This year’s C2E2 event, held the weekend of April 26th, was reportedly the largest Chicago has seen so far. And judging from the amount of trench coats and spandex Black Gate photog Chris Z and I observed during our annual pilgrimage, I have no doubt this was true.
Trench coats and spandex, you ask?
Considering this is primarily a comic convention where about one attendee in every four was parading their cosplay best, the spandex is probably self-explanatory, but it might interest you to know that the definition of sexy at this year’s event was none other than the Time Lord himself, Doctor Who.
Attendance was estimated at 70K, which meant even though Chicago is now hosting the show in the same exhibition hall as the Auto Show, the space still seems packed in, which can be somewhat awkward when spandex is involved.
The over 400 exhibitors consisted of comic sellers of course, but also every category of related paraphernalia you can possibly imagine — including costume accessories, figurines and the most amazing collection of genre artists you’ll find under one roof. And that doesn’t even include the celebrities there to meet and greet, as well as participate in panel discussions.
With that much material, it’s downright difficult to decide what to tell you about, but here are a few morsels that caught our attention.
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Last weekend, Chicago’s McCormick Center played host to the annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids), and once again I am reminded that not all the “interesting” people have pulled up stakes for California.
Amidst the oodles of Avengers merchandise, aisles of comic illustrators (many of whom appeared to have a near cult-like following) and celebrity autograph queues, mingled individuals who seemed to have ample expendable income for use on high-end costumes.
Yes, there was indeed a costume contest much later in the afternoon, but that didn’t explain why a very thin dude in a wig and fishnets was walking around posing as Lady Gaga.
It is sights like this which remind me that should I ever venture into the San Diego ComiCon; my head would likely explode.
Still, the popularity of C2E2 continues to grow year over year; so much so that in 2012 it was relocated to a larger venue in the building across the street from 2011’s location.
And though I could have easily grabbed a spot on the floor opposite the entrance and spent the day people-watching, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I waded in with the rest of the press just before the opening bell on Saturday.
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It isn’t very often that I suffer from complete sensory overload, but the Haunted Attractions Show in St. Louis, immediately followed by the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo nearly did me in. It was therefore necessary to retire to the underground offices of Goth Chick News, barricade myself in with the espresso machine, the blender and a bottle of good tequila, and take a few quiet days to absorb everything I had seen.
Black Gate editor and big cheese John O’Neill graciously stood in for my post last Thursday, partially out of sympathy for my over-stimulated state; but mostly because he wanted the blender back.
Now rebooted with sufficient caffeine and marguerites, I am ready to begin telling you more of the amazing events of the last two weeks.
C2E2 takes place in Chicago’s largest convention center, McCormick Place and the event consumed all of one of the largest buildings. Focusing on all manner of artwork, collectibles, music, film and entertainment, it was… well, gi-normous.
Though it will take several weeks of posts to delve into detail on all of the fantastic things I saw, I start as always with a Best of Show overview.
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Granted, snow in the windy city in November is not exactly unexpected. But it is a bit surreal to be making our way to the last horror show of the year in white-out conditions.
And yet this is precisely the situation Black Gate photog Chris Z and I found ourselves facing last Saturday morning. Thankfully, the Chicago BG office is well equipped for such emergencies, though attempting to get John O out of bed before noon to requisition the keys to the company urban assault vehicle turned out to be only the first of many challenges we faced that day.
Still, we trundle into the unplowed parking lot of the venue in our jacked up Jeep Wrangler precisely at 9:45, to find roughly 500 other hard-core horror fans bent double against the howling wind, making their way through 18” of snow to pay homage to the season’s last genre-specific event.
Was it worth it?
Oh, hell yes.
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Admittedly, I’m a sucker for a Brit.
And that goes double when he’s also a comic writer.
If he also happens to write dark, gothy stories…
Well, you get the idea.
We first met Neil Gibson back in early 2014 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids). Then he was promoting volume one of Twisted Dark; the illustrated story he had written which had just been published by indy comic house TPub in the UK.
TPub believes it is their mission to change the way people view comics and get more people to read them, and in May last year Twisted Dark had already reached number one on the UK Kindle chart. And though I could not locate current stats, when I was in London’s famous Foyles bookstore last month, Twisted Dark was highlighted as a “staff pick” in the graphic novel section.
So a couple weeks ago when Neil emailed to let me know his newest project with TPub, Tortured Life was complete, I was has happy as a cosplayer in at a 2-for-1 spandex sale to get a look and tell you all about it.
Tortured Life tells the story of Richard Carter and his little “problem.”
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Mama may have warned you as a child not to give into peer pressure, but that all depends on what the chanting crowd is pushing you to do. In more and more cases, in a variety of ways, writers are inviting other writers to pressure them to write, right? These can include formal educational writers’ retreats, but can be as simple as you and a buddy meeting at a coffee shop.
The classic model is to attend a writers’ retreat. There are lots of them with varied focuses on writing form, commercial genre, regional location, school affiliation, and more. Often, these retreats also offer work-shopping of the manuscripts written there, and in some cases, guest lectures by top tier authors and editors.
One of the best in the spec lit field is the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. A six-week program held on a college campus, it was established in 1968 and has a stiff competition among applicants to be accepted. It has other regional offshoots. As you can imagine, paying room, board, and instructors fees can add up: the 2015 Clarion workshop was estimated to cost around $5,000, plus travel, and that’s in addition to being able to afford six weeks away from your job.
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If only this place really existed, I would never again suffer a Black Gate company road trip, trapped in a zeppelin with a load of less-than-hygienic fan boys, but instead would be enjoying my suite in the goth girl’s equivalent of the Four Seasons.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, my all-time favorite animated film Hotel Transylvania will be coming to the small screen, courtesy of Canadian company Nelvana Enterprises.
Debuting in early 2017 (venue pending), the series will focus on Mavis, the daughter of Dracula, expanding on her teenage years and her friends at the world-famous monster five-star resort.
News of the TV adaptation comes ahead of the sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 hitting theaters this fall, on September 25.
And speaking of the sequel…
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It definitely would have been a very good scoop to have landed back at C2E2. Then again, I might have been too busy having a fan girl swoon to have caught on anyway.
Earlier this month I had the chance to chat with Max Brooks, author of one of my favorite novels, World War Z. At the time I pressed him as much as I dared on the topic of a sequel as it seemed to be a rather touchy subject. Brooks stated he’d do it when the spirit moved him to and not a moment before.
This week I learned two things – first, something has definitely moved Brooks, and second, a possible reason why the topic of a follow up story might have been a tad touchy at the time I asked about it.
Paramount Pictures has just set a release date for the sequel to World War Z, effectively ending speculation, and Max Brooks is on board as one of the writers.
Granted, we’ve been hearing rumors about this for some time. In spite of the original production being plagued by so many problems it came close to being scrapped, World War Z ultimately became a blockbuster hit ($540M worldwide) and is in fact considered the highest grossing film in Brad Pitt’s career.
As Pitt not only starred in but produced the original film via his Plan B production company, it seemed inevitable that Paramount would green light a follow up at some point.
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If you happened to be hanging out in downtown Chicago recently, perhaps enjoying the first wiff of a thaw in the air, then you also ran a fair chance of seeing Khaleesi riding the El train.
After all, April in the Windy City can only mean one thing.
It is once again time for the mother of all spandex parades, otherwise known as the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids).
Started back in 2010, C2E2 is a fan convention spanning the latest and greatest from the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and video games. The 840K square foot show floor was packed light saber to body suit with literally hundreds of exhibitors, panels and autograph sessions. And though this year’s attendance has not yet been officially published, estimates place it at a record-breaking 60K plus.
As we have done for the prior four years, Black Gate photog Chris Z and I gleefully donned our official press passes (by far the coolest looking ones in the industry) and waded into the fray; in order to provide you a chance to peep at least a small portion of the sights too numerous to catalog.
Thanks to a pre-opening chat with perennial Goth Chick News fav, horror comic writer Dirk Manning, we were able to skirt the biblical-sized masses queued at the entrance and get an early look at show floor. The sheer number of booths dedicated to comics alone made me wonder (and later discover) the actual size of the domestic industry for comics and graphic novels, in dollars.
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And so this happened last week…
John O (the big cheese): People probably imagined you lot (Photog Chris Z and I presumably – GC) are just hunkered down there in the subterranean offices of Black Gate sequestered with a blender, several bottles of adult beverages and the Roku horror channels.
John O: So – that’s not the image we want to portray here at Black Gate.
Me: We have an image…?
John O: OF COURSE WE HAVE AN IMAGE! Why can’t you be more like Scott Taylor?
Me: Who? Oh…you mean Art. Right. Wait, what was that first thing again?
John O: [insert unpublishable adult language] Would you please just go be visible somewhere? Be a reporter – get out in the field and report. That’s what Scott Taylor does. He reports… on art… for Black Gate.
Me: The ice machine is broken again.
John O: ARG! [insert more adult language and stomping up the stairs]
What John O doesn’t know but what — and I’m just guessing here — he wants to know, is the following.
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