C2E2 (The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) just wrapped up at McCormick Place, and I think the thing I’ll remember most from this year’s event is the people: So. Many. People. It’s packed every year, but this year seemed even more full. I got to the con when it opened today, and movement became a challenge within an hour.
Artist Alley is the only thing I plan to see each year. It’s cool to see up-and-coming talents selling and talking about their stuff alongside longtime industry vets like Dan Jurgens and Brian Stelfreeze. I headed straight there when I got through the gate; Artist Alley tends to have less foot traffic at the beginning of the day, since it’s on the opposite side of the entrance.
Along the lines of what makes Artist Alley interesting, the selling point of C2E2 is the surprises. Look! It’s DMC (of Run-DMC) in Artists Alley! Hey, it’s Jerry “The King” Lawler tucked in between a couple of retail displays! Holy crap, that girl’s really dressed like Zatanna!
Autographs are still a big driver at C2E2, but they’re not easy impulse purchases along the lines of a graphic novel, t-shirt or print. I’m sure the woman who plays Killer Frost on the Flash TV show is very nice, but it’s tough to justify $40 to get her to sign an 8×10. (I can, however, make a stronger case for a $100 Stan Lee autograph. Excelsior!)
I did buy a Jerry Lawler autograph for my son, a comparative C2E2 bargain at $20. “The King” was awfully polite and signed nice things on his 8×10. When we passed the King’s table a half hour later, “Mean” Gene Okerlund was also there signing autographs. My WWE Hall of Fame budget was tapped, but it’s worth mentioning that I love “Mean” Gene.
The volume of people this year made it hard to casually shop. As a result, I didn’t spend as much as I usually do. I had my mind set on tracking down Marvel kung-fu titles from the 70s and trade paperbacks of old Inhumans comics, but I lost my drive after striking out at a couple different retailers. There’s always next year.
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