Whether or not it is comedian cosplayers, film buffs and even wrestling junkies, Chicago’s popular culture fandoms took to the halls of McCormick Place at this yr’s Chicago Comedian and Leisure Expo — or C2E2 — August 5-7 .
Described as the biggest popular culture conference within the Midwest, the annual expo featured 400 artists and extra exhibitors, lots of whom are domestically primarily based, devoted to totally different areas of popular culture similar to comedian books, video video games, and anime. Huh.
“I feel this present is like every part else,” stated Chicago-based comedian e book collector and exhibitor Johnny Werner. “It is a good congregation for geeks, for nerds, for anybody in popular culture.”
This yr’s C2E2 befell in the summertime, lower than eight months after the 2021 iteration, as organizers regularly return to the occasion’s authentic spring calendar, which was disrupted because of COVID-19 restrictions. In response to Chris D’Lando, occasion supervisor for ReadPop, which organized C2E2, organizers have been diligent with McCormick Place in establishing well being and security protocols, together with recommending masks, in addition to hygiene round crowded areas on the present flooring. and implementing filtration protocols.
D’Lando stated this yr’s attendance fell considerably behind the 2021 occasion as extra followers have been snug attending giant gatherings in public locations. Nonetheless, this yr’s 65,000 attendees have been almost 30,000 lower than C2E2’s file attendance in 2020, which occurred simply two weeks earlier than the COVID-19 lockdown.
Regardless of conflicts with summer time manufacturing schedules and holidays because of expertise reserving points, the expo had a variety of friends from silver display celebrities to comedian e book creators. Greater than 140 friends have been out there to followers via panels, autograph periods and photograph ops, together with notable headliners similar to Billy Dee Williams and Rosario Dawson.
“The Mandalorian” and WWE’s The Undertaker.
“Chicago is one in every of my favourite cities,” stated Barry Gordon, recognized for his voice roles in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” “It’s simply been an explosive con. It’s simply a tremendous con.”
Gordon, who can also be the previous president of the Display Actors Guild, inspired actors and entertainers to interact with followers via occasions like C2E2, citing his personal enthusiasm for interacting with followers after the pandemic. Nonetheless, he additionally acknowledged that the newer types of COVID might pose well being dangers for actors and followers alike.
Werner shared Gordon’s sentiments, admitting that he seems to be ahead to a extra crowded expo sooner or later, which might assist construct exhibitors’ networks and their fan base, however extra importantly, That enhances their companies and income as they get well from the pandemic.