Now in it’s 6th year C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) has had it’s home in the windy city of Chicago. Held in the city’s convention center downtown, the McCormick Place. C2E2 is put together by ReedPOP which also runs New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, UFC Fan Expo and Penny Arcade Expo, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.
I have been going to C2E2 since it’s first year and have seen it grow into quite a large event, and its quite honestly the main con I look forward to every year. However, as the convention grows with it so does the attendance numbers, last year they boasted 63,000 attendees, which can provide issues. Such as the biggest one we all hate, lines. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid that by using good time management skills, unless you’re trying to get into a popular panel, then, well, good luck.
This year had an array of guests ranging from entertainment stars like Hayley Atwell, Jason Momoa, Sean Astin, two wrestlers Booker T and CM Punk, all the way to Comic artists and writers Skottie Young, Scott Snyder and Amanda Conner. And of course what con would be a comic con without Stan Lee. Minus Momoa the entertainment list really didn’t appeal to me this year so I kept my autographing in Artist Alley and got to meet some of my favorite people.
Another highlight of big cons is the full schedule of panels. Not only did we get Q&A’s with star celebrity guests, but there was also a panel with M. Night Shyamalan (who is still on my **** list for what he did to Avatar) who was hosting a screening panel along with the stars of his new television mini-series Wayward Pines. There was also informative panels with experienced cosplayers and published writers, release info from several different comic book and video game universes, and crowd participation panels that tackled social issues such as bullying and social media interaction.
Cosplay is also another huge part of comic and entertainment conventions, C2E2 being no exception. This year ReedPop did something I hope they continue into the years to come called the Cospitality Lounge hosted by We Are Cosplay. They conducted dozens of cosplay meet ups in this panel room, offering free professional photos courtesy of Pixlr along with a private changing area and lounge in the room connected with huge bean bags and cushions all over the room. The website said they also had a triage center to help fix cosplay mishaps, however since I got lucky this year and had no mishap with any of my costumes, I didn’t get a chance to check it out. Stay tuned for my cosplay highlight article this weekend for detailed pics of all my favorite cosplayers this year.
One of the main things that certainly sets C2E2 apart is knowing to cater to a wide range of attendees, including all the children. Not only do they hold a big costume contest specifically for kids but they have arts and crafts sessions, and this year even had light saber training.
But of course no con is perfect. This year though the figures say that C2E2 had more floor space it felt as though there were a lot less vendors. Usually spending hundreds of dollars at these things, other than the usual action figures and items I can order online, there was hardly anything that caught my eye or felt as con exclusive. There were also less activities to interact with on the con floor. Of course there was the Marvel booth and stage, but there were no game testings other than the new Mortal Kombat. The tattoo area was definitely way smaller as well. Also this year there was no main live muralist, instead the show opted for several live artists all over the floor throughout the weekend.
The food selection was also a bit slim pickings in the dealer room. Yes there were several restaurants and cafes outside of the dealer room in other sections of the convention center, but when you’ve been prancing about in a thick crowd of people for 5 hours straight and you’re stomach is making itself known with loud embarrassing rumbles the last thing you want to do is walk another 15 minutes to a another area to wait in another line to get food then fight for a table to sit at. So myself and several other exhausted con goers and cosplayers resorted to butts on the floor and munching on pizza slices. My suggestion: eat a big breakfast and bring snacks.
Regardless of the few negatives, C2E2 is my favorite con of the year and I can’t wait for next year! It shows no signs of slowing down, so mark it on your calendar for next year and DON’T MISS IT!