I took two pictures at C2E2 that have revived my enthusiasm for the comic convention and made me wish that I could have spent more than just a few hours there on Saturday.
Here’s Artist Alley around noon on Saturday taken from one of McCormick Place’s elevated food oases. I swear this year’s artist alley was bigger than the the whole show has been in the past. That may be exaggeration but it’s certainly bigger than the whole show floor that first year. The thing that I love about this picture is that it shows how much of a comic book convention C2E2 was this year.
Less than 1 week away from the opening of Iron Man 3 and the now traditional barrage of summer blockbuster movies, there was very little signs of Hollywood encroaching on this show. Other than the giant banners in the Marvel booth, which were understandable, C2E2 hasn’t turned into an early-in-the-year San Diego. Like the name calls out, it’s about comics AND entertainment.
Looking at the floor map, Artist Alley was maybe only 1/5th of the total show area and even less if we start counting all of the rooms for panels, but on Saturday it was exciting just to walk through it and witness all of these people enjoying the art of comics. I’ve been in artist alleys (Wizard World, I’m looking at you) that have been just drained of all of the love for the very comics that we were all there to celebrate.
As well as the artists, I think I also felt an energy among all of the dealers that I haven’t felt at a Chicago show in quite a while. For the past couple of years, the dealer booths at C2E2 have seemed to have been there because that’s what’s expected at a show: you have dealers, publishers and artists. Walking through there on Saturday, with all of these different booths and people running around, it felt more like a geeky bazaar, with everyone feeding off of the energy that every was generating. There was no way to take everything in in just one afternoon and there were complete aisles that I never made it down to see what exotic nerdery was being offered.
On a slight downside, I’m still continually shocked by how many Marvel trade collections are being sold at 50+% off, including the high-priced omnibuses and Marvel Masterworks collections. And it’s not even necessarily the good Marvel stuff but more of the vintage of almost forgotten stuff from only 1-4 years ago. More because of curiosity than a strong desire to have these in my collection, I picked up the complete Mark Millar’s Ultimate Avengers run and the Bendis/Maleev Spider-Woman mini in hardcovers because they were just so dang cheap.
These kind of hazily old collections where everywhere. I’m not a retailer but I just don’t understand Marvel’s trade program. On a side note, I passed up getting collections of the first 16 issues of West Coast Avengers because I couldn’t find a collection of the Roger Stern/Bob Hall miniseries. If I couldn’t get it from the beginning, I wasn’t going to get it.
I want to apologize to everyone (and I do mean practically everyone since I didn’t meet that many people) that I didn’t stop to talk to on Saturday but this picture shows why I was there. On Saturday, my son and I had a wonderful time. I remember when I was an early teen, just old enough to understand that there was this fandom that was greater than me and my buddies. I started begging my father to take me to the local comic shows. I remember one that was downtown, at the old Marriott that’s along the Chicago river. I dragged my father to it and he dutifully obliged his son.
Now I’m on the other side of that, dragging my son to the shows. Here he is, reading one of Art and Franco’s new Aw Yeah comics. He’s loved Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures. He’s already packed the issues away in his school backpack, excited to show them to one of his buddies.
I had a fantastic day with my son thanks to this year’s C2E2. Last year was his first one and I think he was overwhelmed by the experience. This year, he was ready and prepared for it. We wandered the aisles, trying to find all of the cool stuff we could. We played games trying to find all of the cosplayers this year. All of the costumes this year were amazing, from the guys going as the characters from Saga to the girl who was Kate from Hawkeye #2, we both had a great time seeing everyone. (For great images of this con and any con he goes to, I highly recommend Pat Loika’s Flikr account. Here’s his C2E2 2013 pictures.)
He’s been to other smaller conventions in the past but this year was the show that he and I enjoyed together for a lot of the same reasons. We were able to buddy around, point stuff out to each other, joke and just have a great time together. It’s was a great day out for us and I think that’s made me more excited for next year’s convention than anything else.
Well, almost anything. I hope I get to see this van again next year.