Wednesday, April 18, 2012
C2E2 2012- overview
C2E2 = Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo
April 13-15, 2012
Located at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.
This was a fairly big convention. If we weren't on the show floor, we were upstairs at one of the panels. Friday was the least crowded and so there was the best opportunity to get a good look around. It's a comic book convention. People sell comics, toys, apparel, and more. I had the best time going to random panels.
To begin with, I did a terrible job of planning what I wanted to do all three days. I mostly only planned out my Saturday schedule. I missed out on panels I wanted to check out on Friday in order to make it back to check-in to the hotel. My two stand-out panels were the Roman Dirge Q&A and the Archaia presents How to use World Building to Become a Better Storyteller (or something to that effect.)
The Roman Dirge panel... now I really wasn't expecting to go to this panel because I had no idea who Roman Dirge was. Turned out I was kind of familiar with his work. He writes and draws the Lenore comic book. I saw it at a shop a long time ago and thought about picking it up because I like Edgar Allen Poe and thought there might be some kind of connection. As Roman explained, that isn't the case. He just took the name Lenore from Poe's work. People asked a bunch of random questions. I enjoyed the tales about his work, his PO'd ex-girlfriend who hated how it looked like he sat around and did nothing all day when he was working out ideas for his comic, and even listening to some of the awkwardness that came when no one asked a question. The characters in his work seem fun. There isn't any deep meaning to his work. He just produces comics that he enjoys making and thinks is funny and fun to read. As new creators, I think it's easy to get caught up in what other people think of your work, especially if you're the type who goes to submit portfolios to Marvel or DC. You get caught up in thinking about what those kinds of companies want to see, what they don't want to see, etc. even though it's not appropriate for the work that you like to do.
Roman talked about how he's in the process of getting a Lenore movie made. Neil Gaiman is the producer. Roman told an awesome story about how he "drunk scripted" the story for the Lenore movie and sent it to Neil. He wants to have it made similarly to the way Gaiman's Coraline was created. I think that would look awesome.
The Archaia panel was another one that I, at the last moment, decided to go to. It featured David Peterson (MouseGuard), Jeremy Bastian (the upcoming Cursed Pirate Girl), and Sean Rubin (Redwall and the upcoming Bolivar.) The panel focused on world-building in relation to story-telling. In a comic, you create an entire world to house your characters. Some people do this quite extensively with their stories (just think about Lord of the Rings and how JRR Tolkein made up all of those languages for the various being's of middle earth.) David Peterson likes to work with a balance of planning everything out and not planning it all out. It's more interesting for him to figure out some of his story along the way. The phrase he used was to "edit along the way." When it came to creating the different characters, all he liked to have was their name and a sketch. He, also, created these cool miniature models of the different locations in the Mouse Territories. It helps your world become more believable if it can stay pretty consistent. Jeremy Bastian and Sean Rubin, along with David Peterson, used models they made of their characters at one point or another to keep them consistent. Though the main point they all emphasized was that the world-building should never interfere with the story. It's great to build all these models and reference sheets but if you keep developing all those details, you forget about your story. When you try to pitch that story to an editor, it may look beautiful and have all these crazy, wonderful details about it but without a strong story, the reader won't be invested in your characters and it's likely your book might not get published past the first issue.
It's interesting because I started reading MouseGuard with the Fall Issues. I still think that book is beautifully illustrated. I think in waiting for Winter to come out, I lost touch with the book. I tried to pick it up with the Free Comic Book Day issues again but couldn't quite connect to the characters. I might look for a trade of Winter next convention I go to and give the book another shot.
Bolivar comes out next year, I believe. That looks like a really fun book that I may check out as well. It takes place, pretty normal time, in New York City. The only real oddity exists in the character Bolivar, a tyrannosaurus rex who survived extinction and also lives in the city.
The Cursed Pirate Girl comes out next year, too. I'm not as big in to the swash-buckling fantasies but the illustrations for the book were so detailed and really lovely to look at.
There were a couple of panels featuring Art Baltazar and Franco and I made sure to go to at least one of them. It was called DC For Kids. It was on Sunday, which is usually the day all cons have as kids day and so, there were a lot of little kids at the panel. It was very relaxing and funny. Who knew Tiny Titans was located in Chicago?! I didn't. How could I not even realize my favorite character, Batcow, is a girl?!!! She's a cow... with udders... D'oh! Otherwise it would be called Batbull, which doesn't have a very kid-friendly appeal to it, in my opinion. It was very sweet to see all the kids ask questions and show their appreciation. Tiny Titans wasn't the only talk there. They talked about Young Justice League and Green Lantern as well, but I cared about Tiny Titans and the Superman Family Adventures more.
We took a bunch of photos of the con. There were a lot of great cosplayers and you can check out more photos on our Facebook page.
Chicago is a beautiful city. There wasn't anything at the convention that would make me want to come back again. I way more prefer New York Comic Con, especially since I live closer. That city does have some really great food, though. And, beautiful scenery. The hands-down highlight of the trip was to a restaurant called Avec. It's got a 99% liked rating on Zagat and with good reason. We had the chorizo stuffed dates, the hangar steak, and the oven-roasted pork shoulder. It was SO GOOD! The chorizo dates were spicy and sweet. The steak was cooked perfectly. The shoulder just fell apart, it was so tender and had this delicious lime sauce.
I was not a fan of the weather. Chicago really is a windy city. We left and packed ready for rain. All the weather forecasts said to expect rain all weekend. There wasn't any except for the occasional drizzle on Sunday and heavy downpour on Sunday night which is pretty lucky if you think about it. But you also have to consider that we were leaving Jersey which was expecting summer-like weather in the 80s, close to 90s.
Another reason why New York trumps Chicago is because you don't need a car to reach the convention center. -_-
Still, I enjoyed myself and this was my favorite convention that I've been to that I had to travel far for.