Astronomy dreams at C2E2

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, April 25, 2013

At the 2012 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, I roamed about freely as one of the elite media. // all photos by Holley Y. Bakich
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) starts Friday, April 26, and for the second straight year I’ll be there. I guess the convention organizers liked what I did last year because they’ve issued me press credentials again.

The 2013 C2E2 runs April 26–28. The convention, which, in addition to comics, also spans the latest and greatest in the worlds of movies, television, toys, and video games, is being held in the North Building of Chicago’s McCormick Place.

This year, thousands of people will be hanging on every word spoken about Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, Godzilla, and, of course, Doctor Who.

I’ll be searching for science. It underlies nearly every idea present at C2E2, you know. Energy beams? Check. Spaceships? Check. Alien worlds and civilizations? Check. Time travel. Check. Even the creators of fantasy realms imbue them with natural laws. (I’ve yet to encounter one where gravity doesn’t function, for example.)

Fans of every entertainment genre packed the convention. How many, I wonder, are also science nerds?
As of this writing, I’ve snagged at least one super-cool interview. Hopefully, more will follow. But I know that Friday afternoon I’ll be speaking with Jordan Hembrough of Travel Channel’s Toy Hunter television show.

Hembrough is a self-professed comic-book geek and film buff who was bitten by the collecting bug at an early age. He quickly learned that he could make more money selling toys to his school peers than he could on any paper route. At age 16, he began buying and selling toys professionally. In 1998, he founded Hollywood Heroes, where he sells toys and film props to the collectible market and offers consulting services to toy and entertainment companies.

I want to chat with him about science-based toys. I know some manufacturers still make them. How well do they sell? Are there collectors out there that specialize in them? Considering that, as a whole, toy collectors can be eccentric and imaginative, do those qualities tie in to other hobbies that involve curiosity and imagination like astronomy? I only have 15 minutes with him, and I mean to make it count. Look for a blog about it soon after I return.

Both last year’s C2E2 and the San Diego Comic-Con were well worth the effort to attend. What surprises does the 2013 version of C2E2 hold in store for me? Store? Ooh, that reminds me: Take lots of spending money.

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