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Return to Paducah: Our Superman Celebration 2017 Coda

Welcome to the Atomic City!

One of 50+ murals painted along Paducah’s Ohio River flood wall. Anne took pictures of nearly all of them while the sunshine baked us in our skins and now we’re dead. The End.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

Across the Ohio River from Metropolis is the city of Paducah, Kentucky. We first explored their downtown on our first road trip to the area in 2001, but had found mostly empty storefronts, a few old antique shops, a couple of murals, a scary comic shop, and easy access to the Ohio River in case we wanted to take our chances on a dunking of questionable content. On our second through fifth trips to the area, we bypassed downtown and limited our Paducah exploration to our hotels and the restaurants closest to them.

On the occasion of our sixth visit, we dug more deeply into our online research, now that more resources are available to us today than we had in 2001. We learned of a few roadside attractions we missed the first time around and we found encouraging evidence that they’ve made some upgrades over the past sixteen years. Once we’d had our fill of super-hero glory, festival food, and sunburn, we decided to hop back across the Ohio and see how they’re doing.

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My Free Comic Book Day 2017 Results, Best to Least Best

Spectacular Spider-Man!

Spidey and the Vulture, both older than they’ll appear in the next film. Art by Paolo Siqueira, Frank D’Armata, and one of the four credited inkers.

On May 6th my wife and I had the pleasure of once again observing Free Comic Book Day, the least fake holiday of them all. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. This year’s assortment saw a metric ton of all-ages comics far outnumbering the adults-only options, served up by a plethora of publishers great and small, hopefully many of whom will still be around a year from now.

I never grab copies of everything, and this year I restrained myself a bit more than usual. Sometimes reviewing comics can be fun, but I wasn’t in the mood to read that many kids’ comics in a row. Also left behind were a few books based on cartoons and movies, reminders that some publishers see comics more as a second-tier merchandising stream than as a literary medium unto itself.

The fifteen comics in my FCBD 2017 reading pile came out as follows, ranked from Totally Not For Me to I Would Pay Monies For More, complicated by the fact that several of these contain two or more stories. I considered concocting some sort of system involving grade-weighting and averages that would even up the scores, but ultimately I’ve decided to base everything on subjective non-math and internal whims instead. As most listicles are.

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Our 2005 Road Trip, Part 9 of 10: Oklahoma!

Buffalo Bill!

Leonard McMurry’s “Buffalo Bill” welcomes you to the wonderful world of the wild, wild West!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Welcome to the first installment of another special MCC miniseries, representing the original travelogue from our 2005 drive from Indianapolis to San Antonio, Texas, and back again in far too short a time…

State #5 on our seven-day, eight-state journey had its pros and cons, but at least we can say we crossed it off our list of states to visit. To its credit, unlike our home state of Indiana, it’s had its own famous musical. We haven’t watched it yet, but I expect we’ll get to it someday and develop a deeper appreciation for the Sooner State, or at least understand a few more pop culture references. I’m assuming it generated some, anyway. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a famous musical if everyone forgot the songs ten minutes later, right?

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 4 of 5: The Meijer Art Department

American Horse!

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless it threatens your life perforce…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In Part 3 we walked you through the scenic greenery at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, years before a series of subsequent expansions turned it into one of Grand Rapids’ largest attractions. But as the name implies, we saw more than just gardens. Assorted sculptures are on display for the art lovers curious to see human creations in the natural mix. The largest piece by far is Nina Akamu’s 1999 The American Horse, which would be quite the destroyer if magic ever brought it to life.

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Yesterday’s Entertainment Repurposed

Event Horizons!

We talk, joke, and moan all the time about Hollywood’s constant reuse, recycling, and rebooting of the movies and TV shows of our childhoods and of the childhoods before ours. We enjoy, or just as often roll our eyes, when today’s musicians cover or sample all the favorite songs of previous generations to present echoes of them to new audiences repulsed by old stuff, regardless of its anointed “classic” status.

Last month we found one artist who asked: why stop with cannibalizing the works themselves? Why not repurpose their very containers? What if you take all those shiny, reflective objects that served as portals into our homes for Hollywood and the record labels alike, and converted them into brand new, abstract doorways to imagination?

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Merry Christmas in Seven Scenes from MCC!

Nativity scene!

The prettiest among my in-laws’ Nativity scenes, a handicraft find on one of their small-town expeditions, which they’ve surrounded with a selection of this year’s Christmas cards. I didn’t realize till a few minutes ago that the card we sent them tried to sneak into the shot.

Christmastime is here, basically! With last-minute shopping to do, relatives to visit, presents to give, and fresh-baked cookies to overdose upon, sleeping in heavenly peace may be an unattainable luxury during our three-day weekend. As we’re finalizing our plans and preparing to dive in, please enjoy this gallery of memories from our past four weeks foreshadowing the upcoming celebrations of Jesus’ birth (observed) and all those’ll entail, Lord willing.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Wondrous Weekend from the staff here at Midlife Crisis Crossover.

Right this way for six more quick shots of Christmas!

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