Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2011: Full Report
C2E2 - Exhibit Hall & Gallery

by Bamboo Dong, Mar 22nd 2011

Despite the modest size of the show floor at this year's Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, the diversity of the dealers and exhibitors was enough to engross any attendee for at least a couple of hours. Being a comics show, there was the usual spread of comic book dealers, with wares ranging from contemporary trade paperbacks, to golden, silver, and bronze-era comics, to a wide selection of indie comics. I was personally delighted to find Terry's Comics, an Orange, CA-based trader that had cartons of old science fiction pulps, of which I collect vigorously as an avid Isaac Asimov fan.

Also in attendance was Hi-Chew, a candy that many anime fans are likely familiar with, who was giving out free samples all weekend long. Every dollar of their retail sales was being donated to Japan relief, and it was heartening to see that they sold out of product long before the weekend was over.

Of course, there was plenty of other items for fans to spend their money on, from Star Wars collectibles, to t-shirts, to vintage toys, to the ever-ubiquitous corsets and steampunk gear, and swords shaped like Cloud Strife's Buster from Final Fantasy VII. Notably, there was one particular Dr. Who stand who had one of the coolest things I had ever seen—a functional phone booth-shaped wardrobe changer ($130) that even had a rack inside to hang clothes—or an official Dr. Who coat, which was also present at the booth.

For fans looking for custom pieces and small-run prints, the Artist Alley was located at the back of the show floor. Amongst them, my new favorite artist, Carlos Gabriel Ruiz, who not only has a fabulous anthology of crime stories, but also assisted me in my own crime escapade.

The only disappointing thing about the exhibitor's hall this year was the presence of not one, but at least three tables of bootleg videos and CDs. They were mainly of older titles that have long since dropped out of the light of day, but some boasted titles like Disney's Song of the South, which will likely not enter the public domain in the recent future. Fortunately, it didn't seem like these tables were moving much product, but in the future, it would be nice if the convention staff were more vigilant about such dealers.

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