Biggest. Convention. Ever.
Was it the biggest convention ever? Probably not. I tried to get attendance numbers but struck out (if you find any, make sure to post in the comments!). However, 2015 had 71,000 guests and I’m positive that the convention has only gotten bigger. So we’re getting close to 6 figure attendance here…
Let’s back up a little bit. The entire journey to C2E2 ( Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) started a bit by accident. I was supposed to be going to Chicago that weekend with friends and when they canceled, I decided to put my (non-refundable hotel room) to use and immediately got to work on peer pressuring my friends at Motor City Geek into going with me. (Never underestimate the skill of peer pressure. It always comes in handy).
But I didn’t just want Austin and Melissa to come with to help split the costs. I’m relatively new to the convention scene, and with them along, I would learn some of the tips and tricks to getting the best experience.
Let’s talk about the good:
The guest list for this event was phenomenal. I am more into movies and TV, and I was stoked to meet Zachary Levi, Mike Colter, and Vincent D’onofrio. If you’re more into the comic side of comic cons (go figure) you couldn’t beat the roster. The living legends Stan Lee and Frank Miller were there (And even had a panel together). This is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the other guests were Kieron Gillen, Jen Bartel, Evanna Lynch, Millie Bobby Brown, Jason David Frank and Gaten Matarazzo. That’s not even all of them. Just the highlights…
Since we weren’t technically “working” it was almost torture for my boss to be surrounded by the Class A cosplay throughout the convention. There were people from all walks of nerdom. A Lydia from Beetlejuice. Al and Peg Bundy. Pretty much anyone who has ever existed in the Marvel Universe. There were literally thousands of cosplayers from little kids to senior citizens.
The first panel we saw was Wil Wheaton (who WILL be at Motor City Comic Con). I’m very vocally a Star Trek fan and have recently watched The Next Generation. But I’m first and foremost a Buffy fan and Clare Kramer (Otherwise known as Glorificus) was the moderator at almost all of the panels. So I was double fangirling right off the bat.
Since the convention didn’t clear the room between panels, we managed second-row seats for the Zachary Levi panel so I could stare dreamily up at Chuck for an hour. Because Zach hosts Nerd HQ across the street from San Diego Comic-Con he didn’t need a moderator. It was a straight Q&A and his ease with talking to fans was more than evident.
The Stan Lee and Frank Miller panel was PACKED. We got to the room well before it started and were still seated towards the back. They worked to get as many people in the room as possible, but eventually, a notification went out through the app saying that the room was full. Even after the announcement, the staff managed to get everyone seated and fill the room as much was safely possible. Before the panel started there were some technical difficulties with equipment. The hosts and staff handled the situation expertly, keeping everyone calm and handling the issue without much interruption. This was a real moment for the con staff to shine and prove what makes their events so great. During the panel, Stan Lee took some shots at Frank Miller like a couple of old friends catching up. It was a little uncomfortable because I was never quite sure when they were joking or being serious. They were both fantastic to listen to for an hour.
The Vincent D’onofrio panel was amazing. Once again Austin was able to use his con expertise to get us fantastic seats. Vincent, sporting some A game facial hair, gave us some great behind the scenes stories about his varied acting experiences (seriously, this guy has done everything), and he even did the Edgar voice from Men in Black! We found out later that this was only his second convention ever, so when I made the offhand comment that I loved his panel during the photo op and he went “I did good?”, he was seriously asking. Yes, Vincent D’onofrio. You did good.
Someone had the awesome idea to have a blood drive at C2E2. Anyone who donated would get a free t-shirt and, of course, the warm fuzzies from doing a good deed. Since I’ll do almost anything for a good selfie and bragging rights, I used the hour while a friend was stuck in the parking line (read on for my comments about how busy it was) to donate a pint to a good cause. I snuck away from the recovery table a tad too soon but I managed to stay conscious while getting a photo with Mike Colter, and I’d call that a win all the way around! (NOTE: Motor City Comic Con will be having a blood drive, so you can be a hero too!)
the folks that run Grand Rapids Comic Con…
and local cosplayer KittyKait Cosplay rocking an awesome Hannah from Rat Queens!
IT WAS BUSY. I’m talking wall to wall people on Saturday. If you want time to peacefully shop and browse through the shops and comics, you really need to come on a Friday. There were lines for everything on Saturday and Sunday. One of the more popular comic artists was doing sketches, but the line would barely move because of how in depth the sketches were. One of my friends waited for an hour only to find out the artist wasn’t going to be doing any more sketches. So in this respect, C2E2’s popularity is its own worst enemy.
Other bad things…
I got nothing. This was an all around fantastic experience. On the way back home, we were booking hotel rooms for the 2018 convention, that’s how pumped we were.
By the end of the weekend, I’d embarrassed myself in front of Zachary Levi, was hugged by Mike Colter, and I made a new friend in line for Vincent D’onofrio’s autograph (hey Nicole!). What more could a girl really ask for?
Photos and article by Mallory and Austin