C2E2 2016 Recap
Another year has gone by and once again I was able to check out one of the comic book conventions that took place quite near me. This year’s C2E2 felt very similar in a lot of ways to last year, but my experience was quite a bit different for more than one reason. This year I saw fewer panels, but actually talked to a couple celebrities. I also managed to bring my nine year old daughter along for Sunday which was also kid’s day. It did feel a little bit smaller than last year, but at the same time it also felt busier.
Friday felt very much like the same as last year. It’s been a few months since I stopped taking the Metra to work daily so it was a bit of a nice reminder of what I used to do, and when I got on the shuttle I was the first one there and had to wait a little bit for a few more people to get on before we headed to McCormick Place. I spent some time walking the floor. I talked to Hanna and Hilly Hindi from The Hillywood Show who were dressed up in their Supernatural costumes for a live show they were doing later on that night. Even though they didn’t remember me from my little interview with them almost four years ago they were still very gracious and did remember me when I came back on Saturday to pick up a T-shirt for my wife.
The first panel I went to was one of the few on Friday that seemed to appeal to me at all, it was called “From Book to Screen” and was a panel with four fiction authors who have had one or more of their works adapted into either a film or an upcoming TV show in one case. There were two notable things about this panel that I didn’t realize until after I sat down and the panelists were introduced after a bit of a late entry by the moderator. First was that the moderator was film critic Richard Roeper, and second was that one of the panelists was Irvine Welsh who wrote Trainspotting among other notable films that I haven’t seen. Another panelist was Sara Paretski who has written many successful novels based on her character V.I. Warshawski which was turned into a bomb of a film by Disney back in 1991 but they won’t let her have the film rights back. The other two were less notable, though Grady Hendrix was rather entertaining and enlightening to hear about his novel Horrorstor which is about “a haunted IKEA” and on the slow process of becoming a TV series. Baretski and Hendrix were generally the most entertaining, though Welsh obviously had the most experience concerning many of the questions.
The next panel I headed to was a podcasting panel from the folks at GonnaGeek where they titled it “Podcasting and your Everyday Life”, though I felt like it was also a subtle way for them to promote their own podcast network, which I didn’t have a problem with. They were all good hosts and brought a good bit of discussion on several podcast related topics that are useful for someone who is new to podcasting or is looking to start podcasting. But as someone who has been podcasting for a few years, there were a few moments where I wanted to raise my hand and correct them on something they said that I disagreed with, like when they mentioned how Twitter is the best for a return on investment since there isn’t any algorithm and anyone who follows you sees your tweets. For one thing, Twitter just recently introduced an algorithm to your Twitter feed that you have to opt-out of, and even before that most people will have a similar “seen by” percentage as other social networks due to the fact that most people follow a large number of accounts and only look at a percentage of their own timeline. But those nitpicks were minor and I have subscribed to one of their podcasts that I will be checking out in the near future.
To wrap up Friday I did something this year that I hadn’t quite worked my way up towards last year and I finally approached the autograph area. I still think that the autographs and pictures are extremely overpriced for what they are, and even though I knew it to a certain extent last year I realized that you can go up to the table even if you’re not getting an autograph. And so I saw my chance when I noticed that Keiynon Lonsdale didn’t have any line. The Flash is one of the few shows that I watch regularly (and review regularly) and I knew that Kevin Smith was currently in the middle of directing episode 21 so I headed over and asked him how that was going. He said that Smith was great to work with, he’s obviously a fan of the show and very excited to work with them. He was very friendly and all smiles when I talked to him, a really great guy to meet.
The biggest problem that I faced at the end of day 1 was when I went to get back on the shuttle to take me back to the Metra station. Apparently due to construction in Chicago, the C2E2 buses weren’t allowed to go on the route they had planned that went to the two stations and had no real solution. So what they suggested that I, and everyone else affected by this inconvenience, was to take the shuttle to the nearby L station, take that train one stop, transfer to another L train, then walk four blocks to the Metra station. Since it was either that or try to figure out a cab or Uber, I went with it. It wasn’t the best solution especially since one of the station ticket booths ran out of single-use tickets, but I managed to get on the next train and got to the Metra just in time to get on the express that went straight to my stop.
This day was a bit different since I joined in a carpool for the first time with the host of the Meanwhile… Podcast and another one of his friends who I unfortunately don’t remember the name of at the moment. It was a different experience heading down there with someone that I knew, or technically sort of knew since we did a single podcast together before this. Most of the time on day 2 was just spent walking the floor with those two while they shopped and met with other people at the con that they knew. But there was one podcast that I did really want to head to which was the first one on the main stage.
So I parted with them after an hour or so on the floor and headed up to the main stage to listen to the Supergirl panel with Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist which also happened to be Benoist’s very first convention, and was moderated by Clare Kramer who was also a moderator last year. Both Leigh and Benoist were great on stage, though Leigh seemed much more practiced at it. What was immediately noticeable was the chemistry they had with each other. Even though they have only known each other through the show, it was pretty apparent that they have become good friends in the time they’ve spent working together. One of the fun moments was how Leigh kept mentioning that she would love to have Alex become some type of superhero in her own right, something along the lines of a Batgirl. There was also a brief mention of a season 2, but while they didn’t know anything concrete, they seemed hopeful. A few of the questions that had notable answers, one person asked what their favorite episodes were and Benoist gave three: Red Tornado, For the Girl Who Has Everything, and Red Kryptonite. Also, it was great that towards the end of the Q&A portion, they asked all the adults to leave the lines and only answered questions from the young girls who were waiting to have their questions answered, which ranged from things like “How long does an episode take to make?” to “How do you feel about how female superheroes tend to be sexualized more than male superheroes?”. As for their answers, the episodes take about 10-12 days to film which is longer than the average 8 days for most hour long shows, and the second question they mostly sidestepped by way of commenting how mature the question was coming from a 12 year old.
Day 3 was kids day and since a one-day badge for my daughter Jena was only $5 I opted to take her with me which again gave me a very different perspective of the con from her point of view. And again there were some technical glitches with the transportation. I’m not sure whether it was a larger than normal audience since this was the first time that I drove, but on Saturday we got there relatively early and made it into Lot B which was almost half full. Because of the Metra shuttle issue and Metra’s Sunday schedule in general I drove down for day 3 expecting to get a spot in Lot B again. When we were almost there, there was a sign mentioning that Lot A was closed and directed us towards Lots B & C anyway, but when we got to Lot B it was closed as well because it was full so we had to park in Lot C which was $8 more expensive than Lot B’s $15, but at least we didn’t have to walk outside to get to the convention floor. Not entirely sure if it was because Lot A was closed, or if it was because we got there a couple hours later and everything just naturally filled up. For the first time I actually checked out the Family room which had a mostly advertising booth for Yo-Kai Watch as well as several LEGO stands where the kids could build pinewood derby style cars to roll down several ramps just like they have at Legoland Discovery Centers.
What Jena was most surprised to see were all of the anime cosplays out there. She is as big an anime fan as you can be for someone who is 9 years old and unable to watch the more adult-oriented shows and movies out there. She reached out and got pictures with several different cosplayers throughout the day. The one event that we went to was the costume parade at the Family Stage, but we didn’t quite get there in time so the line was capped before she could sign up to participate as well. The parade was moderated by a great group of cosplayers who were dressed as almost the entire cast of Inside Out, all the emotions were represented as well as Bing Bong, Riley, and even the imaginary boyfriend. The parade itself was pretty much what you might expect, Joy was the MC and she read through the list of names and their costumes and the children came up one at a time to show them off and strike a pose. Star Wars was the most represented, specifically Rey and BB-8 which had about a dozen or more costumes between them as well as about three Kylo Rens. The other thing I noticed which was also true for the entire convention was that Batman was notably absent. During all three days I only saw two or three Batman costumes, including the kids.
The other thing that we decided to do together was to check out the autograph line once again since there were a couple anime voice actors there: Michelle Ruff and Stephanie Sheh who most notably to Jena voiced Luna and Sailor Moon respectively. But as I went through their credits on IMDB while we waited in line, I noticed several different anime shows that Jena was familiar with that they voiced characters in, like Bottle Fairy, a Little Snow Fairy Sugar, Lucky Star, and Chobits. Both Ruff and Sheh were very friendly with Jena and were both a little surprised to hear some of the titles Jena was familiar with. The one downside I had with the experience was that I felt like my daughter used her cuteness to manipulate me into buying a photo from each of them. On the plus side, Stephanie Sheh was extra nice and gave us an extra postcard at no extra charge. It was still a nice experience for the both of us and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring Jena again next year. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
And to wrap things up, here are the rest of the pictures I took of cosplayers at the con, also any of the above pictures you can click on to see a larger version.