Advertisements

R.I.P. Geppi Museum: A 2017 Road Trip Epilogue

Batcave Shakespeare!

Once upon a time, this dead author was the gateway to a crimefighter’s lair. Who knows where he’s headed next.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do.

As a fan of comic books for nearly four decades and counting, I wish I could say we find comic-related tourist attractions everywhere we go, but that’s nearly never the case. Leave it to one of the most powerful men in the comics industry ever so kindly to place one in our Baltimore path. And not just comics — Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is a haven for collectible 20th-century pop culture in general.

Its founder and namesake is Steve Geppi, also the founder and owner of Diamond Comics Distributors, the near-monopolistic juggernaut through which the vast majority of American comic shops are required to receive their weekly comics and ancillary products. Geppi has been a leading figure in the industry since the 1970s, with Diamond rising to indispensable prominence when the tumultuous 1990s market saw the company either outliving or outright buying its competitors. In 2006 Geppi — himself a big fan of all those worlds — decided to try something different and opened his Entertainment Museum on the second floor of the former B&O Railroad Station, with its exhibits curated out of his own enormous personal collections.

As of June 3, 2018, those paragraphs became past tense.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Elegy for the Final Generation of Toys R Us Kids

Toys R Us v. Green Lantern!

It’s official: everything that stupid movie touched dies. Some just took years longer than others.

Parents and other former children lamented, waxed nostalgic, and raged at the news this week that Toys R Us, the last American large-scale brick-‘n’-mortar toy store chain, may be shuttering its remaining 800 stores over the next several weeks due to the long-term shenanigans of the evil corporate overlords who bought it in 2005 and basically ransacked it for cash for years. Soon that kaleidoscopically immersive childhood shopping experience, one of the few places a family could go and spend a day surrounded only by wall-to-wall playthings, will be downgraded from endangered to extinct.

I’m saddened by the loss, but not devastated. My life has been one long series of toy store collapses.

Continue reading

Marsh Supermarkets: Marked Down, Then Marked Out

Everything Must Go!

Mild discounts or not, some shelves were emptier than others. A quick check of the salsas confirmed anything bearing Guy Fieri’s face was still 100% in stock.

Once again another piece of my childhood is on the chopping block.

Once upon a time, Marsh Supermarkets was one of the largest grocery chains here in Indiana. They were my family’s weekly provider mostly because two of their locations were our closest options, and they seemed to have a better selection than the Kroger stores in our area. Or maybe Marsh was cleaner. Or had prettier newspaper ads. Come to think of it, neither Mom nor Grandma ever explained to me why we went there. We just did, and that was good enough for me. Come next month, they’ll be no more.

Continue reading

Farewell, Milano Inn. We Just Barely Knew Ye.

Milano Inn!

At the time we were excited to be there and had no idea the stop sign was deep, clever foreshadowing.

When it’s time to pay respects and say goodbye to a cherished person, place, or thing, sometimes it’s good not to wait till the last minute. Better still, keeping in touch and enjoying their presence while things are going well means you don’t have to feel quite so lousy if they depart without you orchestrating a proper sendoff.

Today my wife and I had fun plans in downtown Indianapolis in the morning, a nephew’s birthday party out in Brownsburg in the afternoon, and a gap between them that might fit a nice lunch. Our schedule filled itself out when we learned this week that the Milano Inn, a renowned Italian restaurant serving the Circle City since 1934, would be closing its doors for good at the end of 2016, a year that just won’t stop racking up casualties. A husband-and-wife date before their farewell seemed in order.

Key word: “seemed”.

Continue reading

Geek Shopping Now Easier Than Ever (for some)

Funko Joker!

Funko Pop presents Chibi-head Academy Award Winner Jared Leto, all yours…for a price.

It’s not this time of year without too much shopping! Or so I hear frequently from the media, TV ads, all surrounding retail shops, our local newspaper, the voices in my head that like buying new stuff for loved ones and myself, sometimes in that order. The true Black Friday experience — getting up ridiculously early the day after Thanksgiving and not one day earlier to compete for the privilege of loss-leader pricing on either understocked new merchandise or obsolete shelf-filler — lost my commitment when corporations decided a Friday should be fourteen days long.

The increasingly charmless holiday event notwithstanding, I usually have free time to spare that particular day regardless, so it’s still a good opportunity to leave my family behind for a few hours without guilt and go take care of my share of the Christmas season. This year I spent much of my morning at Indianapolis’ own Castleton Square Mall, where I usually don’t have a lot to do since women’s clothing and designer shoe shops aren’t my thing. This year, more than ever, quite a few stores were aiming specifically for my geek dollars with the kind of merchandise we normally see only at our annual comic and entertainment conventions. Suddenly “geek chic” is a thing and proprietors hope the masses will buy in.

Continue reading

Requiem for Another Indiana Comic Shop Closed

Android's Dungeon!

Whenever a comic shop closes its doors, Marvel kills off another Angel.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in July 2014 I expressed hopes and well wishes for the Android’s Dungeon, a new comic book shop that had opened in Avon, Indiana, in a heavily commercial area in otherwise comics-less Hendricks County. The owners were a nice young couple; the selection was diverse; the perks were kind. All signs pointed to potential success.

On August 31st, last Wednesday, the Android’s Dungeon observed one last New Comics Day before closing its doors for good.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: