C2E2 once again descended on The Windy City and filled the South Building at McCormick Place with awesome vendors, cosplay and some big names in comics, literature and entertainment. This convention is always a special event for me because it was the first convention I attended and fell in love with the experience. C2E2 continues to be a tremendous show that offers something for everyone and does panels better than any other convention I have visited.
Reed Pop is the organizer of C2E2 and they do a great job of getting you in the door in a quick and efficient manner. Though the lines can be long at the beginning of the day, the lines move along quickly and you're in the door before you know it. This year League of Legends and Marvel both had great displays right inside the door. Marvel gave away freebies throughout the day and League of Legends continually gave tips and news about the game. Valiant Entertainment was also near the entrance and had great comic artists and writers in the booth throughout the con for autographs.
C2E2 also truly represents a pop culture convention. Most cons advertise that they have something for everyone, but C2E2 really has something for everyone. The guest list has always included a great selection of comic and entertainment guests. This year was no different. Some of the top comic guests were Gail Simone, Brian Azzarello, Tony Moore, Stan Lee, Scott Snyder and Neal Adams. Mr. Lee was in the autograph section where there is a charge, but most of the artists and writers are available at their own booth in the Artist Alley section and in their publishers booth at different times throughout the day. Reed Pop does a great job of organizing their volunteers in assisting with the autographing process. For example, I was waiting in line to get Gail Simone to sign a couple of titles and the line was getting pretty long. Reed Pop had three volunteers show up and they managed the line so that it didn't interfere with other traffic on the floor and everyone was able to meet Gail (who was as funny and gracious as always). The entertainment guest were also impressive with stars from Warehouse 13, The Walking Dead, Teen Wolf, Lost Girl and more. However, each year C2E2 increases the number of literary guests that attend the con. This year there were top writers in the world of adult and young adult science fiction, horror and fantasy. And, there's more....they also bring in some awesome stand-up comics to perform during the con. This year Brian Posehn was in attendance with his comic quirkiness.
This year a few of my favorite vendors weren't in attendance, but the variety of exhibitors is as varied as the guest list. There are your usual comic con booths with comics and t-shirts along with large and small comic publishers. Additionally, there are tech and software vendors, video and board game booths, education opportunities and awesome geek websites like Project-nerd.
As I've mentioned many times before, the aspect that Reed Pop and C2E2 really excel at are their panel offerings. They offer the usual cons built around specific pulishers, titles and programs. But they offer so much beyond the standard panel Q & A's. For example, some of the other panels offered this year were Graphic Novels: Super Classroom Tools for Tolerance and Taming Aggression!, End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in our Culture, How to Play Quidditch 101, In Defense of YA, Gay Characters and Creators and Glass Ceilings: Missing Stairs and Gatekeepers: Geeks Still Deal with Sexism.
I know it seems crazy, but one of the best parts of C2E2 is the CARPET! All of the aisles on the main floor of the show are carpeted and it makes a huge difference. I'm sure Wonder Woman appreciates it after standing for hours as attendees snap pics with her and it also makes a huge difference to this middle-aged geek after trudging from booth to booth for 8 hours.
C2E2 is a great place to explore all the awesome facets of geeky goodness that exist. The dates for next year are already set so be sure to mark April 24-26, 2015 on your calendar and we will see you at C2E2 2015.
You can check out some of our pictures from C2E2 2014 here.