Planning Our 2017 Geek Convention Itinerary

Mojo + Shaw C2E2 2011!

Cosplay flashback: X-Men villains Mojo and Sebastian Shaw at C2E2 2011.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Anne and I like conventions! Pleas enjoy these four photos never before posted on MCC while we dive in.

Being the married couple we are, cons are among our favorite shared activities, all the better if a given event has elements we can both enjoy rather than just one of us. I look for a strong comics presence; Anne brakes for classic-TV stars, be they from Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, or any other shows she watched over and over as a kid. And longtime MCC readers know in recent years we’ve made a new hobby of collecting jazz-hands photo ops. Thankfully here in Indianapolis, we have disgustingly convenient access to more cons than ever, whether at our own Indiana Convention Center or in the surrounding states. Our state motto “The Crossroads of America” isn’t just a tourism slogan — it’s an apt caption for any map showing our bicycle-spoke interstate layout.

After another inert winter, it’s that time again! The return of our favorite conventions is on the horizon, which means it’s time for us to plan ahead — review guest lists, buy tickets, draw up budgets, schedule our vacation time, dig up objects for autographing, redo our budgets, and get in shape to handle the long walks and longer lines. It’s all part of the game.

For new readers, here’s a general overview.

Cons that receive first consideration:

C2E2 (Chicago)
Indiana Comic Con
Indy Pop Con
Superman Celebration (Metropolis, IL)
Wizard World Chicago
Starbase Indy

As middle-class middle-age geeks, we stress for the sake of fiscal responsibility that none of these are an automatic annual purchase. We don’t buy tickets a full year in advance, nor do we ink them on our calendar before they post a guest list. But more often than not, they find reasons to pull us back in.

DeLancie WWC2010!

Autograph flashback: John DeLancie, a.k.a. Star Trek’s Q, wowing Anne at Wizard World Chicago 2010.

Other cons we’ve done in years past:

Gen Con — They graced Indianapolis with a geek presence years before we had anything remotely resembled a true “comic-con”. We’re not gamers, but it was fun to immerse ourselves in tangential fields and hobbies for lack of any competition.

HorrorHound Indy — We’re also not big horror fans, but the past few years they’ve brought in actors whose resumés just so happen to include cool non-horror highlights.

Cincinnati Comic Expo — Tried it for our first time in 2016. It impressed us on many levels and Cincinnati is a shorter drive than Chicago. An encore visit is highly likely someday.

Star Wars Celebration — We attended both the 2002 and 2005 occasions, and don’t think we weren’t grateful for Lucasfilm deigning to show up for the Midwest. They’ve maintained a minimum safe distance of 900 miles from our house ever since.

Hall of Heroes Comic Con — Our newest addition to the list, from three weeks ago. Rough-edged but fun for a first-time con, and also closer than Chicago.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus — Launched in 2015 as a small-scale, multi-venue gathering devoted to intellectual discourse on graphic storytelling free of Hollywood sparkles, CXC Year 1 lured me in (kind of dragging Anne along with me) and made up for the decades I’ve lived without ever hearing anyone engage comics on that high-minded a level. But we found that trying to do it as a one-day outing was taxing (Columbus is farther away than Chicago) and left me missing out on too many of their best offerings.

Haglund SBI 2011!

Autograph flashback: X-Files Lone Gunman Dean Haglund at Starbase Indy 2011.

My convention bucket list:

San Diego — We’ll have to get rich first or wait till it becomes so uncool that everyone else stops attending and leaves more room for us. We don’t believe in holding online fundraisers for road trips or comic cons, and we openly judge those wannabe freeloaders who do, but if we decided to sink to that level for reasons, San Diego would be our first stop in my new era of hollow hypocrisy.

Dragon*Con — We have friends who attend every year, but it’s in Atlanta and it’s always on Labor Day weekend. Atlanta isn’t that close and I hate taking vacation days before or after holiday weekends. There’s a short speech that explains that last clause, but I’ll save it for another day.

RIP cons no longer with us:

Gateway Sci-Fi Con (St. Louis) — Our second annual road trip in 2000 took us there to meet the cast of MST3K. The hotel was demolished the following year and the con disbanded.

Wizard World Indianapolis — The bad boys of the convention world (insert your choice of laughter here) spent a few years trying to establish beachheads in multiple American cities. For our own beloved Circle City someone thought Valentine’s Day weekend during the winter of 2015 was an awesome idea. When WWIndy failed, they gave up on us rather than reassess their mistakes and call do-over.

Awesome Con Indy — Their flagship show in Washington DC seems healthy, but the guest list for their 2014 spinoff comprised a combination of stars who do lots of conventions and actors that only people like Anne and I would recognize. I’ll always be grateful for the one con that was so underattended, it gave us an unprecedented chance to chat with one actor for twenty minutes while no one else was in line behind us. A planned follow-up show in Milwaukee was axed not long after and the showrunners retreated to DC.

Appleseed Comic Con (Fort Wayne) — A smaller show that happened to fall on my 2015 birthday weekend and brought in a few artists and writers of surprising note. 2015 wasn’t their first attempt, but sadly they announced an indefinite hiatus three months later.

Generically named “Star Trek Celebration” (Lafayette) — Early into our best-friendship, Anne and I drove up for a day to meet Garrett Wang from Star Trek: Voyager. I have no other memories of that day except the smile on her face as we drove home.

Tentative 2017 con schedule so far:

Indiana Comic Con: 4/14 – 4/16 (tickets bought!)
C2E2: 4/20 – 4/23 (tickets bought!)
Superman Celebration: 6/8 – 6/11 (no tickets required per se, but one guest is on Anne’s bucket list)
Indy Pop Con: 7/7 – 7/9 (extremely tentative — they picked a bad weekend for us)
Wizard World Chicago: 8/24 – 8/27 (guest list pending, but they tend to come through)

Who knows where else the roads will take us in the months ahead. Earlier this evening Anne was perusing guest lists in Raleigh, Virginia Beach, and Lexington (which we just missed), pondering the notion of expanding our con boundaries in much the same way that we have with our annual road trips. Updates here on MCC as they occur!

Bat-Villains Gen Con 2009!

Cosplay flashback: Bat-Villains take a break from running amuck at Gen Con 2009.

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