C2E2, I Hardly Got to Know You

Part 1: The Reckoning

Okay, that header was rather dorky, but for me the underlying theme rings true. I had a blast at C2E2, Chicago’s premier comic book convention (move over, Comic Con).

I am an artist who hopes to someday work in the comic book industry telling stories, and I felt that every artistic and nerdy bone in my body was stimulated to some degree this weekend. But alas, there was only so much I could do and see.

Of the 3 cons I have attended in the Chicagoland area so far (C2E2, ComicCon/WizardWorld, and Anime Central) , C2E2 is by far the best experience for artists and comic collectors alike. If you are a comic artist or hope to someday become one, this is the con for you! If you are a comic collector, then this is without a doubt the con for you! I say this because if you look at the floor map for this particular show, you will notice quite quickly that publishers, distributors, artists, art schools, and craft dealers far outnumber the section for autograph signings and celebrity meetings (although that area did get much bigger this year compared to last).

And just to clarify, I’m in no way saying that the celebrity guest area should be smaller (especially since I wanted to meet so many of the celebrities there). It’s nice to know that I can walk 50 feet over to the Dick Blick or Copic Marker booth and splurge on some new supplies if I get a sudden rush of inspiration while walking through Artist Alley . I love that industry artists can be seen signing comics at the Marvel booth in the front of the con at noon, and then selling their own product in Artist Alley by 2:00pm. I love that there were too many panels related to art and storytelling for me to catch (seriously, if anyone has any links to videos I would really appreciate it, so much info was missed). And above all, I love how welcoming and honest all the artists were. I received a lot of great advice and I’m looking forward to taking all of those tips and tricks and jumping right back to the drawing board.

And dear lord, did I love the gigantic screen in the middle of Artist Alley displaying live art from some of my favorites.

2013 was actually my second year attending C2E2, and unlike last year where I stayed for about a day and a half, I decided to attend this year’s con open to close. While I felt there was so much more I could have seen, I would recommend hanging out at this con for as long as possible. It really is a treat, and even if you can’t see all of it you’ll still stimulate your inner art nerd. Trust me, you should see as much of C2E2 2014 as you possibly can!

 

Part 2: The Artists

Below are a few pictures and some insights of the artists I had the pleasure of meeting at C2E2 2013.

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The first exhibitors I struck up a conversation with were Comfort Love and Adam Withers, the hivemind creators behind the Harvey Award-nominated Rainbow in the Dark and The Uniques. I ran into these two a year ago at Anime Central and purchased volumes 1 and 2 of Rainbow in the Dark after I attended their “How to Make Comics” panel. Once I heard their personal story about why they decided to give up all else and make comics, I was sold on trying to do the same. Not only was I impressed that all of the responsibilities of Rainbow in the Dark–from story and art to printing and publishing–were shared by Comfort and Adam themselves, but I was also impressed that the book was such a wonderful read!

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Rainbow in the Dark is a unique and inspirational story told by unique and inspirational people. It chronicles the life of a young girl named Donna as she fights to bring color into a black and white world… Literally! An entropic force known as “The Gloom” has robbed the world of its color, and it’s up to Donna and a Mötley Crüe (pun so totally intended) of musicians to take back the spectrum!

I never knew that a rock opera could exist in a medium that doesn’t directly employ sound, but somehow these two pulled it off. Rainbow in the Dark is really a pleasure to read and I can’t wait to see (and of course review!) how these two are going to end their saga in the upcoming volume 3.

Check out Comfort Love and Adam Withers here.
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Pictured here are Bryan JL Glass, writer and creator of the acclaimed Image series The Mice Templar, and kick-ass colorist Serena Guerra (seriously, check out her stuff or take a look at chapters 7+8 of The Mice Templar). I ran into Bryan last year at C2E2 and purchased parts 1+2 of The Mice Templar: Destiny and was on the edge of my seat at the turn of every page. I was so impressed with volume 2 that I gifted him some cake and wine at this year’s con (that’s right, tip your comic book writers, people!), and then immediately purchased volume 3, A Midwinter Night’s Dream.

After chatting with Bryan this weekend, it’s clear to me that he’s a man who really loves his work. If he had the time he would talk with every fan for days regarding the engaging world he has worked so hard to create.

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The Mice Templar is superb and belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in contemporary fantasy storytelling. The story centers on creatures and settings we take for granted (such as mice and rats in a field) and infuses them with things we dream of (such as destiny and magic, or a return to the better days of yore).

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to what awaits Karic, our protagonist, in this third volume that I am so eager to read and review!

You can follow Bryan on Twitter for updates.

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Pictured here is the fun and lovely Chandra Free, who I spoke with after she co-hosted the “Let’s Make a Character” panel for her friends Comfort Love and Adam Withers. Chandra made a great first impression and seems to have a very jovial personality about her, which I also found charming. She gave me some good advice as well as convinced me to buy her book, The Godmachine, published by Archaia Studios. I’m looking forward to giving the book a try, even though I might not be its target audience. But hey, never judge a book by it’s cover (but if it helps, this book’s cover is still damn good).

Check out Chandra and her book The God Machine.

More of my in-depth recollections of this year’s great convention are still to come! See you next week! Thanks for reading.