C2E2, a comic book focused convention in Chicago, Illinois was held at the very beginning of April. Not only was it an excellent way to kick off my month, but it was also an extraordinary event that was well organized and put on by some very thoughtful nerds. Now, I’ve only been to a few different kind of conventions when it comes to comic book conventions, but I have to say that C2E2 by far surpasses the rest. Usually, I attend Phoenix Comic Con here in Arizona and it’s a fantastic time. I have no complaints other than the debacle that Phoenix Comic Con faced last summer. The difference between Phoenix Comic Con and Chicago C2E2 are the simple fact that C2E2 was able to garner a stronger number of well-known nerds and sponsors.
The Convention brought together panels that helped you as an individual understand the differences in the type of nerds out in the world and historical aspects of different nerdisms. The cosplay game was also something reasonably incredible to see. There’s a very stark difference between the type of cosplay you experience in Chicago versus that of Phoenix and the reason being the weather. While he was at C2E2 in Chicago, it was a very stark 30° outside on average with the wind blowing causing me to feel incredibly cold the entire time. Whereas here in Phoenix you’re pretty much sweating your costume off the whole time you’re at the con. Both cons do a great job of ensuring that the weather inside of the areas where the con is taking place is suitable to that of the cosplayers and attendees.
My costume this year consisted of Daenerys Targaryen’s Dragonstone costume from episode one season seven, where she wears a longsleeved dress with pants and full boots and a cape. Needless to say, I was rather warm, and I did not feel I became overheated during the con. When are the other cosplayers that were in attendance also dawned long sleeve type costumes? I do have to say that when it comes to the types of cosplay you see, there are more anime based characters than anything else with Star Wars also was a popular choice. As a massive Game of Thrones fan, it was nice to see that I was one of two or three Targaryen‘s As well as seeing other characters from the show is one of a kind at the condo. I think this allows her very different kind of experience when it comes to those who attend the conference as attendees are supposed to cosplayers, and it was refreshing to see people get super excited about a costume you’re wearing.
The atmosphere is also a little bit more friendly at C2E2 versus that of Phoenix Comic Con. Typically when I attend Phoenix Comic Con people are very particular about the type of costume that you were wearing and are quick to criticize anything wrong with it. At C2E2 you were most of the time commemorated for the outfit you had on and were praised for your Ability to put something together that showed off your skill set. When you’re at Phoenix Comic Con, you feel as though there are specific parameters you must stick to when it comes to your costume. Which is fine, a lot of places are like that, but at the same time, people who are just a fan and want to dress up should be able to do so without being criticized by super fans. But that’s enough about cosplay let’s talk about some of the panels that were available to attendees.
C2E2’s press team was always quick to ensure the sending of emails to notify members of the press, such as me and others, about new and upcoming panels that were available for us as the press. Some of the most exciting panels were that of Tom Kenny who voices SpongeBob Squarepants, Alan Tudyk and Gina Torres of Firefly, Sean Gunn and Dave Bautista from Guardians of the Galaxy, and the immediate availability of the many different celebrities who were in attendance and available for photo ops and autographs. Panel times and locations were displayed on many Digital displays, with directions laid out and mapped for you on paper and within the actual convention center, it’s self. From Harry Potter and it’s history to discussions on the intricacies of literature, book nerds had any panel they could ever dream. Most of these panels were also lead and held by those who had a great experience from a professional standpoint within each genre, or the panels were hosted by the creators of various projects. One such panel that had an incredibly long line was that of the cards against humanity panel. In this panel, you were essentially audience to an awesome comedy/improv troupe type show. Complete with inside jokes that only you the audience would understand, and Mim-Mim based videos, there was nothing left on the table when it came to making a good joke or wearing a hotdog costume. Those of us who are lucky enough to get into the room enjoyed listening to user-created cards and new cards that would be available later this year.
There are many different sci-fi beast panels as well which was great for me as a huge sci-fi fan. The only thing that seems to be lacking at any convention is anything to do with medieval based nerdom. As both a sci-fi and medieval type nerd it would be wonderful for panels at conventions across the country to begin involving topics based on things like Lord of the rings, Game of Thrones, and King Arthur. Podcasts are a type of media that have been growing in popularity over the past 2 1/2 years, and typically podcast is not recorded live at the events like this because of the amount of background noise. Instead of this Syfy channel sponsored live recordings for video snippets on their channels and apps. This was fun and interesting to see and something that I think Phoenix Comic Con as well as many others across this country, could begin adapting or incorporating into their programming. Finding sponsors such as the Syfy channel and a few other big nerd based companies would help bring more quality type panels and events to cons. This would help keep cons a little bit more nerd focus as opposed to creating an event that’s pouring over with large numbers of families.
Speaking of family let’s talk about the family seen at C2 E2. On Friday either tended to be more hard-core nerds and anything else which is great and a perfect start to the weekend, when it came to Saturday though the room was packed shoulder to shoulder armor to shoulder pad. It was incredibly important that you understood how the convention works and what the important aspects of the convention are as a family coming into the event. Saturday is the day for shopping tons of people from all over the state come to see to E2 not just for amazing panels and awesome discussions, but you also shop the nerd scene and collect some comic books that are on sale and normally on
sale at local comic book stores. If you are a parent who collects and are trying to pass it down to your kid event is perfect although I highly recommend against bringing a stroller. Inside the convention from Saturday normal hours between ten and seven, You are packed like sardines and bringing a stroller is not only a danger to you and your kids but also to the number of people who are walking around on the convention floor. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m saying don’t bring your kids but bring your kids more suitably. Make sure that your kids can walk if they can’t walk and you’re able to carry them on your back or the front. Kid packs are a great alternative to bringing in the stroller, and they give you better leeway when it comes to figuring out how are you going to move from one area of the convention floor to the other. Some parents also brought a little red wagon with them which allowed them to show off their kid’s cosplay In most cases was super adorable. I commend these parents who brought strollers and wagons for their brave actions, but I don’t think I would ever want to bring a stroller or wagon to a con again. I say this because I am a parent who has brought the stroller with them in the past and it becomes a nuisance. If you’re going to bring your family along with you, I highly suggest that you take the con on your own or with your partner and friends on Fridays and Saturdays then bring them on Sunday.
Sunday is the most low-key day out of the entire weekend. Being that everyone’s getting back to their hometown or back to their normal way of life Sunday is so low-key but if you do bring a stroller or wagon you’re still going to garner the attention of many con attendees and their appreciation for your kids’ cosplay. The parents that I did talk to were thoroughly enjoying the con with their small children and would bring them again. Kid-friendliness a critical factor in con attendance these days, because all events such as C2E2, Phoenix Comic Con, and Comic-Con in San Diego, need to ensure that they’re friendly two families.
So, the fact that even though some of these parents brought along strollers and faced off the large numbers of crowds says a lot about how the event works for families. If you have older kids instead of younglings, they’re going to love every single minute of C2E2, especially if they are fans of Star Wars.
Every con I’ve been to tends to have a Star Wars land type thing. In Phoenix we have Mos Eisley and the Bot community, I’ll see to E2 it was a little bit more low-key have a Star Wars focused area, but they had a family center that was displayed and allowed for kids to enjoy all of the different physical activities being a nerd enables. From Quidditch matches to trying on medieval armor, kids and their parents were welcomed with open arms to the family center the entire time. Aside from activities for kids and their parents C2 E2 also had a few different kinds of shows that allowed for parents to sit while their kids looked on with wonder. If there were any suggestions, I would make when it comes to improving the family experience at C2 E2 it would be to bring in some quiet areas. Well, there are a few of this bringing in an entire Lego station might be great for kids who need to have something to do with their hands and need to be able to use their brains from time to time. At Phoenix Comic Con there is an entire room dedicated to the building of Legos. As a parent with a kid who has special needs, I find this incredibly useful throughout the day on the days that I do bring my kids. It helps them create something with their mind and involve themselves in the con as opposed to being a bystander. In addition to that, I would love to see some story time put on by a local children’s author or some of the cosplayers that have a cosplay niche.
When all is said and done C2E2 was an incredible experience, and I am happy to say that I will be traveling there again next year and hopefully with my son In tow. C2E2 brings together nerd communities from all over the country and celebrates the nerd within us all. There is never a moment in time where you don’t feel welcome at this convention.