I arrived at McCormick place from the #3 King Drive bus line. Emerging with me was a fellow in a Green Lantern tee and a guy who reminded me of a once co-worker. All around us there were signs for a kitchen and bath expo aptly named K*BIS. Confused, we made our way to the building and to where we hoped C2E2 might be held. Business executives chain-smoked like it was the end of the world and their faces suggested that they couldn’t give a shit.
Mustering up all the creepy I could find within, I got close to Green Lantern Tee and Once Co-Worker and asked them if they knew where the convention was. Just to throw some humor into the mix, I asked them if they were in fact going to the convention. Once Co-Worker scoffed, said yes and said that his plan was just to go through the K*BIS convention. I liked that plan and followed too closely. Fortunately for them, I backed off when I realized what I was doing.
The convention was nestled away behind the Kitchen and Bath Expo with a bajillion banners proving it. We found ourselves on a walkway over the road which seemed to stretch on for miles. I read each of the marquees above us that encouraged us along our way and that we were “almost there.” One sign even said that The Dark Knight was filmed in Chicago.
At the end of the REALLY boring walkway there was an Expansive Useless Area with nothing in it. There were a few Red Shirts scattered about to help the lost and elderly, but other than that this room served no purpose. I walked over to what I thought was the place to get my weekend pass and was then turned away because it was the wrong place. Eventually I discovered it was downstairs in another big area that didn’t have much to it either. Being the chode that I am on occasion, I asked a tiny Red Shirt where I could get my weekend pass.
“It’s straight ahead, sir.” She said.
I thanked her and hated myself as I walked over to pick up my pass. Every Red Shirt between me and the line seemed to get the memo that I was stupid and made sure to tell me where I could go get my weekend pass. I zig-zagged my way up to some Old Ladies behind the desk and they gave me a bitchin’ Weekend Pass / Lanyard Combo. Win.
Now that the registration had completed, I raced my way back up to the Expansive Useless Area and scurried my fine ass over to the Main Floor. I entered to discover myself in a strange world I had never seen before. Being a relative n00b to the whole convention…thing…I was kind of awestruck. Booths everywhere, people wandering about in costumes, and all kinds of shiny. I walked a ways in and found myself in front of the Oni Press booth.
SCOTT PILGRIM. I bought a shirt.
I wandered around some more, trying to keep track of the time. The plan was to go to the Kevin Conroy panel and pretend that I remembered that Batman cartoon from long ago. A couple hours later I realized that I had missed the thing, and then promptly got distracted by ANOTHER COMIC BOOTH!
There was nothing on that Main Floor that didn’t distract me on that day. I’d pass by a booth, stop, drool and then find another one and repeat the same process all over again. Along the way I stopped various people in costume and took their picture, feeling like such a creepster as I did so. Thankfully they weren’t assholes and let me photograph them with my Crappy Phone Camera. There was a particularly pretty Poison Ivy who let me take her picture and I felt even creepier. Didn’t help that I took like eight pictures in the manner of a few moments. Heh. Heh. Heh?
Next, I moseyed my way over to The Artist’s Alley where people were getting set up. Since I’m not a big Print Comic Geek, I didn’t recognize a single person there. This made me feel like less of a geek overall and at one point I considered reducing my Geek Cred plan to Bronze or maybe even Ugly Brown Color. After a bit of reflection, I convinced myself that I was fine and that I could make up for this deficit in geek cred by spending more money.
I took a few turns and found myself in an area that felt very much like home. I couldn’t quite place where I was at first, but when I passed by Jeph Jaques’ booth, I realized that I had entered Web Comic Alley. At that point in time I realized that I was going to be stationed in this area for a majority of the weekend.
Without hesitation I made my way to Anthony Clark, the creator of perhaps my favorite web comic of all time and shyly bought a Beartato Shirt. I then had him draw some cool Reginald Stuff on a free comic and then we took a most rad picture together. My smile was large and in charge.
CYANIDE AND HAPPINESS?! STARSLIP CRISIS?! MULTI-fucking-PLEX?! THEATER HOPPER?! SMBC?! Everyone was there and I wanted to talk to them all. After gushing over Beartato’s Creator, I made a beeline for the Multiplex booth and chatted with Gordon McAlpin some. Very nice fellow. I was tempted to ask if he wanted to hang ever in this life time, but I felt way too creepster and it was way too early in the weekend to ask that sort of question (Sadly, I would forget on Saturday and Sunday).
“I want to buy your shirt,” I told Gordon.
“What size?” he said.
“Large,” I replied.
“Sure.” He said. “Oh wait, I don’t have it in large. I’ll get it for you tomorrow.”
There was a lot more dialog before that as well, but I don’t much feel like trying to remember all of it.
The rest of that day went pretty well. I attended my first panel, which was The Mike Mignola Q&A Spectacular. I realized about twenty minutes in that I had no clue what he was talking about. That’s the problem with being the kind of person I am. I know of a lot of things, but I never look into them like I say I will and then just end up not having enough information to care or be interested. I imagine that if I had read any sort of Hellboy comic, I might have gotten more out of the panel.
The guy was great, though! (Can I have lunch with you at Panera sometime?)
After the panel ended, I stayed in my seat and waited. See, the next thing on the agenda was the AMERICAN PREMIERE OF DOCTOR WHO SEASON MATT SMITH!!! I texted my friends who were going to be there shortly and they told me they were standing in a long ass line to get into the room that I was in. Thinking that I heard them wrong, I just told them to come in and that I had their seats warmed and ready for them. Truth be told, I hadn’t warmed their seats. Truth be told, there was an actual line outside for the premiere and the Red Shirts weren’t letting anyone in quite yet. I despaired that I would ever see my friends again in the fury of the crowd rushing in, but eventually I saw them and motioned them over to where I was sitting.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” they said.
The premiere started with the MC talking about how awesome we are and about how awesome the premiere was going to be. He played a pre-recorded clip of Matt Smith and Karen Gillian saying “Hellooooww Chicagoowwww.” The MC stopped the clip and talked about the two episodes we were about to watch. We all cheered when he left the stage, not because he was particularly bad or anything, but because we were about to watch Doctor Who.
It started and the lights dimmed. As soon as the opening titles hit, the crowd went nuts and we all had a giant orgy.