(Editor’s note: This convention report is from a dear friend and well known cosplayer Tallest Silver. Silver is awesome, and doesn’t normally travel to conventions outside her native California, so I jumped at the chance to get her perspective on an event in Chicago, especially one as large and well known as C2E2. Make sure you check out our official cosplay music video from the event, too!)
C2E2: A New Experience from an Expert Con Goer!
C2E2, or Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, is certainly not a new convention, but it’s not the oldest one out there either (I’m looking at you, Star Trek conventions). I’ve gone to a few conventions in my day, but only two outside of the vastness that is the state of California. Seriously, I used to drive 8 1/2 hours to head down to Comic Con every year, and there’s still more to the state. So C2E2 was really refreshing to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my conventions out here, and it’s always nice to see the same faces at cons. Pasta is great! But after a while, you need pizza. Deep dish pizza. With a buttery crust. And the cheese is all melty and gooey and- sorry, I’m very food motivated. But that’s exactly what Chicago delivered. Let’s take a looksee, shall we?
Step One: GETTING TO THE CON!
This can be the most difficult part of the journey with traffic, public transportation, parking, costumes, it can be the worst. I’ve had my share of awkward gawkers while I was dressed as Power Girl taking the metro. But C2E2 had a great shuttle service from various points of downtown Chicago, with three routes, all leading to the convention center. FOR FREE. Let me repeat that, great shuttle service FOR FREE. No worries about parking! The shuttles ran from 8 AM – 10 PM for Friday and Saturday (until 6 PM on Sunday) which gave participants a several-hour window before and after the con. The wait time between the shuttle service, which used big Greyhound buses and littler shuttles depending on where they picked you up, was roughly 20-30 minutes. This was a bit of a pain lest you thought you missed one.
Step TWO: AT THE CON!
Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation. This was lovely. The floor plan for the convention was very open so there was no feeling of claustrophobic con stench. The con floor was larger than I had anticipated, much to my happiness, with lovely carpeted areas when cement floor and your heeled boots do not get along. Vendors were not compacted too tightly, but you weren’t running miles to get from one spot to another. There were also benches, which can be a weary con goer’s best friend. Sometimes you just nerd out too hard.
Speaking of nerding out too hard, the variety of vendors was so much fun. There was a little bit of everything from fashion, to comics, to steampunk, to a life size Tardis complete with a Dalek threatening any companion or Doctor. Although, Artist Alley was my regular haunt because I just can’t help myself. The mix between local artists and then the more renown professionals was intoxicating. Over on the outskirts of the perimeter of the convention lay the autograph areas, even a tattooing section, so lines for popular attendees wouldn’t interfere with the con floor flow as some conventions have issue with.
….and because I hadn’t mentioned food in a few paragraphs, the food selection at C2E2 was quite eclectic! Typical con faire was to be had of burgers and hot dogs and what not, but there were ice cream vendors, pizza, pretzels, and even cannolis. And yes, a Godfather joke or two were made.
Step THREE: THE PANELS, CONTESTS, AND FAN AREA??
Oh my stars and garters there were more things going on! As per any con, astounding costumes were shown at the costume contest as well as the Marvel held costume contest. Skits and outfits galore that would make Tim Gunn proud. Down below the con floor, near the entrance, was a mini con floor unto itself, comprised of a little fan alley. More like the anime fan clubs of yore, this area was a happy little safe haven for fans to go and buy fan-made wares whom may have not been able to make it to Artist Alley.
One of my main critiques with the con was the panel set up. As a newbie, I’m more familiar with conventions that hand out a playbill of sorts, listing all the layouts, panel times and info, and more interesting little tid bits about the convention when you get your badge and any other swag. C2E2 did not have such program. Instead, there was a single board that listed all the events and panels of the convention near the con floor (and the giant C 2 E 2 you could take your picture with). Of course, Captain Oblivious here (IE me, in case that wasn’t obvious enough) didn’t see the listing until Lord Jazor and I were on our way out of the convention on our final day. Sad single tear for me.
Overall, I give C2E2 4 out of 5 Chicago-style hot dogs and definitely want to make it a regular convention for myself. Plus, it was great to see all my MidWest/East Coast friends whom I don’t get to see.