6 spectacular things you can do at C2E2 this weekend

  • More than 400 artists will show off their work this year at C2E2.

      More than 400 artists will show off their work this year at C2E2. Sean Stangland | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/27/2020 10:34 AM

The biggest and best pop culture convention in the Chicago area is back a little earlier than usual this year, bringing a wide array of fun experiences to the South Building at McCormick Place this weekend.

The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, better known as C2E2, runs Friday, Feb. 28, to Sunday, March 1, in the city's gigantic exposition hall, and organizers will once again make travel easier for suburbanites with three shuttle buses that will pick up near other public transportation hubs. (Go to c2e2.com/About/Travel/Shuttles for more information.) Once you're there, you can show off your costume, get a glimpse of celebrities such as William Shatner, George Takei and Karl Urban (hmm, do you sense an enterprising theme there?), and make your credit card sweat bullets with all the cool merch you'll want to buy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But where to begin? With these recommendations from a regular attendee (that's me):

Meet artists from around the world

(Artist Alley, all days)

The best part of any pop-culture convention is the vast expanse of tables where you can buy posters, sketches, calendars, jewelry, books and more, all directly from the artists who created them. They include comic-book artists such as Streamwood's Art Baltazar, animators including Bob Camp ("Ren & Stimpy"), viral favorites like Megan Lara and Karen Hallion and hundreds more -- more than 400, going by the list online.

You can learn how to draw your favorite characters at C2E2.
You can learn how to draw your favorite characters at C2E2. - File photo
Learn how to draw Bugs Bunny

(Booth 2027, all days)

... or Daffy Duck, or other Looney Tunes characters on their very own comic book cover. The Chuck Jones Studio Drawing booth will teach you how to channel the legendary animator in the convention's Family HQ area. If you want to go beyond pencil and paper, you can also get creative with some clay at the same booth.

Isa Briones of "Star Trek: Picard" will appear at C2E2.
Isa Briones of "Star Trek: Picard" will appear at C2E2. - Associated Press
Hear from 'Trek's' newest stars

(Room S401, 5 to 6 p.m. Friday)

Isa Briones plays a mysterious clone who might be the daughter of Lt. Cmdr. Data. Evan Evagora plays a Romulan warrior who gives off major Legolas vibes. The actors behind Soji and Elnor, two new characters from the CBS All Access show "Star Trek: Picard," will talk about their adventures with the famous starship captain in a Q&A panel free to all guests.

Get a sneak peek at "Ex Machina" director Alex Garland's new FX series at C2E2.
Get a sneak peek at "Ex Machina" director Alex Garland's new FX series at C2E2. - Associated Press
Get a peek at FX's new sci-fi show

(Room S404, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Saturday)

Alex Garland, the director of acclaimed films "Ex Machina" and "Annihilation," will introduce a sneak peek at his new FX series "Devs," about a software engineer (Sonoya Mizuno) who butts heads with a mysterious Silicon Valley CEO played by Joliet's own Nick Offerman -- you know him better as Ron Swanson. I hope the tech biz still affords him plenty of time to eat eggs and bacon.

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Rich Koz has been scaring up fun as Svengoolie since 1979. He'll be celebrated with a panel discussion at C2E2.
Rich Koz has been scaring up fun as Svengoolie since 1979. He'll be celebrated with a panel discussion at C2E2. - Daily Herald file photo
Celebrate 40 years of Svengoolie

(Room S504, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday)

Chicago staple Rich Koz, better known by his late-night horror-host alias, answers your questions in a panel discussion.

The Incredible Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo, will sign autographs, pose for pictures and grace the main stage this year at C2E2.
The Incredible Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo, will sign autographs, pose for pictures and grace the main stage this year at C2E2. - Associated Press
Hulk out with Mark Ruffalo

(Main stage, also streamed to Room S404, 10 a.m. Sunday)

A bona fide big-screen Avenger holds court on C2E2's main stage. (I'll be the guy trying to ask him about "Zodiac" and "You Can Count On Me.") You can get an autograph or a picture with Mark Ruffalo at the convention, too, if your wallet is willing -- a signature will cost you $200 and a pic $220. Go to C2E2.com/Guests/Photo-Ops for Ruffalo's schedule and to buy add-on tickets.

• Follow Widescreen columnist Sean Stangland on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.

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C2E2 convention

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-29, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 1

Where: McCormick Place, South Building, 2301 S. King Drive, Chicago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Adult prices: $85 for three-day passes, $35 for Friday, $45 for Saturday, $40 for Sunday. Prices go up by $10 on the day of the show; buy in advance at C2E2.com.

Kids prices: $20; Sunday-only pass for $10

Parking: $36 a day at McCormick Place. Public transportation recommended.

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