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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
About a month and a half ago, I went to C2E2 – the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. This was my 4th year going and marked the first year that I went all three days. As always, it was a very fun time and I don’t regret going at all. However, I did notice somethings that I am starting to become discontent with.
The convention hasn’t really changed from much in the past. You have your panels, giant retail floor, and artist alley. I was able to meet a lot of great writers and artists. Aaron Kuder (current artist on Action Comics) is an incredibly nice guy and really fun to talk to, artist Rod Reis seemed confused when I asked him to sign a Superman comic he contributed to, and former Justice League artist Kevin Mcguire is an incredibly difficult person to track down. The comic creator highlight was meeting Brian Buccallato, former co-writer/artist on The Flash (read my reviews here). I am pretty sure he thought I was a weirdo because I came up to him and didn’t know what to say. At all. We made some very awkward small talk. I am not one to get star-struck, and I don’t think this was what happened here.
I guess part of the problem on my end is that I never know what to say to the creators whose work I really enjoy. Tell them “I like your stuff”? Well, no duh. I wouldn’t be there otherwise. Tell him I review his comics? Somehow I doubt he would care about some nobody writing a blog that very few actually read. If I get a chance to meet Buccallato again in the future, I’ll have something better planned.
Another fun story is that while walking the floor, I ran into internet celebrity Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic) and his cohort/brother Rob. Unfortunately, at the time and due to the unexpected nature of running into them, I mistook Rob for another internet celeb, James “Angry Video Game Nerd” Rolfe. I didn’t realize my mistake until we parted ways. I’m sure they rightfully thought I was a tool. Still, they were really cool to talk to for a few minutes.
And, for what it is worth, Walker seems almost exactly like his internet alter-ego in real life.
With the panels, I went to a select few. The more publisher panels I go to, the more I realize that they are just there to pimp their product. Not that that is bad, but I am learning that I don’t care much for commercials. I did go to a really neat panel on the comic creation process. I’ll never work in the industry (nor do I have grand ambitions to), but I do enjoy learning about it.
I did attend a few Game of Thrones-related panels. I don’t watch the show or read the books, but my girlfriend does. The panels featured Jason Momoa (who I will always know from Stargate). He is awesome. What a great presence onstage. I know nothing of GoT, but he was entertaining to watch, that is for sure.
I also had to suffer though part of a Dr. Who panel in order to get really kick-ass seats for the Game of Thrones panel that followed. The things we do for those we love.
As I mentioned, I went all three days. Friday and Sunday were fine with the crowds, but Saturday was overwhelming. It felt nearly impossible to get through even the large walkways in the Artist Alley. It almost made it not fun. If I go back, I don’t know if I could do Saturday again. Yes, I am getting old.
I bought some stuff. Some neat things from the artist alley, but when it came to the retail floor, it was hard to really buy anything. I did pick up some comics, but it felt like I was forcing myself to get something. I am sure some of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have time to really plan out what I wanted to get ahead of time, so I was “looking blind”.
I do think another part of that is that I just don’t really care anymore. I still like this medium and I enjoy meeting creators and such. But, at the end of the day, I do wonder if I am growing out of it. At what point do I say to myself, “That guy wrote some issue of Superman that you own. You should get his autograph, but who cares, really?” (Probably not the greatest of examples as I typically view creator autographs as convention scavenger hunts).
Another part of my apathy, I feel, has to do with what I felt was a lack of actual comic retailers at the show. Maybe it was on par with previous years, but I couldn’t help but think that there were very few booths actually selling comics. Instead, there seemed to be an overabundance of booths selling toys and other pop-culture merchandise. And each booth seemed to have the same crap. And, on top of that, many booths that did sell comics didn’t really seem to run competitive deals. Not that every booth has to sell at a dollar, but things just seemed shrewder than I remembered in the past.
Maybe I need to take a new approach about what I am looking for or, not that I am old, what I want my collection to look like. My life has taken a lot of new directions over this past year. Perhaps I need to reexamine my comic collecting. Or maybe the rough year I had preceding the convention was just that: rough. And now I should go back to focus on some hobbies.
That aside, I still did have some good fun at C2E2. Perhaps if I better prepared and was able to take my own advice, I would be able to enjoy the convention more than I did. My girlfriend did say that if we go back, we are dressing up in costume, something neither of us has done at one of these things. She doesn’t want us to look like the strange ones. My, how times have changed.