All photos by Janean Watkins.
The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo also known as C2E2 came to town for its third year with a bigger show room and an even bigger crowd. C2E2 is a three-day pop culture event at McCormick Place just south of downtown. The main focus of the expo was comic books and hand-drawn comic art. But there was also tattoo festival for those who prefer to draw on themselves, daily costume contests for those who enjoyed dressing as their favorite characters, a Quidditch tournament from “Harry Potter,” nerd speed dating, and several after parties. C2E2 also doubled the size of their ‘Artist’s Alley’ from 200 slots for original artwork creators to 400 slots, giving more local artists a chance to expose the public to their work.
Shia LaBeouf of “Transformers” fame made a surprise appearance on Friday and set up shop in the artist alley promoting his self-published graphic novels. LaBeouf was very candid and friendly with everyone that stopped by his table, even offering advice on entering the graphic novel genre. “Every book says made on a Mac,” LaBeouf said to advocate how easy it is to self-publish and encouraged others to do the same.
With the “Avengers” due out in a few weeks Marvel Comics had the biggest display on the showroom floor. On Saturday night there was a highly-anticipated auction for all the props from “Captain America” and “Thor.” After all the bidding was tallied, the Captain America costume turned out to be the most coveted item of the evening, selling for $240,000.
Native Chicagoan John Cusack made an appearance at the show to promote his upcoming film, “The Raven,” where Cusack plays a mystery-solving Edgar Allen Poe.
The event also brings out a who’s-who’s of science fiction’s entertainment past, present and future, all accessible by a walk through the autograph section of C2E2. Sean Astin from “Lord of the Rings” mingled with fans, while Kevin Brown of “Thirty Rock” never broke his Dot Com character for the whole weekend. There were some guests that seemed out of place like “Top Chef” Stephanie Izard.
The original artwork and celebrities were a big draw, but many fantasy fans came exclusively for the cosplay. Many fans showed their appreciate and creativity by coming to the show dressed as their favorite character. C2E2 was the perfect venue for fans to let their freak flag fly, or showcase their incredible costume creation talents. From the girls running around in their underwear to the giant functioning Voltron costume, for three days there was no judgment from anyone, except for those that voluntarily entered the daily costume contest. Some cosplaying attendees claimed to have spent all year building or putting together their often elaborate and highly detailed costumes.
C2E2 is hailed as one of Chicago’s biggest art and fashion events. According to Reed Pop, the New York based company that organizes the event, almost 40,000 people attended the show over the three-day period, and next year’s expo might prove to be even bigger.