As I type this, the fourth annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2”) its wrapping up this year’s three-day run, April 26-28, 2013. C2E2 dreams of becoming the Midwest’s answer to the fabled San Diego Comic Con, or any of the large-scale comic-book conventions that all your glamorous coastal cities hold and monopolize to a sickening, sybaritic excess. Not that we easily dismissed, frequently deprived, flyover-state residents are bitter. My wife and I missed the first year, but have attended every year since then. I’m there for the comics; my wife’s there for the entertainment. Our respective hobbyist enthusiasms enable a sort of synchronized synergy so that neither of us is bored all weekend long.
This week I’ll be sharing photographic souvenirs from our C2E2 experience, divided into media categories, to be apportioned and shared as quickly as possible. Many of them are costume pics, but not all of them. Several attendees may find themselves strolling through backgrounds as living, walking, oblivious Easter Eggs.
Four caveats for first-time visitors to Midlife Crisis Crossover:
1. My wife and I are not professional photographers, nor are we worthy of press passes. You’ll notice that right off. These were taken as best as possible with the intent to share with fellow fans out of a sincere appreciation for the works inspired by the heroes, hobbies, artistic expressions, and/or intellectual properties that brought us geeks together under one vaulted roof for the weekend. We all do what we can with the tools and circumstances at hand.
2. Though two of us took the photos, Midlife Crisis Crossover is written and cobbled together by this one old guy, who suffers from the continuing distractions of a full-time job. I plan to post our results as quickly as possible, but they won’t be instant. If any C2E2 attendees out there are searching desperately for pics of themselves or of other specific costumes they saw, I’ll gladly check our files and, if we actually caught you on camera, will cheerfully move you closer to the front of the line, or at least let you know which installment will be yours. We didn’t catch everyone. Despite DC Comics’ insulting expectations to the contrary, McCormick Place is kind of big and was filled with many, many people this weekend. Oversights happen.
3. We didn’t attend Sunday. Sincere apologies to anyone we missed as a result.
4. Corrections and comments are always welcome. I like learning new things, especially when I’m trying to write about characters and series that are beyond my particular geek foci.
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This year C2E2 had a separate costume contest each and every day. Friday’s was a smaller affair, but Saturday’s had a large corporate sponsor, bigger prizes, and (coincidentally?) fancier entries. Winners were selected in five different categories, along with a Grand Prize winner who took home $250.00 in American cash.
The Grand Prize winner: a living embodiment of the TARDIS console. Not quite “The Doctor’s Wife”, but circuit boards and working LEDs served as fascinating accessories.
The award for Most Creative Costume went to the Queen of the Darts. She’s like the Queen of Hearts from Alice of Wonderland, except with darts, because hearts are a terrible weapon. Try throwing handfuls of hearts at an enemy and watch how pummeled you get. Also, throwing knives aren’t an option because they don’t rhyme with “hearts”.
The award for Most Technical Costume went to the T-Rex Megazord from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (i.e., the first season to be dubbed, recut, and aired in America), whose limbs were so cumbersome that it couldn’t walk up the stage steps and had to be lifted by a few helpers. In order to exit, he had to turn around with his back to the stairs and allow those same helpers to lower him offstage backwards, while a few of us audience members made obnoxious “BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP” backup-alarm noises in unison.
The award for Most Accurate Costume went to Marvel’s newest version of the man called Nova. I expect him to appear in Marvel’s planned Guardians of the Galaxy film. Over his shoulder you’ll notice the Green Ranger’s Dragonzord, also from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Sadly, he lost against the T-Rex Megazord due to a wardrobe malfunction that can best be described as hip displacement.
The award for Best Performance went to Ms. Marvel, who followed up this pose by dropping and doing the splits. I don’t recall which issue showed Carol Danvers performing that move. I can only imagine the hilarity if the T-Rex Megazord had tried the same.
The award for Crowd Favorite (i.e., contestant that earned the loudest applause and hollerin’) went to tiny Optimus Prime, a small child dressed in boxes as Optimus’ human form…who then dropped and transformed into an authentic-looking semi made of boxes. Parents frequently joke about how small children are sometimes more captivated by the boxes that held their new toys more than they’re captivated by the toys themselves, but I’ve never seen a kid who elevated box appreciation into a skill set. I’d pay to possess that kind of ingenuity.
Runner-up in the Crowd Favorite category: Carl Fredricksen’s house from Pixar’s mUp. If she’d brought enough helium balloons to levitate to the ceiling, I guarantee she would’ve buried crafty li’l Optimus Prime Jr.
The winner of the Friday costume contest was a zombie nurse from the video game Silent Hill, who won on a combination of accurate, creepy appearance and lurching, shambling, silent performance. (Due apparently to lack of corporate sponsorship, Friday didn’t have multiple categories or winners. That’s probably because Fridays at conventions historically have much lower attendance than Saturdays, though this could’ve been a great opportunity for a small media startup to make a benevolent impression.)
Other competitors in the Friday competition included but weren’t limited to Lara Croft, Tomb Raider; Ashe from the MOBA League of Legends; Spawn; and the original man called Nova.
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The TARDIS Console was hardly the only Doctor Who fan in attendance. My wife and I aren’t Whovians largely because we’ve yet to find the time to watch the previous 274 seasons, and because we’d hate to think of all the in-jokes and callbacks we’d missed if we didn’t watch them first, even if they’re not mandatory. Regardless, we can appreciate the dedication we saw in force this weekend, and were shocked that Who-related characters seemed to outnumber both Star Wars and Star Trek cosplayers combined.
I recognized my favorites of the bunch as Who people because I sometimes read articles about shows I don’t watch. I’m peculiar that way. Behold: gargoyles from the episode “Blink”. Remember: don’t look away!
Another living embodiment of the TARDIS, retro-style.
Yet another living TARDIS, plus a humanized Dalek, plus one of the few Trek costumes on the premises, crossing Nurse Chapel’s medical uniform with Yeoman Rand’s hairstyle.
Another humanized Dalek. I’m beginning to think this is some kind of joint effort calling for Dalek tolerance. I refuse to be fooled.
At center stage is one of the Ood, a classic Who alien race. Sharing the stage are a pair of Jokers, a Death Star sanitation engineer, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, and Ashe from League of Legends again.
Dedicated old-school Whovians, I’m guessing. They were in Peter Davison’s autograph line. Seemed like a good possibility. Either way, they were better dressed than I was.
Speaking of which: special guest Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor Who, had one of the two longest autograph lines all weekend long. (The owner of that other endless line: Jason David Frank, beloved Power Ranger.)
To be continued!
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Links to other installments:
Part 2: Costumes from Screens Big and Small
Part 3: Costumes from Marvel, Image, and Other Comics
Part 4: Geek Culture Settings and Artifacts
Part 5: Actors and Creators Who Made Our Day
Part 6: Robots, Games, Misfits and Honorable Mentions