Werewolves, Wookiees, Orcs and Klingons abound at pop culture expos and major comic book conventions but one truly rare beast is innovation – the names and faces of guests change but at most shows the standard Q&A panel and autograph table line-up are the numbing rule of thumb.
The limited thinking at most cons makes it heartening to hear about some of the offbeat concepts at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), which kicked off today at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. We caught up with Lance Fensterman, the global vice president at ReedPOP, to talk about some highlights of C2E2, including less-traditional activities his company has brought to the expo on the shore of Lake Michigan.
This looks like a job for Supperman
C2E2 serves up an offbeat fan experience tonight as Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard creates a menu with superhero theme at her hotspot restaurant The Little Goat. Fans will be seated side-by-side with notable names such as Tron title star Bruce Boxleitner; Lost and Babylon 5 cast member Mira Furlan and 100 Bullets writer Brian Azzarello.
“We hope C2E2 is about creativity, art, entertainment of all different varieties — and the culinary arts fit neatly into that universe,” Fensterman said. “A chef staring at an empty plate is not dramatically different from an artist starting at an empty page. This is what we explore with our Food & Comics series and the dinner at The Little Goat.”
Laugh it up, Joker
Comedy Mutant offers free yuks for C2E2 fans with stand-up routines by Brian Posehn, Myq Kaplan and Mike Drucker. On that same stage there’s also a Kevin Smith slot (he would make a joke if he heard we called it that) and stage time reserved too for Patton Oswalt, who has been feeling the Force lately.
“Patton Oswalt is my hero,” Fensterman said. “His ‘At Midnight I Will Kill George Lucas with a Shovel’ bit from a few years ago sealed his geek cred and his Parks and Recreation improvised monologue put him in the geek hall of fame. I’m going to ask him to marry me this weekend.” Oswalt will also bring spiffy exclusive posters (shown above) to sign for fans and he will answer audience questions as long as they are delivered with Yoda syntax.