Nichelle Nichols, 1932-2022

Nichelle Nichols!

The last time we met Nichelle Nichols, at Indiana Comic Con 2017.

Today we were saddened to hear of the passing of Nichelle Nichols, a.k.a. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura from Star Trek, life-changing inspiration and role model of millions. Millions of actors, creators, celebrities, fans, and news sites are online to explain who she is or what she meant to so, so many. For me as a youngster who caught the OG Enterprise crew in reruns, she was an integral part of a stellar interstellar ensemble who showed us, despite innumerable obstacles in their path, that theirs was a potential future for humankind, in which everyone works, lives, and succeeds side-by-side in forging new paths together.

Continue reading

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 4 of 4: Stargirl and the Hobbits

Hobbits jazz hands!

Frodo! Pippin! Merry! Sam! And two humans searching the Shire for pizzazz!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This past weekend Anne and I attended the inaugural Fan Expo Chicago, the comics/entertainment convention formerly known as Wizard World Chicago, and before that the unbranded Chicago Comic Con. As a proud continuation of that chain of comic-con provenance, a 50th-anniversary logo featured in their decor and con souvenirs. Their initial guest-list game was strong enough to lure us back to the suburb of Rosemont for our first time in four years to see what we could make of this latest iteration. Would it be an all-new all-different Chicago Comic Con, or Wizard World under a bed sheet with two eye-holes poked in it?

It all comes down to this: Saturday, July 9th, our final day at the all-star four-day show. At least, we hoped it would be our final day. We had to work Monday. We didn’t want to come back Sunday. We’re getting old and we need more recuperation time after these super fun pop-culture endurance tests. Conventions are the one place where we can hang out with fellow geeks who get our interests. Back home, people like us seem like an extinct species. But after a while hanging around with the hobbyist crowds, and walking for miles up and down the geek habitat of exhibit hall aisles, is wearying. Also, there’s that pandemic thingamabob people worry about sometimes.

Continue reading

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 3 of 4: Apollo and the Clone Wars

Ashley Eckstein and Matt Lanter!

“Snips and Skyguy”, as the delightful Star Wars panel was billed.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This past weekend Anne and I attended the inaugural Fan Expo Chicago, the comics/entertainment convention formerly known as Wizard World Chicago, and before that the unbranded Chicago Comic Con. As a proud continuation of that chain of comic-con provenance, a 50th-anniversary logo featured in their decor and con souvenirs. Their initial guest-list game was strong enough to lure us back to the suburb of Rosemont for our first time in four years to see what we could make of this latest iteration. Would it be an all-new all-different Chicago Comic Con, or Wizard World under a bed sheet with two eye-holes poked in it?

If we reused headline formats from our past comic-con write-ups, this one would be the Friday edition of “What We Did and Who We Met”. Once we emerged impatient and unscathed from Chicago construction traffic, Friday was a laid-back stroll around the exhibit hall because most of the action was scheduled for Saturday, when nearly all the scheduled guests would be around. Friday, they weren’t so much, but we had the pleasure of attending a pair of Q&As with actors who graciously dropped in a day early.

Continue reading

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 4: Fandom Artifacts

Black Label me!

Now I come in a deluxe version with slightly more points of articulation! Soon to be on clearance at Target!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: this past weekend Anne and I attended the inaugural Fan Expo Chicago, the comics/entertainment convention formerly known as Wizard World Chicago, and before that the unbranded Chicago Comic Con. As a proud continuation of that chain of comic-con provenance, a 50th-anniversary logo featured in their decor and con souvenirs. Their initial guest-list game was strong enough to lure us back to the suburb of Rosemont for our first time in four years to see what we could make of this latest iteration. Would it be an all-new all-different Chicago Comic Con, or Wizard World under a bed sheet with two eye-holes poked in it?

Before we attempt any real storytime and show off our latest round of jazz-hands photos, why not run through a gallery of Stuff We Saw Around the Show Floor. In hindsight we took far fewer exhibit hall pics than expected because we’re well acquainted with what comic-con booths look like and weren’t in a constant state of mind-blown-ness. We did dawdle a bit more than usual at the handcrafted displays of two charitable fan clubs, who brought their homemade replicas of props and vehicles and whatnot, which as usual made us regret letting our own artistic skills atrophy since high school.

Continue reading

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 4: A Dash of Cosplay

Moon Knight!

TV’s Moon Knight welcomes you to a comic-con resurrection!

Once upon a time in 1972 humanity invented a major entertainment show commonly called the Chicago Comic Con, and comics collectors saw that it was good. In the late ’90s it was taken over by Wizard Entertainment, previously a specialist in geek magazine publishing. Wizard World Chicago continued the comic-con tradition for the next two decades, though with a decreasing emphasis on the “comic” aspect as nearly all the publishers withdrew their participation one by one and the show became all about meeting actors, with a nominal Artists Alley still attached in mild deference to its distant origins. Anne and I first attended WWC in 1999 (a Major Life Event for us), then made it an appointment getaway every year between 2010 and 2018. The company had been hemorrhaging cash and fan loyalty for years even before we decided to skip the 2019 edition in favor of our very first Dragon Con, which we consider yet another Major Life Event. The subsequent pandemic did Wizard World no favors, as you can imagine.

After one last gasp of a WWC in late 2021 that we understand was a pale shadow, Wizard World handed off their entire nationwide comic-con portfolio to Fan Expo HQ, a British-owned company whose Canadian comic-con wing has roots dating back to 1995 and who began acquiring inroads into the U.S. market in 2016. This past weekend, that corporate consumption process culminated in the very first Fan Expo Chicago, which is technically the inaugural edition and yet self-branded as a proud continuation of that chain of comic-con provenance, with a 50th-anniversary logo featured in their decor and con souvenirs. Their initial guest-list game was strong enough to lure us back to the suburb of Rosemont to see what we could make of this latest iteration. Would it be an all-new all-different Chicago Comic Con, or Wizard World under a bed sheet with two eye-holes poked in it?

Continue reading

Indiana Comic Con 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 2: Stars and Stuff!

John de Lancie!

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. John de Lancie! (Imagine .gif of Kermit the Frog cheering and flailing.)

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife Anne and I attended the eighth edition of the Indiana Comic Convention [read: ““Indiana Comic Con”] at the Indiana Convention Center in ICC 2022 was another opportunity to flip through old comics, meet people who create reading matter, boggle at toy displays, continue watching anime fandom multiply ever more dauntingly, and find space to breathe among or away from those cheerfully ever-growing crowds. It felt good to be back inside our own hometown shindig space.

Continue reading

Indiana Comic Con 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 2: Cosplay!

Powerpuff Girls!

Buttercup! Bubbles! Blossom! The Powerpuff Girls!

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife Anne and I attended the eighth edition of the Indiana Comic Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in scenic downtown Indianapolis. It was formerly called simply “Indiana Comic Con”, then subjected to light cosmetic rephrasing after the owners of the San Diego Comic Con were bitten by a radioactive ambulance chaser and began suing other comic cons in a desperate attempt to prevent the very common phrase “comic con” from becoming a very common phrase for comic cons, as very commonly used by every comic-con attendee ever. Anyone who actually calls it “the Indiana Comic Convention” either has a mandatory work-related reason to do so or far too many neckties in their closet.

ICC 2022 was another opportunity to flip through old comics, meet people who create reading matter, boggle at toy displays, continue watching anime fandom multiply ever more dauntingly, and find space to breathe among or away from those cheerfully ever-growing crowds. Our last time at ICC was back in 2018, the end of a five-year run for us. We missed the 2019 edition due to a severe geek-related schedule conflict and skipped last year’s autumn revival because the short guest list had a certain “too soon” quality to it. After leaving the safety of our home for shows in other states last fall and last weekend, it felt good to be back inside our own hometown shindig space.

While we recuperate and wait for our feet to forgive us for their punishment, please enjoy this collection of cosplayers who brightened the day around the show floor. The jazz-hands photo ops and other obligatory details will be shared in the other chapter because everyone loves costumes. We regret we can only represent a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total cosplay wonderment that was on display this weekend. We’re just an aging couple doing what we can for happy sharing fun. Enjoy! Corrections welcome if we misidentified anyone!

Continue reading

Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 4 of 4: A Two-Day Mission

Strange New Worlds Captain Chair!

Fun with green screen! Fans could sit in one of two captains’ chairs and be inserted into promos for either Strange New Worlds or Star Trek: Prodigy.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

The weekend of April 8-10, 2022, marked the inaugural Star Trek Mission, the first in a planned convention series from ReedPOP, the showrunners behind the much-vaunted C2E2 and other comic cons. In this geek endeavor ReedPOP in conjunction with Paramount Pictures hopes to do for Gene Roddenberry’s creation what the Star Wars Celebrations do for that rival galaxy. As it happens, the premier shindig was held in Chicago, a mere three hours away from our humble dwelling. Naturally we had to see…

As in all other MCC miniseries about our con experiences, it all comes down to this: the overlong grand finale in which I recount every anecdote I didn’t already share, post one last round of photos, and see how many readers make it all the way to the end, days after the event is long past and everyone’s already looking forward to the next con. It’s a draining process with few rewards, but that’s my thing.

Continue reading

Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 3 of 4: Props and Merch

Borg and Saurian skulls!

Not your Trekker parents’ kind of “Bones” reference: the skulls of a Borg and a formerly obscure Saurian, plucked from The Motion Picture like a Mos Eisley Cantina action figure and repurposed for Discovery.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

The weekend of April 8-10, 2022, marked the inaugural Star Trek Mission, the first in a planned convention series from ReedPOP, the showrunners behind the much-vaunted C2E2 and other comic cons. In this geek endeavor ReedPOP in conjunction with Paramount Pictures hopes to do for Gene Roddenberry’s creation what the Star Wars Celebrations do for that rival galaxy. As it happens, the premier shindig was held in Chicago, a mere three hours away from our humble dwelling. Naturally we had to see…

It wouldn’t be a convention without opportunities to spend money and/or see objects inspired by, or actually used in, the source material that entertained the fandom at large. The exhibit hall wasn’t large by any convention’s definition, with not many vendors on hand, all of them phaser-focused on Trek and Trek accessories, but fascinating objets d’art surrounded fans on all sides.

Continue reading

Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 4: A Piece of the Cosplay Action

Balok!

Yes, there’s an alien after the Star Trek end credits: Balok from “The Corbomite Maneuver”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

The weekend of April 8-10, 2022, marked the inaugural Star Trek Mission, the first in a planned convention series from ReedPOP, the showrunners behind the much-vaunted C2E2 and other comic cons. In this geek endeavor ReedPOP in conjunction with Paramount Pictures hopes to do for Gene Roddenberry’s creation what the Star Wars Celebrations do for that rival galaxy. As it happens, the premier shindig was held in Chicago, a mere three hours away from our humble dwelling. Naturally we had to see…

It wouldn’t be a very special MCC convention miniseries without at least one cosplay gallery. Trek cons are a tricky affair for us appreciators and amateur shutterbugs: plenty of fans attend in costume, but the theme for 95% of them is “me, but in Starfleet”. That’s awesome for inclusivity’s sake — anyone can dress the part and belong instantly — but we can’t just stop and bug everyone we see out of civilian attire. Also, we haven’t watched Discovery or Prodigy (and we’re only partway through Lower Decks), so there’re newer characters outside our recognition zone. Spending a lot of our time in panels and photo-op lines doesn’t help with this secondary objective, either. When time and energy permitted, we compiled the following modest fraction of the total fashion statements represented at the con on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy!

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: