C2E2: my first con: what I learned

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to my first comic convention: C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo).  It didn’t disappoint. I attempted to prepare myself the best I could, and with a few exceptions I think I did pretty well. I had the help of friends that have attended cons in the past, including this one. They were a great group of people to go with, and I made some new friends along the way.

Here are some things that I learned:

Getting ready takes forever! Thankfully the con didn’t start till 11am, but after all the costume prep we ended up getting there at 2pm (we did sleep in after a six hour car ride to get to Chicago, which didn’t help). We also had, on average, four people in costume on the first couple of days.

My friend with BelleChere

My friend with BelleChere

Everyone was super nice! Got my picture taken a few (hundred) times and only heard nice things about my costumes. For being an introverted person by nature I have to say I was surprised how nice it was to make “5 minute” friends. Stop to take a picture together, have a short chat, and go your separate ways. Most people I talked to were more than happy to tell you a little bit about how they made their own costumes. One big highlight for me was meeting BelleChere, a professional cosplayer. She is the nicest person! Second day of the con she was dressed as Captain Marvel. How can one be a professional cosplayer? BelleChere and others like her will get paid to attend cons or dress as specific characters. A lot of them will also do costume commissions. Check out her facebook page for some awesome pictures.

Having a buddy with you is always a good idea. Whether you are wearing an awesome yet ridiculous costume that requires a spotter or just having someone to hold your stuff while trying to take a picture, an extra set of hands (or eyes) is a good idea. Beside if you don’t have a witness sometimes no one will believe the amazing things you will see. I may have also needed someone to talk me out of some of my purchases.

Artist Alley and the exhibitors floor

Artist Alley and the exhibitors floor

Time management is key. As I mentioned in the past article I attended this con with a group. Like with any group we all had different things we wanted to see or do. My poor time management skills meant that sadly I saw only one panel. But it was a great one: “Let’s make a character”. The panelists were really nice and funny. They had tons of good information about creating good characters, but they presented it in a simple easy to follow way that was perfect for the setting. After giving a short presentation they took ideas from the audience and created a character on the spot. They even created a sketch and discussed design do’s and don’ts. I did however get the chance to see a medieval swordplay demo that was a lot of fun to watch.

Overall I had a fantastic weekend with some great people. The whole place had an atmosphere of celebration. While Dr. Who costumes and memorabilia dominated the floor there was still a wide array of subject matter. I saw everything from Star Trek to My Little Pony, but the common denominator was that everyone was having a great time. Crowds weren’t too bad but you could tell what the favorite artist and booths were. Artist alley was a lot of fun to walk around, the best part was talking to the artist that didn’t have lines. We invented a great Portal spin-off for a webcomic with two artists: “drunk guy with a portal gun” (who wouldn’t read that?).  Most of the artists were just happy to have a chance to talk about their work.

Would I go to a comic con again? Definitely. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t be tempted to buy so much.  There are definitely a couple things that I might do differently on the next go around. But I don’t think we could have had any more fun.

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