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Journey into C2E2’s second day

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The Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, the Second City’s own geek pilgrimage festival, takes place this weekend and fans from all around have flocked to the many events filled with too much to do and too many great people in only three days.

Here are the gems we saw as we winded through the hazy blur of storm troopers, fandom personalities, as well as the endless lines of shops with collectible games, comics, and T-shirts on the con’s most action-packed day—Saturday:

10 a.m. – Doors open and every exhibitor is already set up. It’s a slow trickle at first. A well-costumed Harley Quinn fan pretends to hit another fan a with a huge mallet for passing photos. Within the hour, the exhibitors’ floor is mobbed with so many fans, that not much time seems to pass through this entrancing journey until the first notable panel of the day.

11:30 a.m. – Author of Perdido Street Station and The Scar China Miéville gives a reading of his new book Embassytown, which comes out this May. According to his critics, the book is Miéville’s most straightforwardly sci-fi work.

Most questions in the half-filled conference theater revolved around how Miéville comes up with the weird stuff he writes, and how he nestles otherworldly characters and places within tight and enrapturing narratives. Miéville said how Alice in Wonderland informed the fantastical characters in his YA novel Un Lun Dun, and how for him, The Scar‘s protagonist Bellis is a “thinly veiled” Jane Eyre.

The settings, on the other hand—which are often the root of his inspiration—come from a different place. “The world-building in my works comes very much from a Dungeons and Dragons tradition,” Mieville says, “[creating worlds with] maps, timelines, and stacks of guidebooks.”

Check back soon, and we’ll have an exclusive interview with Miéville where we’ll explore how gaming and world-building has affected his writing.

4:30 p.m. – Nerdcore Hip-Hop Panel

From the awesome song sampling Capcom that opened the panel to the straightforward love for the history of video game and hip-hop music and culture, this panel was far and beyond the con’s best. Kyle Murdock (K-Murdock), Raheem Jarbo (MegaRan), and Matt Weiss paralleled the histories of hip-hop and video game music, as well as the declining sales of the urban genre and the almost matching rise of video games.

Along the way K-Murdock then highlighted the video game music that incorporated hip-hop styles and culture, such as Streets of Rage and Jet Grind Radio. The middle school teacher and now official Capcom artist MegaRun talked about and his own project, where he raps over sampled songs from MegaMan.

We will air out this topic in much more detail. Look for a post about Nerdcore on Handshakemag.com soon.

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