C2E2 2014

C2E2 2014 1

This past weekend was C2E2 again here in the Chicago area, my fourth time attending (2010, 2012, & 2013), and I believe my third time attending as press. This was, however, the first year I took my son along on what I believe was the first Kid’s Day for a very reasonable additional $5. It was fun to experience something familiar through his eyes and we had a terrific father/son day together. So, let’s get down to it!

There were, of course, plenty of comics to peruse:

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Plenty of toys, clothing, and, well, other stuff:

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But our favorite section was Artist’s Alley where the boy and I browsed and shopped and gabbed with both new and favorite artists.

We stood in Art Baltazar‘s line to get some new Action Cat comics for my daughter, and a cute Deathstroke drawing for my son. He’s always terrific:

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And I got to see fellow Success in Comics presenter and Mad artist Tom Richmond as well. We chatted a bit and I finally got a copy of his book, The Mad Art of Caricature. Judging by the people lining up later, he looked to be having a good show:

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We discovered Yale Stewart this year and just adored his art. I picked up this poster for my wife’s classroom and she was thrilled with it:

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I tried to get in to see both Adam Hughes and Amanda Conner this year, but with the boy in tow, so much to see, and long lines for both, we had to skip them this time. We did, however, get to see Super Dinosaur’s Jason Howard again this year and he chatted with my son (his biggest fan) for a good five minutes while signing a poster and taking some pics. He’s always so nice and we just adore his art. (Note – all the good pics with Jason included my son, so I chose not include them here on the blog for privacy.)

There were a few things this year I’d not seen before, like this giant whiteboard (largely free of anatomic scribblings)…

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… and the giant snakes via the Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue:

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And, of course, there were tons of people in costume!

My son pointed out this Boy Scout-Trooper in line and we snagged a pic of him a bit later:

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I loved these folks. The family that Avenges together, stays together! (And doesn’t the little girl look about ready to Hulk out?)

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This Mom and son has uncannily good costumes:

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This, I don’t what what it is;

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Or this:

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I talked with this couple for a minute and they told me they’d attended all three days and it took an average of four hours each day to get made up. Great costumes, and extra points for patience and persistence:

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Loved these two Boba Fetts:

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And these two were obviously up to no good:

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Wrapping up the cosplayers are these lovely ladies who also took an adorable picture with my red-faced son. They were so cute with him!

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So, all in all another great C2E2. We loaded up on comics, toys, shirts, hats, pizza, and father/son time. The boy has already told me we’re definitely going again next year.

My only quibble had to do with a minor inconvenience concerning my press pass. Thanks so much to C2E2 for the free admission, but in previous years I was able to skip the line and get in a bit earlier to get unencumbered pics and chat with artists and vendors sans crowd. It’s a small inconvenience, but please consider giving press arriving early a head start.

See you in 2015!

C2E2 2012


The 2012 C2E2 was this weekend here in Chicagoland, and there’s already been all manner of reporting on who said what’s coming when and why that’s important out there, and I’m not going to add to that. What I’m going to share is a casual comics fan’s look at this year’s event (specifically Saturday), which, let me get this out of the way right at the start, was great.

2012 C2E2 Shuttle

When I attended the first C2E2 a few years back it was sort of a hassle to get to. I took the train downtown, but then had to cab it back and forth which wasn’t cheap.

This year they offered a shuttle service to and from a number of convenient Chicago locales, including Union Station, so my commute was much nicer.

2012 C2E2 Line

I’ve no idea of the actual 2012 C2E2 attendance numbers, but judging by the line when I arrived and the subsequent crowds, a lot of folks came out. But it never felt overcrowded like another Chicagoland comic con that will remain nameless.

Superhero Stuff

The first order of business was some t-shirts for the family. I’ve waited before only to find on my return that what I wanted had sold out. Not this time!

2012 C2E2 Amanda Conner line

Then it was time to get over to artist’s alley and in line for the person I wanted most to meet, Amanda Conner. I’m glad I got there early because her fans quickly queued into a lengthy line. (Kudos to C2E2 organizers for keeping things orderly.)

2012 C2E2 Amanda Conner

I was just thrilled to meet Ms. Conner. I bought a small sketchbook for myself, and a print of Supergirl with Streaky and Krypto for my daughter, both of which she signed while we discussed kids and comics.

You hope when you meet someone like this that they’ll live up to your preconceived notions, and Ms. Conner exceeded them thoroughly. A brilliant artist and a lovely person.

2012 C2E2 Jason Howard

Next up was Jason Howard’s table to get a Super Dinosaur print for the boy. I’d have bought some additional books if my son didn’t have each and every one of them already.

Mr. Howard was incredibly nice as he signed the print and chatted with me at length about comics and kids. Another great artist and super nice person. That’s two for two!

2012 C2E2 Art Baltazar

I browsed the rest of artist’s alley, picked up a few more books, and finished up at Art Baltazar‘s table where he signed a Super Pets book for my daughter.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, another super nice person, and who doesn’t love Baltazar’s style? Aw yeah!

Then it was time to hit the show floor for a little more shopping.

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I’m not much for collecting, but I did my fair share of back issue browsing.

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I made sure to pick up Cow Boy at the Archaia booth, and it doesn’t disappoint. The boy’s read it five times since giving it to him, and he adores it.

Then a little oddball browsing…

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Wooden mustache anyone?

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I almost bought this for Mike Lynch.

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And last but not least, is that a lightsaber in your pocket, or are you just happy to be browsing stuffed animals?

2012 C2E2 SMBC Panel

Then it was onto the panels. I really wanted to see SMBC‘s talk, but they never showed up. Dunno what happened, but everyone was disappointed.

2012 C2E2 Kill Shakespeare Panel

I managed to hear most of Kill Shakespeare’s Anthony Del Col’s excellent talk about pitching and marketing your indie comic, but had to duck out at the very end to catch my shuttle. Really interesting and inspiring stuff.

Now, before I finish up, here’s some of my favorite 2012 C2E2 costumes:

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

2012 C2E2 cosplay

So from a casual comic’s fan perspective, the 2012 C2E2 was just about perfect. I hope the organizers and exhibitors did well and had as much fun as I did. Kudos all around.

Can’t wait for next year!

Captain America, Venture, Gitano, and Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley, Go To War!

So in 1991 Marvel’s Captain America, Venture Stores, Gitano and the city of Chicago put out this comic where a teen athlete is sold drugs by aliens, throws a bean ball, and is subsequently beaten by his classmates while Cap dispenses homespun wisdom. Oh, and there’s a coupon for $5 off a Casio keyboard!

You’ve got your work cut out for you, Captain America: The First Avenger!

Feel free to download the entire debacle in this convenient PDF.

Here’s a few samples to whet your appetite:

captain america gitano venture comic (dragged)
captain america gitano venture comic (dragged) 1
captain america gitano venture comic (dragged) 2

BTW, hat tip to Mike Lynch for sending this over a few years back! WOO!

Overnight in Chicago

The Mrs. and I celebrated our 13th anniversary on Tuesday, and spent the night, sans kids, downtown.

We saw Harry Connick Jr. in concert Tuesday night.  WOW!  If you get a chance to see him perform live, do it.

connick concert

The next day we took an architecture tour around the city and saw, among numerous other buildings, the Rookery:


The S.R. Crown Hall at IIT, where they were hosting Warhol’s Silver Clouds:

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And the IIT campus center with the L going right through the building:

iit campus center

It was just a wonderful little getaway.

Weekend Chicago Vacation

This weekend the Mrs. and I were treated to a nice weekend downtown. As a Christmas gift, Margie’s folks booked us a room and watched the kids for us.

Ahhhh… So. Nice.

Anyway, here’s the pics:


We stayed at the Hotel Burnam, which is the old Reliance Building.


To Chicagoans of the 1890s, the glass-covered exterior of this building seemed to almost defy gravity. A century later, it is internationally recognized as the direct ancestor of today’s glass-and-steel skyscrapers. Extremely narrow piers, mullions, and spandrels, all covered with cream-colored terra cotta decorated with Gothic-style tracery, divide wide expanses of glass and clearly delineate the interior steel framework that supports the building. The light and airy facade is almost entirely windows–both flat and projecting bays–of the type known as a "Chicago window:" a wide fixed pane with narrow movable sash windows flanking it. A flat cornice tops the 14-story structure. The severely deteriorated exterior was completely restored by the City of Chicago in 1996.

Just a fantastic hotel, and gorgeous architecture to see around every corner.


The hallway to our room.

First we checked out Adler Planetarium. And, while perusing telescopes and Mars rovers, I ran across what looked like a cartoon:
Daumier’s 1844 "Un astronome satisfait"…
"…pokes fun of the ‘satisfied’ astronomer, who eagerly describes his wonderful discovery to a shocked listened; ‘Yes, my dear friend, I have just discovered a comet, and according to my calculations, I have great hope that in 45 days, it will encounter Earth.’"

Sidney Harris it’s not, but fun to see!

That night we went to see a show entitled "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant" at A Red Orchid Theatre. Above is a quick shot of the set before the show.
The next day we spent the morning and some of the afternoon at the Art Institute:
 Double wow.
 Wowee wow wow.
Then dinner under the tree at The Walnut Room:


And a show:

AddamsFamilyMarquee.JPGReview coming soon.

Today we made a few smaller stops before heading home:

 The Chicago Cultural Center‘s Tiffany Dome.
 The Model Chicago at the Architecture Foundation.
 Chicago from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).

It was a wonderful weekend, but I’m glad to be home and see the kids. More on the Addams Family Musical soon.