C2E2 2012: In retrospect

This was not a planned trip for me.  I tagged along last-minute with my girlfriend to Chicago to get some delicious deep crust pizza at Giordano’s and maybe check out some of the city.  What else is happening this weekend?  C2E2, that’s what!  What’s C2E2?  It’s Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.  Being a veteran of San Diego Comic-Con, I had a certain expectation of what a Comic convention should be like – as well as what it should NOT be like.

Read on for more thoughts on the show and pictures.

SD Comic-Con has an overwhelming amount of panels to check out branching out a wide array of topics.  C2E2 had a fairly good amount of panels with something for everyone such as Q&A with Star Wars’ Anthony Daniels, Anime screenings, on-site tattooing, Video gaming industry round-tables, and a lot more.  The exhibit hall is probably 1/4 the size of SDCC.  The big two, Marvel and DC, were there in force and each had an hourly schedule of artists signing and plenty of swag.  DC’s camp had their usual pins and comic give-aways.  Marvel had a huge Avengers banner where you could hold Captain America shield and Thor hammer props.

One thing C2E2 did better than SDCC was the Artist Alley.  C2E2’s alley was probably 2 to 3 times larger than SDCC.  I got to meet some of my favorite artists: Scott Snyder, Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma.  I missed out on Jeph Loeb though, but hey, I gotta leave something for SDCC, right? I didn’t even have to wait too long for signings.  My longest wait was for Scott Snyder, but that was only about 45 min.  The funniest moment for me was when the line had formed for Snyder. The line wrapped around a bit and when his time to sign came, Snyder walked up to the line and asked “Hey, what’s this line for? Oh, me? Awesome!”

The shopping experience was pretty good, though I felt that on the comics side, there were more vintage comics on sale and not enough current comics. But if you’re a vintage collector, that should be alright with you.  I was in a bind since I didn’t find out about C2E2 until just before leaving for Chicago so I forgot to bring books to get signed. I had to dig around all the exhibitors for some Nick Spencer and Scott Snyder books so being limited to a couple vendors was a little annoying.  There’s plenty of cool swag to buy, and whoa, where did my money go? Again, the vendors had plenty of various good for you to max out that shiny credit card of yours, yet without all the redundancy of SDCC.  Though it’s nice to be able to shop around at SDCC, but hell if I remember where I saw that issue of Spider-Man 300 for $5 less.  And if I did, I’m not sure I want to walk that far!  Thank goodness C2E2’s exhibit floor is “only” about 1 small city block in size.

The crowd size was obviously not as epic as SDCC and yet they had 2-3 times the seating on the exhibit floor.  Granted, there was a small stage on the floor too but it’s kind of nice to be able to sit in a chair after trekking the crowded aisles.  The density of the crowd is probably half to 2/3 that of SDCC so you don’t have to worry about shoulder-to-shoulder traffic at C2E2.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed C2E2.  With only one day, I didn’t get the full experience, but we left satisfied, if not a little teased for the big show of SDCC.  I felt like I had gone back in time to SDCC in ’98; when the crowds didn’t arrive until Saturday and left by that night, and all the body odor wasn’t as noticeable; the times when I just enjoyed being there. I miss the slightly more intimate feel of SDCC of yester-decade, but there’s a way to feel it again: check out C2E2.

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