Reed Exhibitions division ReedPOP has now achieved six consecutive years of growth with C2E2, its show at McCormick Place in Chicago.  Event Director Mike Armstrong told ICv2 that although numbers are still being tabulated, it looks like the 2015 show generated "at least" a 12% increase in attendance over last year, when the final number was around 62,900 (see “Fensterman Interview:  C2E2 Gender Mix Shifting”).  That would put the show attendance at over 70,000 uniques, an impressive accumulation of geeks, although it can seemed dwarfed at times by the sheer massiveness of the convention center, the largest in the U.S., where even a show the size of C2E2 occupies only one of several buildings.

Of major comic publishers, Marvel, Image, and Valiant were there, which feels like a smaller roster than we’ve seen in the past.  DC’s busy moving, but some others have cut back, at least relative to the burgeoning number of shows.

Based on what we saw on the floor, there seemed to be a noticeable number of exhibitor no-shows, with booth space unoccupied or deeded to adjoining booths by show management.  We asked ReedPOP’s Armstrong if that was the case.  “As happens with every show, there were a number of cancellations and no-shows at the last minute that we were unable to backfill,” he said.  “We did use it as an opportunity to provide some additional space to a few publishers as well as the CBLDF.”

There were also some significant new exhibitors, including Bluefin Distribution, which brought its display of Japanese import figures and other collectibles; and gemr, a new online and app “collector’s community where people can share, discover, and sell collectible items.”  Gemr was co-founded by Antiques Roadshow appraiser Gary Sullivan, and has raised a $4.9 million Series A round, according to TechCrunch.

As usual, exhibitors ran the gamut from comics to games to merch to tattoo parlors.

C2E2 sponsors included Image, which sponsored the badge (more on that below) and comiXology, which sponsored Artist Alley under its Submit brand. 

Before the show, we were copied on an email from an attendee to Reed management which said, in part, “The image on the badges for C2E2 2015 is inappropriate and inconsistent with the stated mission of ReedPOP to create a ‘fun, safe, welcoming’ event.”  Although the source of the offense was not specified, we assume the email referred to an Image-sponsored badge promoting its bestselling series Sex Criminals, which used the image from the first comic issue and contained the words “Sex Criminal.”

We asked Armstrong if ReedPop had received any similar complaints and if they had any comment.  “That was the only complaint that we were made aware of,” Armstrong said.  “We discussed the art internally when it was submitted to us, but eventually came to the opinion that given that Sex Criminals is an Eisner Award winner and NYT bestseller (and has been also been praised as a book that is pro-female) we did not feel that the artwork was inappropriate."

For our photo report, see "C2E2 2015 Photos."