Two weeks ago, we went to our first comic convention, ACE Comic Con Midwest in Rosemont (right outside of Chicago). We only went for one of the three days, but we still had an unforgettable, wonderful time. Since it was our first time at any sort of convention, there was a lot to take in―literally.
First, it took a little while to find parking. We got there about two hours after the convention started at 10 AM on Sunday, October 13, so we pretty much had to drive all the way to the top of the parking garage to find a spot. Then the walk to the convention center via a walkway was much longer than we anticipated, so it honestly kind of felt like a maze. When we finally got to the first floor of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and went inside the exhibit halls, it was overwhelming.
There were so many people everywhere, in addition to so much stuff. We didn’t know where to begin! I mean, literally every hall on the first floor was being used and was full of people and stuff―whether it was the artists hall, the gaming area, the main stage, or the photo op/autograph area. The very first hall had the gaming area and some cardboard cutouts, and other things you could take photos of/with, but mostly people were just sitting around. So we decided to go deeper into the convention center and into the halls with the artists and celebrity guests.
An Abundance of Artists
Immediately upon seeing all of the artists’ tables, we knew we would never be able to see and visit them all. So we decided to walk around and quickly browse to see which ones we definitely wanted to go to. Amanda knew she wanted to go to Erin Lefler’s table, who’s also known as @butternut_gouache, because she had Taron Egerton art―which Amanda found on Twitter from a fellow Taron fan who had already been to ACE that weekend.
After flipping through a bunch of Lefler’s prints, which included so many things from Marvel to Star Wars to Disney Princesses, Amanda bought a pin of Eggsy Unwin in the orange tuxedo from Kingsman: The Golden Circle in addition to an 8×10 print that had Johnny from Sing and Eggsy in the same orange jacket from Kingsman.
Another one of our favorite tables/artists was The Art of Megan Withey, aka 18thCenturyShop on Etsy. We spent way too much time at her table because it was so hard to choose from all of her prints and we couldn’t buy them all. She had so many beautiful prints of Disney Princesses and other Disney characters. As dance and Disney fans, we LOVE her ballerina princess series. And as Broadway/musical theatre fans, we found her artwork of Lin Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton to be awesome as well. Hers was just one of quite a few tables we went to that had good deals where it was better to buy more prints. So we purchased three prints from her, including two Disney princess ballerinas and Belle in her pink winter/Christmas outfit.
Withey’s table wasn’t the only one we saw with Broadway stuff, though. Super Group Hugs had so many cute prints of characters hugging! There was a Hamilton one with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton and Leslie Odom Jr.’s Aaron Burr from Hamilton and a Dear Evan Hansen one with Ben Platt’s Evan Hansen and Mike Faist’s Connor Murphy. There were also Disney ones, from princesses to Lilo & Stitch to lots of Star Wars to all the Marvel. So again, it was also difficult to choose from Super Group Hugs.
We bought one more piece of artwork from this comic con, but we can’t say much about it since it’s a gift. But Tony Poulson aka @thetonus had tons of cool stickers and prints, and he gave us a good deal on a special piece, so shout out to him! And that’s all we can say about that. But all of his artwork was his “Hand Over the Hero” series, which features someone’s arm handing over a hero. It’s unique and pretty comedic sometimes.
If we’re going to be honest, the reason we were at ACE Comic Con Midwest was Taron Egerton. Amanda wanted to go see and meet him for her birthday present, so that’s what we did. She wasn’t able to get a VIP package or an autograph with him, but she did get a photo op, which is what she wanted most. When it was almost time to line up for her photo op, we walked over by the screen that had all the times for autographs and photo-ops, and it turned out that we could line up already!
There was a large crowd of people by the screen with the times as well as another large crowd by the metal detectors and security check for the autographs and photo-ops, so it was a bit confusing where to go, but going through detectors again actually didn’t take very long.
We found the line Amanda was supposed to be in, and we were definitely overwhelmed by the amount of people in line just for Taron. After waiting in line for a while, it finally got moving and photo ops with Taron began. The VIPs and first two groups were ahead of us in line, so we still had to wait some time until it was Amanda’s turn. But the line ended up moving faster as things got going. Amanda eventually and inevitably started panicking in line, because how else would a socially anxious introvert handle meeting their favorite actor?
Knowing this wasn’t a meet and greet and there wouldn’t be time to chat, Amanda wrote a card for Taron and had to make sure to give him the card first so she wouldn’t forget. She didn’t forget when it was her turn, and it’s the first thing she did after saying hello. Also, Amanda didn’t want Ashley in the picture, so Ashley walked into the photo op room, said “She doesn’t want me in the picture, so I just came to say hi,” and then walked out. Taron said hello back and then Amanda got her picture with her fave.
She spent less than a minute with Taron, so there was luckily no time to actually panic because everything happened so fast. She could also go on and on about this despite how short this moment was, but she won’t. So if you want more on Amanda meeting Taron and want to know what he said to her after they took the photo, you can read all about it on her own blog.
Besides meeting Taron, the other true reason we went to ACE was to see Taron’s panel, which was the last panel of the weekend. It started late and went on past the time the convention actually ended, but it was totally worth it and a great way to end the weekend. There were lots of funny moments during the panel that are now iconic moments for Taron Egerton and his fans, and Amanda just happened to record two of them! You can check those specific moments in our video embedded at the top of this post (1:50 and 4:15), but you can also watch the entire panel below.
During the panel, Ashley noticed how often Taron would scratch his back and/or stretch and scratch his back, so she kept whispering to Amanda “He needs a backscratcher!” and “Get this man a backscratcher!” Now we can never unsee how often he does that.
Another part of the panel that has turned into a sort of inside joke for us (since no one else in our family was there to witness this) was when Taron was thinking of an answer to a question, hesitating and saying “Uhhhhhhhh…” While he originally started saying “Uhhhh,” it really just sounded like he was singing it. So now when we listen to the beginning of his cover of “Crocodile Rock” from Rocketman and he sings “I remember,”―the “I” is really long and drawn out and sounds like “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”―we can’t help but think of this moment at the panel. He totally got called out on sing thinking and we all laughed.
Our first comic con was definitely a memorable experience even if we attended only one day of the event. It’s definitely cool to be among so many other people who aren’t afraid to express their passions and fandoms, but it was a lot to take in for us, from the overwhelming amount of people in attendance to the size of the event to the countless tables and booths to see. However, it has piqued our interest in attending comic cons and other conventions like it, so we’re excited to see what convention we’ll go to next!