Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I went to C2E2 and took photos! Other chapters in the series:
Part 1: Costume Contest Winners
Part 2: The Rest of the Costume Contest
Part 3: Edge of Deadpoolverse
Part 4: Might Marvel Costumes
Part 5: More Comics Costumes
Part 6: Mystery Science Costume Theater 3000
Part 7: Last Call for Costumes
Part 8: Stars of Comics and Screens
Today’s feature: moments from the show floor, the lines we lived through, the personalities we haven’t already mentioned, and fleeting glimpses of our two-day descent into a legion of fans thriving in a playground of heroes, villains, idols, art, commerce, and an eye-popping panoply of pop-culture Easter eggs as far as the eye could see. That’s mostly because I felt like taking more pics of our surroundings than usual, just to see what came of it.
The following photos, many of which are click-ready for enlarging, are presented in the order they were taken, the better to convey a sense of our event timeline as we lived it. Also, my week-long post-convention blues has my energy meter near zero and I’d love to have just one less thing to think really hard about tonight.
After meeting Chad Coleman from The Wire, our next stop was Dan Slott’s autograph line, forty minutes before he was scheduled to begin. 15-20 people beat us to it. While we waited, Anne held our place and I ran over to the feeding frenzy at the official Marvel freebie table.
After Slott: shopping! When I buy new clothing nowadays, most of it comes from conventions. Stylin’ Online is more than happy to accommodate our needs.
Image Comics joined the C2E2 festivities for the first time this year, bringing several guests and plenty of trades for sale, some of which your local shop maybe never ordered.
Dealers be dealin’. Toys, action figures, collectibles, back issues, bobble-headed paperweights, whatever your thing of choice.
Over at “Secret Walls”, dueling cartoonists sketched and doodled at each other in live, 90-minute marker battles.
Marvel naturally had the largest booth of them all. I lost count of how many times we crossed near or through it. Everywhere we went, there it was, acting all Marvel-y and triple-dog-daring their absentee rivals at DC Comics to do anything about it.
The other major geek T-shirt convention powerhouse, SuperHeroStuff, had a slightly smaller booth and, for some reason, less of a selection than usual. We browsed everything they brought, then headed back to Stylin’ Online and bought from them instead.
This is Stylin’ Online on the inside. A few more years of convention shopping and we’ll be able to turn one of our bedrooms into this kind of padded wonderland.
We left after a mere six hours of walking and gawking and more walking and overpriced lunch and still more walking and walking and walking. Six hours is nothing to many fans, but now we’re older and weaker and it’s a lot harder for us to ignore physical damage than it used to be. Word of advice, kids: never age. EVER.
I wish I could say the evening social-media feeds were gushing and trumpeting, “C2E2 Declared Greatest American Convention of All Time”. Alas, their success took a back seat while everyone everywhere spent the evening swapping punchlines to go with that one Jared Leto photo. You know the one, right?
The exhibit hall opened at 10 a.m. CDT. We reported for Round Two shortly after 7:30., before most volunteers arrived and allowed us to begin the official line.
The line behind us, around 9 a.m.:
Some of the people who beat us there:
A few minutes before we were unleashed, a local band set up in front of us and played quick takes on the themes from Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. If they played a third number, I’ll never know because then it was SHOWTIME and we raced off to Ming Na-Wen’s table.
That was my last missive before my internet access vanished for the rest of the day, pretty much when I thought it would. Typical convention performance for me.
After the Other Space screening panel and lunch, we wandered the exhibit hall again, but didn’t spend much more. Since we were still old and not yet recovered from Friday, we had to call mandatory snack time more than once. Anyone who’s ever grabbed a seat at a con is familiar with the standard garbage pit found at the center of every table, a collection of other geeks’ food wrappers, empty cups, and unwanted free handouts from the dealers and publishers. If you find a clean table devoid of litter, IT’S A TRAP. The table is probably alive and ate the previous squatters. RUN AWAY.
The line to Marvel’s “Secret Wars: Battleworld” panel was adjacent to the easternmost wall of McCormick Place’s South Building. Out the window, Lake Michigan is the horizon. Or you can keep your gaze inside the windows in search of more cosplayers. At one point I saw an old friend walking on the other side of the hall, but this was at the exact moment that a Main Stage panel had let out, so several hundred fans were crossing between us and disrupting all communication efforts. Hopefully we’ll catch her at another con someday.
The food options were exactly as overpriced as you think, but the real restaurants nearest McCormick Place are few and far away. Either you add several more blocks’ worth of walking to your Fitbit count, or you drive somewhere and come back and accept that you’ll have to overpay twice for parking. So, convention center food it is, unless you packed a lunch or decided to fast for religious reasons.
Our last official line of the day was for Hayley Atwell’s photo op, another chance to hang out with fellow fans and compare notes for this con and for other cons we’ve attended. Since we don’t drink or attend after-parties or receive invitations from other people to go do stuff, lines are our best opportunities to chat and learn stuff and swap war stories. Great times.
Technically we should’ve had one more lengthy line to endure. We arrived 2½ hours early for the Costume Contest because we wanted the least terrible non-VIP seats possible. We like taking costume photos. We like it even more when our photos don’t suck. When we arrived, we were shocked to learn there was no line.
Unlike some other cons, C2E2 did not insist on clearing out rooms after every panel or event. Theoretically, you could report to the Main Stage in Room S406 and camp out in the same seat all day long without a fuss from the management. The volunteers tending the doors at 4:30 were happy to let anyone in, whether they wanted to see that particular panel or not. We saw a few people sitting off to the side, either resting or charging their devices from the available outlets, but no one was actually lined up for the Costume Contest.
So we threw caution to the wind, entered the room, and found ourselves a couple of lousy seats.
Eventually we worked our way up toward the front as other attendees fled for their lives. The existing panel ended and was followed by a geek trivia tournament. That sounds fun in principle, but we watched rather than participate because we figured there’d be questions about newer universes we don’t know. We were right. We knew answers to more than a few questions (I was proud to know some Bioshock trivia), but those who scored highest and took home prizes also had to know stuff about things we’ve never watched, read, or played — Shadows of Mordor, Insurgent, Steven Universe, The Maze Runner, etc. A disappointing number of questions were about either Gravity Falls or Dragon Age, because those are now the only two universes in the entire geek multiverse, I guess.
(Earlier in the day, a nice guy in the Other Space autograph line had also been praising Gravity Falls to us. I’m guessing there’s something worthy to it? I’ve never seen so much as a single frame.)
And then there was Costume Contest. Our host: comedian Rubin Ervin. All things considered, he did a commendable job, treated the contestants with respect, made me laugh quite a few times, and shouted at anyone who tried to exit the stage too quickly.
And then the contest ended, and all that remained was the long, echoing walk from S406 to our car in Lot A, which felt miles farther away at 9 p.m. than it had at 7:30 a.m. Equally depressing was our final glimpse of the exhibit hall, deserted and silent, a vast concrete emptiness where thousands of us had stood that morning for over two hours in excited anticipation.
…and then I managed the three-hour drive home without crashing or getting ticketed or crying.
Last thought before triggering a quick MCC “we’re home!” entry and passing out:
Thanks for reading. See you next year!