The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) arrived at McCormick Place this weekend, bringing an army of comic book creators, actors and nerds to the convention center. The C2E2 Crown Championship of Cosplay, one of the most lauded cosplay contests in the country, took place on Saturday, making it the hottest day of the convention.
The geek celebration began far before the festivities. Near the entrance to the festival, multiple photo shoots were taking place. They were a mixture of impromptu "Can I get a photo with you?" and meticulously planned group shots.
It's amazing to think about the hours of time put into each costume by each member, then coordinated with a group. I talked to a group of cosplayers who were coordinating a theme for "DC pinup girls." When asked which came first, the theme or the group, "Cowboy Wonder Woman" told me some of the group worked together in a costume shop, and planned their costumes during their time off. A few members of the group were first-timers, but "Steam Punk Stargirl" has been to numerous "Cons."
Here are a few other things we saw this weekend at C2E2.
The best fans ever
The fans are the main reason why all of the rock stars and idols came to McCormick Place. Throughout the entire weekend, whether I was in line at a shop or at a booth, the best conversations were with the fans. When I was in line to get my copy of She-Hulk signed by writer Dan Slott, I talked to a cosplayer dressed up as Phil Coulson from Marvel's Agents of Shield. He was a big fan of Slott's Spider-man run, and had purchased original comic book pages that Slott wrote.
Shops on shops
On the third day of the festival, I got to stop by a few shops. Chicago Costume is a local institution with a home base adjacent to DePaul's Lincoln Park campus. Their satellite location at C2E2 offers a sampling of their huge and expansive connection of super-hero garb, masquerade masks and costume makeup. The owner was on hand all weekend to meet cosplayers from across the country.
A stone's throw away is a very different booth for comics and more called Mayhem Collectibles. Mayhem is based in Iowa and has taken their stock on tour. I'm surprised to see them represent in Chicago because in the late 80s and early 90s, little Iowan me would delight in any trip to get a comic. Not to sound all, "when I was your age, I had to walk to school uphill, both ways," but comic book stores were infrequent then, so seeing them here at a huge convention is a bit like coming full circle as a nerd.