Alright folks, I have made it safely home to the beautiful Detroit suburbs, and it’s time for my final thoughts and wrap up on C2E2 2023, a con that had some ups and downs, but still managed to be a great experience for me this year yet again. For this wrap up, I thought I’d use an older format I used to use quite a bit, the old Good, Bad, and Ugly breakdown. However, since my experience was way more good than bad, I hope you’ll forgive me if I save the good for last so I can end on a high note!
If you can’t, well then I guess scroll down and read back up? It’s a free country, so follow your bliss!
Location, location, location! If I have one major gripe, it was how things were located at this year’s con, both in terms of location in space, and location in time.
In terms of time, Reedpop decided to run the con against both Wonder Con in Florida and Wrestlemania. The result of this was that a lot of fans and a lot of creators had to make some hard choices. I saw many creators that I have grown accustomed to seeing at C2E2 posting that they were going to Wonder Con or other cons the week before, so it was a bit disappointing that I was not able to interact with everyone I was used to seeing.
A number of my friends as well were also unable to attend, or unwilling to pass up party plans for other events, and so that also caused some disappointment for me. Saturday was jam-packed with people, but Friday and Sunday were both fairly tame. A lot of people seemed to only want to give the con a single day, causing long lines and impatient guests on Saturday, but more on that later.
And speaking of timing and location, the panel schedule this year was, in a word, nuts. Multiple panels were scheduled at the same time, which is not usually a big deal, but the Charity Art Auction, one of the most important panels in my mind, was not only crammed into a standing room only mini-hall, it was also scheduled head to head with the finals for the National Cosplay convention.
In fact, a lot of panels were crammed into tiny rooms, and “standing room only” was a phrase I heard a great deal this weekend. This was not an issue last year, so I am not sure if it was just that there were too many panels scheduled, or that there was not enough thought given to running these against each other, but some hard choices had to be made, and I was disappointed by having to make them.
I’m happy to sat that Reedpop has already decided to move the next con to April of next year, giving it some much needed breathing room. I just hope they also keep that philosophy in mind when it comes to booking the various panels people are looking to hold.
This is a hard one for me. There are things I could post, but I don’t want to be a negative person. Let me just say that the things I would say here were things that a lot of people said, and I know that staff was well aware of many of these issues. It is my hope that they will be fixed before next year, and I have faith that the organizers will do their best to fix them. Many issues were also out of ReedPop’s hands, so you just have to take the good with the bad sometimes.
But now I want to focus on the good.
Despite the lines, crowds, scheduling conflicts, and every other little thing, I had a really good time at the con. I spent way too much money on things I do not need but could not live without. My friends and I spent close to 3k at the art auction and helped push the lifetime total raised to close to 1 million dollars! That’s a heck of a positive milestone.
I personally spent $400 on some awesome original pieces by Sean Lenahan, and I saw a lot of other awesome pieces won by very happy collectors.
And while it was bummed to see a few familiar faces missing, I was able to get a ton of signatures and commissions done this year to add to my ever growing art collection and slabbed book collection (although next year CGC please put your booth back by the artists, I did too much walking to find a witness!)
And the con staff were fantastic. There was not a person in a ReedPop shirt that wasn’t friendly and helpful to everyone who asked. They made sure my friend with bad knees was taken care of, and they went out of their way to be welcoming and kind to everyone, and overall they did great.
For me, a con like this is about spending time meeting creators, admiring art and cosplay, and hanging with friends, and I was able to do all that this year.
I had a great conversation with many creators, especially Archie Artist extraordinaire Dan Parent, and one of my number one favourites, Zach Kaplan. Kaplan and I spoke about his books Port of Earth and Eclipse, as well as his latest title, Forever Forward. Getting this one on one time with these amazing indie publishers is the real treat for me at cons, and so it’s always nice when people whose work love are that that makes it great.
Was this year perfect? No, I can’t say that it was, but did I have a good time? Absolutely. Hopefully with some of the changes they are making to time next year’s C2E2 will be better, and if you see me wandering around with my floppy yellow hat, don’t be a stranger!
Until next time, stay safe.