C2E2 – Jon’s weekend


C2E2 debuted in 2010 and we’ve been to each one. Up to this year we went down for a day, this year we did Saturday and Sunday at the con. Our trip to 2012’s C2E2 was loads of fun as we traveled down with Dan and Kate, Jo and Bryan were meeting us there and we stayed with our friend Tasha. Tasha spent Saturday at Romantic Times  con so we brought along her son Xander as a brand new contributor. I always love watching people at their first comic convention and it sure seemed like Xander had fun.

Most of you only know Kate and Dan from this blog and the magazine, let me tell you, spending 4 days with them was a blast. They are both funny as Hell and their enthusiasm is boundless.  They both made us all laugh all weekend.

After arriving on Friday in Chicago and eating some wonderful food we got a got a good night’s sleep and were ready to go first thing Saturday. (Well, actually I got a good night’s sleep, my fellow Crimespree crew members were subjected to my snoring as I fell asleep on my back. Sorry guys.) We drove the half hour over to McCormick place, parked and headed into the north building were the con was being held. It’s a nice large space and feels pretty open, a very nice venue. We got our passes and waited for the doors to open. Ruth and I headed directly to the Archaia booth as we had books to drop off for Mel Caylo, a tradition we started last year. Kate and Dan headed to artist Alley to drop off cookies to people who pledged money to her MS bike ride.

Archaia (http://www.archaia.com/) has a new booth set up and it’s really nice, screens set up behind the signing areas displaying who was signing and what they worked on. They also has a really nice center area built up and filled with nooks for all their books. These guys do a great job with presentation.  They also put our beautiful books. You know the minute you pick one up a lot of thought went into design so that the work the writers and artists did is shown off to its fullest. We got a number of books and I don’t even know what to read first as they all look terrific.

Here are some of the titles with a synopsis from their site:

Judge Bao

In China under the Northern Song Dynasty, the Empire saw tremendous growth and prosperity. But with great riches come great temptations, and the Emperor must constantly fight against the corruption of renegade military officers, abusive governors, corrupt businessmen, and regular bandits and thieves. To fight against this scourge, Emperor Ren Zong gave broad magistrate powers to a judge whose reputation would extend well beyond the borders of the Empire: Judge Bao (999-1062 CE).



In a world of primeval fantasy, a wood nymph adopts a pair of infants abandoned in the ancient forest, and they grow to exhibit mysterious powers of sorcery. Driniel is the night- wanderer, holding concourse with the darkling spirits of the deep groves. Alleyr is the flame of valor, rising to esteem in the ranks of the woodfolk hunters. When the brothers come of age and their brutal natures manifest, the Woodking exiles them into the savage world of Man. Alleyr bands the primitive human tribes while Driniel comes to rule an empire of demons, and beast- men. These two tribes wage a ceaseless battle for dominance of a strange and barbarous world, a battle that will fling open the very gates of the Underworld itself…

Genetiks tm

What happens to Thomas Hale when the company he works for cracks his genetic code? Genetiks is a pharmaceutical company on the cutting edge of biological science. Thomas Hale is one of thousands of employees in the Genetiks’ labs. Like his colleagues, he had agreed to give a drop of blood to his employers; a drop of blood that will allow the researchers at the company he works for to decode his entire genome. As the drop of blood is the property of Genetiks, Thomas will become, in effect, the first man to be privately owned by the corporation he works for.

Black Charity

A dark, cynical thriller set in the urban UK. When Charlie moves into his new flat, he meets a colorful array of new characters, including a dominatrix and a skinhead yabo, witnesses a murder, and finds himself on the run from assassins and fixers sent by the highest levels of government. Shades of Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss and the hardboiled style of 100 Bullets, all with a very British (as in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels British) accent.

Cow Boy

“Justice ain’t got no age.”  The story of a young bounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. He travels the Old West on a horse that ain’t his, and won’t stop til every one’a his kin’s in the clink.

Killing Pickman

Homicide Detective William Zhu has just made the arrest of his career. With the apprehension of Richard Pickman he has solved over 100 missing child cases, some of which date back over 30 years. The excavation of Pickman’s basement reveals horrors beyond imagination—the bodies of children mutilated in bizarre satanic rites. Frustrated with his role of clean-up man to the detritus of the world, Zhu makes what may be a fatal mistake: He decides to kill Pickman. Fatal, for Richard Pickman is no ordinary psychopath. The rituals he performed were not the work of a madman but sacrifices made to a very real demon. A demon who has granted Pickman near immortality. Killing Pickman is going to be a lot tougher than Zhu could have imagined. It may not even be possible.


A pre-apocalyptic tale, Everlast follows Derek Everlast, a man whose destiny in life is guiding others to a place of rebirth for mankind called Haven. Following an instinct called the Nudge, bestowed on him by a higher power, Derek is guided to the next chosen human destined to survive, a little girl named Melissa. In a harrowing adventure, he must deliver her safely to Haven before the End of Days. Everlast tells a story of choice, love, friendship, and, most of all, survival. Will you be chosen? Created and written by actor Chad Michael Murray (“One Tree Hill.”)

The Dare Detectives!

Reformed crook Maria Dare has assembled a team of misfits to crack the world’s weirdest cases! They have brains…they have guts…but they don’t have a clue! And in their first adventure, the Dare Detectives are finished! Rent’s due and their license is suspended, but Dare’s going-out-of-business festivities are interrupted by Madame Bleu – whose abominable snowmen pets are on a chef-stealing, radio-robbing, snowpea-swiping crime wave! Dare races against the clock to hunt down Madame Bleu with the help of corrupt cops and Chinatown’s old crime boss. But can these bunglers really prevent the most audacious – and inexplicably convoluted – crime of the century?

From the Archaia booth we headed over to DC Comics, and the first thing we did was get our picture taken with the Justice League. They had a green screen set up and your photo is added to the JLA, pretty cool and it’s a great picture. We talked with a number of old friends and introduced Dan and Kate to some of the publicity folks. Everyone we’ve met at DC has always been wonderful and we like to use their booth as our meet up area. They had a lot of great creators signing throughout the weekend and they gave out a lot of comics! Also a very cool newspaper mock up of the New Frontiersman to help promote the Before Watchman books.

Our next stop was Top Cow. We’re big fans of a their books and have covered a number of them over the years. We got a copy of LAST MORTAL, a story about a suicidal immortal. The cover alone was enough to make me want to read it and after Filip Sablik gave me the run down I knew it would be at the top of my reading list. It has a forward by Victor Gischler as well. Top Cow also has a series of crime fiction titles coming this summer and we are really looking forward to that.

We made out way around the con floor and headed to Artist Alley. We saw our buddy Tim Broderick, and got to meet some people we’ve been reading and also following on Twitter.  There are some great indie books out there. We stopped at Jill Thompson’s booth and said hello, Crimespree comics guru Jo Schmidt was helping Jill out for the weekend.


At 2:45 I went to go moderate a panel of thriller writers. We had a nice crowd and filled the room for James Rollins, Patrick Lee, Jamie Freveletti and the always awesome F Paul Wilson. It was I bit different doing a panel at a comic convention as I normally don’t get questions that tie into Dr. Who or the Avengers.


One of the real highlights for Ruth and I was finally meeting in person Jen Van Meter. We’ve known her via the internet for quite a while and good friends with her husband. We got to spend some time with her and I can safely say I could talk to her for hours. We picked up a copy of Hopeless Savages and had her sign it and Sunday Ruth went to a panel she was on that was in support of a book of essays called CHICKS DIG COMICS. We’re hoping to talk her into coming to Murder and Mayhem in Muskego for this year.

We also quite enjoyed meeting Mitch Gerards and Brent Schoonover, both very talented and cool guys.

Saturday night we were wiped out, we headed back to Tasha’s with about 120 pounds of comics between us. Dan got some really great sketches done, I raided one of the $5 trade booths and got a bunch of stuff I missed when it first came out. I also got a hardcover collection of BPRD from Dark Horse comics and a book of the cover art for DC of Brian Bolland.

Sunday was spent roaming and shopping. The floor was packed as they allowed kids in free on Sunday so a lot of families showed up. We saw a lot of cool costumes, though not as many as we had in the past. I do find it weird that a number of people dressed up and hung out in front of the entrance posing all day and never bothered to pay to go in. If you love this stuff enough to dress up like Batman or whoever, how can you not want to go and meet creators and buy comics? Strange.

Reed Pop! Does a great job of running this show, they attract a lot of big names and one day really isn’t enough to take it all in. If you dig comics or just enjoy pop culture, this is a great con and I would suggest you free your weekend for C2E2 4 next year.