This past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 24-26th), I was fortunate enough to attend C2E2 — the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo!
This was my second year attending, with C2E2 2014 being my first comic/fan convention ever. Though I already felt like quite the veteran coming into things this year, there was still the unmistakable buzz of excitement throughout the weekend’s activities.
There were some great panels this year. I attended some smaller ones throughout the weekend, but most of the headliners took place on the Main Stage. Some of these included:
…Jason Momoa aka Khal Drogo aka Conan the Barbarian aka Aquaman. Jason was hilarious. Though he’s known for playing rough, often ruthless characters, he’s apparently quite the family man and has a lovely relationship with his wife. Whenever he brought this fact up, he punctuated it with a literal mic drop. During the Game of Thrones panel he did the following day with co-star Finn Jones, the sound guys provided him with a mic covered in bubble wrap with a note that said “Do Not Drop.” All for naught, however, as he still managed to drop an unprotected microphone at some point during the panel.
…Hayley Atwell aka Agent Peggy Carter, and Ming-Na Wen aka Agent Melinda May. Going into C2E2 this year, the panel I was looking forward to the most was the “Kick-ass Women of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I admit to having quite the girl-crush on both of these ladies. Their characters are amazing, and the actresses themselves are so talented and lovely. Their banter with each other and with the audience was so great. You could tell that they both adore their characters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the fans. One fun fact from Atwell: she was busy on set the day she needed to renew her driver’s license, so she went to the DMV and got her photo taken while in full Peggy Carter make-up and costume. Amazing.
…Orphan Black cast and crew, including co-creator/director John Fawcett, Jordan Gavaris (Felix), Ari Millen (Mark and… *ahem*, others), Dylan Bruce (Paul), and Maria Doyle Kennedy (Mrs. S). I admit that I have yet to watch the first episodes of this new season of Orphan Black, but luckily, there were no spoilers given during the panel. Instead, sporadically throughout the conversation with the panel, they showed clips and teasers for season three. While I loved the first season of Orphan Black, I felt a bit letdown by season two. But the last episode provided some interesting changes to be explored this year. The panel definitely got me excited. I look forward to starting this season!
The Saturday Main Stage panels could have very well been lumped together as “Girl Power Day.” Before the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Orphan Black panels was “Fierce Females of TV” with Kat Graham (Vampire Diaries), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who), and Maria Doyle Kennedy. The only other panel between those three was the Jason Momoa panel, and even he extolled his single mother and women like her during his chat. It was interesting and great to see such female empowerment within the geek community, which has a reputation for being not-so-friendly to women in certain circles. Luckily, C2E2 is one of those places that celebrates diversity and acceptance. Anyone can be a geek!
Amid all these wonderful panels and more, my C2E2 2015 experience was centered around one thing: The Thrilling Adventure Hour. I know I have sung its praises before, but for the uninitiated, the Thrilling Adventure Hour is a comedy podcast and stage show in the style of old-time radio. After a ten year run, the monthly stage show at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles just ended a few weeks ago on April 11th. C2E2 was one leg of the TAH victory lap, which includes a tour through New Zealand and Australia in May.
On Friday, there was a screening of the Thrilling Adventure Hour concert film at C2E2 and an off-site improv comedy show later that night. I was able to attend the improv show that TAH did at C2E2 last year, and was excited to see them again, especially now that I am more familiar with all of the actors/cast members. This year, the group included Workjuice Players Marc Evan Jackson, Hal Lublin, Mark Gagliardi, Autumn Reeser, and Janet Varney, with frequent TAH guest stars Scott Adsit, Timothy Omundson, and John Ross Bowie. Workjuice Player Craig Cackowski joined the group the following night for the special off-site show called “POW! Sparks Nevada Live!” This show was a multimedia stage adaptation of the first four issues of the new Sparks Nevada comic book series. The actors read from their scripts as per usual, but images from the comics were projected on the wall behind them.
Over the past few months, I have become obsessed with the Thrilling Adventure Hour and all of the talented people involved with it. (I ran into Hal and Mark wandering the show floor on Sunday. Super nice guys! I took a picture with them and they signed my Thrilling Adventure Hour Graphic Novel. But I realized on the ride home that I forgot to tell them that I love their new podcast We Got This, haha.) While I’m sad that the monthly stage show is ending, I’m glad that I was able to see some iteration of the live TAH show through Sparks Nevada Live. The podcast will continue to run through August, and many of the characters that Ben Acker and Ben Blacker have created will live on through the comic books. They also confirmed that there’s still hope for the Beyond Belief television show! *Fingers crossed!*
I had a fantastic time at C2E2 this past weekend. It is such a great event that attracts a lot of wonderful guests — artists, creators, actors, and panelists — and attendants from a wide variety of fandoms and interests. If you live in the Midwestern US, C2E2 is definitely a terrific comic/fan convention to experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it both times I have attended, and certainly plan to go back next year!