C2E2 - Chicago's Comic Con
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
@shureice Mystique from X-men