For those who live in and around Chicago, December usually means one thing, here’s the snow. Well this year was a little different. First, there was no snow, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) was held this past weekend. Now that ReedPop has moved C2E2 in December of this year, they never had to cancel the show. But the real question was if this took place in December and faced with COVID-19 precautions, would the spectacle be the same as in the past? So I spent last weekend in Chicago chatting with fans, vendors, and celebrities and decided to write my C2E2 2021 review.
C2E2 guest lineup
OK, we all know that one of the first things we look at before going to a convention is the guest list. Over the years, C2E2 has been known to have a pretty solid lineup. This year was no different. Star Wars fans were excited for the chance to meet Hayden Christen, Giancarlo Esposito (replaced Ming-Na Wen), Diana Lee Inosanto, Timothy Zahn and others. Star Wars guests weren’t the only ones keeping fans busy. The wrestling and anime lines were also skipping. With wrestling names like John Cena, Brock and Arn Anderson, Chelsea Green, Matt Cardona, CM Punk and others; with anime guests such as Cristina Vee, David Matranga, Eric Vale, Amanda C. Miller, and more, you had plenty to choose from in these fandoms. Karan Ashley (Power Rangers), Stene Strait (The Expanse) and other actors have also appeared.
Now most of the meetings have gone pretty well. Most of the time, the lines moved quite quickly. Then there were two queues which were nightmares. You probably guessed it, it was Hayden Christen and John Cena. With Christen only there on Saturday and Sunday and Cena only on Saturday, you can see why. Some people said they stood in line for four to five hours. The biggest complaint I received while talking to fans was that the slots that had been purchased for these guests were not being tracked by the staff and people from all eras were lining up. This not only caused long lines, but also people missing other autograph times.
Comedic guests and artists’ aisle
One of the hottest areas of C2E2 was the Artist’s Alley. Now, if you’re a C2E2 veteran, you might have noticed that a few big names are missing from this year’s lineup. But that didn’t stop this area and other artist booths on the ground from being crowded. Comic book legend Chris Claremont highlighted this year’s comedy guest lineup. And along with Charles Soule, Amy Chu, Kyle Higgins, Rob Liefeld, and so many more, comic book fans had a lot of amazing talent to discover.
I also have to mention some of the amazing performers who also made things happy in the artist aisle and around the showroom. As you all know pop culture prints and sketches are always a must see at a show and of course C2E2 was no different. Artists like Joe corroney, Rob Taylor (Heroic Art), and Ryan Browne were just a few of the many you stood side by side watching their work. Overall, I thought the artist and comic book guests were the highlights of this year’s C2E2.
The congress hall
Like many conventions this year, the C2E2 had a different atmosphere. The most important thing you noticed was that there was a lot more empty space. Of course, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rows were spaced further apart to help with social distancing. Doing this and what appeared to be a supplier shortage made the floor feel empty. With the demise of these vendors, there was very little enthusiasm for the convention exclusives and the signs that would normally be there.
Now, even with these major vendors absent from this year’s C2E2, there was still a lot to do. Many comic book and toy vendors were in attendance. Stores like Comic book elite and The comic mint had exclusive covers to keep fans happy. Also, if you came there looking for toys, there were also a lot (and I mean a lot) of vintage and modern toy vendors. Oh yes if you were looking for Funko Pops! they were everywhere.
Like every year, the cosplayers were amazing. From Spider-Man to Transformers, it was hard not to find one of your favorite characters running around the ground. I mean, can you really say bad things about cosplayers? These people bring their game every year and it just keeps getting better. Plus, you can’t have a convention without a cosplay competition and this year’s champion has “turned” into something amazing. Here’s a look at your C2E2 cosplay winners.
Congratulation to Bmb cosplay , the winner of the C2E2 Cosplay Celebration! Here are the first three:
- First of all: Bmb cosplay as Soundwave from Transformers
- Second: Say it Aint Sew as Raven Queen from Dungeons & Dragons
- Third: Valerie Meachum (IG: vmeachum) as Marion Lavorre The Ruby of the Sea from Critical Role
My final thoughts
When I entered C2E2 this year, I wasn’t expecting much. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the convention moving to December, you just knew it wouldn’t be the same. With the floor space, what seemed like a lot less vendors, and of course fewer people, you just didn’t feel like this grand convention looked like the C2E2s of the past. Also, I know it might sound strange, but a big complaint from fans and vendors I spoke to was that there was no carpet in the living room. Just walking on straight concrete bothered a lot of people.
That being said, C2E2 was still fun and exciting. The guests who came to the convention seemed to be in good spirits and interacted with the fans as much as they could. The sales people who were there had amazing stuff as always. It was difficult to walk down an alley and not spend money. But I’d say my favorite thing from C2E2 this year was Artist Alley. From comic book makers to artists, the talent there was overwhelming at times. As a fan of pop culture, it would be hard to leave the artist’s aisle disappointed.
Overall, I would give C2E2 2021 an average rating. Even though I loved the more floor space like I said before with the number of people and salespeople down from previous years, you could just feel a difference in the convention of this year. Unfortunately, until the COVID pandemic is under control, C2E2 and other conventions could be like this for a while. Let’s just hope that we can continue down this road of still-going conventions and start to revisit some of the major players like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc.
I can’t wait to see you all next year when C2E2 returns August 5-7, 2022!
We want to hear from you
What do you think of C2E2 2021? Do you plan to come back next year? Additionally, which guests would you like to see make an appearance at C2E2? Well this Hashtag Show wants to hear from you!
You can let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or by contacting me at starwarsnerd574. Also, be sure to stay on top of all the latest pop culture news by following us on ThatHashtagShow.com. Most importantly, be careful, I can’t wait to see you all at some conventions this year!