Blagojevich pulls in $50 an autograph at Comic Con
BY CHERYL V. JACKSON Staff Reporter
Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich got on the Batmobile's "batphone" Saturday to "make a call to (his) lawyer" while making an appearance at Comic Con.
In a room where fans swarmed the captains of the SS Enterprise, Anakin Skywalker and Batman, Illinois' own larger than life character, Rod Blagojevich, attracted as many if not more of his own groupies Saturday.
The ex-governor repeatedly smiled and posed with admirer after admirer at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
Despite the presence of some 500 actors, artists, writers, pro wrestlers and models, Blagojevich was touted atop the show's website and enjoyed prime real estate on the convention floor with a booth near the entrance. While Blago got no appearance fee, he kept proceeds from autographs ($50 each) and photos ($80 a pop).
Jeremy Scheuch, who had an image of the former governor tattooed on his thigh, was one of an undisclosed number of fans who shelled out cash for the newly convicted Blagojevich's signature and photo.
"We need to get him on the next jury,'' Blagojevich said of Scheuch, a 31-year-old event planner from Humboldt Park.
Scheuch's girlfriend, Maya Sinstress, had "G-Rod'' sign a copy of the book, Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow, that she said she'd swiped from the Chicago Public Library.
"He f----- up, but you still kind of root for the guy,'' Scheuch said.
Said Blago: "It's pretty fun to be out and be able to feel the warmth and the support from the people.''
He declined to say which superhero he identified with, but likened himself to a Biblical David fighting Goliath.
"I don't really have a slingshot, but I do have the truth on my side,'' he said.
But not everyone was excited about his appearance.
Larry Arroyo, dressed as DC Comics villain-turned-hero the Shade, waited for Blagojevich to return to the booth just so he could "boo him'' for his "tasteless'' appearance.
"I understand he has a lot of legal bills, but he doesn't count as a celebrity,'' said Arroyo, who was apparently unimpressed by Blago's stint on "Celebrity Apprentice'' with Donald Trump.
Even worse, Arroyo said, "He's charging more than Shaft.''
Indeed, Richard Roundtree -who played the private eye Shaft in a series of 1970s flicks - was only charging $25 for an autograph.
Blago was also commanding more than "Deep Space 9'' commander Avery Brooks ($30) but less than "Star Trek's'' William Shatner ($75).
With so many superheros and villains in attendance, Blagojevich was a "perfect'' fit for the weekend-long show, said Barry Greenberg, who booked the appearance earlier this week.
"This person is either loved or hated by everyone in the Chicago area,'' Greenberg said.
As for Blagojevich, he said he was excited to meet Adam West and Burt Ward, who played Batman and Robin, respectively, on the 1960s television show. As an 8-year-old, Blago he said he'd rush to get his homework done so he could tune in.
West, who actually voices a cartoon mayor on the Fox hit show "Family Guy,'' gave no indication as to whether he was as eager to see the ex-governor.
"It was a total surprise,'' West said. "I had no idea he'd be here.''