This past weekend was the second time ACE Comic Con came to Chicago, complete with an all-new celebrity guest lineup, a cosplay contest, and a great selection of panels, artists, and vendors.
As is typical of an ACE event, the panels were all held on the show floor, with the main stage set a bit behind the vendor floor. This is great for ease of access and it means that you don’t have to trudge all over trying to find the right panel room, but it also meant that there were long lines going into the vendor area before the big panels with celebrity guests. Add that to the fact that the main stage seating was cleared before each panel, and that could cause quite the traffic jam of people when there were big groups trying to go in opposite directions. There were staff members posted at the entrances, and I do have to give them credit for doing their best of minimize this and make everything flow as smoothly as possible, but the line went everywhere and made it difficult if you were just trying to walk around.
The signage was a bit less than ideal. It was extremely confusing of where to get your wristbands/badges when you first came in, and I initially got in the line for security before realizing where I needed to go to get my wristband. Inside, it was not much better. The photo/autograph area was way in the back of the vendor area, so you had to wander around a bit to figure out where it was. It was not until an hour or two after I had been there that I realized there there were large sticker-type signs on the floor of the vendor hall pointing to where things were. When attendees are looking for signage, the floor wouldn’t automatically be the first place they’d look.
I did heard that this year’s location in Rosemont was an improvement over last year. The convention center in Rosemont has a large, spacious floor that was well-suited for a convention of this size. The Artist Alley was significantly smaller than the vendor space, which was a bit of a disappointment. That is usually the area where you likely to see more variation in offerings – and a bit different than the vendors selling many of the same things you see at every con.
It seemed to me as if ACE had stepped up their game in acknowledging the section of attendees who chose to cosplay. Not only were their adult and child cosplay contests (judged by local cosplayers Shining Polaris, Shar Starr, and Papa Bear), but right when you came in there was an open area with local costuming groups, benches to sit on, and quite a few photo ops.
I was only able to attend for a few hours on Saturday, but it was highly enjoyable while I was there and hope that the convention continues to return here!
Here are photos of some of the wonderful cosplays I saw while I was there. Enjoy!
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