This weekend, we here at VG Tribune had the pleasure of attending and reporting on the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for short) for the third time. The show, which reported 41,000 attendees this year, was even more bustling than it was in 2011 and provided entertaining panels and booths for every kind of individual that you could think of. Last year, I mentioned that there was increased focus on Japanese merchandise. This year? There was more of pretty much everything.
While Artist’s Alley, a large portion of the exhibition hall dedicated to artists of everything from indie web panels to The Walking Dead, remained the highlight of the show floor, the various booths that littered it were more diverse than ever before. One booth was forging real customizable Keyblades from Kingdom Hearts; another was selling Doctor Who merchandise and allowing people to take pictures with a life-size Dalek. The Hi-Chew booth that I raved about in my write-up of last year’s show was also back in full force, complete with free import candy to whoever managed to stop by and take a picture with the Hi-Chew King. Our good friends at Shawnimals had a booth set up highlighting their latest creations too. We even got a picture with Mr. Feely from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood!
The two most notable booths at the show were dedicated to Marvel’s upcoming Avengers film and DC’s Before Watchmen. At the Avengers booth, attendees had a chance to don Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield, admire Captain America’s outfit from the film (which went up for auction and was sold for $190,000), and even win tickets to an early screening of film. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend to the early screening and let me say this: Watch your back The Dark Knight, your title as “Best Comic Book Movie of All Time” may have just been usurped. At DC’s more subdued but nonetheless important Before Watchmen booth, the authors and artists behind each of the new prequel stories were signing copies of the New York Gazette printed with preview information about the new books. Lucky attendees also had a chance to snatch up exclusive preview artwork of the new Before Watchmen: Rorschach chapter.
With that being said, the biggest highlights of the weekend were its extraordinary panels . We were able to attend The Walking Dead panel with Laurie Holden and Steven Yeun, Starkid’s panel (with special guest Sean Astin), the Dr. Who panel with John Barrowman, John Cusack’s panel (which focused on his upcoming film The Raven as well as his past work), and a Pokémon panel that revealed some of the game series’ most well-kept secrets. Our favorite panel of the show though was Anthony Daniels’. For those who don’t know, Anthony Daniels is the man behind Star Wars‘ beloved C-3PO and the only actor to appear in all six films. While most of the show’s panels focused on attendees asking questions to and trying to pry early spoiler information out of the panelists, Daniels’ was a much different affair. Beginning the panel by jest-fully scolding the audience for not clapping enough and the audio team for not using Star Wars music to proclaim his entrance, Anthony Daniels was incredibly funny from beginning to end. He told stories of how his stand-in married a prince, explained what it was like working with George Lucas (complete with a spot-on impression of him) and was constantly bringing people from the audience up on stage with him based on their knowledge of incredibly specific Star Wars trivia.
All in all, C2E2 2012 was remarkable and everything that I could’ve hoped for out of this year’s show. Last year’s show raised my expectations of what a great Comic Con should be. This year’s blew those expectations out of the water and, unbelievably, raised them higher. I look forward to attending C2E2 again with the VG Tribune team next year, though, quite frankly, I have no idea how they are going to top this year’s magnificent show.