Convention Report: C2E2 2018
C2E2 continues to be a premiere Chicago comic convention, and 2018 was no different – in fact, it excelled in that area, bringing in some of the top creators in the industry, including the elusive Brian Michael Bendis (who has been on a convention hiatus for, what…a decade?). Suffice it to say, I always have a fun time at this convention – one of the largest in the midwest (at least that I attend, if not THE largest), and it’s a great opportunity to see and hang out with a lot of friends.
I landed at the airport, coming back from a week long vacation in North Carolina, and immediately ran home to switch some clothes around, and then jumped into the already-packed car and headed to the con before set up times ended. I got in with plenty of time, and thankfully was able to get to my table and drop off all the stuff without any issues. It’s always an impressive sight to see this sign hanging in the hall on the walk into the convention floor.
With a little help from my friends Bivens and Mallory, we got most of the table up and ready for the next day. But we were hungry, so we didn’t want to stick around too long.
Did I mentioned we premiered some new pins at the con? We did! Albert the Alien’s stuffed animal, the Flanxx, is now available for purchase. Love these little pins. Such a cute design from series artist Gabo.
After setting up, Bivens, Mallory and I hopped into a cab and went to our favorite sushi place in the city, called Niu. We actually got there during happy hour, with $6 dark and stormy drinks (which we indulged in quite a few), as well as some discounted sushi rolls. Since the group was just us, we had a chance to talk shop and work through some ideas for a project we’ve been working on for a while now. It was a fantastic way to start our weekend and our first night – and an early night for us all, since we knew the weekend would be a lot of late nights.
The first official day of the con had us on-boarding some new volunteers, and meeting with more friends (but with so much traffic on the floor, it was difficult to take photos of everything). The floor traffic was crazy busy for a Friday, which was a pleasant surprise. I even saw a few big names walking around, like my friend Raina Telgemiere (who was running from signing to panel and back again for what seemed like most of the weekend).
My cosplay and model friend Megan Hawk stopped by the table, dressed as her Joker cosplay. I’m pretty sure this is what she was wearing when I first met her many years ago, so it’s an instantly recognizable outfit for me – I shouted to her as she was walking past.
While there was a lot of cosplay at the convention, one that I was able to snap a photo of was a family of Predators – which were super impressive.
After the con ended, I went to go find some food and ran into Jim McClain (Solution Squad) and Janet Lee (too many titles to list). They didn’t have their coats on (even though it was snowing!), so we needed to find a place that was close and didn’t have a 45+ minute wait – which is tricky to do within close distance to a convention. Luckily, a local pizza and pasta place had a 5 minute wait time and was super close to the hotel. We scurried in, had a fine conversation over dinner and drinks, and then went our separate ways for networking and meetings that night. It was another early night for me, since Saturday would be the big day of the con.
The big day. I went to the local market and grabbed my bagel breakfast sandwich (a must-have for morning fuel), and then headed to the table to set up for the big day. We had lots of volunteers coming in to help out at the table, and give my feet (and voice) a little break.
I made friendly with our table neighbors. On one side of us was a family of self-publishers who were making a big push, with this being their first weekend convention premiering their books. The whole family was there: dad, mom, daughter, and son – and the kids, in their mid to late twenties, were in cosplay throughout the weekend. I gave them some tips and went about my normal selling process – running into a lot of friends throughout the day.
My friend Lauren wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to make the con this year, but stumbled into some tickets and showed up. I caught her walking past, having just dyed her hair earlier that week. While you wouldn’t think that purple hair would stick out at a comic convention, it was something I remembered her posting on Instagram – and I was pleasantly surprised to see her around.
My friend Tamara was using the table as a base of operations so she could store her bags, so it was fun to get to see her throughout the weekend in her various Legend of Zelda cosplays. While I had missed taking a photo with her on the first day (and the last day), I was able to snap a quick photo on Saturday while she was between photo shoots and panels. The entire Channel Awesome crew (who were not attending another con in NYC this same weekend) would stop by the table throughout the weekend to say hi and catch up.
Opposite our table was our good friends Sean and Sarah Lindsay (Spinnerette), who had a very nice corner booth and some great coverage with their statues, plushies, and other merch that is very eye catching. They have been good friends both in and out of cons throughout the years, often doing panels with me at anime cons.
Around noon or so, I had to leave the table to attend a Reading with Pictures live reading event in the kids area. I was joined by fellow contributors and comic creators Jim McClain (Solution Squad), Josh Elder (Scribbenauts, Mail Order Ninja), Amy Hopkins, and myself. The kids were very involved in the reading, loving the stories and voices we were doing – despite the many Star Wards related distractions surrounding the area. It was a lot of fun to read with this group of creators, and I look forward to the next time we get to do it again.
After the con ended, I went back to the room to drop stuff off and then headed to Chinatown with Bivens and Mallory (and a bunch of other people) for some delicious hot pot. If you’ve never had hot pot, it’s like Korean BBQ – but instead of a communal grill in the middle of the table, it’s a pot of boiling soup that you dip items into and cook yourself. It was fantastic. The group was joined by a lot of talented creators and close friends, and I got the chance to chat up Ben Templesmith for a while.
And yes, I ordered a drink that looked like something out of a Star Trek episode….
After we finished dinner, we walked back to the market where I get the breakfast sandwiches (to stock up on some essentials for that night). While in there, I saw a guy who looked like one of the actors from Battlestar Galactica buying two half-gallons of milk and a few other items. I thought it was strange, but didn’t comment. I did have to tap him on the back to slide past on our way out of the store, though. We went back to the room, poured a healthy amount of adult beverages, and then headed to the Hyatt bar to hang out. While in there, I saw Aaron Douglas yet again – this time waiting for his beer. I walked up to him and asked if he remembered me from the market. Then I had to ask the obvious question: what was the milk for?
This kicked off several hours of conversations with him, and some of the publishers from AfterShock (including Mike Perkins, Joe Pruett, and several others). We talked about traveling, fans at cons, doing panels, and of course – Star Wars: The Last Jedi. About 2:30 in the morning or so, the hotel bar had closed and I had finished my drink, and told him that it had been a pleasure, but I had a table to run the next morning, and needed to get some sleep.
Sunday always feels like the most difficult day to wake up on, especially after a late night of good times and good conversations the night before. But alas, that table isn’t going to run itself, as much as we may want it to. So up I got, grabbed some breakfast sandwich from the market, and headed to the floor to open and run another day of sales.
Thankfully, being the final day of the show, I did schedule some volunteers who were able to watch the table while I walked around artist alley and said hi to folks. Unfortunately, they needed my phone to process credit card sales, so I wasn’t able to take any photos. But suffice it to say, artist alley at this show takes me several hours to get through – if I don’t say hi to everyone, and limit my talking time to less than 10 minutes per person I know. That said, I loved seeing everyone I could, and catching up with the few people that I did in the short time I had to browse the alley.
I even received some fan art throughout the weekend, which was a highlight.
C2E2 continues to be an incredible time, with record sales and traffic, incredible talent and strong programming roster, and amazing friends and fans who come back to support year after year. I hope to see you guys again at this show next year!