4 Things I Loved About My First C2E2 Experience in Chicago

I haven’t been to a ton of conventions in my lifetime. Sure, I did attend San Diego Comic-Con about a decade ago — back when it was just mega-super-huge and not ultra-gigantic-mega-super-huge — and have been to every iteration of the D23 Expo so far, but haven’t really sought out others. In my mind, there are large conventions that attract big stars and big reveals but also require you to wait overnight in lines if you’d like to see said panels (that’s you, SDCC) and then there are smaller gatherings that are easy to navigate but might also be awkwardly small and yield little outside of the community aspect.

Well, as it turns out, the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo — or C2E2 as it’s better known — is somewhere in the middle. In fact, I’d say it’s actually a perfect-sized convention, boasting both an impressive line-up of events and a welcoming, stress-free experience (and not to mention affordable). So what was it about C2E2 that I enjoyed so much? Here are four big reasons I loved my experience:

Panels

When we arrived at C2E2 for our first day, I was slightly concerned that we were arriving only about 30 minutes before the start and that we’d have to join a big line in hopes of getting in. Furthermore, with C2E2 not sweeping the halls in between panels, I expected that securing a place in line might not even translate to having a seat in the hall at showtime. So imagine my surprise when i not only turned up to find less than a dozen people in line but that the room was also currently empty since they had yet to start seating for this, the first panel of the day.

Once we did take our seats, the room did begin to fill but, as far as I could tell, no one was turned away. Also, while I see the merits of clearing the halls at D23 and some other expos, I loved being able to keep my seat for the back-to-back-to-back Marvel panels that took place that morning.

On that note, I was impressed with the quality of panels that C2E2 brought. From live taping of Marvel shows like This Week in Marvel and Women of Marvel to sneak peeks of the FX series Devs, there was more than enough for, say, a Disney fan site to cover. And while I was sad to see that an announced premiere of Disney+’s Marvel’s Storyboards was cancelled, at least the company whipped up a panel on the upcoming Empyre event to fill the hole. By the way, after sitting through many of these comic-centric Marvel panels, I really want to start reading more books — particularly the Strange Academy series from Skottie Young looks great.

Of course, the highlight of the weeknd in terms of panels was the Sunday morning Q&A with none other than Mark Ruffalo. While the Hulk actor is notorious for being leak-prone, I was still taken aback when he revealed he had indeed talked to Marvel about appearing in the MCU’s She-Hulk series while also confirming his potential involvement in the Parasite TV series in the works for HBO. On a personal/professional note, the deceptive size of C2E2 worked to our advantage here as well as it seemed we were only among a few other sites covering the event, allowing our post about the announcement to get traction among other entertainment outlets. Pretty darn cool if you ask me.

Show floor and exclusives

While panels are an important part of the con experience, it’s the show floor that often serves as the true heart of a convention. That was certainly true of C2E2 as the floor was always lively, filled with great cosplay, and had plenty for guests of all ages to enjoy.

Personally, as a non-frequent con-goer, I loved how many open “escape” areas there were along the floor. Sure, some areas got a bit tight but, if you needed a breather, a place to sit and eat, or just chill, you had plenty of options. Speaking of eating, while I didn’t personally partake in any of the food or beverage available, the prices and menu options I did see looked surprisingly strong.

Something I really liked about the show floor was the mix between big and small exhibitors. When you entered, there was a decently-sized Marvel booth and some other large features but, as you walked around, you found all kinds of cool things on display or for sale. On that note, one thing I couldn’t resist was an Avengers-themed mug from Amourable Art.

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