C2E2 has come and gone. Costumes were worn, comics were bought, and collectibles were signed. The dust has cleared, and have had a few days now to reflect. Here are my thoughts on 2017’s C2E2.

Venue

C2E2 is back at McCormick Place this year, and it appears that it will continue to be the venue of choice, as next year’s C2E2 at McCormick has been confirmed.

McCormick Place is without a doubt a very large venue. The great part about this venue is that there is more space available if the attendance continues to grow. This already is becoming apparent, as the main hall gets full really quick, and leaves people in line missing out on the panels. As an example, this year’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. panel was filled to capacity, and many people had to wait outside. This is already causing a problem, as people are being led out after every and made to line up for the next panel. With that said, I am confident they will find ways to seat more people at upcoming C2E2’s. McCormick is very large, and accommodating large groups shouldn’t be a problem.

A great thing they did this year as that they tried to keep everything together. The kid’s zone is now in the exhibitor’s hall along with a cosplay station, table top gaming, artist alley, autographs, and photo shoots. Years before, many of these activities were split throughout different floors, causing more traffic and people having a hard time finding a specific hall. When you have children, it can become a bit overwhelming jumping from floor to floor looking for activities. Kudos to the C2E2 team for changing how we navigate the con.

If I had to give the venue a knock, it would have to definitely be its location. Now many would argue that it’s in a perfect in-city location, but in fact, it really isn’t. It sits just south of downtown. Getting there is not hard if you are a city dweller. There are many ways to get there whether it be by bus, train or shuttle. However, if you’re from outside of town, finding a decent hotel and parking can be exhausting and expensive.

Parking lot runs from $15-$36 a day, depending on the location and how long you’re staying. There are exceptions if you use parking apps. I park a block away for $12 for 12 hours. Hotels are scarce. The attached hotel fills up as soon as the con block goes up, and most other hotels around the area require a bus or a shuttle.

This is what the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center has over McCormick. You can pay $5 at the CTA Rosemont blue line stop, which is a short walk to the convention center. Rosemont, as it is near the airport, has more than enough walking distance hotels. I have never had issues finding a hotel during conventions.

Atmosphere

One thing I give C2E2 over all the other Chicago comic cons is that it still has that fresh and fun feeling. Something that I feel Wizard World is lacking. Wizard World has been around for some time, but it has changed a lot. The con is just saturated with celebrities, some that aren’t even part of pop culture. Wizard World has also gotten terribly expensive, and it feels that their only goal now is to get you to pay.

C2E2 outside hallI have friends who participate in both C2E2’s and Wizard World’s artist allies. And they explained to me that they are far from similar. At C2E2, our friends break sale records each year, where at Wizard World, they don’t make as much they would like to even make it worth paying for the expensive price of a table. They have expressed that the WW venue appears to cater more to celebrities which perhaps is a cause for fans to spend more money on celebrities than they do on artists. With that tangent, it appears C2E2 is still doing a great job of evening out what they offer. And overall, I think it keeps people happy and content.

It may not seem like it would make a difference, but when a convention teams goal is to make the fans happy, people generally have a better time.

Content

The C2E2 staff has done a great job offering a lot of content. There was an even amount of entertainment guest to artist ratio. They also made a smart choice by not making it all about the vendors and TV stars. They not only offered a healthy amount of vendor space but added kid-friendly areas with games and activities, cosplay hangout areas where people could work on and show off their costumes, rest areas, tabletop gaming and video gaming space; it was very well laid out.

I managed to pick of toys, comics, autographs, art and take a photo with Stan Lee all without leaving the exhibitors area. Unlike other venues where you have to sometimes leave the initial location, at McCormick, everything other than the registration area is all in one place.

The panels are even accessible from within the main area. There are escalators that take you up to another level, where it houses several halls, restrooms, and sitting areas. Again, very convenient.

Final Thoughts

I have missed 1 C2E2 since it’s inception, and I can honestly say, that this year was one of the best.  People have been asking for a while now to have the event more streamline.  I think they really pulled that off this year. Getting your badge was hella easy, and all the main panels and events were all in one location. Things may change ni the future as the con is continuing to grow, but, for now, it’s near perfect.

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