It’s C2E2 weekend! It may feel early, and we are a full month earlier than last year’s C2E2 – even coming before WonderCon and Emerald City. But the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2 as literally everyone calls it, is upon us once again in the Windy City. We’ll be there on Saturday, but the party will run Friday thru Sunday at the South Building at McCormick Place.
Tickets are still available, but prices go up at midnight.
The C2E2 app won’t sync with your online account (My Show Planner), but it is useful if you’re looking to ditch the clunky paper show guide.
Can’t make it this weekend? C2E2 will be live streaming select events in partnership with Twitch. See the live stream schedule here.
You can check out our photo coverage of last year’s C2E2 here.
Here’s a preview of what the weekend has in store:
It’s sold out, but if you can get your hands on tickets second-hand there’s a pre-party tonight at the Adler Planetarium. “Adler After Dark: Geek Chic Episode IV” will feature live music from Arc Impulse, free samples of Revolution Brewing’s new Galaxy Hero IPA (brewed exclusively for C2E2), a trivia contest with prizes, Adult Swim’s traveling “Full Dome Meatwad Experience,” and a circus performance from Acrobatica Infiniti Circus. 21+
Comics Beat has all the meetups and panels listed together for your convenience. Don’t forget that the Family Room has a lot of fantastic programming that’s excellent for all ages – even if you don’t have kids! Here are a few panel highlights for the weekend:
- Comic Fandom Year One: What You Wish You Knew Then
Fri. March 18 | 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM | Room S503
- Entering the world of comics as a new fan can be intimidating. What books should you read? Where do you shop? What cons should you attend? What super secret, handy knowledge have you acquired that you wish you knew in your Year One? Join the Ladies’ Night Anthology editors, along with Keidra Chaney of The Learned Fangirl, as they share the wisdom they wish someone had bestowed upon them. Number one suggestion for our younger self? Read comics sooner!
- Spooks and Specters of Chicago
Fri. March 18 | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | Room S405a
- Chicago authors discuss local haunted haunts, urban legends, and generally SFF-tastic tales of the windy city! Join these locals as they dish about their favorite spooky parts of the city, and the hidden gems of Chicago from which they draw inspiration for their works!
- Drawing Workshop with Alejandro Rosado
Fri. March 18 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Family HQ – Workshop Tables
- Come join comic creator Alejandro Rosado for an interactive drawing workshop that can’t be missed!
- Your Brain on Comics
Sat. March 19| 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Room S503
- Are comics “real reading” after all? Find out as our panel of academic experts – Kerry Freedman (Prof. of Art Education, Northern IL Univ.); Meryl Jaffe, PhD (Educational Consultant); Joe Magliano; (Prof. of Psychology, Northern IL Univ.); and David Rapp (Prof. of Psychology, Northwestern Univ.) – discuss the neuroscience of reading comics. Moderated by Josh Elder of Reading With Pictures.
- Women of Marvel
Sat. March 19 | 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM | Room S401
- From Ms. Marvel to the A-Force, from Twitter to tumblr, women in comics has been one of the most talked-about topics in comics recently. Join the conversation as women from multiple disciplines in the creative process at Marvel discuss what it’s like working as a woman in comics today and what it means for the future of the industry! Panelists include Producer Judy Stephens, Editor Katie Kubert, Assistant Editor Emily Shaw, as well asMarguerite Bennett (A-Force), Vanesa Del Rey (Scarlet Witch), and Stacey Lee (Silk)!
- Battlestar Galactica’s Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell
Sat. March 19 | 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM |Main Stage – S406
- Stars Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama) and Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin) unite forces to discuss their time spent on the award-winning TV show Battlestar Galactica leading a group of refugees in their dangerous search for the colony Earth.
- Rebel Legion BB-8 Races
Sat. March 19 | 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM | Family HQ – Interactive Area
- Join the Rebel Legion and the Resistance to help BB8 escape the First Order! Take control of everyone’s favorite droid from the Force Awakens and help him navigate the treacherous terrain of Jakku! Avoid the First Order and Niima Outpost’s other denizens and make it safely to the Millenium Falcon as fast as you can! Compete for the best time to win some great Star Wars prizes!
- C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay
Sat. March 19 | 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM | Main Stage – S406
- The C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay returns to Chicago for the final stop of the Quest for the Crown global cosplay competition circuit. With some of the best cosplayers in the world competing for over $10,000 in cash and prizes, this is one competition you do not want to miss! Join Judges Ann Foley (Costume Designer, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Stephanie Maslansky (Costume Designer, Daredevil, Jessica Jones) and Yaya Han (King of the Nerds) for a fun-filled competition showcasing the spectacle, pageantry, skill and determination of the best cosplayers in the world.
- CBLDF: Comics Censorship in 2016
Sun. March 20 | 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM | Room S405b
- Although free expression is seen as a basic human right, censorship is rampant in the United States and around the world. CBLDF presents an overview of the censorship crises in 2016, from the violence and legal prosecution occurring around the globe to domestic attacks on young adult books in libraries and schools across the country. Learn how comics and books are being challenged, and what you can do to fight back!
- Rhymefest Live Performance: Man in the Mirror and International Iron Man # 1 Release
Sun. March 20 | 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Room S404
- Chicago’s very own Grammy & Oscar award-winning Rhymefest takes Marvel’s staggeringly successful hip hop variants to an all new level. Rhymefest teams up with cutting edge Canadian artist Marco D’Alfonso, master of the pop culture mash-up, on anew Marvel hip hop variant. Rhymefest is synchronizing the release of his tribute mixtape to the king of pop himself, Man in the Mirror, that’s right, Michael Jackson, with his very own hip hop variant for the all new title International Iron Man #1. But it gets even better! Rhymefest will be performing from the album live at C2E2 on Sunday, March 20th at 3:00 PM. Following his performance, Rhymefest will be signing CDs of Man in the Mirror and the International Iron Man#1 hip hop variant, available for purchase at the event.
- Secret Walls: Live Art Battle Finale
Sun. March 20 | 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM | C2E2 Live Stage – Booth #1739
- Two great artists go head-to-head in an incredible art competition where the audience chooses the winner.
And of course, don’t miss C2E2’s talkback equivalent, “Team Q&A,” on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM in Room S405b. This is your opportunity to let the organizers know what worked, what didn’t, and what you want to see next year.
C2E2 has, unlike most other shows, gotten with the times and realized cosplay group meetups are a huge thing. So they’re hosting them, officially, in the Cospitality Lounge. Check the site for the schedule. The Lounge will also feature a costume repair station.
However, those Cospitality Lounge meetups are still second string to the usual fan-organized photo group meetups. You can find all of them and more in the C2E2 Photoshoots Facebook group. This is also a great place for cosplayers to find photographers and vice versa.
A few fan-run highlights are below. Note that all of these meet at the Hyatt stairs (outside stairs to the left of the main entrance) or the area right of the ground floor lobby fountains, but outdoor shots may relocate to the Gate 2 escalators (near the usual Speed Dating room) in the event of rain.
- DC Universe. Saturday, 12pm, Hyatt stairs
- Game of Thrones. Saturday, 1pm, right of fountains
- Marvel Universe. Sunday, 12pm, Hyatt stairs
- Star Wars. Sunday, 2:30pm, right of fountains
C2E2 is probably the biggest geek con in Chicago – Wizard World passes through, as do quite a few corporate-run single subject cons. But most of those are held out in the suburb of Rosemont. C2E2 is actually held just south of the loop, at McCormick Place. Since last weekend was Chicago’s big St. Patrick’s Day celebration, there seem to be fewer deals this year. But Revolution Brewing is back with their exclusive beer and Chicago has no shortage of geeky eateries.
- Revolution Brewing has a whole bunch of events planned for the weekend and will actually be on the show floor at booth 668.
- Hyatt Regency McCormick Place M/X and POI bars usually offer geek-themed drink and food specials, since the hotel is connected to the convention center.
- No specials announced, just generally geeky spots:
There are plenty of C2E2 after-parties around the city: some free, some paid, some corporate, some fan-run – all fun! Don’t let the close of the show floor be the end of your night! Here are a few highlights:
Friday, 8:00pm: Acrobatica Infiniti Circus at Uptown Underground. Tickets $25/$40. Cosplay meets circus acrobatics.
- Friday, 8:30pm: C2E2 After Party at Emporium Arcade Bar. Free. Live music with cosplay welcome.
- Friday, 11:00pm: All Geeks at Metro. Tickets $15/$20/$25. 18+. Geek-themed burlesque and drag performances.
- Saturday, 6:00pm: Reading Rocks! C2E2 Afterparty for Reading With Pictures at Reggies. Tickets $20, all proceeds to Reading with Pictures. Live music and a cosplay contest.
Will we be seeing you in Chicago this weekend? Let us know what you’re looking forward to at C2E2!