Chicago’s pop culture fandom, including comic book cosplayers, movie buffs and even wrestling fanatics, gathered in the halls of McCormick Place for this year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), August 5-7 .
Dubbed the largest pop culture convention in the Midwest, the annual fair was attended by 400 artists and many more exhibitors. Many are locally based and devoted to different areas of pop culture, such as comics, video games, and anime.
“I think this show is everything,” said Johnny Warner, a Chicago-based comics collector and exhibitor. “It’s a good gathering for geeks, geeks, and people interested in pop culture.”
This year’s C2E2 took place in the summer, less than eight months after the 2021 iteration. This is as organizers gradually return to the original spring calendar of events suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions. According to his manager, Chris D’Lando, at his ReedPOP event hosting C2E2, the organizers are working with McCormick Place to establish health and safety protocols, including mask recommendations, to ensure that the show will be open to the public on his floor. Sanitation and filtration procedures were implemented in the congested area of .
D’Lando said this year’s attendance has recovered significantly from the 2021 event as more fans attend large gatherings in public spaces. Almost 30,000 fewer attendees than the record number of attendees for C2E2 in 2020, which took place just two weeks before the COVID-19 lockdown.
Despite conflicting summer production schedules and a vacation leading to talent booking issues, the expo was attended by guests ranging from silver screen celebrities to comic book creators. Over 140 guests provided fans with panels, autographs and photo ops, including Billie Dee Williams and
“The Mandalorian” and WWE’s Undertaker.
“Chicago is one of my favorite cities,” said Barry Gordon, best known for his voice role in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” It’s just a great scam.
Gordon, who is also the former chairman of the Screen Actors Guild, encourages actors and entertainers to interact with fans through events like C2E2, citing his own excitement about engaging with fans post-pandemic. However, he also acknowledged that new strains of COVID may continue to pose health risks for both actors and fans.
Warner shared Gordon’s feelings, admitting he’s looking forward to a more crowded expo in the future that will help build a network of exhibitors and build a fan base, but more importantly: is to boost businesses and profits as they recover from the aftermath of the pandemic.