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C2E2 - Chicago's Comic Con

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C2E2 is a convention for fans of all kinds. Anime, comics, movies and television, cosplay, gaming, and so much more. The full title is a mouthful - Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. It’s operated by one of the largest companies of its type, ReedPop, who also operates New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, Florida Supercon, PAX, MCM London, and many other large events. C2E2 gives Chicagoans and anyone else willing to travel an opportunity to immerse themselves in a celebratory atmosphere.
You’re free to traverse the massive show floor filled with vendors, artists, and famous faces. You can spend hours looking around and filling your shopping bag full of merch and memorabilia. If there’s a celebrity you want to meet, you can do that too. Get a photo with them or have them sign something for you, for a fee. If you venture to the upper floors you can spend time in the many panels covering multiple areas of interest. Tabletop gaming, anime viewing, cosplay crafting tips, karaoke, writing, and copyright are just a sampling.
Queues for celebrity photos and autographs.
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Queues for celebrity photos and autographs.

The McCormick Center

C2E2 is held at the McCormick Center, a sprawling and massive civic convention center located alongside Lake Michigan. It’s an impressive facility with a large atrium leading to the main show floor in the South Hall. The show floor itself is equally as impressive. The open space covers 840,000 sq. ft. and is kind of like a big playground of nerdiness. The facility is easy enough to navigate. You just have to work up the energy to move around it. I walked an average of 6 miles each day going to and from the facility and walking around the floors. It’s surrounded by parking garages and hotels, all of which are connected by skywalks. That’s a good thing considering that this event was held in December. Chicago is called “The Windy City” and it certainly was windy outside (and it rained all day Friday). The skywalks let you avoid all of this uncomfortable weather.
The show room floor has a green space called "The Yard" where family games and trivia are played.
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The show room floor has a green space called "The Yard" where family games and trivia are played.

Vendors, artists, and more cover the massive show floor.
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Vendors, artists, and more cover the massive show floor.

Convention center staff were plentiful and benignly apathetic, meaning they were just there to do their job without much feeling behind it. I personally didn’t have any problems getting through security, but I was allowed to enter through the VIP/Press security checkpoint. I ran my backpack through the scanner and passed my camera gear around the metal detector. It was quick and easy. Most attendees had to walk a longer path through the otherwise empty north building, through metal detectors, and then back towards the south hall.
The vaccination checkpoint where green wristbands are distributed.
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The vaccination checkpoint where green wristbands are distributed.

Before entering C2E2 you had to get a wristband showing that you passed the vaccination check and then get your badge. Friday was quite a slow day so that process took just a couple of minutes. Saturday was much busier, but was still far below average numbers from what I was told. Sunday was also much less crowded, which actually made it feel more relaxed and pleasant. The ever-present DJ in the atrium tried to hype the crowd up at various times of the day, with mediocre success. The remixes of pop music flooded the atrium and sometimes drowned your ears with echo. It could have been worse though.

C2E2 Cosplay Celebration

The Cosplay Celebration winners.
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The Cosplay Celebration winners.

C2E2 is usually host to one of the qualifying events for the Cosplay Crown Championship, but is has been postponed until 2022 due to COVID. This year they had a "Cosplay Celebration" with cash prizes for the winners. As someone who spends a lot of time in the cosplay community, I appreciate that ReedPop does this. They don’t have to invest the time and money to promote and host this event, but they do it anyway and they do a pretty good job at it. The stage is well-lit and has a massive video wall so everyone can see the cosplayers.

Getting There

Chicago is the third largest city in the US and it has one of the largest airports as well - O’Hare International. Getting there by airplane should be pretty easy no matter what part of the country you are from. All of the major airlines fly there and it’s United’s main hub. I booked my flights relatively late - just two weeks before - and was still able to find good prices. Contrast that with flights to Florida around Christmas which were over $1,000 from my hometown.

The Cosplayers

C2E2 is a comic convention and not an anime convention like I so often attend. That generally means there's more comic and pop culture cosplay than anime cosplay. There were so many great cosplayers at C2E2 and I captured more for my cosplay music video than I usually do (over 100 people!). The level of talent is truly inspiring. I saw some excellent props, hair/wig styling, makeup, and costuming.
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@shureice Mystique from X-men
@vmeachum Marion Lavorre based on @toughtink artwork
@moonpowermashup Star Trek Scouts, costumes by @iamlyssakay
@mollycutepeachcosplay and @luckynoircos are from Barbie Princess and the Pauper
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@vmeachum Marion Lavorre based on @toughtink artwork @moonpowermashup Star Trek Scouts, costumes by @iamlyssakay @mollycutepeachcosplay and @luckynoircos are from Barbie Princess and the Pauper

@jajacosplay and @ginozacostuming Mandalorian samurai
@widgetocosplay an original Twi'lek
Star Wars mud trooper (anonymous)
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@jajacosplay and @ginozacostuming Mandalorian samurai @widgetocosplay an original Twi'lek Star Wars mud trooper (anonymous)

Marvel group
@kikicraftcosplay Poison Ivy
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Marvel group @kikicraftcosplay Poison Ivy

@redmooncosplayer Uncle Fester
Wonder Woman, Bellatrix Lestrange (anonymous)
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@redmooncosplayer Uncle Fester Wonder Woman, Bellatrix Lestrange (anonymous)

@nerdy_opera_singer Pikachu
@coffeemeister  Noelle from Genshin Impact
@cosplayandtea Queen Amidala
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@nerdy_opera_singer Pikachu @coffeemeister Noelle from Genshin Impact @cosplayandtea Queen Amidala

@izecosplay Nurse Joy
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@izecosplay Nurse Joy

@apaulcalypse1982 Rhino from Spider-man
@tim_is_pretty_alright Sam Porter Bridges from Death Stranding
@rone_jimbo Sora from Kingdom Hearts
@marshallmcatee is an assassin hashira original character from Demon Slayer
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@apaulcalypse1982 Rhino from Spider-man @tim_is_pretty_alright Sam Porter Bridges from Death Stranding @rone_jimbo Sora from Kingdom Hearts @marshallmcatee is an assassin hashira original character from Demon Slayer

@rayenskyre Grand Duchess Anastasia
@connies_cosplay_creations Glinda from The Wizard of Oz
@oz_in_boots Pauline from Super Mario
@loredium is Opera Anastasia
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@rayenskyre Grand Duchess Anastasia @connies_cosplay_creations Glinda from The Wizard of Oz @oz_in_boots Pauline from Super Mario @loredium is Opera Anastasia

@thats.so.cosplay Belle and Beast
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@thats.so.cosplay Belle and Beast

@avesolstice Kasumi Yoshizawa from Persona 5
@cosplaykatie Jaina from World of Warcraft
@clearly_rogue Kakashi from Naruto
@laura_grefe13 Edward Scissorhands
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@avesolstice Kasumi Yoshizawa from Persona 5 @cosplaykatie Jaina from World of Warcraft @clearly_rogue Kakashi from Naruto @laura_grefe13 Edward Scissorhands

@mag_xing Aldrich, Devourer of Gods from Dark Souls 3
@michael_anthony_designs Ursula
@caitcaitrose Ambitious Elf Jinx
@charredaznable Lady from Devil May Cry 5
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@mag_xing Aldrich, Devourer of Gods from Dark Souls 3 @michael_anthony_designs Ursula @caitcaitrose Ambitious Elf Jinx @charredaznable Lady from Devil May Cry 5

@thranduart.cosplay Agatha Harkness
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@thranduart.cosplay Agatha Harkness

@marymarycosplay Cruella de Vil
@kim_is_possible Elfaba from The Wizard of Oz
@irelandreidirl Elvira
@marymarycosplay Mary Poppins
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@marymarycosplay Cruella de Vil @kim_is_possible Elfaba from The Wizard of Oz @irelandreidirl Elvira @marymarycosplay Mary Poppins

@foxyroxycosplay Queen Elizabeth I
@avvasarts Queen Amidala
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@foxyroxycosplay Queen Elizabeth I @avvasarts Queen Amidala

@disfusional Mad Moxxi
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@disfusional Mad Moxxi

@instas3rg3 and @gamergeekdamien Devimon and Angemon from Digimon
@bear_of_tejas Fallout Mario
@thatlazysnail Modaozushi
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@instas3rg3 and @gamergeekdamien Devimon and Angemon from Digimon @bear_of_tejas Fallout Mario @thatlazysnail Modaozushi

@applejuice.adrien and @miss_tammisavoy Mr Mole and Mary Bloody Queen from Identity V
@ryukakusan Ganyu from Genshin Impact
@millyvs Korra from Avatar
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@applejuice.adrien and @miss_tammisavoy Mr Mole and Mary Bloody Queen from Identity V @ryukakusan Ganyu from Genshin Impact @millyvs Korra from Avatar

Genshin Impact
@pippadarlingcosplay Beidou
@greeseeus Keqing
@haleyyike.s Fischl
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Genshin Impact @pippadarlingcosplay Beidou @greeseeus Keqing @haleyyike.s Fischl

@poison_rose_cosplay Poison Ivy with Santa Fett
@mjxcos She-Ra
@clairebearie1128 Zatana
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@poison_rose_cosplay Poison Ivy with Santa Fett @mjxcos She-Ra @clairebearie1128 Zatana

@redkoopa_cosplay and @clearly_rogue Sailor Moon
@_igirisu Link from Breath of the Wild
@kyiacutie_ Bowsette
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@redkoopa_cosplay and @clearly_rogue Sailor Moon @_igirisu Link from Breath of the Wild @kyiacutie_ Bowsette

Pokemon Gijinka
@bossladycosplay Umbreon
@propsandconscosplay Sylveon
@phantomfacescosplay Espeon
@cosplayintherealms Glaceon
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Pokemon Gijinka @bossladycosplay Umbreon @propsandconscosplay Sylveon @phantomfacescosplay Espeon @cosplayintherealms Glaceon

@katastrafiacosplay is from Six the musical
@michael_anthony_designs Steampunk Beastboy
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@katastrafiacosplay is from Six the musical @michael_anthony_designs Steampunk Beastboy

@paula.silva.artistry Starfire
@disfusional K Pop Poison Ivy

Self-rescuing Princesses:
@vmeachum Merida from Brave
@wench_2.0 Anastasia
@charlirahe Rapunzel
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@paula.silva.artistry Starfire @disfusional K Pop Poison Ivy Self-rescuing Princesses: @vmeachum Merida from Brave @wench_2.0 Anastasia @charlirahe Rapunzel

@ingenuegothic medieval Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa
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@ingenuegothic medieval Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa

@scarredmewtwo is Paul Atreides from Dune
@saratoninn.x is Uraka from My Hero Academia
@rosyprops77 and @x_angelgravity_x are Jaxon and Amaiza Foxtrain from Marvel Star Wars comics
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@scarredmewtwo is Paul Atreides from Dune @saratoninn.x is Uraka from My Hero Academia @rosyprops77 and @x_angelgravity_x are Jaxon and Amaiza Foxtrain from Marvel Star Wars comics

@gemanley is Edward Elric
@kawaiibombcosplays Bombshell Killer Frost
@oddly.cosplay Sidon from Breath of the Wild
@alicetheallstar Honey Bee Inn girl
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@gemanley is Edward Elric @kawaiibombcosplays Bombshell Killer Frost @oddly.cosplay Sidon from Breath of the Wild @alicetheallstar Honey Bee Inn girl

@wulfgarweapons Warhammer 40k Space Wolves
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@wulfgarweapons Warhammer 40k Space Wolves

@freshfrippery Star Wars First Order
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@freshfrippery Star Wars First Order

@coolspot88 Kylo Ren
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@coolspot88 Kylo Ren

Resident Evil
@ceecayecosplays Lady Dimitrescu
@ava_leeigh Donna B
@taysheawest Dani
@madame.elizabeth Monroe
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Resident Evil @ceecayecosplays Lady Dimitrescu @ava_leeigh Donna B @taysheawest Dani @madame.elizabeth Monroe

Elf group
@ceekayecosplays Buddy
@ava_leeigh Santa
@madame.elizabeth Jovie
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Elf group @ceekayecosplays Buddy @ava_leeigh Santa @madame.elizabeth Jovie

Cloud Strife
@quinn.trash Madoka Magika
Sailor Moon family
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Cloud Strife @quinn.trash Madoka Magika Sailor Moon family

@amiastra Cat Woman
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@amiastra Cat Woman

Stormtroopers
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Stormtroopers

Buzz Light Year
@perlertricks Borderlands Woody
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Buzz Light Year @perlertricks Borderlands Woody

@ichiumu.cos Zero Two
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@ichiumu.cos Zero Two

@larabeachgirl10 Wanda Maximoff
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@larabeachgirl10 Wanda Maximoff

@mdempsey17 Sugar Plum Fairy
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@mdempsey17 Sugar Plum Fairy

@gracefacecosplays Battle Cinderella
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@gracefacecosplays Battle Cinderella

@celestri4l Black Cat
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@celestri4l Black Cat

Sonic the Hedghog
@magicaanimevikki Tails
@valkyrie.cos.slay Rouge the Rat
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Sonic the Hedghog @magicaanimevikki Tails @valkyrie.cos.slay Rouge the Rat

@frankie_saurus Anna
@kim_is_possible Elsa
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@vi0letteverseGhost Rider
@the_vintage_moonGaige from Borderlands
@spencer.writes Toad and Toadette from Captain Toad
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@vi0letteverseGhost Rider @the_vintage_moonGaige from Borderlands @spencer.writes Toad and Toadette from Captain Toad

He-man group
@moonpowermashup TMNT group
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He-man group @moonpowermashup TMNT group

Small Soldiers
@simplyrayelle Gwendy Doll
@whojohnquade Chip Hazard
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Small Soldiers @simplyrayelle Gwendy Doll @whojohnquade Chip Hazard

@elemental.cosplay Mandalorian Elsa
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@elemental.cosplay Mandalorian Elsa

@cosplaymadamj Bakugo from My Hero Academia
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@cosplaymadamj Bakugo from My Hero Academia

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