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Our Ace Comic Con Midwest 2018 Photos

Zazie Beets!

Just me hanging out with Emmy Award Nominee Zazie Beetz. With my wife’s permission, honest!

This weekend my wife Anne and I attended the inaugural Ace Comic Con Midwest, the third show from the new geek-convention company that previously exhibited in Seattle and in Glendale, AZ, before turning their attention to someplace within our driving distance. The creators were previously the bigwigs behind the Wizard World empire, but parted ways a while back, decided to do their own separate thing, and took all their learned lessons and deep Hollywood connections with them.

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Yes, There Are Scenes During AND After the “Venom” End Credits

Venom!

For attending on opening weekend, our local theater gave us a free comic! It’s an adaptation of several random scenes, at least two of which differ from the finished film. Spoilers for anyone who peeks inside before the movie starts.

The character of Venom may not mean quite so much to you if you haven’t been a Marvel Comics collector within the past thirty years, or if you saw Spider-Man 3 and hold a grudge against Topher Grace and Sam Raimi to this day. When first introduced on the printed page, Venom was a team-up of two of Spider-Man’s enemies: Eddie Brock, a bitter workplace rival of Peter Parker’s who got fired and blamed him for it; and Spidey’s former black costume, which was actually an immoral liquid alien parasite that Mr. Fantastic had to help him escape. Venom was the perfect anti-Spider-Man — he all the same powers, the spiffy black design, all of Peter’s memories which the alien had absorbed, and the ability to sneak-attack Spidey without setting off his Spider-Sense. I was 16 at the time and thought Venom was a great idea for a nemesis…one among many nemeses, mind you.

Unfortunately in the ’90s, whenever fans liked any one character a lot, Marvel editors and/or executives would then decree that character must appear in as many comics as possible. Characters such as Wolverine, the Punisher, and Ghost Rider were each given two or three series to their name and/or dropped into other heroes’ titles as special guest stars, constantly and gratuitously. Sometimes it worked and sales spiked with every appearance, until the mid-’90s when their sins finally caught up with them and they knocked off the guest-star oversaturation for a while.

Among those Fan Favorites du Jour in the ’90s was Venom. One problem: he was a most heinous villain with a body count. Homicidal maniacs can be protagonists, but that’s a tough premise to weave into four to six comics per month. Marvel therefore tried reinventing him as an antihero and hoping the other Marvel heroes would forgive and forget, and not try to arrest or kill him four to six time per month. I never loved Venom that much, especially after he began spawning imitative spin-offs like Carnage, Riot, Toxin, Hybrid, Scream, and several more my son could name but I can’t because I never cared. Unless that was all of them. I wouldn’t know. I quit reading the various Spider-titles shortly before all those Venomettes hit the stage and spread the Venom plague.

I’ve run across Venom at random times since then (loved Rick Remender’s version starring Flash Thompson; had no strong feelings about Ultimate Venom) but don’t go out of my way for him. So why did I bother giving a Venom movie any attention? Because I was curious to see if Tom Hardy could sift gold from dross, because I really liked director Ruben Fleischer’s horror-comedy Zombieland, and because my son has been a Venom fan since he was a kid. The occasional father/son outing is a good thing, and we had fun trying to sort out this mess together afterward.

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Wizard World Chicago 2018 Photos, Part 6 of 6: Objects of Affection

cat nurse!

Space taxidermy! Me and a Sister of Plenitude from Doctor Who.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found ample enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. A few guest cancellations dampened our spirits somewhat, but we persevered and enjoyed our couple’s outing anyway, especially since Anne’s entire weekend admission was free as a consolation prize given to her and a couple thousand other fans after David Tennant’s last-minute cancellation last year.

Now that site traffic has subsided to its normal insignificant levels and all our visitors and new acquaintances have retreated to their respective internet corners, we wrap our miniseries with one last photo gallery in honor of what it’s all about: all that stuff around the convention. Everywhere we walk in an exhibit hall, we’re surrounded by millions or nifty items , whether for sale or for display only. Two organizations in particular brought their finest collections to entertain, to educate, to raise funds, and/or to treat fans to deeper glimpses into revered elements from their favorite fictional multiverses.

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Wizard World Chicago 2018 Photos, Part 5 of 6: Who Else We Met, What Else We Did

David Krumholtz!

It’s David Krumholtz! You might remember him from such films as The Santa Clause, Serenity, and Addams Family Values, plus the CBS series Numbers!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found ample enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. A few guest cancellations dampened our spirits somewhat, but we persevered and enjoyed our couple’s outing anyway, especially since Anne’s entire weekend admission was free as a consolation prize given to her and a couple thousand other fans after David Tennant’s last-minute cancellation last year.

Despite the Saturday morning photo op debacle, we ended up having a lot more fun than expected, in terms of meeting both fine actors met and comics creators I zealously paid in exchange for new reading material. The weeks leading up to the shindig weren’t without their stressful moments. Anne had most been looking forward to meeting TV’s Henry Winkler, a.k.a. Dr. Saperstein from Parks and Recreation, among other acclaimed characters. Despite Anne’s free pass, we weren’t officially committed to WWC till I paid for my own ticket two weeks before showtime. Naturally the Fonz canceled literally two days later.

I, in turn, had been hopping up and down in anticipation of meeting comics maker Ryan North, best known for writing the last four years’ worth of Marvel’s amazing colossal Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, plus a short but amusing Jughead arc last year.. A few days before WWC, after months of silence from North on the subject, a curious fan approached him on Twitter, only to be told that he wouldn’t be coming and had submitted cancellation of his appearance to Wizard World before they’d added him to their website in the first place. I took a few hours to compose myself and remember the pros of self-restraint. I realized I had to move on and also try not to think about the part where we would be missing a hometown show, HorrorHound Indy, which changed venue and rescheduled for the same weekend. Simply put, we had to make the most of WWC.

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Wizard World Chicago 2018 Photos, Part 4 of 6: Ghostbusters!

No Ghosts!

Who knew that all these decades later, Casper’s Uncle Fatso would be better remembered than he is.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found ample enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. A few guest cancellations dampened our spirits somewhat, but we persevered and enjoyed our couple’s outing anyway…

…especially after a last-minute major addition to the guest list spawned an entire additional programming track. For the Ghostbusters fans out there, Ernie Hudson — a.k.a. Winston Zedmore, “the black one” — had been scheduled to attend for a while. One week before showtime, another name popped up on the guest schedule: Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman himself. Hollywood directors are a rarity on the WWC roster (e.g. John Carpenter, Robert Rodriguez, actor/directors like Jonathan Frakes) and I wish we had opportunities to meet more of them.

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Wizard World Chicago 2018 Photos, Part 3 of 6: Last Call for Cosplay!

Is This a Pigeon?

Yutaro Katori from The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird. Or if you’re on Twitter a lot, the “IS THIS A PIGEON?” meme, live and in 3-D!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found ample enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. Once again we lead off a new convention miniseries with the mandatory cosplay galleries. We captured whoever we could while wandering the show floor Friday and Saturday…

…and here are all the rest, all the other cosplayers whose works we appreciated and whose souls we captured. We apologize sincerely for the hundreds of other great cosplayers we didn’t photograph, but: (a) we were trapped in lines a lot; (b) we’re getting older and recognizing fewer costumes; (c) Deadpool variants notwithstanding, we tend to sidestep characters that show up in packs of fifty; (d) I’m getting less excited every year about competing with roving herds of Instagrammers who don’t even bother to learn the names of the characters they photograph; (e) we don’t do costume contests anymore; (f) no ever runs up to us and demands we take and post their pic, which would be most welcome and super convenient for us if they did; and (g) by 5 p.m. Saturday we’d accomplished all our goals and lost our wills to walk.

If you don’t see yourself here, I’m really sorry, but I do hope you get to see a few other fellow cosplayers that you missed this weekend. We saw a lot of fine efforts all around the Stephens Center, breathing new life into favorite characters and generally enriching the WWC experience. Enjoy!

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