The largest convention center in North America may need to expand the layout for C2E2 next year. McCormick Place South continues to be the home of the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) and in 2023 it was bigger than ever.
The three-day convention dedicated to pop culture and collecting memorabilia had comic book enthusiasts ravenous for more after opening its doors on March 31 and continuing through April 2. Ticket holders showed up and showed off their best costumes to be judged at the C2E2 Cosplay Central Crown Championships on Saturday night. The Cosplay Central Costume Showcase on Sunday presented another opportunity for creative attendees to compete for prizes. Gender expression and drag artistry were woven throughout much of the attire worn by people at the convention.
The facility left little room for movement during the busier times throughout the weekend, especially for those wearing bulkier gear. Massive popups, a multitude of vendor booths and game-playing space requirements ate up the square footage permitted at McCormick Place.
The LGBTQ+ community also broadened in growth and visibility at the popular convention, thanks in part to a welcoming atmosphere. Gender-neutral bathrooms and a strict no-bullying policy have added to the safe space environment created by the showrunners.
A large rainbow of representation was reflected in the talent who attended, quite noticeably in the Artist Alley area.
Hometown hero and queer author Jessi Zabarsky spoke at panels about her LGBTQ+ romance graphic novel titled Coming Back. Zabarsky talked about expression in comics even before coming out as queer, and was a manga reader while growing up.
Another queer-identifying creator, Kayden Phoenix, attended C2E2 to sell her work, which included the first Latina superhero team in comic book history, A La Brava. The team in the book has two out members named Ruca and Bandita.
Chicago-based writer and artist Kat Leyl signed copies of the GLAAD Award-winning series Lumberjanes and also drew commissioned art for fans on request in the Artist Alley.
Beverage, food and celebrity photograph opportunities created long lines of attendees waiting patiently for service on Saturday, but there were rewards to be had for those that held out. Movie and television celebrities were grouped together for rare pictures with fans, or they could be approached separately at their individual tables. Live scheduled panels with major stars such as Avenger actors Chris Evans and Tenoch Huerta had the actors talking about their careers and gave fans a chance to ask them questions.
Vintage collectibles and tattoo body art were just a few of the possibilities up for purchase for shoppers at the various booths. Last-minute sales and speedy transactions occurred on Sunday as things began to wind down in the afternoon on April 2.
As attendance has continued to flourish ever since the inaugural event in 2010, the organizers could consider including the north side of McCormick Place to make room for the upcoming year.
Fly over to C2E2.com for future information on what's in store for 2024.