No one’s wearing face masks around here just yet, but a huge national trade show I’d be spending time at next week for the day job was just cancelled, tens of thousands of attendees and exhibitors suddenly forced to change plans, Chicago hoteliers losing out on an estimated 77,000 room nights…restaurateurs, cabbies, Uber drivers, bars and presumably a fair number of dates-for-hire out some serious dough as well. It was only the first major function to cancel at Chicago’s sprawling McCormick Place exhibition complex on the shores of Lake Michigan. Other smaller events have since cancelled or rescheduled, with more sure to follow.
But the comics crowd was undaunted and showed up in force for C2E2 the 28th through March 1st. I’ve attended the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con at the suburban Rosemont Convention Center near O’Hare International Airport several times, which is huge and fun and held in what amounts to a barn compared to the glitzy enormity of McCormick Place, North America’s largest exhibition center. The Chicago Auto Show cleared out, and the cosplay crowd rolled in. C2E2 always coincides with the time of year when time is the one thing I don’t have, so I’ve never been able to attend (though one coworker managed, the little fink).
The fact is, I have a love-hate thing with any con: comics, horror, paperback/pulp collector shows, you name it. I don’t mind standing in admission lines one bit, don’t even mind getting poked with rubber battle axes or jostled by Harley Quinn foam mallets. I love the events and the brave costumed crowd, get a real kick out of the free swag, have to be dragged out of dealer booths and enjoy seeing the artists, writers and minor celebrities in person. But I hate what I find on my credit card statements afterwards. I’ve noted here: I’m not a collector. But damn, I can get acquisitive.
Photos: C2E2 site and Abel Uribe/The Chicago Tribune.