Spring in Chicago brings a lot of different things. The increased rainfall really helps accentuate the odd fragrance of Lake Michigan, causes trees to sprout leaves on their scraggly limbs, and the increased temperature thaws the piles of snow to reveal any number of unspeakable urban treasures/horrors. Also, spring means it’s time for C2E2, the biggest pop culture gathering in the city limits. It’s a time when every geek in the city’s 234 square miles piles into a convention center to see cosplayers, sit in as some of their favorite content creators spill the beans on their projects and spend their hard-earned money on a huge selection of merchandise you’d never find anywhere else.
This year, Marvel comics had a larger showing than usual with panels such as one about being a “kick-ass woman in television” featuring Hayley Atwell of Agent Carter and Ming-Na Wen of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. There were scads of other rooms with featuring Marvel artists talking about their books, or even making the handful of Marvel games. Sadly, the day I was able to attend was insanely busy and I was unable to get a seat in any of these panels. This was never a problem in previous years, so it is pretty safe to assume that the convention’s attendance has continued to grow since its inception in 2010.
One panel I was able to attend was the panel about Image Comic’s book, Revival. The gist of the book is that there is a town in rural Wisconsin in which a handful of people die and then are resurrected. The living people in the town have to learn how to coexist with the dead while unraveling the cause behind this mysterious occurrence. The creators have labeled it a “rural noir”, due to it having elements from the film noir genre and taking place in a very rural setting. That phrase may make you think of black and white detective novels, but it is so much more than that. Noir stories are typically very pessimistic and have a very clear sense of menace, and there is usually no shortage of malevolent characters. In Revival, there are obvious supernatural and horror overtones as well.
That’s not to say the book is a straight gorefest. Artist Mike Norton said they tired to keep the violence disturbing and surprising, and set up each scenario so it is completely unexpected. Creator Tim Seeley said a lot of the events in the book were based off real-life events he saw in the town he grew up in, and that he had seen more weird stuff there than he had in his entire time living in Chicago. Sadly, Revival is about to wrap-up it’s 30-issue run, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to enjoy it. During the panel, they announced a partnership with The Sundance Channel, which will allow fans to their website and check out the first few issues of the series.
C2E2 was a blast, but also it seems like it’s time to make some changes. More interactivity would go far to make this convention a truly unforgettable experience. However, one thing will never get old – wading into a sea of fellow geeks expressing their wonderful obsessions through costumes, kitschy graphic tees, and by spending lots of money on memorabilia. You can check out a gallery of some photos I snapped, and feel free to tell us about your own convention experiences in the comments or via your preferred social media.