Hawk's By Design

My wife, brother, and I recently attended a rather large convention called C2E2 for the first time this past weekend. Usually, we stick to anime specific conventions; but, this one looked really cool. So we gave it a go.

This convention was held at McCormick Place in Chicago which, is by no means, close to where we live. It was a good five hour drive for us to get to Chicago. Luckily, we planned to stay with some friends in the area, so we saved money on a hotel. The downside of this was that we had a 30 minute, minimal, drive to get to the convention each day. Double downside, parking was at least $25 with no in-and-out privileges. Regardless, still cheaper than a hotel.

My wife, brother, friends, and I – Group photo

Being this was our first Comic Con, rather than an Anime Con, I wanted to jot down my experience.

The Good

The Vendor Hall

If there is a single thing that I could do at a convention, it would have to be walk the vendor hall. My wife and I will circle the vendor hall multiple times throughout the entirety of the weekend of a con. We especially love to browse artist alley to see all of the lovely artwork.

C2E2 went beyond my expectation for their vendor hall. The room was MASSIVE! I mean, it was huge. We circled that bad boy more than a couple times and I still don’t think that I saw everything there. There was so much stuff going on, it was hard to keep track of it all. It was great.

Vendor Hall view from a Cafe

I loved the different sections they had such as artist alley, the yard, cosplay corner, etc. It was a lot, and a bit overwhelming, but totally cool. Even cooler were the two cafe locations that provided an elevated view of the entire floor.

The Speakers

I enjoy a good Q & A with someone I’m familiar with. Luckily for me, C2E2 had someone that I wouldn’t miss the chance of seeing: Adam Savage. I actually had no idea he was going to be there, but he was. My brother and I managed to snag a couple seats for his panel of “An Hour with Adam Savage”, which was awesome to see. We also got to sit in and listen to the creative director for DC Comics.

An Hour with Adam Savage

There were more here and there that I would’ve liked to attend, but we ended up walking around and exploring more often than sitting in on panels. They had some voice actors from My Hero Academia and people from the series The Boys there as well that we unfortunately missed.

The Environment

Aside from the vendor hall, my other favorite part of cons is the environment. Everyone attending the con is a nerd. Everyone there shares similar interests, and it’s amazing. It’s also pretty awesome how polite people are, especially when you deal with the mind boggling amount of people that attended. C2E2 had the atmosphere of any other con, and I’m grateful for that. We were able to just walk around and browse, occasionally taking some photos of cool cosplays. It was really relaxed, and I love that.

I’m very detail orientated and easily stressed out in my day to day life, so I love that cons give me an environment where I can decompress and not have to worry about things for a weekend.

The Bad

Panels – Selection/Crowd

Given the size of this con, it was kind of crazy to me to see the short list of panels they had. I’m very much used to Anime Midwest with their giant list of panels that are going on everywhere until 2am. C2E2 had a very tight collection of panels, and they didn’t go that late either. After the vendor hall closed at 7pm, the panels only went for about 2 hours after that. So, by 9pm, everything is pretty much done for the day. This was a stark change from ASTL and AMW where things go on well into the night, even beyond then.

C2E2 Saturday Morning Crowd

On that note, I know that with the large attendance, panels were going to be hard to get into. During the day, it actually wasn’t that difficult. As I said, my brother and I were able to get in to see Adam Savage with no problems. However, after the vendor hall closes, panels are the only thing going on. My brother and I were going to check out a panel that started at 8. We got there at 7. The line was already well beyond the limit of the room. Bummer.

Overall, a little frustrating.

Food Choices/Selection

I had to keep reminding myself that we were in Chicago, and things were going to be more expensive, but holy hell was the food pricey at this con. They had several cafes along with food carts throughout the vendor hall, as well as some other restaurants located within the convention center itself. All of it was super pricey. That’s okay…but, it really wasn’t good. Slice of pizza for $8? Super average, luke warm. Want a water? You’re paying the same price as a soda, about $5 or $6.

There weren’t really any restaurants within walking distance either. Keep in mind, this is end of February / beginning of March, it’s cold out. Luckily, we found a little food court in the convention center that wasn’t too crowded, and the food was decent enough.

Oh, if you don’t want food cart stuff, you have to "leave" the con. By that, I mean you have to go to a spot of the convention hall that isn’t technically part of the con. So, when you are done eating, you have to go through metal detection and stuff again.

All in All

At the end of the day, I had fun, and that’s what matters. Any con you go to there are going to be good and bad things. AMW is particularly horrible at scheduling and executing autograph signing times. I didn’t want any autographs at C2E2, so I can’t comment on that aspect, but the point is every con has their faults.

My wife and I with the C2E2 sign

I will say it is quite the pricey con though. That would be the deciding factor on whether or not we return. Not just at the con, but the tickets as well.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading!

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