by Jing Zhao Cesarone
CHICAGO, March 19 (Xinhua) — Stepping into Chicago’s McCormick Place on Friday is like diving head-first into a fantasyland, where America’s favorite superheroes like Spider-man and Superman are guests of honor. Comic fans can be kids again at the annual pop culture convention.
After much anticipation, the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) kicked off Friday and continues through Sunday at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.
The worlds of comics and film, collectibles and games combined into the biggest pop culture gala to hit the shores of Lake Michigan, bringing the heartbeat of American pop culture to the core of America’s heartland.
The expo connects comic and pop culture aficionados, media and industry professionals with the newest and most exciting products, personalities and characters in the world of pop culture and entertainment.
Besides a bevy of booths for the top names in publishing, some event highlights include celebrity guest appearances and new 2011 releases such as “Thor.”
Many accomplished high profile writers, artists, and creators including Brian Michael Bendis, China Mieville, Paul Cornell and Scott Snyder join or have plans to join the show.
Bendis was an obvious center of attention at the increasingly crowded booth of Marvel, a well-known American comic publisher. Wearing a big smile and in high spirits, he signed autographs and shook hands with his fans, saying “Thank you very much!”
Bryan Loltz, a graduate student and hard core comic fan, could hardly contain his excitement at meeting Bendis and getting his autograph. Enthusiastically showing his growing collection of comics and an iPhone photo of his room full of comic posters, Loltz said “I am just so excited to be here! It is unbelievable.”
Loltz’s friend Dan Latham, an actor who appeared in multiple hits such as “The Dark Knight,” was in the middle of a long line wrapping around the Marvel booth.
“We are waiting for autographs from Michael Bendis, one of the best writers in the field. He is my favorite Spider-man writer. I have loved Spider-man since I was a kid because he is just a regular guy trying to do good things, and one of the most relatable superheroes,” he told Xinhua.
“They (The comic companies) almost have everything here, like movie screenings, comics, gaming, and celebrities.”
Walking around the expo, one cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the variety of characters and personalities dressed in shining, brightly-colored costumes.
A couple of characters from X-Men: Ages of Apocalypse told Xinhua that “Every five feet we walk, we get stopped by people to talk and take pictures with us.”