Wizard World Chicago is just two days away! The Con starts Thursday, Aug 9 and stretches ’til Sunday Aug 12 at the Convention Center out by O’Hare. Comic Con promises to bring the most popular (and obscure) celebrities, artists, and vendors for four days packed full of comics and geek culture.

The big headliners of the con include William Shatner, the guy who plays Draco in Harry Potter, the iconic Stan Lee, and a slew of cast members from Buffy. And although it would be fun to see all those folks, none of them—separately or together—are my reasons for getting psyched about this weekend.

After taking a look at the programming schedule, I found some real gems in the lineup. What I’m providing here is an alternative list of headliners—from the perspective of a budding comics creator. So here it is: my top 5 preview picks for Chicago Comic Con 2012!

5. Comic Book Covers with Rodolfo Migliari

Friday, Aug. 10, 7:00-7:45pm, Rm 14.

Designing a comic book cover will be a unique endeavor for the Sun Bros. As Creative Director, Brad creates all of our visual art and oversees the final artistic product. But as Communications Director, I’m in charge of making sure our book gets noticed, that it gets printed and put on the market—and that you, dear reader, will want to buy it when you see it sitting on the shelf. Designing a good comic book cover seems to me a collaborative process between creativity and communications and will require us to work together in new ways. We could have the best interior writing and artwork in the world (and we do), but that won’t matter a hill of beans if our cover design is either ho-hum boring or completely misleading. I’m really looking forward to hearing about Migliari’s experience as a cover designer. I suspect that cover design will be one of hte final elements we tackle as we finish up Chinatown.

4. Comics Storytelling with Michael Golden

Friday, Aug. 10, 1:00-1:45pm, Rm 14.

One of the best reasons to go to a comic convention is getting to see (and learn from) masters talking about their craft. As a writer, I’m always interested in ways to improve the way I sculpt a plot, reveal or hide information, and provide just the right details to capture a scene. In comics writing, I look to improve my own skills first and foremost by constantly writing, but also by learning from the greats. So what makes Golden so great? Well, he did work on Bucky O’Hare after all. ‘Nuff said.

Another conversation of note at the con—a discussion on symbolism in comics led by Omar Spahi (founder of OSSM Comics), and Terry Huddleston (Thaniel). They’re on at noon in Rm. 11 also on Friday. I’m actually not familiar with their work, but I’ve had a fascination with how symbols work since college. One of these days, I’ll do a full blog post on the interplay and difference between signs, symbols, and allegories … but that’ll have to wait for another time.

3. The Bruce Campbell Q&A

Saturday, Aug. 11, 4:00-4:45pm, Rm 14.

Yeah, this guy would make it on any list of headliners. But I couldn’t resist. Who isn’t looking forward to seeing this guy? Campbell’s been in plenty of things, but I know him from the Evil Dead trilogyThe Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, and Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness. I actually watched those movies in reverse, not realizing it was a trilogy until halfway through Evil Dead 2. It’s my favorite movie trilogy of all time, partly because it’s just amazing, but also because it switches genre every time the plot continues.

Since Evil Dead, I’ve become a big fan, not only of his films but of his books as well. I’ve appreciated his perspective on everything that goes into producing a finished art product. His movies are tons of fun and he has a great humor about himself and his work, but at the end of the day he’s an actor who takes his work seriously. I imagine there will be plenty of “hey-baby-groovy-boom-stick” references, but what I’m really looking forward to is his take on the creative process.

2. Artist Alley

All weekend long. Showroom Floor.

This is usually my top reason for going to comic conventions. Sure, the big companies have nice displays, booth babes, and flashing lights—but I’m here to see what work is being done by indie artists and new talent. Comics is a huge medium and attracts all kind of different writers and artists—and I want to meet them! Brad and I are new to the comics business, but we’ve had the pleasure of meeting some really amazing people who have been writing and drawing a lot longer than we have. If you find yourself in Artist Alley, be sure to say hi to the guys at Instant Press—David Gruba and Rene Castellano. They’re great guys and they’ll be at Table 3131 rolling out their new trade collection of Distant. Also stop by Table 3416 and check out the work of Sarah Beccan, the talented lady who runs Sauceome.com, among other things. She has some new Sauceome prints for sale, Pokemon butcher charts, some minicomics—and of course, Shuteye, which I highly recommend.

As wonderful and amazing as Artist Alley always is, it’s not my #1 draw this time around. So what is my top pick for Comic Con this year? So glad you asked …

1. James Hong

Saturday, Aug. 11, 1:00-1:45pm, Rm 14.

That’s right. James fucking Hong.

Lo Pan. Mr. Po. Covetous Shen. Hoshi. Chew. Tia Carrera’s father in Wayne’s World 2 (that’s Jeff Wong, bitches). Yeah, that James Hong. I’ll let his body of work speak for itself. But suffice it to say, I’m excited to see this guy. Like crazy stupid excited. On his resume, you’ll find he’s played an immortal ghost sorcerer, a soup peddlin’ crane, an obnoxious fantasy jeweler (Diablo 3!), and an eye manufacturer from the future (Blade Runner!). The way the con schedule plays out, there are only two things Hong is competing with: the Charmed Q&A and Sci Fi Speed Dating. Why anyone would choose to be anywhere else is completely beyond me. If I find out the nerds opt for Charmed and dating over James Hong, this is likely to be my measured response:

Given the rest of this article, you may be wondering how listening to James Hong will improve my skills as a writer. To that, I would respond by asking you a question in response: how could meeting Lo Pan not improve absolutely everything about my life? QED.

If you’ll be at Comic Con this year, drop me a line and say hello. The easiest way is to follow us on Twitter (@theSunBros)—I’ll be posting up pics and comics news as things unfold. Brad will be away visiting family and friends this weekend, but I’ll be there from start to finish.

See you at the con!