Tuesday, April 20, 2010


C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) debuted this year in Chicago over this past weekend with 27,500 unique attendees, which is a bit lower than Wondercon, and well below the numbers boasted at San Diego Comic-con and the New York convention.  However, it's a pretty solid first year, and a great first step in the right direction for securing a real comic book convention force in the Midwest since Wizard World: Chicago has been steeply declining for the last several years.  Aisles weren't clogged with patrons, certainly, but there was steady traffic, and when I attended the Archaia panel, the publisher admitted that the foot traffic wasn't up to San Diego standards, but they were doing stellar sales, as the people attending were buying.  The floor seemed open and inviting with plenty of retailers selling books at half price, mostly mainstream comics.  I feel like more people were interested in buying trade collections than back issues of comic book floppies, and there was little in terms of a manga presence.  The natural light and the view of the Chicago skyline was wonderful for the show floor, and it was just plain EASY to get to the convention.  Sure, I like Rosemont, where the Wizard World convention is hosted, but downtown Chicago is a whole different beast.  Many may be intimidated by going to the big city for a convention, but the location is really worth it.  I'll speak from my own experience, as I booked my hotel through the convention itself.  I stayed at the Chicago Essex Inn, which is located on Madison Avenue, just a short walk away from the Natural History Museum and the Shedd Aquarium (the latter of which we came a day early to see).  Everything is easy to get to using the el train system, which was a short distance away from the hotel.  We took a trip around the loop to go to Chicago Comics (for new comics and the latest Ganges and King-Cat) and Gino's East (the best pizza ever), and used taxis to get to and from Union Station.  The shuttle provided by the convention came to the hotel frequently and it was a short ten minute drive to C2E2.  I had no hiccups personally throughout my trip.

Panels can make or break a convention, and C2E2 did a decent job in this regard.  It is a mainstream convention, so it did have Marvel and DC panels galore (if you're a fan of either publisher, you could probably attend panels each day from start to finish), but they threw in some other more unique programming as well.  The best panels that Patrick and I attended were the local panels on Chicago: Chicago Vintage Comic Fandom and The Graphic Art of Chicago's Transit and Utility Posters of the 1920's.  These were just fascinating.  I also attended both Archaia panels, the Pantheon panel with Chip Kidd, Dash Shaw and Chris Ware, and Patrick saw the Jeff Smith spotlight.  And there were certainly other panels available for people not interested in more Marvel or DC, although maybe not as many as some would have hoped.  And while there were some panels focusing on prose authors and other entertainment, manga still remained a non-presence, which is something that I think needs to be examined for this convention going forward.  But overall, a very tight, well-run convention that is going to become an annual trek for me.

Our purchases (that just barely squeezed into our suitcases to bring home) of 50% off or more:
The Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus (Volume 1) HC
Annihilation: Conquest (Volume 1) TP
Annihilation: Conquest (Volume 2) TP
The Avengers: Celestial Madonna TP
Captain Britain Omnibus HC
The Complete Little Orphan Annie (Volume 2): 1927-1929 HC
The Engineer: Konstrukt HC
The Fantastic Four Omnibus (Volume 2) HC
Fighting American HC (old Jack Kirby/Joe Simon collection)
Hulk Visionaries: John Byrne (Volume 1) TP
Jack Kirby's The Losers HC
Jack Kirby's OMAC: One Man Army Corps HC
Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Tales of Suspense (Volume 1) HC
The Newsboy Legion (Volume 1) HC (Jack Kirby/Joe Simon)
The Sandman HC (Jack Kirby/Joe Simon)
Tumor HC

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