Fun Finds at Wizard World Chicago 2016

When you go to a bunch of pop culture/comic conventions, it doesn’t take long before you start noticing that no matter where the show is or who is running it, there are staples of the vendor halls. There’s the giant tower of t-shirts, the cases of comic books, and the stands of old and new action figures and statues. Looking for steampunk accessories? You should be able to find a booth if not multiple. All of these can be good resources to find something to take home with you.

Recently at Wizard World Chicago, I went on the hunt for some anomalies, or at least for some things that were new to me. I’m happy to report the hunt was a success. So without further ado, here are my Fun Finds: Wizard World Chicago Edition.

Hero Within

Ok so technically I didn’t discover Hero Within at this show. I first saw them pop up on Twitter before San Diego Comic Con, but this was my first time getting to see any of their products in person. Hero Within is currently offering pre-orders for their line of DC-licensed men’s jackets. I am so excited by these designs because not only do they serve up the type of subtle geek looks I (and many others) have been craving, but they are thoughtfully designed too. The blazers especially would fit right in in an office environment. In addition to blazers there are peacoats and a kind of athleisure hoodie. Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, and The Flash are represented at the moment in their Justice League line.  

Another woman visiting the booth commented that the Batman peacoat has so many pockets inside of it that if she wore it she wouldn’t need a purse. And it’s true, the amount of storage is fantastic. On top of that the inside of the jackets are fun and feel like a secret you’d be giddy to carry around with you all day.

According to Social Media Manager Marlon Reynoso, the Flash Hoodie has actually been a popular pre-order with women. And when I spoke with Founder and CEO Tony B. Kim, he indicated adding women’s designs in the future is not out of the realm of possibility.

It’s great to see fans stepping up to change the merchandising landscape. And the sophisticated, nicely-manufactured pieces of the Hero Within line made me excited to see what they come up with next. My own semi-selfish hope is they’ll get a license from Lucasfilm; these guys are well-positioned to make the Star Wars jackets of my dreams.


Smarter Garter

As soon as I saw the table of these I thought this is perfect convention-wear. It’s even better if you’re wearing cosplay or a costume that doesn’t have pockets or a bag of its own. The Smarter Garter is a small faux leather purse that comes attached to two straps connected by the same type of a closure you’d find on a bra or similar undergarments. In addition to being able to wear it on your thigh, it can also be worn on the tops of tall boots, Version 3.0 was on display at the show which includes loops with snaps, so you can take the purse off the straps and wear it on any belt or carry it in a bag as a wallet as well. The straps include a silicone grip on the inside to prevent slippage. I got to try one on and it definitely felt like it wasn’t going anywhere with normal walking around. A Smarter Garter retails for $44.


Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Co.

By the third day of the show there were quite a lot of people walking around with stainless steel mugs. Several of them had the mugs attached to their belts or belt loops via carabiners. And the mugs, it turns out, came by way of Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Co. Their two old-west-looking stands had a strong presence in both vendor halls, not just for their height, but for the constant crowd of people in front of it. Mugs started at $20 and came with refills. Flavors included Rocky Mountain Root Beer, Buck’n Birch Beer, and Outlaw Orange. They were all pretty sugary but one of the barrels on the stand had seltzer water in it to tame that a bit. How economical it is for the con-goer depends on how much soda you can drink in a day, but it was definitely a unique way to buy a drink at the show.


Chocolate Moonshine Co.

Belgian and French chocolates with a creamy center decorated with French cocoa butter. I could probably stop there, but there are also over 30 flavors to choose from. I’m not sure why they’re called Moonshine Bars when the sign says they’re non-alcoholic (although with gluten-free, no egg or wheat, with 0 trans fats), but they sure look appealing. Sadly I did not get to try any of the flavors because this booth was swamped and those working it looked like they might pass out soon. But the chocolate was beautiful to look at and everyone around who was eating it seemed to be enjoying it.



She grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s okay with that. Kay is FANgirl's resident geek fashion expert and co-host of the Hyperspace Theories podcast. She reviews books and movies for the site with a heart for storytelling and a mind that likes to analyze. Kay's been a guest on various podcasts sharing her love and knowledge of storytelling, film-making, fashion, and of course, Star Wars. Most days are filled with her work as a creative services professional - designing websites & branding, photographing, voice acting, editing, and more. Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, costuming, and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord.