Comic books have been around since the 1930’s and are still popular today. Most people enjoyed comic books when they were young, and when they see comic books as adults it gives them a feeling of nostalgia. What if you could enjoy comics no matter what age you are? What if you could dress up as your favorite superhero or villain and not be given strange gazes? Well don’t fret or fear, you can do all that and more at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). C2E2 is a place where you can delve into the world of comics and escape the realities of everyday life. Participants can dress up like their favorite characters to honor them or to get rid of a little social anxiety.
Alexandria Hill cosplaying as Poison Ivy
Comic books fans come to C2E2 free to don any outfit from the characters they admire. It would not be unheard of for a person to walk into C2E2 and see a fan dressed up as Batman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, or any character from the world of comics. These fans aren’t spruced up in costumes from Party City or some random costume store. They create their costumes on their own and often from scratch. This form of costuming is called cosplaying. Fans put in a great deal of time and money into these outfits. They have to gather up all the materials and do the sewing and stitching themselves. These costumes allow fans to fully immerse themselves into the character.
Fans not only create these outfits for the love of the characters, but for some fans, to relieve a little social anxiety. They can walk around and see people admiring them from afar, and even wanting to take photos with them. Kelly McBride, a cosplayer, has gone to C2E2 as many different characters, but his favorite character is the Joker. “I do it to show love for the creations I love and because I have a lot of social anxiety and in costume as one of these characters it all goes away and I love the pictures and attention I get instead of fear it,” explains Kelly McBride. “It helps me overcome that fear and let loose and have a good time.” These fans get to have a weight lifted by donning the costumes of their treasured characters, and that is reason enough for them to attend C2E2.
C2E2 provides plenty of comic book stories for the comic book lover’s to escape into. Comic book fans have local comic book shops where they find inspiration, but if they can’t find that comic that helps escape the hassles of everyday life, chances are that comic will be found at C2E2. There will be a more than enough vendors for a fanatic to go searching. Both local vendors and shops from all over the country that make the trip to Chicago. A fanatic can go from vendor to vendor and table to table hunting down that perfect comic or story to help them retreat from reality for a little bit.
In comic books, it is cliché that good always triumphs over evil, but this isn’t the case in the real world. We see this often on the news and the harsh realities of everyday life. Dan Rice, a comic book fan, has been collecting comics since he was a child. “After working in law enforcement for 10 years it’s a good thing to see the good guy win,” explains Rice. “Far too often in real life that does not happen and it’s also good to see someone stand up for the little guy, again something that does not happen too often in real life.” These stories do a lot more for fans than most people realize because most presume that comics are just something kids dabble in, but this is simply not the case. Comics contain great stories and characters like any book would have. Comics also provide a visual aspect to the story, something that most books lack. Comic book creators are great storytellers and fans are very appreciative for this. Fans get a chance to show their appreciation at C2E2.
Mike Moreci (right) and I (left) taking a picture at C2E2 in April 2015
C2E2 is a place where comic book fans can meet the creators of their favorite comics. Most fans believe a day like this would never come, but C2E2 makes it a reality. C2E2 has creators come from DC, Marvel, Image, and many other companies attend the event. Since C2E2 started in 2010, the list of creators has grown every year. The fans aren’t just rushed along to just to have the next person meet and greet the creator. They actually get to talk and interact with them. Then once they are done they can have their favorite comic signed, have the creator draw a sketch, or even take a picture with their favorite creator so they can treasure that moment for a lifetime. There’s nothing more meaningful to a fan than to actually meet the creator of a beloved comic where the reader finds a world to get lost in. Scott Snyder, the current writer of Batman comics, is very grateful for his fans. He has done so much for Batman, like creating the Court of Owls, a new arch nemesis for Batman. When he attends C2E2, he will stop to take pictures with fans and chat with them no matter what he is doing. The creators give birth to the characters that comic book fans have come to enjoy and love and fans are very thankful for this.
C2E2 is a constantly growing in Chicago gets better every year. It has spun out of the original comic book convention that started in a hotel lobby in New York in 1968 and expanded to Chicago’s McCormick Place. C2E2 has come from humble beginnings and grown into something very big, is the perfect place for a comic book fan. The event started in 2010 with only 27, 500 attending, but attendance has grown steadily since. In 2014, there were 63, 000 fans that attended the event. It is the one place where one can be become deeply involved in the passion for comics and meet like-minded individuals while doing so.
The event is held every year on the last weekend of April. It is also very affordable for attendees. A ticket cost $60 for a weekend pass, but they can also be purchased by the day. A ticket for Friday cost $30, Saturday $35 and $30 on Sunday. It is also very family friendly and tickets for children on cost $5 on Sunday. They have face painting and children will be guaranteed to run into their favorite character such as, Iron Man, Thor and even their favorite Star Wars characters. C2E2 may only come to Chicago once a year, but it is definitely worth the wait.