Last year was my first time attending the nationally known Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (or C2E2). I took my son and we did the usual circuit for conventions: check out the vendors, meet with artists and creators, and of course, participate in cosplay and posing for photographs in our costumes. We had so much fun there and was easily one of our favorite conventions to attend.
In fact, I wrote an article giving people my top 5 reasons why they should attend, and I haven't done that for any other convention I attended.
This year, I made sure to return and in doing so, I had an even BIGGER blast for so many reasons.
First of all, I got to stay in the connecting hotel to the McCormick Place convention center, and if you ever attended a convention out of town, you know how nice (albeit expensive) that experience can be! No worries about travel or parking, cut down on commute time, and you have a place you can escape to if you need a break. I also got to share this room with Derek Hoskins, cohost of "The Paperweight Entertainment Podcast," who is a fellow podcaster from Indiana. He and I have been friends for a while now, but this was the first time we ever met in person. If you didn't know us, you would have thought we were working security for the event (he's 6'4" and I'm 6'6").
Second, I got to meet a number of comic creators this year - more than I ever have in my lifetime at once! My favorite moment was meeting Kevin Eastman to have him sign my first issue of "TMNT: The Last Ronin" book as well as posing for a photo with him. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip for me! I also got to meet with Charles Soule, Scott Snyder, and Tony S. Daniel in a special VIP Event (Thank you to Michael Rothman, co-CEO & Founder of Nerd Initiative, for this!), a panel with Kyle Higgins to give a major announcement about the upcoming comics event, The Catalyst War, as well as Stephanie Phillips, David Pepose, and Klaus Janson. Not to mention being able to finally meet Bearded Comic Bro and B.D. Cook, two great content creators that I discovered via social media as well!
I also got to speak with Jeff Trexler, the interim director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, as well as Christopher Carter and Eric Tapper of the upcoming digital comics reading app, GlobalComix.
And just like last year, we got to see some amazing cosplayers turn out with some of their fantastic costumes. I couldn't tell you how many times I stopped to take someone's photo of their tremendous work, and some even acted as their character as well! Derek and I tried to attend the Cosplay Central Crown Championship this year, but they were full 30 minutes prior to the start of the event. We tried to go back to our room and watch the live stream, but it required a paid membership to PopVerse, so we missed out on this event. Hopefully next year we will be able to attend!
And last but not least, I got to meet up, in-person, with some of the fantastic crew of Nerd Initiative! Huge shout-out to these awesome members:
- Michael Rothman, Tony Abdullah, Erica Rothman, and Becky Abdullah - They are the co-founders of Nerd Initiative. They were wonderful in person and are fantastic people in general!
- YaSeenThatGuy and BlakeKoala - these two are not only big in the anime scene, but they're wonderful guys to just chat with. They are very down-to-earth, kind, and overall a lot of fun and joy to be around.
- Mickey "Cellphone, Wallet, Keys" Smith - a big voice actor with a bigger heart. This guy also has amazing hair that makes me jealous, and not just because I'm bald.
- Donavan Rose - He put on a fantastic MCU Trivia panel at C2E2 that was definitely one of the most popular panels there! He was a delight to get to know in person and truly a kind person with a passion for Marvel.
- KodyCollects and ComicBookStache - truly two of the most underrated creators out there. They are smart, funny, inquisitive - all-around great guys to hang out with. Definitely check out their podcast, "Color Break."
If you want to see a total recap of the experience we had at C2E2, check out the video below.