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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
This past weekend, I attended C2E2. Happening at McCormick place in Chicago, it is probably the leading comic book convention of the Chicagoland area. This is the second year I have gone to this event, and I had high hopes given how much fun I had the previous year. Were they met? Eh…yes and no. How ‘bout I recall the experience?
This year, C2E2 was at held in McCormick’s West Building. I found some pros and cons to this. The pros had to do with the show floor. I loved how everything was spaced out and, for the most part, easily accessible. I also greatly enjoyed how the food court was on the show floor, but on a second level. This allowed for a great bird’s eye view of the entire show floor while getting a bit of a rest.
The somewhat down side was that the panel rooms were not as easy to get to from the show floor. I suppose the “distance” was largely the same as they were in the North Building (last year’s location), but it felt like more of a hassle if you wanted to get to one. Maybe I am being too hard. Unfortunately, I did not get a good opportunity to attend as many panels this year, so I really did not get to fully experience the back-and-forth nature to the fullest extent.
One of the few panels I went to, I was able to ask a question about the superhero Nightwing coming to Chicago in the character’s series. I asked if Nightwing was going to be a Cubs or Sox fan. Totally nonsensical, but I figure these comic pros get tired of getting fanboy questions and would appreciate something silly. Nightwing’s author, Kyle Higgins, confirmed that while he writes the title, Nightwing would never attend a Cubs game. Good man.
As an aside, and to demonstrate the crazy of some people, when I asked the question, the guy behind me in the question line grabbed the microphone and (jokingly – I think) threatened to kill Higgins of Nightwing was a Cubs fan. Needless to say, I gave the biggest WTF? look to the guy (how could I not?).
As for each day, Friday was awesome because I got a lot of stuff done. I met with several creators, many of whom were very chatty and interactive with fans. Writers and artists such as Paul Cornell, Andy Diggle, Kenneth Rocafort, Len Wein, and Tony S. Daniel among others. I got a few comics signed, and since Friday did not attract the crowds, I was able to have a few minutes to talk about the stuff they have done or are planning to do (Kenneth Rocafort seemed to slip a spoiler for an upcoming return of a popular Superman villain).
My personal crowning achievement of the weekend was getting a picture with Bob Harris and Bobbie Chase after a panel. They are, in essence, two of the big head honchos over at DC Comics (and, because of that, they are hated on the internet forums). I thought it was cool to get a picture with them mostly because I view them as DC Royalty, and I just did not think I would have been able to do it.
That said, I was a little disappointed by the guest list this year. Not that the writers and artists who came where bad or anything, but I felt that Marvel and DC did not really send their top talent as they have in the past. Folks like Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, or Jeph Loeb were absent despite appearing in year’s past. I realize they cannot come to everything, but it seemed much less given that DC Comics did not even have a booth to highlight their company (it seemed like they brought out the B-Team this year).
When I talked to Bob Harris, I asked him why DC did not have a booth (note: he brought up the subject first). While he was surprised as well at the decision and not 100% sure why that was (he has no say in those decisions), he theorized that because DC had a lot of talent present in the Artist Alley, that they did not feel they needed a booth. Still, it was a strange decision.
Saturday was a different beast altogether. It was massively crowded. Just insanely so! I do not remember it being that bad last year. I am someone who can usually handle crowds, but even I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I am extremely glad I did all my desired trips to the artist alley on Friday, because I would not have been able to then. I do not think I was able to turn around once without slamming into someone. I am generally someone with a lot of patience, but it was really running thin that day.
Given how exhausted I was and how there was nothing else I really wanted to do, I did not go on Sunday.
The cosplayers were out and about like always. There were some really awesome ones (like Iron Man below), and I really admire the work that people put into it. Of course, there were a lot of Dr. Who people, but to my surprise there was an overabundance of people dressed as Adventure Time characters. I knew the show was popular, but it was a bit ridiculous at the amount that was there. I could not turn around without seeing another Fiona or Ice King. I do not remember seeing one Adventure Time cosplayer last year. It is amazing how much a fandom can grow within a year. Sadly, I only saw one Regular Show cosplay duo. I should have gotten their picture – the costumes were simple, but effective.
I got some cool junk that I do not need. Filled many of the holes in my Superman collection (look for a new feature concerning this coming soon). Two awesome (and unexpected) finds included Action Comics #500 (from 1979) in a dollar bin and Superman #200 (from 1967) for $5 (I like to collect anniversary issues such as those). Both were in fantastic condition, and I could not believe how cheap I got them for. I was pleased. I swear, I am going to look back on my collection one day and facepalm myself.
I also bought this really awesome From Russia with Love print for my dad from artist Mike Mahle. Go check out his Deviant Art page. He does some excellent looking work.
The best part of the convention was, of course, me getting together with a bunch of my friends – some of which I have not seen in person for years – on Saturday. One of these was the Culture Cast’s very own Zack. Though it was brief and somewhat chaotic, it was still good to hang with him in person. Also there was our very own Gorehound, Kyle and his wife Lisa (and Kyle’s mother too). While I do see Kyle and Lisa on a somewhat frequent basis (about once a month or so), this was the first time that the entire Culture Cast crew were together at the same place at the same time. History in the making, people.
I also got to briefly meet up with my friend Mike (who was there cosplaying with a few of his buddies as Adventure Time characters). A co-worker of mine, Shannon, and her husband were there, but due to poor timing, I did not get a chance to meet up with them.
One thing I did notice was that security was tight this year. Lots of folks checking your bag anytime you entered the floor, and there were even a few dogs sniffing the grounds at times. This obviously has to do with the unfortunate events in Boston recently. It is sad that things have come to this, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
I do not think my C2E2 experience was as fun as it was last year. I guess the first time for anything like this will always set a high bar. That said, I did enjoy myself, especially when I met up with friends. I just think that either the thrill is gone for me, or I am just burnt out on conventions (not that I go to many to begin with). As of now, I doubt I will go back next year. Many things can change my decision including if someone else really wants me to go with, there is a creator I really want to meet, or if I happen to host a panel (this would make the experience fresh – and something I would like to do someday). Whatever happens, I know I will completely avoid Saturday – the crowd just is not worth it.
So, that was my weekend. Did anyone else go to C2E2? Sound off below!