Hey, kids! It’s the world-famous General Lee from TV’s The Dukes of Hazzard! Everyone likes TV cars, right? TV cars are pop culture and therefore totally on-topic at Indy PopCon. Please enjoy this eye-popping, gas-guzzling, moonshine-runnin’, crooked-cop-defyin’, Southern-fried, toy-selling idol of millions and be sure to Like and Share the heck out of it on all the best social media so I can finally take one evening this week to go rest and relax without fear of the oncoming post-convention traffic plateau. Remember, the power of my recuperation is your hands.
At long last, the week-long marathon reaches the end of its journey here on MCC! Presenting one last round of photos from the first annual Indy PopCon at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Yes, we here at Midlife Crisis Crossover realize we’re still reliving this shindig long after the rest of the Midwest has gone back to their daily routine and stopped reminiscing about last weekend. And I can’t deny it’ll be nice to move on to other subjects and writing forms after this. We’re almost there, I promise.
Part Eight, then: the sights we saw (besides costumes) and the personalities we met.
Highlight of the day and so far my year: meeting Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000. He’ll also be appearing at Wizard World Chicago in August, but most likely with a much larger line. In fact, none of Indy PopCon’s actor guests had a long autograph line. At all.
We also saw Joel do a fifteen-minute interview with local Q95 DJ-turned-podcaster Chick McGee. No plugging, nothing serious, just a quarter-hour of goofing around. This episode of “Off the Air with Chick McGee” also included a twenty-minute interview with Drew Curtis, founder of Fark. Our lone photo of him is iffy, and I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly gone to their site. But hey: Joel!
Another pleasure to meet: Ron Glass, a.k.a. the late Shepherd Book from Firefly. Indy PopCon marks the first time in my life I’ve seen a Firefly guest at a convention without at least 200 people in line. I couldn’t help feeling suspicious….
He might not be a celebrity to anyone outside Indianapolis, but he’s big to us. As late-night TV horror hosts go, Chicagoans had Svengoolie, Angelenos had Elvira, and we Hoosier kids had Sammy Terry. Alas, the original passed away in 2013, but his son assumed both the mantle and control of his dreadful puns.
Lines were thin enough that my wife’s attempt to snap a pic of Kristian Nairn, a.k.a. HODOR! (the guy at left with the biggest beard), went unchallenged. This was much more relaxed than the one time a Wizard World Chicago staffer leaped like a Secret Service agent between my lens and Jon Bernthal. This seemed pretty cool for a while…
…but when even a Buffy guest like the Nicholas Brendon has a clear line of sight from his booth instead of drowning in fans, there’s only one conclusion I could draw: the con didn’t sell nearly as many thousands of tickets as they’d hoped. That meant folks like myself, my wife, and Silk Spectre up there received top-notch customer service everywhere we went, but it was entirely due to lack of competing consumers.
Fun trivia: my longest line of the day was the wait for Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There were ten (10) whole people ahead of us. Even when we arrived at 8:30 a.m. for our traditional long wait in line before the exhibit hall opens, there were maybe only six people ahead of us, not counting VIPs. So yeah, meeting Eastman was cool and definitely not hurried.
Among the other artists we met: animator Tom Bancroft, selling copies of the Kickstarter’d trade collection of his series Opposing Forces.
Cartoonist Guy Gilchrist is the current caretaker of the Nancy and Sluggo comic strip. Our local paper The Indianapolis Star dropped it years ago, but thanks to digital distribution via gocomics.com, its worldwide readership is still in the eight-digit range. In the past he’s also been part of studios who did merchandise work (e.g., coloring books) for properties such as Biker Mice from Mars, the Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, and his studio’s longest lasting license, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Small world!
Among those making a go at Artists Alley were Geoffrey Wessel, writer/creator of the soccer/serial-killer series Keeper. I remembered seeing his name around Bleeding Cool on occasion, but I don’t like to lead off conversations with weird things like that. Trust me, you get the oddest looks. And I do so hate the oddest looks.
G. Pike was selling printed collections of her 2½-year-old webcomic series Title Unrelated. It’s in my immediate post-convention reading stack that I would’ve gotten to by now if it weren’t for this daily internet writing thing.
It’s my understanding that many retailers and sellers did not have the time of their lives. We saw some interesting displays here and there (behold the power of Castle Grayskull!). We can’t speak for today’s youth, but as for me and my house, we’re exceedingly choosy nowadays about what relics and antiques we’re interested in acquiring (e.g., my comics want-list). We’re not as bowled over by the novelty of forty-year-old toys as we used to be.
Some sellers tried anything to move units. Y’know that Guardians of the Galaxy movie Marvel’s got coming in August? Buy this book first and become one of us superfans who can brag that we knew Rocket Raccoon before the movie made him cool to commoners. Wouldn’t you like to be cool first? BUY THIS BOOK OR FAIL AT COOL.
Indy PopCon didn’t have regulated GenCon-style gaming , only a designated section of tables for gamers to game at their discretion. For aging holdouts who’re still waiting for anyone to teach us how Settlers of Catan works, there was another corral for ye olde video arcade games, all free-play. It’s a good thing someone got to Galaga before I could, or else I’d probably still be there right now.
You want more pop culture? Fine. I give you Lego Hoth from Lego Star Wars.
If Lego Star Wars was too passé for you, how about Lego Walking Dead? If you’re caught up on the show, you’ll recognize this scene from Season 4. If you were waiting for DVD or Netflix, forget you were ever here and go back to staring at Lego Hoth some more.
A small portion of Indianapolis’ food truck armada lined Georgia Street east of the Convention Center for lunch. My wife and I each picked up a sandwich from Johnson’s BBQ Shack. I approve of their sauces, but the sandwich wasn’t a meal in in itself. In the photo is Der Pretzel Wagen, where I went for seconds. Their “Big Helga” — pastrami, Sierra Nevada Spicy Brown Porter Mustard, Swiss cheese, and cole slaw on a pretzel bun — was one of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve had anywhere all year.
Apropos of something, the final image of our eight-part Indy PopCon 2014 writeup is a photo of the first thing that greeted us inside the registration hall: a Pokemon-themed VW Beetle! The “Pika3” was loaded with too many stuffed Pikachu dolls and just looks keen. This is symbolic of pop culture itself on levels that I’m too tired to contemplate all the way through.
…and that’s a wrap. Beyond my Artists Alley purchases, I also picked up four hardcovers for a combined total of $22, including the quite recent Avengers: Endless Wartime and Marvel’s Once Upon a Time: the Shadow of the Queen. I filled a few more gaps in my ever-extending Incredible Hulk collection. I bought a prose anthology with a contribution by a fellow WordPress blogger. We picked up a few freebies. I found myself a nagging unsolved mystery about why IDW Publishing appeared on the website at one point but nowhere at the con itself. We have new sets of photos and memories. We have our fervent hopes that Indy PopCon 2015 will happen and will reach a wider audience. And I’m stuck with this sudden insatiable craving for another Big Helga right now.
The End. Lord willing, see you next year!
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Links to the other installments in this very special Midlife Crisis Crossover event are enclosed below. Thanks for visiting!
* Part One: The Costume Contest Winners
* Part Two: the Big-Budget Blockbuster Costumes
* Part Three: Costumes from Comics
* Part Four: the Costumes of the Doctor
* Part Five: Gaming and Anime Costumes!
* Part Six: Last Call for Costumes
* Part Seven: the Sylvester McCoy Hour