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C2E2 Roundup

Dearborn Plys, Editor

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Chicago is a city full of nerds, and C2E2 is Chicago’s largest comic convention so last Sunday I went to check it out, and learn a little more about our city’s love for comics, cosplay, and more.

Even before actually entering the convention complex, nearby streets were dotted with people obviously heading where I was heading, excitedly taking pictures with friends or halfway jogging because their costumes were not made for freezing temperatures. McCormic Place was decked out in giant banners, and filled to the brim with the excited faces of people ready to spend a day, or a weekend, devoted to the fiction they loved.

Once I got my entrance pass, and took some pictures of a tiny fraction of the wave of cosplayers starting their day, I was finally able to enter the main convention floor. The stalls hawking art prints, t-shirts, and vintage comics stretched out almost as far as the eye could see. One stall had set up a structure that seemed like a fortress, but one made entirely of marvel hoodies. Another, the Cards Against Humanity booth, had a giant hotdog in the front, and a lawn of fake grass.

Of course, conventions like C2E2 are nothing if not a place to spend all of your money in a matter of hours. Manga fan Erin Tran ‘19 says, “After C2E2 or ACEN [another similar convention] I’m totally broke”. And she’s not alone, Victor Figueroa, cosplayer, said while eyeing a user interactive light saber, “I saved up for this for months and I probably shouldn’t spent it all at one booth, but I really want to.”

Large companies like Marvel and DC Comics frequently announce new releases at events like C2E2 and this year was no exception. In an event on Sunday afternoon, Marvel announced a new release to a crowd screaming so loud I could hear it from 5 ailes away.

Local businesses and individual artists also have their hold on this event. The artist’s alley is a section of booths entirely devoted to single artists selling their own merchandise. This year you could find anything from a comic series on the Tuskegee Airmen, to adorable pillows with anime characters, to The Panopticorn. Mom-and-pop shops dot the stalls too, selling board games, figurines, and bargain-bin rates on comics from as far back as the 60s.

Later in the day I met up with a friend who’s costume included a sign stating “A hotdog is not a sandwich, change my mind.”, a statement that led to almost two hours of intense debate as we continued to explore the convention floor. Interactions with total strangers in friendly but intense conversation about completely nonsensical topics are a major part of the convention experience. In a place where everyone is in costume, or laden down with slightly embarrassing amounts of memorabilia, there’s a social acceptance of just going up to random people and complimenting the exact-to-movie details of their armor, or gushing about how excited you are for a new chapter in your favorite story to come out. “You can have really unexpected conversations”, says photographer Holly Situ ‘16.

I had a great time at C2E2 and I think that if you get the chance to go to a place where people are able to express their love for the fiction they can’t stop talking about, then you should go too. And don’t forget to take pictures!

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C2E2 Roundup