Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…
Thursday had very nearly zero panels scheduled. The panels scheduled Friday and Saturday largely broke down into the following groups:
- Panels that might’ve been cool if the annoying lottery system hadn’t made them attendance-prohibitive
- Panels for fans by fans about fan stuff
- Panels about novels we haven’t read
- Writing advice
- The official Marvel Comics panel
Larger panels filled up quickly. Numerous panels, especially those devoted to Star Wars novelists, were often capped because too many people were interested. But as a comics fan, one who’s spending a fair amount per month to keep up with much of Marvel’s Star Wars output (not all of it), I felt compelled to make a greater effort to get a foot in the door. Getting in line 45 minutes before showtime did the trick.
Our panelists were Matt Martin from the Lucasfilm Story Group, overlords of the New Canon; Tom Groneman, assistant editor on Marvel’s Star Wars line; writer Greg Pak, whose “Age of Rebellion” specials kicked off in April; and writer Ethan Sacks, in charge of the upcoming Galaxy’s Edge miniseries advertising the big Disney Theme Parks additions (a bit more about those in a future entry). Later in the hour they also welcomed cover painter John Tyler Christopher. Our moderator was Dr. Christy Blanch, an Indiana professor, writer, comic shop owner, and superfan whom we’ve seen and met at previous cons (here, there, everywhere, and then some). The quintet had fun sharing Marvel’s next several months’ worth of Star Wars comics and the great-looking art that’ll be supporting them.
All of the following previews have surely been available on the comics news site of your choice for nearly a week now. I realized years ago I’ll never be a professional comics journalist, but it was fun to play at an amateurish version of it for an hour, tweeting photos and announcements as they occurred to anyone who cared to notice my existence.
It helped that, in this packed house that was capped thirty minutes in, we found ourselves seated behind three rows of ADA-dedicated seats that were almost entirely empty and thereby afforded us an unobstructed view of the screen, albeit at a bit of a remove.
Coming soon to a comic shop near you, then:
I’d never heard of Valance before this panel, but a good friend helped bring me up to speed later. The day after we got home, I was decompressing after the long drive home and decided to sort through a stack of unwanted comics my sister-in-law had given to me a month ago. Amid a few 1978 issues of Battlestar Galactica and Fantastic Four, there was exactly one Star Wars comic — issue #16, the very first appearance of Valance the Hunter. It’s ludicrous coincidences like this that happily fuel my faith in an orderly universe.
If you look closely at that last photo, you can barely make out a line of cosplayers that Dr. Blanch invited to hang out on stage for a minute — anyone in the house dressed as Marvel characters. That added up to several Doctor Aphras, one Lieutenant Tolvan from Doctor Aphra, and one Marvel-old-school Jaxxon we later tracked down for a better look. No Valances yet, but I expect that head count to change at future cons.
To be continued! Other chapters in this very special maxiseries:
Prologue: Our Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Pre-Show: Who We’ve Already Met
Part Zero: MCC Live-Tweet: Our First Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Line
Part 1: Imperial Cosplay
Part 2: The Right Side of the Force Cosplay
Part 3: Scum and Villainy Cosplay
Part 4: Rising with Skywalkers
Part 5: The Stars in Our Galaxy
Part 6: The Droids We Weren’t Looking For
Part 8: Adventures in Official Merchandising
Part 9: World of Wheels and Wings
Part 10: Welcome to Our World of Space Toys
Part 11: Fashion and Shopping
Part 12: What We Did in the Star Wars