C2E2 2016, Chicago
This week, accustomfigures takes us to Chi-town and C2E2 … Take it away AC!
Love the site and this is really cool to be able to share the weekend with the CBSI gang! Thanks!
Pre-sale Tickets: Yes there were pre-sale tickets on the site and at 2 of Chicago's LCS's. Tickets are very reasonable, ranging from $30-60 pre, and $40-70 at the door, depending on the kind of access you wanted. There is the one hour early entry if you want to pay for it, but not all retailers and creators are set up by then. C2e2 sponsors my site http://www.accustomfigures.com so I get free weekend passes that I've use to gain the 1 hour early entry, but I'd rather sleep for the extra hour.
Retailers: Every year it gets bigger, and this year there were about 150-200 medium one table booths to larger booths that seemed to max out at 4 tables. Lots of retail! I'd say 50% comics, 25% toys, 25% other stuff.
Floor layout: The floor layout is crazy organized, like a grid. It's at the McCormick Place convention center which is a massive thing right on the lake downtown Chicago. So the Con is in one of the massive rooms that is pretty much an airplane hanger. The publishers are all in the front as you walk in. This year the biggest presence was felt from Marvel and Valiant. DC was nearly invisible, Skybound instead of Image, Aftershock had a nice booth, and there were a bunch of other smaller publishers. From there you hit the retailers, and then Artist Alley which is probably over 300 creators. Lots of crappy Con food, and lots of bathrooms.
Most ridiculously overpriced book: This was easy, but it wasn't just one book. There was a retailer that thought he was selling literal gold. He was 99% variants and they were all 2-3x ebay prices. I guess if there was a single book it would be the 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 by Black Mask C2e2 exclusive numbered 1-200 and you could only get them from Matthew Rosenberg at his table. I got 3 for $10 each and he was sold out on the first day. By Friday night they were on ebay for $100-300, and on Saturday I saw a retailer trying to sell it for $100 at his table. It's a great book with a great exclusive cover, and I talked with Rosenberg for a long time, he's a great guy, very accessible, but I thought that was a bit much. Who knows, maybe it will be a nice issue to have.
Highest Priced book: There were several retailers that were only CGC graded books, but one made my brother and I stop and stare for a while. He had all the Marvel classics from AF15 CGC 7.5 to FF52 CGC 9.4, and a Batman #1 CGC, pretty sure it was a 6.0.
Best bargain purchase: My best find was probably the 4 Kids #1 for $10 if it ends up catching, but I am a massive Valiant fan so I paid one or two bucks for books that right now are worth $40-50 and next year when the first Valiant movie hits (Bloodshot) those books will be even better. They included Bloodshot 0 VVSS, Rai #1 CRV variant, and a ton others. I also found Moon Knight #57 Platt art with Spidey on the cover for $15, probably grade a 9.4.
Favorite item: An Army of Darkness shirt that says “This is my Boomstick”. Badass.
Favorite comic: Bloodshot 0 VVSS with certificate. Classic Valiant, great character, Quesada cover and very rare 2,500 copies from 1993, so who knows how many now.
Rarest book I saw: I don't think I've ever seen a Batman #1 but definitely not one this nice.
Highest priced surprise: I am surprised/not that Deadpool books are still so high. I don't know if that's the retailers thinking they have something special, or the consumers thinking these books are special. They aren't. The movie was great, but there are so many copies of NM98 in the world. Never seen something so hyped.
Were there any artists: This is my favorite part. The biggest reason I go to cons is for sketches, and I never pay for them. I have a massive collection, near 200, of sketches on comic boards that if you have the right approach you can get an artist to give you something. C2e2 is known for having one of the largest and most diverse and respected selection of creators. This year was great! Guys like Art Adams, Neal Adams, Greg Capullo, Ryan Ottley, Jae Lee, Frank Cho, Tony Daniel, Steve Dillon, Mark Brooks, Gene Ha, Chris Burnham, and tons more. It's really cool that they put the high profile artist and writer creative team tables right next to each other, like Capullo and Snyder. Their line was about a half a city block long.
Being a Valiant fan the best part of the con was that not only did they have the second largest presence, but they are so accessible. They love their fans more than any publisher, and take care of them. The day before the con they announced the largest artist exclusive contract signing of any comic book publisher in history at 15 artists. Here's the list, the names are amazing: Raul Allen, David Baron, Diego Bernard, Doug Braithwaite, CAFU, Khari Evans, Robert Gill, Trevor Hairsine, Clayton Henry, David Lafuente, Lewis LaRosa, Pere Perez, Brian Reber, Juan Jose Ryp and Mico Suayan.
I got 3 gold variant books from them for free that they give to fans at their panels and for promoting Valiant books like wearing a Valiant shirt to a con. Those things have limited print runs and usually sell for $30-175, so they had 3 of their new ones on hand: A & A, Faith, and Wrath of Eternal Warrior. On Saturday night they had a party at a local Arcade Bar for all their fans in honor of the release of a new beer named after their new Archer and Armstrong book. It was a blast! The owner and CEO, the CCO, CFO, and all the artists and writers for Valiant were there mixing it up with the fans. Arcade games, raffles, and just hanging with these guys was great. Dinesh Shamdasani is the owner and CEO. I did a custom Divinity figure for him last year. He's a great guy, and very accessible to his fans. He's a true comicbooker. By the end of the weekend we were all exchanging info and talking more than comics. I'm also a friend of artist Chris Burnham. He and some of the other ex-Chicago local artists that have done well for themselves are still always glad to see old faces. Great to hang with. I met new creators that I've never talked to and most are great. Got a Ninjak sketch from Ninjak artist Clay Mann, and Raffer Roberts did a couple doodles for me on his new book A & A.
If I were the promoter: Reed Pop is the promoter, they do NY Comic Con as well. I have zero complaints. I work with them every year since they sponsor my site and they jump through hoops for you. I've been to the pre parties for retailers and they go all out with making folks feel part of the team. Great folks.
Selling comics: I don't sell at cons, but I saw a few folks trying to sell some books to the retailers. I don't understand why they just don't go to ebay. Like it or not, you'll get more for the value. As for the retailers, I know Reed Pop takes care of them and you see a lot of the same folks coming back year after year. It's a big con so the booths aren't cheap, but they must be making their money. And the place is packed from open to close.
Swindling: Didn't see any swindling other than inflated prices here and there. But almost all retailers I dealt with were willing to deal. I always haggle. I also look out for others if I see them being taken advantage of. I've been in comics for 35 years so I know my stuff, and I don't like people being taken advantage of.
Food: The only thing I would change is the food situation. I remember Wizard at least having a few restaurants around the con along with the poisonous con food. C2e2 only has the poison, and when you're there all day for 3 days shit gets real. Literally.
Comics presence: This con is comic-centric. Comics are the focus and the foundation. It still has the tv/movie/video game angle, but its about comic books culture. Some great cosplay, some great celebs (Walking Dead and SHIELD cast are always there), and tons of comics.
Crowd: The folks love it. I had one of the best social experiences I've ever had in my life this year. Made new friends with creators and con goers and got the number of a cute girl, and Marvel and Valiant made sure to alternate spectacles to keep the fans interested.
Haggleability: 8/10. pretty good.
Overall: My town, my friends and family, my greatest interests, and the folks you don't know want to get to know you and make sure you come back. Great weekend. Sad it's done.
|FINAL GRADE:||9.5 / 10|