The Big Con: Convention Accounts
Con Life in the Windy City: 2015 C2E2
The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo – also known as C2E2 – is a three-day convention in downtown Chicago that celebrates fandom and pop culture, including television, movies, comics, video games, and more. 2015 marked the sixth year for C2E2; it was a convention that I had heard about several times, and I’m happy I was finally able to experience it for myself this year. C2E2 was the first true comic-con I’d attended, and it was also the first convention I’d attended in my home city.
Compared to my first convention – which took place at a hotel – C2E2 was held at McCormick Place, a large exhibition space. Except for panels, everything from guest autograph tables to photo ops to exhibitors took place in one giant exhibition hall. Initially walking in was kind of overwhelming for a first timer, but after a couple walk-arounds, I had quickly gained my bearings.
I was only able to attend C2E2 on Friday and Saturday (April 24th and 25th), so I did my best to make the most of my time there. I devoted Friday to exploring the exhibitor booths and Artist Alley. The exhibitors sold everything from T-shirts, posters, comic books, memorabilia from a variety of shows, POP! Vinyl figures, costumes, and so much more. Artist Alley was amazing, filled rows and rows of incredibly talented artists. Some of my favorites included Jason Palmer, Karen Hallion, Michael Duron, and Amy Mebberson. I definitely recommend checking out these artists (especially if you are a Disney/Once Upon A Time fan like me).
I also had the pleasure of meeting Raphael Sbarge again. I’ve met Raphael several times, and he is always so sweet and kind. He truly loves meeting fans, and I really respect that he donates so much of his profits from conventions to Green Wish, a charitable organization that he passionately supports. It’s always wonderful to have a chat with Mr. Sbarge, so if you ever see him at a convention, definitely go over and say hello.
Saturday was all about meeting some of my favorite stars and attending some awesome panels. My first goal on Saturday was to meet Hayley Atwell and get her autograph, which I quickly succeeded in doing. Hayley was adorable and sweet, and I was so honored to meet the inspiring woman who brings Agent Peggy Carter to life. After meeting Hayley, I attended four panels. The first was the Fierce Females of TV panel, which featured Maria Doyle Kennedy, Leah Pipes, Jewel Staite, and Neve McIntosh. These amazing women gave inspirational advice about how to be a fierce female not just on-screen, but also in life in general. The second panel was a Q&A with Jason Momoa, whose hilarity, dynamism, and combination of awesome energy and relaxed vibe entertained the entire room. Next was the Kick-Ass Women of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel, featuring Hayley Atwell and Ming-Na Wen. I could have listened to these amazing, brilliant ladies talk all day. I really enjoyed seeing them interact with each other and hearing them talk about their experiences in the industry. They both love what they do, and they are such great role models for women of all ages. My last panel (which I unfortunately did not get to see all of) was the Orphan Black panel, which featured cast members Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jordan Gavaris, Dylan Bruce, and Ari Millen, as well as one of the co-creators of the show, John Fawcett. I had to leave this panel early in order to make it to the Orphan Black autograph signing, but before I left, I was able to see a special video message that Tatiana Maslany had made just for the C2E2 audience. At the Orphan Black autograph signing, I got to meet everyone from the Orphan Black panel, and it was definitely one of the major highlights of my C2E2 experience. Maria Doyle Kennedy is such a classy and kind lady; Jordan Gavaris is very friendly and humble; and Dylan Bruce is so charming.
The final thing on my C2E2 agenda was my photo op with Hayley Atwell and Ming-Na Wen. The company Epic Photo Ops handled the photo ops, and I must say, I was very impressed with them. The whole photo op process went very smoothly, and my picture was printed out and the digital copy was emailed to me within a minute after getting my photo taken.
Something that C2E2 did that I really respected was stressing the message that “Cosplay is not consent.” All over the convention were giant signs proclaiming this message, and within the first ten pages of the C2E2 program guide, an entire page was devoted to emphasizing their zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind. I really respect C2E2’s strong stance against harassment, and seeing this message displayed so prominently definitely made me feel safe and confident about being an attendee of this convention. Although I don’t cosplay, I firmly believe that everyone at a convention deserves to be respected and allowed to enjoy herself/himself, and a strong anti-harassment policy helps this to happen.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at C2E2. The convention was organized, the volunteers were very kind and helpful, and they featured some really great guests, exhibitors, and artists. Of course, my favorite part was getting to spend a weekend with some great friends. It’s nice to know that there is a fantastic comic-con held every year in my home city, and I look forward to attending C2E2 again in the future.