C2E2, Chicago’s biggest comics and entertainment convention of the year, just wrapped up its 2018 show and it definitely did not disappoint.
But, of course, you’d know that if you had attended.
C2E2 was so popular this year that not even Stephen Amell & co.’s Heroes and Villains Fan Fest/Walker Stalker Con going on in the Chicagoland area on the same weekend could keep people away. And that’s saying something.
Like Nicholas J. Fury, “I do share. I’m nice like that.” So I’m going to share with you all of the things that made C2E2 awesome this year so that you’ll know what to expect when you check it out next year.
10. Marvel and D.C. were both in attendance… and it was awesome
Did you know that C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) is put on by ReedPop, the same company that puts on the New York Comic Con? That means that this event has access to some of the biggest names in comics and entertainment, like Marvel and D.C. Comics. C2E2 may not be a national “household name” yet, but it’s working on it. With these brands starting to announce exciting updates at C2E2, we won’t be surprised if C2E2 gets on New York Comic Con’s level in the next few years.
(Oh and did I mention that Marvel brought along the Infinity Gauntlet for people to take pictures with? Yeahhhh, that’s definitely FOMO-worthy.)
9. Some of the best creators in the biz
This year’s event brought in quite a few talented creators, including Jessica Jones creator Brian Michael Bendis, X-Men legend Chris Claremont, and the team behind Harrow County, just as that creepy comic series is coming to an end. Add to that list Annie Wu, Amy Chu, and Jen Bartel and… well… you get the idea. If you’re a big comics person, C2E2 is like heaven. Believe me when I say that in-booth signing lines were wrapping around aisles all over the place this weekend.
8. So. Many. ‘Black Panther’ ladies
Sure, I expected to see some pretty awesome Black Panther cosplayers because, I mean, Black Panther. But I also had high expectations for C2E2 cosplayers because they’re always pretty stunning. And you know what? C2E2 cosplayers didn’t disappoint. I saw a couple of really impressive Shuris (which made my heart sing) and a pack of fierce-looking Dora Milaje cosplayers. They were all so good that I wouldn’t be surprised if their outfits were screen accurate. Those of you who weren’t at C2E2 really missed out.
7. The world’s best old-fashioned soda
For the past couple of years, Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Pop Co. has been gracing us Chicagoans with their presence at our local conventions. They offer all-you-can-drink stainless steel mugs of the best soda that has ever crossed my lips. I know it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and conventions, but it’s also important to stay alert and awake. Their soda wagon is one of the greatest things to ever happen to conventions and, I don’t know about everyone else, but stopping by their “booth” is becoming a new C2E2 tradition for me.
6. A slate of pretty impressive entertainment guests
Caity Lotz, Alan Tudyk, Charlie Cox, Mark Sheppard, Sean Gunn, GINA TORRES… need I go on? C2E2 doesn’t just bring in big-name creators. They bring in the best of the entertainment business, period. This year, they were even bringing in stars from atypical fandom-ish properties, like This is Us. And with such a wide variety of stars, there was really someone there for everyone.
5. Multiple stages on the show floor
Every time I passed by these smaller stages that were on the show floor, there was always a crowd of people paying close attention to the guest or panel that was speaking. These stages discussed everything from cosplay to being a creator and more. Yes, it’s fun to plan on going to panels while you’re at a convention, but it’s also pretty neat to just walk past a stage while you’re browsing the main floor. You never know what you might see.
4. An abundance of Agent Carter love
Agent Carter may have gotten axed unfairly and prematurely, but she has never been more alive in the hearts of her fans. How can I tell? Well, just by looking around McCormick Place. So many artists proudly display their renderings of Peg, even if they don’t have much room to show samples of their work. Not only that, but C2E2 attracts dozens of proud Peggy Carter cosplayers (myself included in previous years). I was so excited to run into two wonderfully fabulous ladies I know from my Agent Carter cosplay group — @PeggyPincurls and @Eve.of.Flight — and ohmygosh don’t they look fantastic?
3. Deep dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches
Other conventions just sell hot dogs and run-of-the-mill pizza. Not C2E2. Sure, they have the average convention fair (and I treated myself to a pretty tasty hot dog for lunch while I was there), but they also offer some more substantial and comfort food-like options. Like deep dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches. If you visited Chicago solely for the purpose of attending C2E2, you can still eat your fill of Chicago classics.
(Okay, so maybe this is the second mention of food on this list, but so what? Food is IMPORTANT.)
2. Room to breathe
I’m not big on crowds. I could barely handle the sheer number of people at New York Comic Con when I went a couple of years ago and I can’t even think about going to San Diego Comic-Con without getting anxious about all the bodies that would surround me. I need to be able to move and breathe at conventions. Though it’s big, C2E2 is so well laid-out that it’s hard to feel claustrophobic or trapped. You’ll never find yourself fighting against a current of people just to check out a booth that caught your eye. It’s busy, but not too cramped.
1. Chicagoland in-jokes and pride
Everywhere I looked on Saturday, I found some sort of nod to the Windy City and the “Land of Lincoln.” From a graphic novel entitled Barack the Barbarian: No Fucks Left to Give to the beautiful Chicago flag being incorporated into pieces of art to Blues Brothers cosplayers, the Chicago pride is strong with this convention. And it’s all the better for it.