The grand, inaugural show I’ve been waiting for for months is now at a close. I am in mourning. From what I’ve read, the show was enjoyable, at least for those exhibiting, within whose ranks I humbly toiled. Read on for my takes on C2E2 from both a fan and an exhibitor’s point of view.

Fan perspective

I met some people I’d never met before, most notably Randy Milholland from Something Positive, whose strip I’ve read for untold eons. However hobotic Randy appears, he was extremely nice in person. I also met Gordon McAlpin from Multiplex, who I’ve only been reading since November, but still managed to give a shoutout in this strip of yore. He too was very nice; it was cool to talk Chicago with a webcartoonist, a too-rare thing. KC Greene (Gunshow) was markedly pleasant. I managed to snag his last copy of “Ghost Ship.” And, she’s not a cartoonist, but she did help Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) bring her fat ponies to life: Nikki Rice Malki was as awesome in person as she is on the Interwebs. Perhaps more so, but that’s stretching the boundaries of belief.

Other people of note include Mrs. Malki’s husband, David Malki !, who deigned to give me a $1 rap befitting my station, as well as a non-mediocre fish-fighter sketch I gained by telling him how spoiled he’d be by the street grid system if he moved to Chicago. Last but not least, I bade hello to Kris Straub again, who I just saw three weeks prior at PAX East. I apologize for his rude introduction to Chicago cabs and wish I could say you don’t take your life in your hands when you take one, but hey, that’s how we like it in this here town. We also love antiquated stereotypes. *chomps a cigar, sprays bullets*

Exhibitor perspective

I didn’t get to do much on the fandom tip because I was helping my friend Joe Hills run a table to sell merchandise for his umbrella site, Team Snow Day. Being the shy, socially awkward type, I never imagined I’d be trying to convince hundreds of people to buy things from me, a random stranger. Luckily most of the shirts sold themselves. I wasn’t sure how I’d do, especially whenever Joe had to leave the table, but you know what? I felt pretty good. The adrenaline and appreciation of just being there did a lot to spur me on.

We also had a little help in the wonderful Brad Guigar, who dropped by our table from time to time, tossing advice back and forth with Joe. I’m more used to businessmen being churlish and aloof (hey, I worked in the financial district for almost six years; I earned my right to complain), but Brad’s one of the nicest, most helpful guys around. Even though it wasn’t my stuff I was selling, I tried to soak up as much as I could from his interactions with us.

Chicago thoughts

Overall, the con itself felt like it was a good start. I’m amazed they got as many webcomics people as they did for their first year. I missed Kate Beaton, Meredith Gran and Aaron Diaz, but it’s a crazy con season right now and they’ve got other engagements. My worry is about the logistics of the con. McCormick Place is separated from the rest of the city by a major highway, making post-con plans difficult. Even though Chinatown (and its delicious restaurants) is mere blocks away, walking there is too much to ask of tired, malnourished con sellers. Compare this to either PAX Prime or East, where you walk out the door and there are tons of places to choose from. That should be the goal.

I know I found the experience invaluable for my own reasons. However, it’s hard to say how successful C2E2 was at this point. I’d like to see the attendance numbers, but of course, those don’t tell the whole story. The real breakdown comes in the form of comments, blog posts, feedback. Sure people might have gone, but did they think it was worth it?