Any fan of entertainment should visit C2E2 at least once in their life. There is something for everyone. From video game demos to comic book previews to the retro love of old school superheroes, you can find something to whet your appetite. Even those uninitiated to the geek world can enjoy some pretty amazing costumes and two towers of t-shirts ranging from cute to ironic.
Overall the convention did not disappoint this self proclaimed nerd lover. From the moment you step into the registration line (or in my case, press room), you can feel the energy and excitement of the crowd around you. It’s hard to miss with all the great costumes already surrounding you. There were the usual storm troopers, the superheroes, and the barely clothed chics. Then you started to see the newer groups, including the best Batman chics complete with huge props and even someone carrying around the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 robots. Seeing a certain crazy scientist with his robotic chicken was the highlight of the cos-play, or you would think. Then, you turn around and there is someone who actually dressed as the TARDIS. If for nothing else, you may never see as many different costumes from so many different forms of entertainment.
Once you make your way into the con, you can see that this is not a little celebration. Instead it rivals those other cons we often hear about in Chicago, both in size and variety. Making your way through the hordes of fans does get a bit exhausting, but stopping in a booth to check out the varied merchandise or taking a break to watch one of the videos available at the larger booths can be relaxing. If you forgot your own costume, no worries. There’s a place to make yourself into a zombie, complete with pictures to show your buddies that couldn’t make it. If that’s not your cup of tea, then there’s a booth to get your picture taken with the burlesque girls of the web. Now, if a girlfriend or mom might have issues with that, you can always visit a certain comic book giant and get your picture taken, for free, with your favorite superheroes. No one can complain about that, right? Or, a girl can visit one of the many female friendly booths, including fashionable clothing and comics written by women about women.
Surprisingly, there were quite a few booths manned by schools recruiting new students. There were the video game design and programming schools, as well as graphic design and creative writing programs. Anyone who wants to get into the behind the scenes side of entertainment had their pick of places to check out and pursue their dreams. Anyone wanting to submit their own comic book ideas and illustrations had their own place, right in Artist Alley, showcasing some great talent and providing inspiration to the large number of teenagers who came out to probably their first convention. Additionally, more than one of the comic book booths provided a time to have your work reviewed and discussed with already published writers and illustrators.
Other highlights were either typical convention fare or so unusual they deserve a classification unto themselves. There was the usual autograph area but right next to it was the tattoo mini-convention taking place. Just the idea of getting a tat by a respected tattoo artist in the middle of a con seems revolutionary and a great way to never forget the experience. Another booth showcased those fan favorites: corsets. Corsets which came with a hefty price tag but were the most comfortable ones this girl’s ever tried on. Right around the corner from there was a leather shop, with items for both men and women that could be worn on a daily basis or saved for some special occasion, like Ren Faire. If you’re a fan of Captain America, then you would have loved to see the props for auction from the recent movie. Anyone who is a fan of military history would have enjoyed it as well.
One distinctive booth featured homemade wooden furniture for the geek at heart. Every table had a drop down center with options for games requiring hand painted pieces or something simpler like chess or checkers and many had drawers for your laptop or to hold console remotes. A highlight from this booth included the “Moustache Monocle” salesman who was peddling a wooden moustache on a chain for anyone who didn’t want the hassle of upkeep on a regular moustache.
Other adventures to be had included a humans versus zombies game, starting every 15 minutes. It seemed like the survivors had a lot of fun and wore their makeup the rest of the day. Also, there were Quidditch games to participate in and on Sunday, during the Kids Day, there were kid-ditch games for the under 12 age group. As always, there were panels and previews available throughout the day and one that seemed particularly interesting was a discussion on the new Spiderman movie coming out soon. Sadly, the timing was such that paperdragonink wasn’t able to make it in. Lastly, something we’ve never heard of here was a Speed Dating option during the day. What better place to get those boys (and girls) out of their basements and into the open to meet other like minded folk than a convention. There wasn’t a wedding listed but C2E2 may just be where someone’s love story begins, surprisingly enough.
The convention was overall an exhilarating experience. One could argue there was a shortage of free goodies than other conventions, but some of the freebies made up for the quantity with their quality. Quite a few free and autographed comics were handed out including from the revamped Valient, along with the aforementioned superhero picture, as well as other memorable items. On the whole, this convention has something for anyone who enjoys entertainment and after all was said and done, one can assume the crowd left entertained, just like I did.