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C2E2 2020: Everything That Made It An Absolutely Epic Weekend

Charli Renken Charli Renken

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We’re already planning our cosplay for next year!

Attending the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) is quite possibly our favorite way to spend a weekend. The biggest pop culture convention in the Midwest is chock full of exciting events that make it one of the top destinations for nerds to gather. From the absolutely incredible cosplay to celebrity panels to rows and rows of stunning artwork, there was no shortage of geekery to enjoy; far too much to include in one article (but we’ll try.) Here’s everything C2E2 had to offer this weekend in case you missed it this year.

Celebrity Panels

Critical Role Cast. Photo by Charli Renken.

One of the biggest draws to C2E2 is its long list of featured guests. This year we had the pleasure of attending panel discussions with a number of big stars on the Main Stage. Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards gave a farewell to Arrow and recounted memories from the set; William Shatner shared hilarious stories of life post-Star Trek and took a moment to champion Climate Change activism; Mark Ruffalo expressed his desire for a Professor Hulk film and confirmed rumors that he will join the cast of the upcoming She-Hulk TV show; and the cast of Critical Role shared touching moments with fans in an overfilled panel room.

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Adam Savage on the main stage at C2E2 in front of a screen showing off his Captain America cosplay. Photo by Charli Renken.

One of our favorite panels was “An Hour With Adam Savage” where the Mythbuster shared his love of cosplay, the makers community, and encouraged new creators to carry on regardless of skill level. “My favorite cosplays are the ones held together with duct tape,” he said, showing off a photo of him and a Bucky Barnes cosplayer whose “metal” arm was made entirely out of the material. Savage is known for dressing in cosplay and sneaking out onto the show floor to experience the con experience for himself. This year he dressed up as Captain America and took to the C2E2 show floor for the first time. “I think I was found out in– what, eight minutes this year?” he said with a laugh.

Show Floor

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Show floor of C2E2. Photo by Charli Renken.

C2E2’s heart lies on the Show Floor, where fans, artists, special guests, and exhibitors mingle, trading stories, buying merch, and creating community. The Show Floor at C2E2 is divided up into seven sections: Artist Alley, Family HQ, Pop Asia, Cosplay Central, Gaming Zone, The Yard, and Photo Ops/Autographs. You can find just about anything related to fandom in any one of these areas. The Show Floor is known to many as “the place where I shamelessly spent too much money.” We certainly went away with our fair share of art prints, cosplay props, and adorably squishy stuffed animals.

Exhibitor in Pop Asia section of the show floor. Photo by Charli Renken.

Cosplay Central, Pop Asia, and the Gaming Zone were particularly popular areas dedicated to specific fan communities. Cosplayers were invited to take photos against a number of photography backdrops in Cosplay Central to really make their costumes pop. Gamers gathered to play tabletop, arcade, and video games in the Gamer Zone. Pop Asia had a number of Asian food vendors and anime-specific exhibitors.

Discussion Panels and Events

Wakanda Forever! panel. Photo by Charli Renken

In addition to the A-list roster of celebrities, C2E2 also had a huge list of fan and industry-led panels and events. The panels were specific in topic and more discussion-based than the larger celebrity events. Fans gathered together to talk about a variety of fandoms, social issues, craft workshops, and other topics. A few of these included Making Multicultural GamesQueering Comics; Queering the Future, Good Omens from Page to Screen, What Art School Doesn’t Teach You, and Wakanda Forever! The Psychology of Black Panther.

Improvised Jane Austen on the Cards Against Humanity Stage. Photo by Charli Renken.

There were also a number of theatrical shows, movie showings, gaming sessions, and other live events. Our favorites were Improvised Jane Austen on the Cards Against Humanity stage, Quidditch 101 in Family HQ, and D&D Adventurers League in the Dungeons & Dragons room.

Cosplay!

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Ella Kay as Lady Deadpool. Photo by Charli Renken

C2E2 is one of the premium conventions for world-class cosplay. This is the convention to turn up and turn out your best, biggest costumes and Chicagoans did just that. Our editor even showed up in cosplay as Cecil Palmer from Welcome to Night Vale! Some cosplayers couldn’t move two feet without someone stopping them to ask for a picture. We took tons of photos of our favorite costume pieces, many of which you can find on our Instagram story highlight.

Sylvia Carlson as Bad Place Janet, Ace Rago as Derek, and Good Place Janet by Abbi Rago from The Good Place. Photo by Charli Renken

The biggest cosplay event of the convention was the Crown Championship of Cosplay which featured the best cosplay from right here in Chicago and all over the world! We saw cosplayers from all over the US, France, China, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, India, North Korea, Austria, and the UK.

The cosplay championship had three main stages: Best in Town, Regionals, and Global Championship. Cosplayers were judged by professional cosplayers Ivy Doomkitty, Peppermonster Cosplay, and Ginoza Costuming and awarded medals in armor, FX, and needlework. The competition was stiff with so many talented artists all competing for the Global Crown Champion, an award of $5,000, and the highest of bragging rights.

The Crown Champion was awarded to JinxKittie Cosplay from South Africa for their Blood Priestess Bathory cosplay from Cinderys. Chicago’s very own Xephyr Studios cosplayer won first place in the local and national competition and second place globally cosplaying Moira O’Deorain from Overwatch. Third place in the global competition was awarded to LeelooKris Cosplay from France cosplaying Lagertha from Vikings. 

What was your favorite moment from C2E2? Share it with us on social media with the hashtag #mysecretchicago!

ReedPop (the brilliant people behind C2E2) masterfully create community spaces for fans to celebrate the things they love and meet the artists behind their favorite movies, TV shows, and comic books. This year was no exception. We had so much fun geeking out with all of you who attended this year and can’t wait for C2E2 2021!

Feature image by Charli Renken.