Tag: chicago

That’s the Chicago way

I’ll be appearing at C2E2 at McCormick Place in Chicago on April 26-28. The con will be a debut of sorts for Athelta Comics, the publishing company founded by longtime Chicago Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije. Athleta’s first comic, The Protectors #0, will be available at Athleta’s booth, #903 (which I’m told will be located fairly close to Marvel’s large booth).

The #0 issue features 32 pages of content, including the prequel story that was serialized on the Athleta website, a full preview of issue #1, bios of all the main characters, as well as interviews. There are two covers by series artist Bart Sears, one showcasing the Protectors team, and the other a very limited sketch cover of Idonije in uniform. I wrote about putting together the issue in my CBR Shelf Life column, which can be read here:


The Athleta booth will have limited-edition #0 issues available for $10, while they last. Once the print run is gone, it’s gone. There’s also going to be a signed lithograph of the Bart Sears wraparound cover to issue #1, a strict edition of 100; a few different styles of Protectors T-shirts; giveaway cards and bookmarks; and the first three releases in the Athleta poster series, featuring NFL stars Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Jay Cutler. Israel Idonije, Bart Sears and I will be available at the Athleta booth to sign autographs.

The Athleta panel will take place 2-3 p.m. Friday, April 26, in Room W474, with Israel, Bart, me, letterer Troy Peteri and John Siuntres, of Word Balloon podcast, serving as moderator. There will be some special prize giveaways for panel attendees.

There will also be a ticketed signing with me, Bart and Izzy for Hero Initiative, the worthy charity that provides aid to elderly and in-need comic creators. The signing is 2-3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Hero Initiative booth. Tickets are $25, and include an exclusive Bart Sears litho of Israel Idonije. More information here:


Athleta intends to make a big impression in Chicago. Hope you can join us there.



The Drone Wars

Back from the C2E2 convention in Chicago. Good show in a good city, even if the attendance was less than anyone predicted or hoped for. Signed lots of books, saw lots of friends, got to do a panel with Bears linebacker and big-time comics fan Lance Briggs, debuted Magdalena #1 to a very positive response. All in all, had a great time.

I usually come away from cons with renewed excitement for the work. Writing in particular is a solitary pursuit, and feedback from the audience is pretty minimal save for the online community (which only represents a sliver of the readership). So getting to interact with readers in person is great. This time I was particularly struck by the contact between the comic show of C2E2 and the other convention that took up space in the McCormick Place facility: the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show & Conference.

The “bath show” was certainly a larger affair in terms of floor space, with lots of big, splashy displays (at least the ones I could see as I walked past). The attendees were a pretty uniform bunch – almost all white, everyone in a suit and tie or at least blazers and slacks, same haircuts. In other words, pretty dull. To be fair, I wouldn’t be enthused to have to look at bathroom and kitchen fixtures for three days either. But none of them seemed happy, nobody seemed excited. They just seemed … like drones.


The kitchen and bath show was held in two huge halls to either side of a wide interior walkway. The drones milled and chatted and stood in line at Starbucks, talking about slate countertops and porcelain sinks. All of which is fine, if that’s your thing. It only became troublesome when someone decided the folks headed for the comic con shouldn’t mix with the “bath bunch.”

In order to reach the C2E2 hall, you had to proceed down that wide walkway between the two halls hosting the kitchen and bath show. On Friday, that was fine. But on Saturday and Sunday, security was stopping anyone with a C2E2 badge from accessing the more convenient walkway. Instead, everyone was funneled to lower levels before emerging again closer to the comic hall. Not a big deal, I suppose, but in talking … uh, arguing … with security guards about it, I got the definite sense that the kitchen and bath people found the comic people somehow distasteful. I heard a few tales of encounters between the button-down bathers and folks in Stormtrooper uniforms or superhero costumes. So the comic people got shunted off to the side, so they wouldn’t sully the corporate-centric kitchen and bathroom displays.

But here’s the point. All the comic folks seemed excited, or at least pleased to be there. There was some joy. The kitchen and bath people … not so much. The comics community is not huge, comparatively. But everyone, from pros to fans to retailers, has a genuine affection for the medium, for what we do. And that’s something to be proud of.



That’s the Chicago way

Yes, that’s a reference to Sean Connery in “The Untouchables.”

I’m headed to the new C2E2 convention in Chicago this weekend, put on by Reed Exhibitions, the same folks who put on the New York Comic Con. C2E2 is being held at McCormick Place on South Lake Shore Drive. I’m looking forward to actually being in Chicago. Wizard’s Chicago convention was/is held in Rosemont, outside the city. Though there are now more hotel and restaurant choices in Rosemont, for a long time attending that show was like being marooned on Comic Island. Pretty much the only other people you encountered were there for the con. Well, except for the year that one of the hotels was also playing host to a Beatles convention, which meant a lot of people sitting in the halls at 3 a.m. playing “Blackbird” on acoustic guitars. Badly.

I only made it into Chicago from Rosemont once, when artist and Chicago resident Gary Gianni picked me up and gave me a tour of the city. We ended up eating at a Thai restaurant not far from Wrigley Field. Great night.

Top Cow will be debuting Magdalena #1 at C2E2. The issue won’t be in comic stores until next week, but we’ll have copies for sale at the show, with a C2E2-exclusive variant cover (shown below). The series artist, my buddy Nelson Blake 2nd, will be at the show as well, and we’ll be signing all three days. I’m pretty damn pleased with how the issue turned out.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, a big-time comics fan, and a Top Cow fan in particular. I’ll be joining Lance for his panel Saturday afternoon, and then he’s going to sit in for the Top Cow panel Saturday evening. Note that Saturday’s programming continues even after the convention floor closes.

My complete C2E2 schedule looks like this:


4:30-5:30 p.m., signing at Top Cow booth with Nelson Blake 2nd.


11:30-1:00 p.m., signing at Top Cow booth with Nelson Blake 2nd and Troy Peteri.

3-4 p.m., panel with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, Phil Hester, Mark Waid, Nelson Blake 2nd and Matt Banning.

7:15-8:15 p.m., Top Cow panel with Filip Sablik, Phil Hester, Nelson Blake 2nd and an appearance by Lance Briggs.


11:30-12:30 p.m., signing at Top Cow booth with Nelson Blake 2nd.

If you’re at the show, please come by and say hi. More info on C2E2 here:



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