Whether or not it was comedian cosplayers, film buffs and even wrestling fanatics, Chicago’s popular culture fandoms went all out within the halls of McCormick Place at this 12 months’s Chicago Comedian & Leisure Expo – or C2E2 – Aug. 5-7.
Described as the biggest popular culture conference within the Midwest, the annual expo featured 400 artists and much more exhibitors, a lot of whom are regionally based mostly, devoted to completely different fields of popular culture akin to comedian books, video video games and anime.
“I believe this present is form of every thing,” mentioned Johnny Werner, a Chicago-based comedian e book collector and exhibitor. “It’s a superb congregation for geeks, for nerds, for anyone who’s into popular culture.”
This 12 months’s C2E2 occurred in the summertime, lower than eight months after its 2021 iteration, as organizers step by step revert to the occasion’s unique spring calendar, which was disrupted on account of COVID-19 restrictions. In line with Chris D’Lando, occasion supervisor at ReedPOP which organizes C2E2, organizers have been diligent with McCormick Place in establishing well being and security protocols, which included recommending masks, in addition to implementing sanitation and filtration protocols round crowded areas on the present flooring.
This 12 months’s attendance bounced again considerably from the 2021 occasion as extra followers have been snug attending giant gatherings in public areas, D’Lando mentioned. Nonetheless, this 12 months’s 65,000 attendees have been roughly 30,000 wanting C2E2’s document attendance in 2020, which occurred simply two weeks earlier than the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Regardless of clashes with summer time manufacturing schedules and holidays resulting in points with expertise bookings, the expo featured an array of friends starting from silver display screen celebrities to comedian e book creators. Greater than 140 friends have been out there to followers by panels, autograph periods, and photograph ops, with notable headliners akin to Billy Dee Williams and Rosario Dawson of
“The Mandalorian” and WWE’s The Undertaker.
“Chicago is certainly one of my favourite cities,” mentioned Barry Gordon, greatest identified for his voice roles in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “this has been simply an explosive con. It’s simply an incredible con.”
Gordon, who can also be a former president of the Display screen Actors Guild, inspired actors and entertainers to have interaction with followers by occasions like C2E2, citing his personal pleasure to work together with followers post-pandemic. Nonetheless, he additionally acknowledged that new variants of COVID can proceed to pose a well being threat for actors and followers alike.
Werner shared Gordon’s sentiments, admitting that he appears to be like ahead to a extra crowded expo sooner or later, which can assist exhibitors community and construct their fanbases, however extra importantly, increase their companies and income as they recuperate from the aftermath of the pandemic.