I’ve attended the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) for the last four years and each time it rolls around I get more and more excited about it. The success of the Marvel films reignited my love of comic books and inspired me to dig out that old collection of mine; thirteen long boxes featuring the ‘70s and ‘80s exploits of Spider-Man, The Uncanny X-Men, The Mighty Avengers, and so on. This year I attended the event with my friend, Elizabeth Ocon, along with my thirteen year old daughter, Jade. I think it was Jade’s excitement that caused me to anticipate this event as I did back when I was in my teens and attending Chicago’s Comic Con (as that event was called back in the day).
There was definitely a bit of geek pride at work here. Before you’re kids become teenagers, you can pretty much rope them into all of your nerdy interests while living out the fantasy of being the parent you wished you had had yourself. In that regard, I may have taken things too far. I’ve got kids named after STAR WARS characters, took them to G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) every year, encouraged comic book reading, while dragging them to every horror host, Svengoolie, appearance I could get to. Eventually they grew up (as kids, unfortunately, are known to do) and are now become their own persons. Although you’ll love them no matter who they become, it’s pretty exciting when you realize that they have grown to love the same things you do, thus setting up a harmonious future as your parent/child relationship evolves into a friendship (a.k.a. something I never had with my own).
Another advantage is that you’re enough in tune with what they like that you can provide them with the best gifts and experiences. Since Jade is a straight A student with a good head on her shoulders, I made it my goal to make this C2E2 be an experience she’d never forget. I snagged some needed overtime and slowly began laying the groundwork for her big day. As she’s a huge fan of Marvel and Captain America (something she’ll tell you about herself in an upcoming blog) I had arranged for her to meet Agent Carter’s Hayley Atwell along with comic book god, himself, Stan Lee! I also bought her a convention shoulder bag along with a patch that looked like Captain America’s shield so she’d be prepared for the big day.
When it finally arrived, we got up early and met up with Elizabeth before driving in together to Chicago’s McCormick Place. For those that haven’t been there, the place is HUGE and you can easily get lost in a maze of grand hallways and stairs if you aren’t careful…a mistake that will inevitably add about 5,000 steps to your fitbit! This year wasn’t a problem as we no sooner left the car before following a group of conventioneers led by a woman dressed as Peggy Carter from her World War II days. That gal is a leader no matter where she goes! We grabbed our passes then went to get our lanyard which, this year, was STAR WARS themed. Ironically, of all the C2E2’s I’ve done before, this one had the least amount of STAR WARS costumers. This was likely because most of the 501st had attended the big STAR WARS Celebration in Anaheim the week before and were probably in recovery mode.
We posed in front of the big C2E2 sign before hooking up with another friend of ours, Helen Reid, who not only volunteers with Elizabeth and I at Brookfield Zoo but is also a professional who was writer covering the event for Mommy Gamers & the Sci-Fi TV site. We snagged some pictures of a group of cosplayers paying tribute to SPACEBALLS before getting into the immense crowd of people waiting for C2E2 to finally open its halls.
Despite the number of people, we entered rather quickly and started checking out all the booths like kids in a candy store.
We’d walk about five feet before stopping to admire some of the amazing cosplay C2E2 inspires! Long before the term was coined, I’ve always had a strong admiration for cosplayers. They increase the fun at these events exponentially by not only bringing lots of smiles but almost always enjoy stopping for pictures with you in a social media driven world.
This event brings out some of the most creative concepts imaginable though it’s virtually impossible to catch everything no matter how hard you try. Every year it never fails that I’ll see someone else’s shots on Facebook or YouTube and be like, “Doh! How did I miss seeing that cool costume!?” This year’s big miss for me was a guy I saw on C2E2’s YouTube Channel the following week who had created a Darth Vader/Skeletor costume that you had to see to be believe! Still, I did manage to catch some pretty good stuff myself and will feature them in a post coming soon!
This year we had a tight schedule with celebrity encounters, including an annual C2E2 visit with my favorite horror host, Svengoolie. But our first order of business was experiencing a 4D “ride” of sorts dedicated to the upcoming horror film, Insidious Chapter 3…
Next Up…Experiencing “Insidious” thrills like never before!