

Michael Rooker showed up in a Call of Duty hat and began his Q&A by musing about the abundance of “beautiful white people” in Dublin. After confirming that he will return for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, he talked quite a bit about his transition from stage to screen, and about the many fans of The Walking Dead who have no idea about his long career and varied roles. He rejected a lot of the ideas about craft that were posed to him, saying he sees each role as its own entity and refusing to compare Guardians or Walking Dead to anything else he’d seen or performed in.

rooker peace crop mq

Photo via Becky Smith

Rooker stayed crotchety when a guy asked him to sign an economics textbook, saying it was possibly the weirdest thing he’d signed, and when a non-gamer tried to ask questions about the Call of Duty series. But it all seemed to come more out of protectiveness toward the roles he loves. For example, he said, “Kevin Smith didn’t even approach me for Mallrats 2, he just knew I’d do it.” Like Bostwick, Rooker seems to relish being a cult figure and resist any attempt to associate him with a particular role.

I left last night planning my Barry Bostwick and Michael Rooker movie marathons but also looking forward to focusing more on graphic media for the rest of the con.

Thanks to Wizard World for providing me with press access to Chicago Comic-Con!

Almost American