C2E2 2012 has now officially come and gone. The second day of C2E2, Saturday, is always the biggest. This is when the core panels happen and it’s when we see the most people show up. Sunday is typically kids day and it’s when you can get the best blow-out deals at the booths. Let’s take a look at the second half of C2E2 and see how the show shaped up this year!

John Barrowman Panel

First up was the John Barrowman Q&A panel. Barrowman is most likely known in the US for his work on Doctor Who and Torchwood, but Barrowman has done a ton of other stuff including a lot of musical theatre. For a guy who literally had nothing to necessarily plug and no “current” projects, he had a lot to talk about and was roaring out of the gate and entertaining the entire time.

Barrowman is also openly gay. This is irrelevant except to say that he has an amazing ability to, much like Captain Jack Harkness, go between being the gayest person you’ve ever seen and a very manly anti-stereotype image in an instant. I would say that was one of his biggest talking points, discussing how important it was for him to be able to break down some of the stereotypes. He danced, he sang, he told funny stories and he likely inspired many in the audience. There was mention of a Torchwood book he has written that will continue the show in some form and also an ABC pilot titled “Gilded Lilys” that sounds like it might be a good show if it gets picked up.

It was a whirlwind performance and I do say performance, as Barrowman left it all out there. Sometimes you go to a panel or a Q&A session and it feels like a sort of bland conversation. This felt like a show. He was a consumate professional and I don’t think it would be possible not to have enjoyed yourself at this panel. In fact, although I’m hardly someone who would be into musical theatre, it definitely made me think that if Barrowman ever did a show of some sort in my neck of the woods, it would be worth seeing just because of the passion he puts into it. He was also honest and candid in the Q&A and didn’t even mind the influx of dopey audience questions… Which of course, there was plenty of.

The biggest takeaway would probably be how humble he was and generally excited to have fame and be a big part of a fandom. You could tell he worked hard and was appreciative of all he had. This was his first US Q&A panel without being part of a group, but I think he’ll likely be invited to do more after the reception to this one.

Minimates Panel

Unfortunately at the MiniMates panel there were no photos allowed. Zach Oat did a pretty impressive “one man” panel and tried to answer as many questions as he could. This was an absolutely “no frills” kind of panel, but it was probably one of the best at C2E2 as a result. Zach was open, honest and willing to admit things that you often don’t see toy companies having the guts to say.

There wasn’t much to learn necessarily, other than the Halo line is done, Ghostbusters is also done and they have a few more Universal Monsters planned. Perhaps the biggest news (although this has been said before) is that he confirmed Battle Beasts has nothing to do with vintage Battle Beasts and that it was not a remake or a reimagining. These are simply beasts that battle. Of course it’s hard not to compare the concept to the vintage line and no matter what Diamond Select says, it’s clear they purchased the name because of it’s brand history… But this is not that project in any fashion. Even though it’s similar in some sense.

I asked about Nintendo and if they’d ever sought out that license. Zach said he’d never heard anything about it. Honestly I have to wonder why. It seems like that would be a great line to mine for tons and tons of waves and it would be a popular seller. Perhaps they’ll look into it after my suggestion! To that end, Zach took suggestions and gave away MiniMates to folks who asked questions and did a drawing for MiniMates design art. Fun stuff.

Voltron Panel

I’ll confess that I’m hardly a “hardcore” Voltron fan, but I liked the toys and cartoon as a kid and the new Mattel line has made me somewhat more interested in the franchise again. I’ve watched a few episodes of Voltron Force, but I haven’t gotten too into it. The panel which was hosted by WEPs’ Director of Project Development, Jeremy Corray, was surprisingly entertaining and kept me interested throughout and never made me feel “lost” even if I wasn’t 100% up to date on the property. Although I did buy the Blazing Sword Voltron last year and it was my favorite Mattel toy for the year.

Jeremy was amazing (he should host all panels!) as he was able to keep the action fast and furious. The only time that things got bogged down a bit was when the other panel guests spoke about Voltron and the comics. Unfortunately some of them just did not have the passion or they just weren’t good at engaging the crowd. This panel was sort of a catch-all for Voltron and it was running into the Walking Dead panel’s time, so a lot of folks were checking out early to go to that panel.

Honestly I felt a little bad at that, but Jeremy kept things fun anyway. They also gave away a crap ton of stuff, but unfortunately I didn’t get any freebies. Perhaps another time. They even gave away a Club Lion Force membership. I would have loved to win that! They did manage to make the cartoon and comics sound kind of epic and it was enough that I may start picking the comics up and checking the show back out.

There was a Q&A as well, which featured hilarious questions from kids who had no idea what Voltron was. It begs the question why they were at the panel (or the convention for that matter, but that’s another rant for another day) but to his credit Jeremy gave hilarious answers in which he explained science fiction in the most complex terms to young children in rapid-fire style. This panel also had another moment of hilarity as some dude wandered in and bungled around the whole panel for about 5 minutes as he was clearly lost and in the wrong room.

Overall the panel made me a bigger Voltron fan and that’s not an easy accomplishment. I wish everyone at that brand well, because it’s clear they are trying to do everything they can with the property. Also here’s a sneak peek at the 2 part season finale of the new Voltron show. Looks pretty sweet.

C2E2 Wrap-Up

There were quite a few more cosplayers in the second half of C2E2 although I still think the show was down a bit from last year. There wasn’t a single Power Girl this year. What gives? Regardless, there was a lot to see and do and plenty to enjoy whether you are a hardcore comic fan or just someone who’s into general nerdery.

C2E2 proved to be a lot of fun again this year and the food was infinitely better. We ate at a pizza place one day inside McCormick place and it was tasty and not overpriced. I didn’t find as many good deals as in year’s past, but there was a nice variety of stuff and I’ll review a few of the items I bought in the days and weeks ahead. C2E2 was also a great meeting spot to have conversations with friends from Twitter like Greymattersplat and Paul of Robots Pajamas.

Which led to probably the best part of C2E2 and that was hanging out with the guys from Planned Banter and geeking out with a variety of likeminded folks. We even went to dinner on Saturday night which was a debacle in and of itself, but was fun nonetheless because of the company. Hopefully C2E2 can continue to be the hub that brings the net’s best toy geeks together.

Tons more photos of John Barrowman, Cosplay, Voltron and more in the: C2E2 Wrap-Up Gallery and of course, feel free to laugh at the sight of the Flash waiting for the bus…


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