Geeks a Gogo is attending Ace Comic Con this weekend at Chicago's Navy Pier, and we must say that it's a unique and enjoyable event. Why is it unique? Because this is a rather small convention compared to others that we've attended, such as last week's New York Comic Con. The convention floor at Navy Pier isn't like that of a full-sized convention center, but Ace managed to pack in quite a bit: celebrity autograph booths, a photo op area, a vendor floor, and two stage areas for speakers, including a massive seating area for the main stage with top-notch celebrity panels. Overall Ace has the less-crowded feel of a smaller or mid-sized convention, yet at the same time it has the top-notch guests that you would see at a larger convention.
First off, around the convention floor, we saw some of the vendors you would expect: comic vendors, some gaming, and geeky items that you see at most conventions. The vendor floor isn't that large, but it's a good size for this venue. There is a solid presence of comic artists, who are mostly lined up along the side of the main path through the hall, including folks such as Thanos creator, Jim Starlin, Marvel artist Joe Rubenstein, and Squarriors creative team Ash Maczko and Ashley Witter, among others. As well, there were a good number of shops selling comic back issues and vintage key comic issues. This show certainly is about the comics, and has a lot to offer traditional comic book fans.
The most impressive part, however, is the celebrity guest line-up, which included Marvel comic movie stars such as Chris Evans (Captain America), Tom Hiddelston (Loki), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Karen Gillan (Nebula), and Lee Pace (Ronan). Saturday featured an amazing panel discussion between Evans, Gillan, and Pace about their roles in the MCU. Following that was a panel with Matt Smith of Dr. Who fame. Both events were back-to-back on the main stage, which was open to all attendees and allowed those who couldn't find a seat to watch from the side. If you're a big Dr. Who fan or Avengers movie fan who wants to see one of your favorite actors, this is a good con for you. Price-wise, this is a higher-end convention, so expect to shell out some money, but also expect that you're going to have a very good chance to attend a top-notch panel with some famous actors.
Overall, Ace Chicago is a pretty rare experience. If you're paying to see guests, you'll often be fighting large crowds and walking across a massive convention center. For their 2018 event, at least, this wasn't the case. The event space was manageable and not hard to find your way around. The crowds weren't huge, and it wasn't to hard to see the Avengers or Dr. Who panels. This is a great event if you want a taste of what the big conventions have to offer, but don't like dealing with the massive crowds.