5 awesome comic book conventions for geeky families

There’s no better way to see costumed characters, artist panels, and celebrities while shopping for toys, games, and collectibles than to attend these conventions. The spirit of fandom is generally kid-friendly and inclusive (no matter what the “GamerGate” and “Last Jedi” hating CHUDs may say). Below are our picks out of the many cons coming to Chicago in 2019.

C2E2: Chicago Comic Con and Entertainment Expo

When: March 22-24

Where: McCormick Place, 2301 S King Dr, Chicago

Cost: $30-$75 adults, $10-20 kids ages 6-13, kids under 6 are free

Our family never misses a C2E2, a chance for nerds of all stripes (and Wookie fur and Dalek bumps) to come together for cosplay, panels, parties and more. Guests this year include David Tennant from “Doctor Who” and Paul Rudd from “Ant Man.” Although, the longest lines might be for local host—Svengoolie! Artists Alley will be filled with a who’s who of comic creators, including Chicago native and dad, Michael Moreci (author of Wasted Space, Star Wars Adventures, and Black Star Renegades). Costumed convention goers are happy to take pictures with kids, and the Family HQ always has plenty of child-friendly activities. 

Stars Wars Celebration

When: April 11-15

Where: McCormick Place, 2301 S King Dr, Chicago

Cost: $75 adults, $35 kids (Only Monday tickets are available) 

Star Wars Celebration, the world’s largest Star Wars convention, is taking place in the Windy City! The Lucasfilm-produced event will have interactive exhibits, autograph sessions, panels, fan-inspired activities and so much more. Nearly every living actor involved in Star Wars will be there, and we’ll likely learn the name of Episode IX (fingers crossed). It’s going to be more fun than bull’s eyeing a womp rat in your T-16.

Heroes and Villains Fan Fest

When: April 19-21

Where: Donald E Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N River Rd, Rosemont

Cost: $30-$104 ages 11+, Free for kids 10 and under

Children under 10 are free at Heroes and Villains, although with Walker Stalker horror and zombie fest adjacent (and part of the ticket), I advise a discussion beforehand. This con will feature Jon Bernthal from “The Punisher,” Brandon Routh from “Superman Returns,” and Chicago’s favorite space Ravager, Michael Rooker.

Anime Central, the Midwest Anime and Manga Convention

When: May 17-19

Where: Hyatt Regency O’Hare and Donald E. Stephens Center, Rosemont

Cost: $58 ages 13+, $15 ages 6-12, Free ages 5 and under

Truth be hold, I’ve got a bit of a blind spot in my geekery where Japanese animation and comics sit, but Anime Central, or “Acen” is still a party. As a matter of fact, it’s EDM parties and dances, masquerade and gaming floors make it among the most active of the cons. Children under 5 are free, so climb out of your Pokeball and head west to this celebration of the East.

Wizard World

When: Aug. 22-24

Where: Donald E Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N River Rd, Rosemont

Cost: $60 (Early bird tickets), Kids under 10 are free (Up to 2 children get free admission with a paid adult ticket) 

End your summer with a big geeky band at Wizard World, named for that classic comic book collector’s magazine of a bygone era, “Wizard.” The cons can be expensive, and Wizard is certainly no exception. Guests haven’t been announced yet for this year, but no doubt it’ll be loaded with your favorite Avengers … if any of them survive Thanos’s next assault.


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