Yesterday, a bunch of us nerds went down to Chicago for their newest comic book convention, C2E2. C2E2 is short for Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, and does have more than just comic books. It extends itself to the Entertainment industry, so it also has some guest appearances, and Q&A panels for specific television shows.

I was rather excited to go since I missed PAX East this year, and I had never been to a Comic Con before. I figured it would be in the vain of the San Diego Comic Con, or the New York Comic Con, where it has some comic book stuff, but has grown into TV shows, movies, and video games. And while it did have some of that stuff, it was definitely muted and mediocre compared to the comic content.

We arrived at the McCormic Park Place around 9:30am, which gave us a good 30 minutes before the Convention opened. In very much PAX fashion, when arriving early, they had us go into a queue room when all the other early participants and patiently wait in line for the exhibition hall. Con staff riled up the crowd with some chants in attempts to get video. Unfortunately, they didn't have any crowd games for us to play :(

10am arrived, and we entered the exhibition hall.

The exhibition hall was jammed packed with comic distributors, indie comic and toy stores from the Chicago area, Tshirt vendors and other random stuff. For a comic book convention, I expected vendors to have a large supply on hand, and maybe I would be able to fill in the gaps of my own comic collection, ala Battle Chasers #8, and The Maxx Trades #4 & #5.

No such luck... It seems that all the comic vendors at this convention specialize in ACTUAL rare comics, and my gaps were merely uncommon. Comic book vendors had piles of vintage comics that had been appraised and worth plenty of cash. And I wasn't interested in that. I suppose I should have been checking prices because now I'm getting curious. I wonder what the most expensive comic at the Con was...

There was one booth in the exhibition hall that I did want to check out, which was the Cyanide & Happiness booth, and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal attached themselves to. I picked up one of C&H's books and got it signed. I also picked up SMBC's DVD of shorts, got that signed, and then got an on-the-fly sketch by SMBC artist, Zach Weiner. I asked for some science related, and he didn't disappoint.

The artist alley was nearly bone dry. I have no interest in comic book looking art, which was the style of the vast majority of artists. There were a few that caught my eye though. I liked the style of Erik Rose, whose art is based on a lot of films. I didn't find any prints I especially like, but I bought a few buttons. Another rockin artist was Tanya Zolotareva, who had a very distinct gothy style and much different than all the other artists there. Also, David Mack was there, who has done some great work with the Kabuki series of comics.

Also, in the exhibition hall were the autograph booths. Stars of TV, film, and music sat at booths for hours during the day and people lined up to get something autographed, or get their photo taken with them. They had Sam and Pan from True Blood, who are two of my favorite characters on that show. And they had Shane and Andrea from The Walking Dead, who are two of my LEAST favorite characters on that show. They also had Helo from Battlestar Galatica, also my favorite character.

While that is pretty awesome, I find it odd that they got the B roll of characters for this convention. That's like saying "We have the cast of The Simpsons", but then only Moe and Barney show up.  I guess you take what you can get. Unfortunately, approaching these stars ISN'T free. You can't just walk up to a celebrity without your wallet. Duh... Autographs were $30, and photos for $35. Fuck that... Off the top of my head, I can't even think of a celebrity I would pay to get a photo taken. Maybe Keanu Reeves, but Keanu wouldn't allow that.

Anyway, the exhibition hall was boring, so the next best time killer is going to Panels. As one would expect, most of these panels were comic book related, and most of those were Marvel. I don't think I could care less about Marvel, or DC, or any popular comic books. Superhero comic books are so boring.

Even before arriving, the only panels that I was interested in were Evangelion related. Spike Spencer (american voice of Shinji) was at the convention, and on Saturday, he was introducing Evangelion 1.0 before they screened it. He also had a panel later on about voice acting. While I don't really care about Spike Spencer, it was Evangelion related, and there was nothing else for me to do. I didn't make Evangelion 1.0, but I did sit in on the last 10 minutes of his voice acting panel, which was Q&A when I arrived. Most of the questions were inside jokes that I did not get.

But success! I got my Evangelion Bluray signed by him, as well as purchasing his self published (and self printed) book about voice acting.

Overall, I guess I had fun. I was expecting a lot more video game related things, and more overall nerd culture, but it was all comic book instead. And I would say that's a good thing, as the San Diego Comic Con, and New York Comic Con have slowly been overrun by thing that aren't comic books. C2E2 is bringing back the Comic book convention to the comic book nerds, rather than succumb to the wiles of more popular entertainment. But it still has some of that entertainment which makes the larger conventions so successful.

I would probably go again. Especially if we had another large group of con-goers to hang out with, as we did this time. I even ran into an old SPAMM member that wasn't part of our group! It was good times :)

There were also quite a bit of costumers.

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