C2E2 in Review: A Parent’s Perspective

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Last weekend Reed Exhibitions hosted its second installment of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2). There was much anticipation beforehand since C2E2’s first outing on Chicago’s lakefront was considered a mild success. Reed Expo, which also hosts the crazy-popular PAX conventions and New York Comic Con, had been pulling out all the stops to ensure that C2E2 would improve upon last year’s numbers.

As a comic lover and writer, I too was hoping C2E2 would become a raging success. Reed did not disappoint. An estimated 34,000 attended the three-day event. The response from fans and creators alike regarding their time at C2E2 has been resoundingly positive.

C2E2 from on high

Honor Brigade & Toy Boy on sale at the Spinner Rack booth

I spent nearly the entire convention behind a table in Artists Alley selling my (roll gratuitous Spinner Rack Comics plug) Honor Brigade and Toy Boy all-ages superhero comics.

However, I did make time on Sunday to hit the floor with my daughter. I really wanted to view C2E2 as a parent bringing their child to a comic convention and not the jaded and broken industry insider I have become. What was there about C2E2 that made it kid friendly?

Children under twelve got in FREE on Sunday.

Everything is better with ninja

Yep, you heard me right. Free. I think cost is a make-it-or-break-it deal with a lot of parents when choosing to attend conventions and inserting the word FREE in there along with KIDS is a very smart move. Putting my comic-selling hat back on for a moment, I was insanely happy with the amount of families that came to the convention on Sunday. Kids and parents are my demographic and they were out in force.

Kid friendly publishers and creators were in the house.

One of the first booths con attendees encountered when entering C2E2 was for Archaia Comics. Archaia publishes great all-ages books like Fraggle Rock, Gunnerkrigg Court and Mouse Guard. As I passed their booth I was pleasantly surprised to see Archaia staff had set up kid sized chairs, a kid sized table, a tiny chalkboard and had provided drawing materials for the little ones. This was such a simple idea yet one that I’m sure impressed many parents.

Archaia's cozy little kid area

Everywhere at the convention there seemed to be a serious effort made to appeal to an all-ages crowd. You could walk through artists alley, visit exhibitors booths or peruse the web comics area and find something that would appeal to kids.

WordGirl from PBSKids

Lots of kid-centric events.

First they let the kids in free and then they entertained them? Score! My daughter was in seventh heaven attending all the really cool events they had for children. Hang out with WordGirl? Check. Tiny Titans drawing competition with Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar? Yes, please. Learn to draw Star Wars characters with Katie Cook? Yahoooo!

My little girl was seriously pooped at the end of the day after running to and fro from one event to the next.

Art Baltazar draws Tiny Titans

And of course the most essential key to being a kid friendly event…

Must. Have. Face. Paint.

There was face painting. If a kid can get their face painted at an event they’ll be happy campers. You know it, I know it, the kids know it and apparently so did someone at C2E2.

The bottom line is that C2E2 was a fun convention for adults and kids alike. I highly recommend next year’s C2E2 as a destination of choice to all the Geek Parents out there.

For more information on C2E2 check out www.c2e2.com.

Galactus, devourer of bunnies

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