Ex-Gov. Blagojevich appears at Chicago Comic Con

August 21, 2010 9:02:28 PM PDT
Convicted felon Rod Blagojevich compared himself to a superhero while making a paid appearance at the Chicago Comic Con. At one point Saturday, he picked up a red "Bat phone" and joked that he was calling his lawyer.

If the charges weren't so serious, if the felony conviction didn't carry prison time, and if Rod Blagojevich wasn't Illinois' twice-elected former governor, all this might be 100 percent funny. Instead, Mr. Blagojevich's appearance left some saying "Holy downfall, Batman!"

The former Illinois governor charged $50 for autographs, four days after a jury convicted him of lying to the FBI but couldn't reach a verdict on other charges.

Comic Con was the latest stop for the man who recently admitted he talks too much. But Blagojevich did plenty of talking Saturday as he signed autographs and took pictures with attendees.

It's not quite the setting in which one would expect to see Illinois' former governor, but Blagojevich attended the convention, some say, because he needs to earn an income for his family. Others say because he likes the attention.

Either way the former governor put on a show. Whether it was comparing his battle with federal prosecutors with the battles of his favorite superheroes or glad-handing with convention attendees, Blagojevich never stopped professing his innocence.

""I find inspiration from some of these characters and their stories," Blagojevich said. "The Lord works in mysterious ways ,and you end up doing things you never ever imagined you'd do."

"We're just here to say hi and give him our support," one person told ABC7 Chicago.

"All I can say is, uphold the law," said a Batman impersonator.

Before borrowing the Batmobile, the former governor arrived and quickly began taking photographs with supporters. He even hob-knobbed with celebrities like the original Batman - Adam West-- and movie star and breast cancer survivor Richard Roundtree, who first met Blagojevich while promoting breast cancer awareness.

"I met some of my heroes today. I met the Bionic Woman, Batman. I met Shaft, and I know something about getting the shaft," Blagojevich said.

Organizers of Comic Con, the largest and longest running pop-culture expo in the United States, say Blagojevich's invite was a no brainer.

While some attendees paid $80 for a photo opportunity, Mark Brown spent $100 for two autographs.

"I supported him in both elections. I bought the books, and I think the money is better put to that," Brown said.

But not everyone was thrilled.

"This sort of event wasn't for convicted politicians to come and try to profit from it," attendee Jon Spangler said.

"What says pop culture more than Rod Blagojevich? He's the number one story on the news. People are fascinated by him," said Wizard World Chicago Comic Con's Barry Greenberg.

The former governor remained dedicated to getting vindication from the people of Illinois.

"I didn't let them down. It's so important to me to prove that to people," he said.

After spending most of the day at the convention, Blagojevich headed to the East Coast to Washington DC and New York City to hit the national media circuit again.


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