For those that live in and around Chicago December usually means one thing, here comes the snow. Well, this year was a little different. One, there was no snow, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) took place this past weekend. Now with ReedPop moving C2E2 to December this year, they never had to cancel the show. But the real question was with it taking place in December and having to deal with COVID-19 precautions would the show be the same as in the past? So, I spent this past weekend in Chicago talking to fans, vendors, and celebrities and decided to put together my review on C2E2 2021.

Congratulations to Krystal and Ross. There is always something magical happening at C2E2.

C2E2 Guest Lineup

OK, we all know one of the first things we look at before going to a convention is the guest lineup. Over the years C2E2 has been known for having a pretty strong lineup. This year was no different. Star Wars fans were excited about the chance of meeting Hayden Christen, Giancarlo Esposito (replaced Ming-Na Wen), Diana Lee Inosanto, Timothy Zahn, and others. Star Wars guests weren’t the only people keeping fans busy. Wrestling and Anime lines were also hopping as well. With wrestling names like John Cena, Brock and Arn Anderson, Chelsea Green, Matt Cardona, CM Punk, and others; along with anime guests such as Cristina Vee, David Matranga, Eric Vale, Amanda C. Miller, and more, you had a lot to choose from in these fandoms. Karan Ashley (Power Rangers), Stene Strait (The Expanse), and other actors made an appearance as well.

Now, most of the meet and greets went pretty smooth. For most of the time, the lines moved pretty quickly. Then there were two lines that were nightmares to wait in. You probably guessed right, they were Hayden Christen and John Cena. With Christen only being there Saturday and Sunday and Cena only Saturday you can see why. Some people reported waiting in line for four to five hours. The biggest complaint that I got when talking to fans was that the time slots that were purchased for these guests were not being followed by the staff and people from all different times were getting into the line. This not only caused long lines but people missing other autograph times as well.

Comic Guests and Artist Alley

One of the hottest areas during C2E2 was the artist alley. Now if you are a C2E2 veteran you might have noticed a few big names missing from this year’s lineup. But that didn’t stop this area and other artist booths on the floor from being packed. Comic legend Chris Claremont highlighted this year’s comic guests lineup. And with Charles Soule, Amy Chu, Kyle Higgins, Rob Liefeld, and so many others, comic book fans had a lot of amazing talent to check out.

I also have to mention some of the amazing artists that also kept things in artist alley and around the show floor happy. As you all know pop culture prints and sketches are always a must when at a show and of course C2E2 was no different. Artists like Joe Corroney, Rob Taylor (Herofied Art), and Ryan Browne were just some of the many that you were shoulder to shoulder looking at their work. Overall I thought the artist and comic guests were the highlights of this year’s C2E2.

The Convention Floor

Like many conventions this year the C2E2 had a different feel to it. The biggest thing you noticed was there was a lot more empty space. Of course, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic rows were more spaced out to help with social distancing. Doing this and what seemed to be a shortage of vendors gave the floor an empty feeling But what really hurt the overall feel of the show this year was the absence of major vendors like Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse Comics. With these vendors gone there was very little excitement about convention exclusives and panels that would normally be there.

Now, even with these major vendors absent from this year’s C2E2, there was still a lot to do. There were plenty of comic and toy vendors in attendance. Shops like Comics Elite and The Comic Mint had some exclusive covers to keep fans happy. Also if you came there looking for toys there were a lot (and I mean a lot) of vintage and modern toy vendors as well. Oh yeah if you were looking for Funko Pops! they were everywhere.

The Cosplay

Just like every year, the cosplayers were amazing. From Spider-Man to Transformers it was hard not to find one of your favorite characters running around the floor. I mean can you really say anything bad about cosplayers? These people bring their a-game every year and it just keeps getting better. Also, you can’t have a convention without a cosplay competition and this year’s champion “transformed” into something amazing. Here is a look at your C2E2 cosplay winners.

Congrats to BMB cosplay , the winner of the C2E2 Cosplay Celebration! Here are the top three:

  • First: BMB cosplay as Soundwave from Transformers
  • Second: Say it Aint Sew as The Raven Queen from Dungeons & Dragons
  • Third: Valerie Meachum (IG: vmeachum) as Marion Lavorre The Ruby of the Sea from Critical Role

My Final Thoughts

Going into C2E2 this year I did not expect a lot. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on and with the convention moved to December you just knew it was not going to be the same. With the floor spaced, what seemed to be a lot fewer vendors, and of course fewer people, you just didn’t get that big convention feeling like past C2E2s. Also, I know this may sound strange but one big complaint fans and vendors had that I talked to was there was no carpet on the show floor. Just walking around on straight concrete was bugging a lot of people.

With that being said C2E2 was still fun and exciting. The guests that came to to the convention seemed to be in great spirits and interacted with the fans as much as they could. The vendors that were there had amazing stuff like always. It was hard to walk down an aisle and not spend money. But I would say my favorite thing from C2E2 this year was Artist Alley. From the comic creators to the artists the talent there was overwhelming at times. As a pop culture fan, it would be hard to leave the artist alley disappointed.

Overall I would give C2E2 2021 an average rating. Even though I loved the more room on the floor, as I said before, with the number of people and vendors down from past years you could just feel a difference in this year’s convention. Unfortunately, until the COVID pandemic gets under control C2E2 and other conventions might be like this for a while. Let’s just hope we can continue this path of conventions still happening and that we start seeing some of the major players back like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and more.

Can’t wait to see you all next year when C2E2 returns August 5-7, 2022!

We Want To Hear From You

What were your thoughts about C2E2 2021? Are you planning on returning next year? Also, what guests would you like to see make a C2E2 appearance? Well, That Hashtag Show wants to hear from you!

You can tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment below or hitting me up at starwarsnerd574. Also, make sure to stay up to date on all the Pop Culture news by following us at More importantly, be safe, I can’t wait to see you all at some conventions this year!