Driving in to the convention on Saturday afternoon, Ommus and I saw a wide open parking lot on the north side of the convention center and worried the con was a bust. The first few hallways we walked down were likewise empty, and the line for tickets was only ten or fifteen people long. If you pre-ordered a ticket, there was no line and there were five bored staffers waiting to help you out. Not a good sign.
We went upstairs, though, and our fears were alleviated some. We immediately fell in love with the wide aisles and easy travel, but it looked like there were several fans and cosplayers browsing the exhibitor booths and artists alley. We ran into friends almost immediately, and that set the trend for what proved to be a fairly intimate day despite the crowd. In fact, I spent most of the day talking to friends, meeting some guys I’ve only spoken to online, and generally standing around and shooting the breeze.
I heard varying reports on the con’s success level. Most of the creators seemed happy, but a number of the dealers and exhibitors sounded a bit disappointed with sales. I thought the exhibitors’ layouts looked great, though, and though there were only about half as many dealers as usually show up for Wizard World, there were several presses I haven’t seen in Chicago before such as Oni Press.
I would like to have seen more of the exhibitor booths, but just didn’t have the time. A consistent favorite, however, was the Archaia booth. They set up a reading lounge complete with comfy chairs, coffee tables, and some little tchotchkes to play with, then flanked it with bookshelves loaded with hardcover books and dropped an island in the center for the cashier. People lingered there, and it was better than just walking by and staring at posters. I walked away with The Killer and Okko hardcovers and some free Mouse Guard floppies for my rugrats (Robotika should have been right up my alley, but it just didn’t grab me when I flipped through it).
That, of course, is my limited perspective. You can get a broader picture of the con all across the blogosphere, including the showrunner’s wrap-up here and some insight from several exhibitors here. I do look forward to hitting C2E2 again next year, and if the Evileye catalog is beefy enough by then, maybe I’ll be able to park my ass behind a table for a while.
If you’re a comics fan and skipped it this year for whatever reason, I think you should make a point to get out there next year. I don’t think it’s going to replace Wizard World so much as supplement it. Visit Wizard World for the shopping and celebrities, but visit C2E2 for comics culture.