C2E2 2014 is over with.
Thankfully, I didn't get the site double secret blacklisted or get hunted down by the upper management of DC Comics this year (though there was a chance to be had, more on that later). This year had it's own unique hurdles that I had to jump through, all in part thanks to the McCormick Place Convention Center.
Don't get me wrong. I loved C2E2 2014, from the vendors to the cosplayers (who really did some nice original work this year) to the guests. All in all, it was a more unique experience this year at C2E2 than in the past. I have so many little stories it could take up an article unto itself.
Like last year, this was Marvel's con. That's not to say DC wasn't there. They just weren't in force, with no new announcements of note. Their one panel I went to, DC: The New 52, was "by the numbers." It was basically the same information we already knew and most of it was already brought up in the previous DC panel on Friday. I mean, I get why they're doing it, but they don't even try to kick Marvel's behind in delivering a quality panel. Instead, they just play it safe and allow Marvel to own them again for the second year here in a row.
But back to the good stuff. The cosplayers this year were amazing. Yes, there were a ton of Deadpools and Harley Quinns as usual, but heck, I love seeing fans dress up as their favorite characters and do either the classic variation or a unique spin on them. I loved seeing Barf from Spaceballs getting some love, or even Squirrel Girl. And, of course, my biggest weaknesses in life: kaiju, blue-haired pirate maids, Magneto, Cobra Commander (in a Mandolorian mash-up) Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown cosplayers. Sadly, no one cosplayed as DOOM this year. Though I understand the lack of DOOM. To simply dress up as DOCTOR DOOM is a spectacle. Okay enough of my madness with Doom, back on topic.
Then there are the artists. Oh my, the artists were fantastic this year at C2E2, and I indulged a bit too much in that artist alley. But it's so worth it. I was a kid in a candy store being at Dustin Nguyen Christopher Jones, Jeff Balke, Nicola Scott, Erik Hodson, and Peter V. Nguyen's booths. But I think this was the first year you could see a person from either of the major two and across the table was someone with prints of Batman mixed with the Walking Dead. I indulged in blank cover commissions, getting stuff from Peter V. Nguyen (see below), Hodson (see bloody good Ultron in the next pic), and Mark Bagley.
But the staff who run the front gates are probable descendents of the Keystone Cops. The previous two years, I was able to get in early and out later of C2E2 with my press badge. Last year, I had heard from one of my co-workers who tried to get in early Sunday she couldn't get in for some reason. This year I faced that same exact roadblock. The benefit of press coming in early is to get interviews done with creators. Why early? Because once the floor opens, they have to juggle the press and the attendees at the same time. It's common sense and kind of why I enjoy the first two days the best for this sort of access.
On Sunday, I had an appointment to interview a creative team about their upcoming project. It was simply thirty minutes before the con. Even better, it was right behind the main gate. I just simply had to walk past the main gate and turn left. There was the booth. Instead, I was blocked and the only way in, as the guard put it, was: “To text one of the people inside to switch my badge with theirs and go in. But you didn't hear that from me.” Instead, I just bit it and told both creators I'd interview them separately when it starts. Wouldn't you know, when I conducted my interviews, they had to conduct the interview and help attendees at the same time. It would have been easier if, you know, press were allowed early access like normal.
So that was the biggest hurdle to jump through. Another was McCormick's new wi-fi policy. If you're wondering why I didn't cover that many panels this year, there's your answer. This year, McCormick instituted a new policy that had free wi-fi, but it was extremely limited. Limited in that you could barely get a signal. The only way to get the usual net-access one was used too: you had two pricing choices: a one-day plan at $9.95 or one for an entire week. Honestly, both were too much. They were hitting us with new ways to take our money.
Still, I am adaptable. So instead of covering panels (though I did cover one - the Fierce Women of Comics panel, which you'll see eventually), I conducted interviews. Maybe I went a tad overboard, but hey, if my fellow OH! Ace Reporter The Indy Hunter could do it on Friday, SO CAN I!! So I did one Sunday interviewing SEVEN people. Three of those interviews are currently up on the site: Chandra Free, Andrew Gaska, and Erik Burnham. You can expect TWO more interviews in the coming weeks from Dennis Calero and Christopher Jones about their upcoming Indy Comic Parallel Man (see cool blaster prop below in picture). You won't be getting my interview with Warpo! Toys due to technical difficulties unfortunately, but you will in the future be hearing more about them from me.
I also indulged in my inner nerd, meeting people I've always wanted to talk to and just spending ten or fifteen minutes talking to them about things. My standouts this year were meeting James Robinson and Brad Jones. With the former, I just felt in awe of the man who wrote Starman and just two years ago the Shade mini (which is basically a sequel to said previous ongoing). Just to hear him talk about the series gave me the biggest, dumbest smile on my face (as you can plainly see. Also, you may think me a giant when compared to Dan Slott and Brad Jones above, but look at me compared to this mountain that is also known to the world as James Robinson).
Then there's the man himself, Brad Jones, Indy Filmaker/Fast Food Connaisseur/Masochist for going on horribly made water slides/Midnight Screenings/the Cinema Snob himself. It took till Saturday to find this man, and that's only due to my fellow ace reporter, Sarah for checking the sections we didn't cover on Friday for his booth. Sure enough, we found him and I talked to him about movies (specifically our anticipation for Scream Factory's Sleepaway Camp Blu-Ray), White Castle breakfast menu, and the pain of who amongst his group will be “lucky” in seeing Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oh, those poor souls who will see it.
But I digress. No matter how badly I've complained, this was one of the best C2E2s I have ever attended. The diversity of artist's alley, the HUGE freaking con space, vendors being vendors with so many additions appeased, and the originality or depth to some of the cosplay was amazing. I'll always remember being at C2E2 2014 fondly... except possibly the part where I was surrounded by a ton of DC folk at the CBR Bar and exited quickly stage right for fear of being Henry Rhodes'd by them. So bring on C2E2 2015! I'm ready for ya!!!
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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