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The SurlyGurls Head To The Windy City for C2E2

“The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo — also known as C2E2 — is a convention spanning the latest and greatest from the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and video games. C2E2 is lovingly handcrafted by the same people that bring you the New York Comic Con. Come meet your favorite comic artists, creators and celebrities, and mingle with other comic con fans in Chicago. C2E2 is the con Chicago needs and the con you deserve!”

The longest day of your life is the day you spend sitting at your desk, watching the clock countdown to your escape from work. That was exactly what happened to us on Thursday as we waited for our C2E2 adventure to begin.

Our good friends Lenna and Matt Graham – both of who are also pop culture addicts and super creative; Lenna works as a graphic artist and Matt is a fantastic artist and comic-book blogger – picked us up and we hit the road for our epic midnight road-trip to Chicago.

We got a quick bit of sleep in Benton Harbor, MI and started out for the last two hours of our drive first thing in the morning. What none of us accounted for: crossing into a different time zone. We ended up dropping Matt – who had to pick up his press pass – at McCormick Place a good hour before the doors opened. We quickly checked into the hotel, dropped our suitcases and headed back ourselves to pick up our passes and start the weekend.

As we entered McCormick Place for the first time we were greeted by something we weren’t prepared for – wide open spaces and not a lineup in sight. It was the single greatest moment of our con going lives. We sauntered up to the registration desk like we owned the place and retrieved our passes. We tried to stroll onto the floor, as we did with the registration booth, and were denied. We had not applied for press badges and were redirected to the waiting area.

We rounded a corner to see that in Chicago, they like to hide their line-ups. We joined the queue about 25 minutes before the doors opened, and were somehow still on the floor and spending money by 1:05 pm. With our experiences at San Diego Comic Con we were prepared to wait a lot longer than we did.

C2E2 was exactly what we initially thought SDCC was going to be: crowded but manageable. We were able to wander from panel to panel without having to line up at 5 am and then camp out in one room all day in order to see the things we wanted to see. Like San Diego, they didn’t clear the panel rooms between artists, however they were smart enough to put the keynote guests first thing on the schedule so that you had a hope in hell of seeing your lesser known panels without fighting the hoards of diehard fans to get in.

While SDCC is more about advertising the latest major motion releases (don’t get us wrong, we love it, but it’s somewhat annoying sometimes) C2E2 was more focused on the creative and artistic side of the comic and pop culture world. Their panels were more about breaking into and surviving in the industry which reflected the theme and atmosphere of the con.

Our favourite difference between SDCC and C2E2 however, was the size of their Artist’s Alley. In San Diego, the few artists that are there are too busy with commissions and their tables are too crowded with people looking for exclusives that the chance for interaction is small. At C2E2 however, the alley was a lot more relaxed and a great deal bigger, allowing for us to really connect with the artists and take the time to discover new favourites.

A similar set up was used for the autograph area as well. They made sure to give the big names a lot of room so they could corral their fans appropriately without the whole corner turning into a giant shit show. While we’re usually not big into getting autographs, we did make sure to get our copies of ‘Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter’ by Josh Gates signed.

We couldn’t help but notice, as we stood in line to get Gates’ autograph, that poor old Sean Astin – star of such classics as ‘Rudy’ and ‘The Goonies’ – spent most of his day sitting around waiting for people to care that he had an unhealthy bromance with both a dead pirate and a hobbit. There was not a single point in which he had more than 10 people in line to meet him – it may have something to do with the fact that he looks more like an aging accountant than a movie star.

Even the ‘Sci-fi Speed Dating’ sessions that happened three times a day had more people lined up outside the room than Sean Astin did. This must be a new fad at cons – even Fan Expo gave it a try last year in Toronto. We briefly entertained the idea of attending a session, but underestimated the popularity, as by the time we went to sign up there was no room for us.

In the spirit of everlasting art and design, the good folks at C2E2 even made it easy for you to have your favourite X-Men character permanently etched onto your body by setting up a tattoo parlour mid-floor. The main attraction there? Having your body inked by Noah Hathaway – that’s right, Atreyu from ‘The Never Ending Story’.

Along with all the different and exciting things happening at C2E2 they still managed to remember their roots – a celebration for nerds to get together and bond. They rounded out the weekend with con classics like daily costume contests, a Monster’s Ball, Droid Hunt and memorabilia auctions.

C2E2 was an amazing con and it definitely lived up to the hype that Matt and Lenna had built for it. We had a great weekend and met some really cool new people, making it one of the most successful cons we’ve ever had. It may have to be slotted into our yearly schedule of cons, which at this point may require us to quit our jobs in order to attend them all.

In the next day or two we will be putting up some more in-depth posts about our favourite panels, the best cosplayers we saw and showcasing some of our favourite artists from the Alley.

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About surlygurls

We’re two SurlyGurls brought together by a love of all things awesome and an equal hate of all things which are an affront to awesomeness everywhere.

Posted on April 17, 2012, in ANNUAL EVENTS, AWESOME, COMIC CON, COMICS, ENTERTAINMENT, SURLYGURL EXCLUSIVES and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. When I went to Chicago, I didn’t realize that we had crossed a time zone either! Total confusion and surprise when I realized that we arrived at the hotel in time for the daily “wine and appetizers hour” instead of missing it! …also it sounds like C2E2 was an overall better experience than Comic Con! And….I would pay good money to be tattooed by Atreyu. Just sayin’.

  2. You have made me want to attend this. I live about 6 hours away from Chicago, and I even have family out that way……. *ponders future travel plans*
    Sounds like an awesome time!! Thanks for writing about it 🙂
    ~Annie

    • Thanks for taking the time to read about it Annie! We would totally recommend making the trek out to Chicago! It is a really fun and interesting Con and it is just a great city!! Just watch out for that Time Zone change… it appears to get a lot of people! 😉

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