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Gen Con 2009: The Lost Photo Parade

Yu-Gi-Oh-ize me!

It is I, Token the White Guy, rarer than a Blue Eyes White Dragon and yet far less in demand!

Every August since 2003 our hometown of Indianapolis has hosted the Wonder of the World that is Gen Con, one of America’s oldest and largest gaming conventions. Whether your gaming mode is RPGs, tabletop games, TCGs, dice games, family board games, or video games, Gen Con has its sights aimed in your direction. Try a new game, pick up supplies for your current campaigns, network with gamers from faraway lands, or just wander the premises and gaze upon the wonders. Attendance over the past two years has topped 60,000 and shows no signs of slowing down. On the occasion of their 50th celebration in 2017, as phenomenal as it was by all accounts, I’m surprised a squad of fire marshals didn’t simply shut the whole city down.

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Happy Free Comic Book Day 2019!

Free Comic Book Day 2019!

This year’s haul, part 1.

It’s that time of year again! Today marked the eighteenth Free Comic Book Day, that annual celebration when comic shops nationwide offer no-strings-attached goodies as a form of community outreach in honor of that time-honored medium where words and pictures dance in unison on the printed page, whether in the form of super-heroes, monsters, cartoon all-stars, licensed merchandise, or entertaining ordinary folk. It’s one of the best holidays ever for hobbyists like me who’ve been comics readers since the days when drugstores sold them for thirty-five cents each and comic book movies were sad, cheapskate abominations.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #12 of 12: What We Did in the Star Wars

Buckle Up Baby!

Did YOU spot all the appearances of Donald Glover’s Young Lando in this very special maxiseries? I mean, you don’t win a prize or anything and I’m not even keeping track of them myself. I was just curious, is all.

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…

…and it all ends here, by which I mean we finally stop trying to prolong the magic of that eventful weekend. We’ve covered the cosplayers we saw; the actors we met; the big, big trailer we watched with thousands of other fans in an awkward communal setting; the one panel we were permitted to attend; the geek stuff we bought; and the other geek stuff we walked past.

Here on MCC, many such lists end with me promising all that “and more, more, MORE!” At long last, it’s time for the mores.

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Peter Mayhew 1944-2019

Peter Mayhew!

A fond souvenir from our personal archives.

Fans grieved hard enough years ago when Chewbacca died in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, crushed by a moon. Hearing today of the death of Peter Mayhew, the man who brought George Lucas’ original Wookiee to life, was far more sorrowing. Everybody loves Chewbacca. Not even The Star Wars Holiday Special could damage him or our appreciation for the heart and muscle and loyalty he brought to the other, much shorter heroes of that faraway galaxy.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #11 of 12: Fashion and Shopping

Crimson Guard mannequin!

The most vivid mannequin I’ve ever seen in my life.

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…

Most attendees of any given con spend a good 90% of their weekend in the exhibit hall. Sure, it’s cool to meet famous people, see the work of impressive artists, photograph cosplayers, and attend panels, and not always in that order. But the average ticketholder does the majority of their walking up and down the aisles past the various licensed merchandisers, collectible dealers, comic shop owners, toy eBay-ers, and other small businesses and large companies dying to trade pop culture miscellanea for all that disposable income.

Times may have been tough for Celebration dealers, though. Thousands of fans were far more interested in the official Celebration Store and its coveted exclusives than in any used-Star-Wars retailers. At a show where the unifying theme was ostensibly Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS, nearly every vendor assumed we were all there to buy nothing but Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS. Some booths sold different kinds of Star Wars, but it was still Star-Wars-brand Star Wars. After a while, all those identically stamped and trademarked products began to blend together. By the time we concluded our weekend, the exhibit hall had paradoxically morphed before our very eyes into a rather mundane bazaar.

A few hardy professionals did their best to stand out anyway…

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #10: Welcome to Our World of Space Toys

Elite Praetorian Guards!

Elite Praetorian Guards from Kotobukiya. Pricier than you think.

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…

TOYS! Studies show 106% of all viewers who ever enjoyed a Star Wars film have owned at least one Star Wars toy in their lives. Anne and I don’t actively collect them anymore, but we haven’t yet parted with our respective collections. Frankly, it would take a while. Hers is ten times the size of mine, even after gifting a few extras to kiddie relatives. We nonetheless continue to admire Star Wars toys and toy-like products from afar, amazed at how far toy design technology has come since the ancient times when action figures with more than five movable joints were illegal in forty-two states because too much articulation might encourage naughty posing.

Naturally Lucasfilm invited some of their fanciest licensees to Celebration to display their wares, from the rulers of the commonest big-box toy aisles to the higher-end collectible craftspeople. Each of those vendors also had exclusive Celebration pins for sale, a value-added incentive for window shoppers to take a closer look. When the pin-bug bit Anne, we did a little of exactly that.

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