A Wizard Entertainment press release announcing a convention guest of honor is turning a few heads, not for the name of the creator -- Mark Millar -- but for the name of the event: Chicago Comic-Con.
That, of course, was the name of the Chicago-area convention before it was purchased in 1997 by Wizard and rebranded WizardWorld Chicago.
The change would seem like fairly significant news, bigger even than the announcement of a headliner.
But a quick search of Wizard's message board reveals the return to the former name -- the debranding? -- took place, quietly, as early as mid-October. At least that's when one forum member noticed the appearance of "Chicago Comic-Con" on the company's website. The change was reinforced in late November when advanced tickets went on sale.
A modified logo on the tickets page reads "WizardWorld Chicago Comic-Con"; however, the Millar press release refers to the event simply as "Chicago Comic-Con."
The name change comes at a turbulent time for Wizard Entertainment, as it finds its brand greatly diminished. The company expanded its empire in 2005 with WizardWorld Boston, only to cancel it the following year, aborted plans to launch an Atlanta show in 2006, greatly expanded its online presence only to revert to its previous format, and laid off numerous staff in its convention and magazine divisions.
Last month, Wizard postponed its Los Angeles convention, and canceled its Texas show.
What's more, New York Comic Con seems to have quickly replaced Wizard's Chicago event as the No. 2 U.S. comics convention. (Just this week, NYCC organizer Reed Exhibitions announced it will launch Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo in April 2010 in downtown Chicago.)
WizardWorld's Chicago Comic-Con will be held Aug. 6-9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.