Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (2024)

Winged, caped, one or two of them green-skinned, they streamed into a great hall sprouting massive concrete pillars — a scene that conjured a vast intergalactic visitor arrivals lounge.

They passed though a security checkpoint, displaying their blasters, battle axes and lightsabers.

They came in peace.

If they were wise, they also came with a game plan to successfully navigate the vast maze of toys, curiosities, artists and celebrities inhabiting McCormick Place through Sunday for C2E2, the Midwest’s largest pop culture convention. The best option is to download the event’s mobile app, which provides detailed maps, coupon books, schedule updates, notifications and more.

Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (1)

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

A particularly difficult challenge, it would have appeared, for Warren Swanson, 21, of Batavia, who brought an 8-foot-long, 3D-printed Space Battleship Yamato from the Japanese anime series of the same name. Swanson, dressed in the red-and-white naval uniform of the character Susumu Kodai, planned to wheel his creation around the convention all day Friday on a hand-built cart.

“This is my love letter to the (anime) series,” Swanson said.

Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (2)

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Before he could share it, he had to get the thing in the parking garage elevator.

Easy, he said, showing how the magnetized hull could be broken down into various pieces. Swanson spent the rest of the day navigating corridors of glowing light sabres (from $99 all the way to $1,600), foam swords, cellophane-wrapped comic books and thousands of other glittery trinkets.

Conventiongoers also have the opportunity to get autographs and photos with favorite celebrities, which, this year, include actors Christopher Lloyd, Chad Michael Murray and Cristo Fernandez.

Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (3)

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Swanson kept getting stopped for a photo — no mean feat in a place swarming with a dead ringers for Batman, Spiderman and Captain America, among hundreds of other fantastical characters meticulously brought to life. Swanson obliged, saluting and clicking the heels of his black leather boots.

Eileen Peterson’s problem Friday was that her world had overnight dissolved into a blur — the price to pay for becoming “Gwen,” a deerlike character from the video game “Spiritfarer.” To achieve the effect, Peterson, 34, wore white contact lenses with tiny perforations over each pupil.

‘C2E2’

When: Through April 28

Where: McCormick Place, 2301 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Info: c2e2.com

“I have an idea of shapes, so I have an awareness of where people are,” said Peterson, who lives in Memphis. “If the landscape is changing, I have what we call in the industry, a cosplay handler.”

With that, she gestured to her best friend Toria Olivier, 34, who lives in Chicago.

Peterson said she was going for authenticity.

“So I figured that being blind for a few hours was worth it to have good photos with my best friend that will be memories for a long time,” said Peterson, who also had on 3-inch heels.

Erin Cox’s challenge was keeping the cash in her pocket, in a place that can suck you dry in an instant — at least until you find the nearest ATM.

Cox, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, found herself in front of a booth that sold ultrarealistic light sabers, most going for hundreds of dollars.

“I want all of them,” said Cox, 31.

Not that she really needed any, she said. She brought her boyfriend along at least in par, to warn her if she was getting a panicky urge to spend.

“It is overwhelming to look around,” she said. “There are so many things that you want.”

Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (5)

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Steve Ormins’ hope was to survive intact for about two hours for a Chicago-themed tableaux with a group of friends. With wide Styrofoam wings taped to his arms, he looked as though he were trying out a doomed human-powered flying contraption. But when he stood fully upright, he morphed into, of all things, the Daley Plaza’s Picasso sculpture.

It took him about one week to make the costume, Ormins said. He briefly considered coming as the “Rat Hole,” the North Side sidewalk imprint that’s now been removed. But he decided he wanted something classier.

“It’s way more iconic,” Ormins said of the Picasso.

Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (6)

Gina Venable, who is dressed as one of the Superdawg logos, takes a peek from the side of her costume as she stands in between another Superdawg character and an eagle during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Steve Ormins, who is dressed as “The Picasso,” fixes his costume near the entrance during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (8)

Friends Eileen Peterson (right), who is dressed as Gwen from “Spiritfarer,” and Toria Olivier, who is dressed as Stella from “Spiritfarer,” hold hands during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. Olivier has to hold Peterson’s hand to help guide her through the crowd because of mesh contact lenses that she is wearing. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Adam Flores, dressed as Ken from the “Barbie” movie, poses for an attendee during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Maggie Moran (left), who is dressed as Night Watch from the game “Identity V,” and Tiana Mansour, who is dressed as Haru from the television series “Beastars,” stand together during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Emily Arroyo, who is dressed as Nico Robin from the animated series “One Piece,” smiles during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Matthew Will, who is dressed as his dad, stands with milk bottles and a poster that reads, “I am so proud of you! -Dad” near the entrance of Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. Will said many of the characters that people dress as do not have father figures, so he wanted to make them realize, “some dads leave to get milk and don’t come back but I brought the milk with me to tell everybody they’re worth coming back for.” | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Greg, who is dressed as an In-N-Out employee, and Maribeth, who is dressed as Isabel from the game Animal Crossing, stand beside each other during the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Attendees dressed as characters enter the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2 at McCormick Place, Friday, April 26, 2024. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Heading to C2E2 this weekend? Have a game plan ready to navigate its vast offerings (2024)

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