Several members of the Geek Girl Pen Pals Club had the ultimate pleasure of attending C2E2 – Chicago’s premier Comics and Entertainment Convention – as Press for another year running! We’ve attended this convention several times before and every time we go, it’s the best time. C2E2 puts on a great show. They provide a safe space for fangirls and guys to freak out together, cosplay to their hearts content, and connect with creators and celebrities they love and admire! Join us on our adventure as we take you inside the con.

The 5 of us – Summer, Joanna, Amanda, Mariel and Stewie – all got to hang out, which is particularly amazing because we only met because of the IGGPPC – but we ALSO got to cosplay together – as Steampunk Disney Princesses and Renaissance Sailor Scouts! It was such an awesome time of friendship, cosplaying, and IGGPPC fun – and we cannot wait to do it again next year. I asked a few questions of our iggle group and here’s what we all had to say!

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What was your favorite part of C2E2?
Joanna: Hanging out with my friends, of course!
Mariel: I loved doing cosplay for the first time!
Summer: My favorite part of C2E2 was hanging out with all my friends on the show floor! It’s great to get to hang out with both people I know locally, and those who came in from out of town! Having a good group of friends to hang out with really makes C2E2 even more special and memorable for me.
Amanda: It was my first big convention, so seeing all of the STUFF that goes into it, the various costumes, and all the different types of people that it brings out was very interesting for me. I love to people watch!
Stewie: Meeting Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica face to face almost knocked me on my ass. And being together IRL with my incredible iggle friends was like nothing else!

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Tell us about your favorite panel(s)?
Joanna: Even though I’m not a Battlestar fan, I did enjoy the panel. My favorite was definitely the Supergirl panel, though. I really dig that show and it was fun to go to their first ever panel.
Mariel: The Battlestar Galactica panel with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell was great. There was no moderator, it was just them fielding questions and being wonderful people. The love they have for each other and their roles on BSG was so apparent, and they had so many heartfelt stories to share! You could also tell that they cared about their fans and were genuinely happy to be there talking with us.
Summer: My favorite panel was the Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell one. They are so amazing together and I loved hearing about their experiences working on Battlestar Galactica. They seem like just such neat and intelligent people.
Stewie: I can echo all of of the sentiments above – meeting Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell was incredible and then seeing their panel on top of it was so stellar. They’re such intelligent and wonderful people, with a chemistry that doesn’t quit. They really inspired me!! I also loved the Veronica Fish and Mark Waid panel – artist and writer for Archie Comics. As a long time Archie fan, seeing writers and artists talk about the comic book characters and stories I’ve grown up with and loved to see evolve was really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. OH and of course, seeing Summer do her own panel was so great – she did amazing! So proud of her <3 summer-c2e2-panel iggppc-iggles-c2e2

Best cosplay(s) you saw roaming the floor?
Joanna: BB-Sk8. I follow her on instagram now.
Mariel: There was a Bob’s Burgers family (I love families that cosplay together!) and also a group of characters from the boardgame, Clue, which I thought was really unique and fun!
Summer: SO MANY. There was a great Xena and Gabrielle pair I saw! But everyone puts so much effort and care into their outfits it’s hard to chose a favorite!
Amanda: There was a pretty awesome Darth Maul wandering around, and a very convincing (and brooding) Kylo Ren. (Of course, anything Star Wars would be among my favorites!)
Stewie: I fangirl squeed when I saw Old Gregg, 2 gigantic characters from Five Nights at Freddy’s, and all of the Matt the Radar Technicians (aka Kylo Ren from the SNL bit). So obscure yet so incredible. They did an awesome job!

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What purchase(s) are you most excited about?
Joanna: I got this pair of antlers….
Mariel: I love being able to chat with artists in Artist Alley, and found several new artists to support. I was also excited to meet our friend, Jordan, and buy my first jordandené-designed clothing in person!
Summer: I bought a brass raven skull necklace. I’m actually wearing it right now!
Amanda: I picked up a “Kylo Ren is a punk bitch” t-shirt from Jordandene, which I wear at every opportunity. I also snagged an adorable little She-Ra art mini that I love. (Who knew people even remembered her?! Makes me happy.)
Stewie: I also bought a “Kylo Ren is a punk bitch” tank top! Meeting Jordan was so awesome. I also got an adorable portrait of my cat Olly from the ever-taleneted Katie Cook!

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Favorite part about the weekend in Chicago?
I always love seeing Chicago through “tourist” eyes. It’s much more fun for me that way.
Mariel: Geeking out with family and friends + PIZZA (Lou Malnati’s is best…I will kill a unicorn to defend this opinion!!!)
Summer: Besides hanging out with a bunch of cool people, I actually got to be a contestant on one of my favorite podcasts! NPR’s Ask Me Another did a recording at C2E2, and I was super nervous – but did ok!
Amanda: Introducing my girls to my favorite US city. They were ready to move in about 5 minutes after our arrival!
Stewie: Chicago continues to be one of my favorite cities to visit. It’s an awesome and beautiful place. Going out to eat at The Bad Apple and several other Chicago food places is always my favorite – FEED ME SEYMOUR! Speaking of food, Summer, Joanna and I drank a lot of wine and baked a cake together for the IGGPPC’s 3rd birthday party – and this video continues to be entertaining to me! Drink and bake-along with us!

What was it like to do your very first cosplay? What were some unexpected things you learned about cosplaying? Would you want to cosplay again? How does next week sound?
Mariel: It was so much fun doing cosplay for the first time! I definitely got bit by the bug once we started planning our outfits. I learned that it can quickly become an expensive hobby (I just HAD to buy a new corset! And new boots! And…), so it’s good to pool resources with friends if you are doing a group cosplay so that you can keep costs down. I definitely will cosplay again!!!!
Summer: Not my very first cosplay, but my first large group cosplay! It was cool to have a bunch of awesome ladies to pose for photos with!
Amanda: It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad that I had an opportunity to cosplay with a few of you that have done it before and could help get us all set up and looking perfect. The unexpected thing was getting stopped every few feet for pictures. That was crazy! I’ll definitely be cosplaying again in the future.
Stewie: This wasn’t my first rodeo, but helping to work with my friends as it was their first time cosplaying was so fun. Seeing the excitement on their faces as we prepared and walked the floor was awesome – and we got stopped for a lot more photos than I expected. It was an awesome and fun bonding experience.

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What fun friendshippy experiences did you have, being able to meet iggles you met through the IGGPPC in real life? Would you encourage to other iggles to try to meet their club friends IRL?
Joanna: I love how our online friendships often translate so well into IRL friendships. It’s almost natural to just be hanging out with folks!
Mariel: I got to meet Amanda for the first time, and I had met Summer, Jo, and Stewie at C2E2 last year, but I feel like this year it was a great experience getting to know everyone even more since we hung out a lot because of our cosplay group. Being an introvert, it’s sometimes hard to translate my online personality into my real life relationships – but I’ve found that iggles (autocorrect keeps wanting to turn this into “giggles” hehehe) are SUPER accepting in real life and our geekiness instantly creates a bond. I definitely encourage everyone to reach out and make your online iggle friendships more personal, and if you ever have the opportunity to meet in real life… DO IT!
Summer: SO MANY IGGLES! I seriously wish the con was a week longer so we all could have more time to hang out together! It’s totally amazing to meet internet friends IRL! I just want to have a giant slumber party!
Amanda: It was awesome to meet people that I talk to almost daily face-to-face finally! It was fun to walk around the Con together and crack jokes and generally just be merry. I’d definitely encourage people to meet their penpals IRL if they get the chance. We all know each other so well, there’s none of the awkwardness that is sometimes there when you actually meet new people. Best way to go, IMO!
Stewie: Visiting with my friends was incredible – we met online through this club, but being together in real life it’s obvious we’re all soul sisters, and I am so grateful to know them all and to have a chance to get together with them face to face and have an awesome time. I count myself so lucky that this club has introduced me to so many epic geeky babes! If you can, get together with your IGGPPC friends as often as possible. I’ve done it several times now and will continue to do it for years to come – this club has brought so many amazing people into my life!!!!!

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What advice would you give yourself for when you go back to C2E2 next year?
Joanna: Maybe not choose two corsety things in a row? Who am I kidding. Ren-faire cosplay for life!
Mariel: Bring more snacks. Don’t be afraid to chat up the artists. Check out more panels that you normally wouldn’t attend – they might surprise you.
Summer: YOUR WATER BOTTLE LEAKS! Don’t just put it in your purse or EVERYTHING will be SOAKED! (Luckily no art or important things were damaged in the great water bottle purse flood of 2015.)
Amanda: Go to the convention in street clothes one day. I have a feeling it’s a completely different experience, and you’ll have more uninterrupted time to take in the sights and really people watch!
Stewie: Don’t let your hair get caught in Joanna’s pouch! Bring a comb! Cosplay wigs, especially long ones, are a nuisance!

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Thanks to C2E2 for putting on my favorite convention of the year! Be sure to follow them on Twitter for updates. We’re so excited to go back next year and spread the IGGPPC among our favorite nerdy Chicagoans. If you’re a super nerd or an iggle, you HAVE to check out C2E2 one of these years – and if you do, let us know! We’ll have a proper hug!