WBEZ | C2E2 http://www.wbez.org/tags/c2e2 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Comic Con not just about comics anymore http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-comic-con-not-just-about-comics-anymore-108362 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ComicCon 130809 AY.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-7e37b6c1-6389-5601-b093-dcb6943238d5">Comic book fans will be going to Chicago Comic Con at Rosemont Friday through Sunday, but the show is no longer just about comics.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://www.wizardworld.com/home-ch.html">headlining guests</a> include Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto and former NBA player Dennis Rodman. Some local artists say the shift towards pop culture in general is taking away a platform to promote their work, especially for independent creators.The more established Chicago Comic Con is also in direct competition with the <a href="http://www.c2e2.com/Home/">Chicago Comic &amp; Entertainment Expo (C2E2)</a> which has been coming to McCormick Place every spring since 2010.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago artist <a href="http://www.jillthompsonart.com/bio.html">Jill Thompson</a> has shown her work at Chicago Comic Con and many other conventions around the world, though she is not going to this one. She says the event used to be a way for comic creators to talk to publishers and meet fans, but that is no longer emphasized.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Comic creators who have been going to conventions for over 20 years, like myself, finally got to the point where they don&rsquo;t feel like they are very welcome, or it&rsquo;s something that they can look forward to actually do, when it used to be something that you did as part of your job,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You sold artwork and made business connections, and kind of got pushed out of it all. And it&rsquo;s kind of disheartening.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She points out that when fans approach comic creators at conventions, they can see upcoming work or leave with a product the artist worked on, whereas meeting a celebrity often involves paying for just a picture or autograph.</p><p dir="ltr">Thompson says although she still travels to some conventions, she also relies on social media to talk to fans and show upcoming work. She says she looks forward to convention organizers finding a happy medium between pop culture and comic book programs.</p><p dir="ltr">However, others, like local artist <a href="http://timseeleyart.blogspot.com/">Tim Seeley</a>, say Chicago Comic Con&rsquo;s move away from its roots is not as much of a problem.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the place you go to see the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite, and the guy who hosts a reality TV show, but it&rsquo;s still a comic book show at its heart,&rdquo; Seeley says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a little bit more focused on what I would call the normal people, instead of the hardcore comic book fans.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Seeley does say he&rsquo;s been hearing a lot of concerns about how much the event costs now. A four-week pass, if purchased at the door, will set you back $100, and Seeley says this is the first time many acquaintances have called him wondering if he can get them discounted tickets as a guest.</p><p dir="ltr">He points out that C2E2 tries to brand itself differently from the Chicago Comic Con, and most agree. Artist <a href="http://www.wizardworld.com/russelllissau.html">Russell Lissau</a> says he sees a lot of the same people at both conventions, but Chicago Comic Con is still his favorite, precisely because the big publishers like Marvel and DC don&rsquo;t come.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Chicago Comic Con is much more of an independent show where the writers and artists are on their own, celebrating their own work without the publishers&rsquo; involvement,&rdquo; Lissau says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a way to meet your favorite creators without having to wait an hour at the Marvel booth or the DC booth to do it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Blogger Lauren Rapciak, who writes <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/geek-girl-chicago/">Geek Girl Chicago</a>, says she prefers C2E2 because it&rsquo;s run by fans and thus more welcoming. But, she says, although Chicago Comic Con has shifted from its roots as a comic convention, it will undoubtedly remain successful.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going for comic content, you will be disappointed,&rdquo; Rapciak says. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going for television, or to see great costumes, or to buy merchandise, you can still have a good time. But it is no longer just a comic con.&rdquo;</p><p>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039">@Alan_Yu039</a></p></p> Fri, 09 Aug 2013 09:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-comic-con-not-just-about-comics-anymore-108362 C2E2 and Dark Lord Day let adults express inner adolescent http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/c2e2-and-dark-lord-day-let-adults-express-inner-adolescent-106886 <p><p>This weekend I went on an odyssey of sorts, through some of the strongholds of American popular culture.</p><p>Friday night I was at McCormick Place for <a href="http://www.c2e2.com/">C2E2 &ndash; the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.</a></p><p>Then Saturday, along with my colleagues Tim Akimoff and Andrew Gill, I headed to Munster, Indiana to brave <a href="http://darklordday.com/">Dark Lord Day</a>, the annual heavy metal and beer event hosted by Three Floyds Brewing Company.</p><p>Both are fairly major cultural events. Over 50,000 folks made their way through C2E2 over the weekend. And in just a few years, attendance at Dark Lord Day has grown from a couple of hundred to 8,000, according to organizers.</p><p>Over the course of two days I got to talk with lots of great people: Local and international master brewers, musicians, comic book talent scouts, graphic artists, and novelists.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="169" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/S0dDMa-VGoI?rel=0" width="300"></iframe>Many are enormously talented professionals, approaching or at the height of their game.</div><p>Still, in the midst of all this adult achievement, I couldn&rsquo;t help feeling like I was among a pack of highly articulate adolescents.</p><p>Reading/talking about comics? Drinking huge amounts of beer? Headbanging and comparing tattoos?</p><p>The Gen Y and Millennial crew may be growing old, but their cultural choices haven&rsquo;t aged at all.</p><p>This isn&rsquo;t entirely new. Baby boomers were probably the first contemporary cohort to believe getting older didn&rsquo;t mean putting away childish things, like their attachment to rock music. Instead they aged along with their cultural heroes, who in turn kept on playing and picked up new fans among the boomer offspring. Turns out it can be incredibly awkward when you and your Dad like the same band.</p><p>What does feel different now is that we&rsquo;re not just remaining attached to our superheroes and suds, we&rsquo;re giving them an upgrade.</p><p>Older music fans at Dark Lord talked about local band Bloodiest as &ldquo;adult metal&rdquo; (and were unabashed in their praise of concerts that allowed them to get their metal fix and ended at a reasonable hour).</p><p>And though keg stands are no longer the center of a party, that&rsquo;s likely because the beer is way too good, too expensive, and too high in alcohol content to drink in volume.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7222_dld6-scr.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Dark Lord, that pitch black, viscous, burnt sugar, sticky toffee and chocolate bomb of a Russian Imperial Stout, has an ABV of 15 percent and cost $15 for a 22 ounce bottle. Barrel variants sold for a whopping $50.</p><p>For a once-a-year beer, that price might be more reasonable than daunting. And clearly the Dark Lord crowd has the means to pay more. Outside the event, the ground was littered with rows of empty craft beer bottles, high end &nbsp;&ldquo;dead soldiers&rdquo; tailgaters had brought to drink or trade for other rare beer.</p><p>Back at C2E2, &nbsp;many attendees have similarly deep pockets, and are willing to shell out for elaborate cosplay costumes, rare back issues, or other comic related paraphernalia (a couple of guys from Los Angeles were hawking expensive wooden glasses frames imprinted with vintage comic book art).</p><p>All of this might provide further evidence of the cultural rise of &ldquo;nerds&rdquo;, the decidedly dude mentality at play in much of pop culture, or our general refusal (or inability?) to become adults.</p><p>And there&rsquo;s merit to that line of thinking. After all, is it just a coincidence that the forthcoming (and highly anticipated) comic <a href="http://www.themarysue.com/peter-panzerfaust-voice-cast/">Peter Panzerfaust </a>features that little boy who just wouldn&rsquo;t grow up?</p><p>Still, like it or not, many of the tastes acquired in our adolescent years are pretty much driving adult or mainstream culture right now, often with fantastic results.</p><p>Take Chicago&rsquo;s growing taste for fancy fast food.</p><p>Every week seems to bring another Irish pub, burger or rib joint, or taco stand run by a celebrity chef. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ParsonsChicago">Parson&rsquo;s Chicken and Fish</a>, a tonier take on shack food which opens any day now, will serve margaritas with a &ldquo;Sour Patch Kids&rdquo; flavored rim, and a Negroni &ldquo;slushie&rdquo; machine behind the bar. Novelty yes, but those frozen cocktails are delicious.</p><p>And even the most challenging cultural forms have been invaded. I ended my Saturday night at the opening program of <a href="http://www.constellation-chicago.com/">Frequency</a>, an ambitious new music series run by The Chicago Reader&rsquo;s Peter Margasak.</p><p>Openers <a href="http://www.brianlabycz.com/thegreenpasturehappiness.html">The Green Pasture Happiness</a>, a trio of young electronics improvisers, make music with modular synthesizers, and as good as they sound, put on a show that looked less like a musical performance and more like a software hackathon.</p><p>Meanwhile, Dal Niente&rsquo;s Mabel Kwan closed the evening with <a href="http://www.stefanprins.be/eng/composesInstrument/comp_2011_01_pianohero.html">Stefan Prins Piano Hero #1</a>, in which the piano and pianist, thanks to a midi keyboard, live electronics and video, are transformed into a glitchy, herky jerky variant on a Nintendo game.</p><p>Both offered further proof that adolescent pursuits, in the right hands, can in fact age well, into complex and yes, suitable-for-adults cultural fare.</p><p>The interview above offers another example: Marvel Comics talent scout C. B. Cebulski and comic artist Matthew Wade, who attended both C2E2 and Dark Lord Day, talk about how comic art inspired the mad delicious <a href="http://beer.findthebest.com/l/1153/Three-Floyds-Zombie-Dust">Three Floyds beer Zombie Dust</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br /><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter. Follow her<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> @wbezacuddy</a>, on<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and on<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/c2e2-and-dark-lord-day-let-adults-express-inner-adolescent-106886 C2E2 and the hierarchy of nerd culture http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/c2e2-and-hierarchy-nerd-culture-106772 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Picture-036.jpg" style="height: 238px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Two Batmans and a Robin at C2E2 2011. (c2e2.com)" />Bronies. Homestucks. Browncoats. Whovians. Do these words sound like gobbledigook to you? Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of nerds.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The Chicago Comic &amp; Entertiainment Expo (<a href="http://www.c2e2.com" target="_blank">C2E2</a>) is headed to McCormick Place April 26-28, and fans have a lot to look forward to this year. In addition to costume contests and sci-fi speed dating, C2E2-ers will have access to three days worth of panels, screenings and other <a href="http://c2e213.mapyourshow.com/5_0/specials.cfm" target="_blank">geek-tastic exhibitions</a>. Spotlight guests include Patton Oswalt, Kevin Smith, Felicia Day, Adam West, Ron Perlman, R.L. Stine and <a href="http://www.c2e2.com/Whos-Coming/Guests/Comic-Guests/" target="_blank">many more</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In an <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/geek-love-new-normal-105118" target="_blank">earlier post</a>, I referenced what I have coined &quot;the hierarchy of nerdom.&quot; Now that &quot;geek&quot; and &quot;nerd&quot; have become positive terms (all but <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-changing-face-of-nerds-and-autism-in-popular-c,91151/" target="_blank">defining pop culture </a>as we know it), the tables have turned. Instead of ignoring or bullying the nerds like they did in high school, grownup hipsters are practically falling over themselves in attempts to prove their ultimate nerdiness.</div><p>Unfortunately, admittance from <a href="http://www.howstuffworks.com/geek-chic.htm" target="_blank">mainstream geek chic</a> into the &quot;real&quot; nerd subculture is now almost as impossible as a mathlete getting asked to sit with the popular kids at lunch. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2012/11/fake-nerd-girls-whores-and-sexism" target="_blank">Fake Geek Girl</a>&nbsp;meme has become an outlet for nerds to vent their frustrations at pretty girl poseurs, many of whom just pretend to be geeky so that they can attract their own version of Joseph Gordon Levitt in a sweater vest. Still, the idea that women can&#39;t be as nerdy as men (especially in the <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/internet/2012/07/what-online-harassment-looks" target="_blank">gaming community</a>) is sexist as best, blatantly misogynistc at worst.</p><p>If I had a nickel for every time that someone has told me, &quot;Pretty girls can&#39;t be &#39;real&#39; nerds&quot; or some other nerd-elitist putdown in relation to my gender, then I would have enough money to&nbsp;publish 10 ebooks&nbsp;of dystopian science fiction&nbsp;and build my own <a href="http://www.themarysue.com/hogwarts-castle-model/" target="_blank">Hogwarts</a>&nbsp;castle just to spite them.&nbsp;</p><p>Yes, women can be nerds too. And although not every self-proclaimed geek may share the same fandom, establishing hierachies of nerdery (&quot;You&#39;re not a &#39;real&#39; nerd unless you watch/read/play X, Y and Z&quot;) isn&#39;t much better than dividing up teams for kickball and picking the scrawny kids last.</p><p>Even if you feel like you&#39;re not &quot;nerdy enough&quot; to attend a convention like C2E2, you might be surprised. Maybe <a href="http://www.cosplay.com" target="_blank">cosplay</a> isn&#39;t your cup of tea, but gaming and graphic novels are right up your alley. Ultimately, we define our nerdom for ourselves, and how we choose to identify within a culture should not be decided by the prejudicial rules and marginalizations of others.</p><p>At C2E2, everyone is welcome; so whether you&#39;re a newbie to geek culture or a die-hard aficionado of all things nerd, there will be a place at the &quot;cool&quot; table with your name on it. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>&nbsp;or join the nerd conversation on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em>.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/c2e2-and-hierarchy-nerd-culture-106772