When I was walking out of McCormick Place around 4:00 pm to catch a cab after the last day of C2E2 I heard a girl as I was passing say "This was a good day," and I'm inclined to agree. This year's C2E2 was a spectacular convention.
I love seeing fans become excited about the massive convention around them. My favorite sights are people who clearly have never been to a comic convention of this size before. My jaded eyes have been to many conventions and usually become frustrated with people not walking fast enough but on the flight home I look back with fondness about these starry eyed fans.
For the last few years I have been on and off the convention circuit. This year will be my fourth year at San Diego. I started going to conventions when I was 16 years old and now a few years later I feel I'm in the thick of this industry. This year's C2E2 was set up in a different format than last year. Retailers were not all in one place. I found many of them in pockets but others were spread out through out the convention. Artist Alley was well done. I enjoyed the rows and how they were set up along with their location. There was this huge 2 level pavilion in the center of the convention for fans to sit. Other seating was available throughout the convention. At a point it felt like too much seating but I would rather have too much than too little.
There did seem to be a few notable exhibitors missing. DC didn't set up a booth even though many of their artists and writers had tables in Artist's Alley. Aspen Comics didn't have a presents there either. I saw Dark Horse but Oni, Image, and IDW all seemed to not take part in this year's C2E2.
I arrived late Thursday night, and by late Thursday night I mean early Friday morning. I ended up getting to bed around 3 am then waking up at 6 am to shower, eat, and make my way to the convention to help a friend set up his booth. I had a friend who was an exhibitor so I ended up getting into the convention early. Seeing the whole convention being set up was extremely interesting. I took in the moment and thought, "this is the easiest it's going to be to walk around all weekend." Friday ended up being a light day with most of the artists and retailers mildly worried this would be the amount of people at the convention.
I ended up getting home again late Friday night (OK, Saturday morning) and fell asleep again at 3:00 am with the intention of waking up at 6:00 am again. As you can guess I'm eluding this plan was not followed. My alarm went off at 6:00. I turned off the alarm, sat back to stretch my back, and then looked at the clock again and it was now 8:00 am. I jumped out of bed in a frantic frenzy, jumping on my friend's bed, trying to wake them up. No one showered Saturday morning so if you attended and smelled a mixture of deodorant put on in a rush and unwashed but still styled hair you can bet you walked past me at the convention.
Saturday was much busier than Friday, alleviating artist and retailer's fears. People lined the convention center and movement was limited. The funny thing was Tony Moore and Tony S. Daniels both had booths in the same row of artists' alley but they were on opposite ends. At some points their lines were so long they bumped into each other as they wrapped around the tables.
Saturday I ended up heading over to a few panels on Saturday. The first was a live version of the Comix Chix podcast hosted by Kate Kotler. The panel discussed women who worked in comic books along with and the representation of women in books (you know Powergirl's boobs came into the conversation. OK, more the huge cleavage hole in her costume.)
Cosplay stepped it up at the convention on Saturday. When I talked to fans, creators, and other members of the comic book press, almost everyone said their favorite costume was the UP house. I enjoyed an amazing Ironman costume but I have to agree the UP house was the most creative I saw at the convention.
On Saturday a friend dragged me along to audition for King of the Nerds, the TBS geek reality show. They had me fill out a form with a list of questions. Under marital status I wrote, "not," and when it asked for my achievements I wrote, "published writer and never had a mental break down." They also asked for topics you felt comfortable debating. "The Walking Dead, Doctor Who!, gender roles in society, and Neil Gaiman." They did not end up calling me because I assume my lack of mental breakdowns was a deal breaker for reality TV. My friend ended up getting a call back though.
I ended up getting back around 12:00 am on Saturday night/Sunday morning and falling asleep around 1:30 then attempting to wake up again at 6:00 am. I set my alarm for 6:00, 6:30, and 7:00. Needless to say I woke up at 7:00, showered, packed my suitcase, and jumped in a friend's car to get to the convention around 8:00 am. I left the convention about an hour early to get to the airport and at that point the cab line wasn't that long which I assume it was monstrously long when the time crept closer to 5:00.
Final thoughts: I love going to larger conventions like this because I get to see some friends who I haven't seen since the last convention, get some books signed, talk to creators about projects, and most of all immerse myself in the world of comic books, a world I've spent so much time and energy in.
Most people who attend conventions work 9-5 jobs and don't always have an outlet for their inner geek. These conventions provide a much needed sense of community for so many people. This community was apparent through out the convention. People get along and make friends while waiting in line for something or someone they have in common. Everyone has a good time and everyone contributes to the fun and friendly atmosphere.