You know that feeling when the end of a long winter is coming, but it feels like the doldrums are the only state of mind you know because they’ve pervaded your everyday world so deeply that you forget what life was like without them? Or is it just us? Did everyone else have a positively thrilling winter and we’re the only ones yearning to ditch it all for just a few days out of town? Or at least a few minutes away from early post-winter potholes?
Longtime MCC readers know Anne and I love to travel together. We look forward to our annual road trips to different parts of the United States every year. In recent years we’ve added a slate of in-state birthday outings for more quality time together. Then there’s our favorite penchant for frequenting the Midwest comic/entertainment convention scene. Even before February had ticked off its twenty-eight days with Oscar season and not much else in its favor, the two of us were already putting our heads together and planning our 2018 getaways from our present homebody status. We have a loose framework for our 2018 road trip, early into its mapping stages and too soon to share spoilers. We have no idea how to spend this year’s birthdays because it’s far too soon for such talk. Conventions, on the other hand, are already nigh.
As of this writing, we’re looking at one last weekend of inactive tranquility at home before the year’s first three cons invade our radar, each a single week apart. We prefer more time-off between events to recharge, but the Midwest convention boom of the past few years has provided us a wealth of opportunities to meet creators and actors associated with our favorite geek universes, forcing us sometimes to choose between fun stress or disappointing rest. Upcoming events nearest to our radar:
* March 23-25: HorrorHound Cincinnati, our first time trying Ohio’s larger counterpart to our own Indianapolis scare-fest. We’re not hardcore fans of gore or splatter, but their impressive guest lists often have major overlap with movies and TV shows we do like.
* March 30th – April 1st: The fifth annual Indiana Comic Con. The actor guest list feels small to us, a combination of animation voice actors for the youngsters and some worthy people we’ve already met at other cons. At least two new faces are enticing us to pop in Saturday, as well as a few choice names on the comics guest list recognizable to us ’80 collectors. On the whole we tend to be happier when a given show has a healthy mix of Hollywood and talents from the printed page, which is what we’re seeing in the offing here.
* April 6-8: The ninth annual C2E2 in Chicago. We’ve attended every year except the first. For anyone who likes large-scale shows inundated with capital-C Comics, and who can’t afford a four-digit travel budget to San Diego, ’round these parts C2E2 is quite simply as good as it gets.
After that, we have a long gap until…well, until whatever comes next. So far, no other commitments yet. We’re keeping active tabs on the guest-list progress for Wizard World Chicago (8/23-8/27) and Cincinnati Comic Expo (9/14-9/16), in hopes that sooner or later we’ll find reasons enough to buy in again. Same goes for Starbase Indy, our hometown, fan-run, Thanksgiving weekend sci-fi con that holds a special place in our mutual history as a couple.
At this point it’s far too soon to worry about the return of HorrorHound Indy, the fourth annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, or the second annual Hall of Heroes Comic Con, which has relocated from March to September after their inaugural shindig experienced some weather-related issues, by which mean long lines in the freezing outdoors.
On the other hand, we’ve hit a frustrating scheduling snag with two others. This year the fifth annual Indy Pop Con has moved to the second weekend in June, the exact same time frame as the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. Indy Pop Con is virtually down the street from us, but their guest list has been skewing increasingly toward Generation YouTube to an extent that in so many words disinvites us from the party. (It didn’t help that last year they relocated to the same weekend as our annual road trip. Moving targets are easy to miss.) The Superman Celebration is a more draining four-hour drive, but we’ve attended twice as many of those — so many times that I’ve learned to navigate their town without a street map.
To complicate the issue even more — or to simplify the confrontation, from a certain perspective — we’ve also been given a “save the date” pre-invitation for a family wedding that Saturday, apparently the most popular day of the year. If family wins over fandom, we’ll have to send our regrets to both affairs and find other subjects to post about here in lieu of the missing con coverage.
All things considered, we’ll take the convention boom while it lasts, in all its coordinating complexity. It beats the decades we lived here without a single comic-con in our neighborhood or the funds to attend the faraway ones. The most annoying thing about this first-world problem is that convention season isn’t here right now, this minute. Without a time machine to speed up the process, for now all we can do is fuss and fidget and try not to whine too loudly about how we’d rather be anywhere but the ordinary average here.