Who’s Up for Packing a Year’s Worth of Conventions into Three Months?

Tom Hiddleston from TV's "Loki"!

That time Anne and I met TV’s Loki at Ace Comic Con Midwest 2018 remains among our all-time favorite extravagances and we will never, ever stop finding reasons to share it.

Hey, you guys remember that time when we used to attend comic-cons and entertainment conventions and they were fun, and then we posted photos and those were fun too? Heh. Yeah, that, uh, that was awesome.

Then came the pandemic. The body counts rose worldwide, long-term illnesses wrecked many a survivor, everyone stayed home and all event calendars were wiped clean, tossed into File 13 and set afire. Our last show was GalaxyCon Louisville in November 2019. We skipped C2E2 the following February because the guest list didn’t wow us and, frankly, who loves a con in Chicago wintertime? After that, every con we know either scrapped their 2020 plans or kept postponing and postponing and postponing, biding their time until either vaccines or alien saviors cleared a path back to geek normalcy.

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The Least August of All Augusts

Wizard World Chicago 2020!

The formerly real Wizard World Chicago 2020 guest list, still happening this weekend in a much brighter timeline.

August has never been my favorite month under ordinary circumstances. Comics creator Evan Dorkin recently and accurately captured the essence in describing every August as “31 hot Sundays in a row”. Perfect description.

August has no major holidays and no whimsical minor holidays apart from fake internet ones. (I once created my own party-a-day August calendar, but no one supported this ambitious and deeply time-wasting endeavor.) Nearly all our local schools reopen, which means more traffic clogging up my daily commute. Temperatures soar to unpleasant levels. TV networks continue airing dross until the fall season’s starter pistol is fired. Movie studios run out of highly excitedly anticipated blockbusters and fill out their slates with second-tier products that should’ve gone straight to home video. Augusts would be a total waste of calendar space if not for the events humankind created to pass the time until September at least does us the kindness of bringing our next federally sanctioned three-day weekend.

Leave it to 2020, which is less like a year and more like a nonstop acid-rain thunderstorm over a minefield cursed by a cackling witches’ coven, to lay waste to any and all potential August plans and make the worst month even worst-er.

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Another Convention, Another Sleepless Night Before


Badges! And papers! On every table-shaped surface! So. Many. PAPERS.

My brain is buzzing too much to write paragraphs right now. Our ninth foray to C2E2 in Chicago is this weekend, and I think we’re ready, but I dunno if we’re ready ready.

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Our Excuse for Skipping Three Conventions in One Weekend

Wedding Cake!

Actual wedding cake.

Dear Mr. Kotter,

Please excuse Randy and Anne Golden for skipping the Superman Celebration, Wizard World Columbus, and Indy Pop Con all at the same time. As evidence of their whereabouts, I submit Exhibit A: a photo of the official cake from the wedding they attended Saturday afternoon. Anne’s cousin and his new bride were the heart and soul of a wondrous occasion that marked quite a happy ending to a story that’s none of your business, if I may say so without you giving everyone detention. Also, in reply to your weird expression, yes, that is too a wedding cake.

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Whatever Happened to the Indianapolis Geek Convention Boom?


An outtake from our Indiana Comic Con 2015 cosplay photos, starring three Deadpools and a pair of kids who are each probably a foot taller by now.

Large-scale geek conventions weren’t a thing in Indianapolis when I was a kid. We had tiny comic shows in hotel ballrooms, but nothing requiring the spacious accommodations of the Indiana Convention Center. My young-adult years saw the advent of an annual Star Trek convention that brought great joy on several occasions and would become beloved by many, though their fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the past two decades. In 2003 Gen Con became the first super-sized company to believe in the considerable forces of local geek dollars, and they’ve been rewarded handsomely ever since for their benevolence by tens of thousands of Midwest gamers as well as folks like me who weren’t strictly gamers but were content to enjoy any sort of hobbyist gathering validation. We took what we could get, and we liked it.

Another full decade passed before other convention companies and wannabe startups noticed we’re here and began bringing their medicine wagons to town in hopes of finagling our approval and our wads of cash, and not necessarily in that order. Over the past four years we here at Midlife Crisis Crossover have shared our photos and our experiences — the good, the bad, the distressingly inept — as we’ve explored these new contenders in hopes that sooner or later, someone would establish the Greatest Indianapolis Comic Convention of All Time. My wife and I still find ourselves driving to Chicago twice per year for geek satisfaction, but it’s nice to know folks are trying to save us some gas money. And they’re welcome to keep trying.

Anne and I are now preparing for our next con this coming weekend, for which we’re mostly excited but reserving the right to retain our qualms after the rockiness of the showrunners’ last two events, each of which ran more like dry-run learning experiences than like professional expositions. While we’re selecting our personal artifacts for autographing and deciding what camping gear is most suitable for an unsupervised photo-op line, let’s take stock of the cons that have been courting us Hoosiers, praise those who did right by us, bury those who aren’t coming back, and look ahead to what’s on the Circle City calendar so far for 2016.

Right this way for what’s coming and what’s gone away…

Midwest Convention Watch: What’s Next, If We’re Lucky?

Marvel Booth

Merchandise and props are keen to look at, but every convention needs guests, fans, and a functional staff. (Photo: outtake from our C2E2 2014 collection.)

After our mixed experience with the first last month, my wife and I were disappointed to learn today that their next show, Awesome Con Milwaukee, which had been scheduled for the weekend before Thanksgiving, has been canceled. On November 5th Awesome Conventions President Ben Penrod posted a statement on their official Facebook page that read in part:

We initially planned for this event to be a huge celebration of comics and pop culture, but we had a number of challenges, and things just weren’t coming together in a few areas. Providing an unforgettable convention experience is key to Awesome Con’s entire existence, but it was looking more and more like this con wasn’t going to be able to live up to its name or your expectations for what Awesome Con is. Rather than falling short, we have decided to cancel this year’s event.

I’m truly sorry, and I’m sad, and I completely understand that you will be upset with us (and we are upset, as well). I appreciate everyone who signed up for the con, everyone who bought a table or booth, everyone who supported us and all of our partners in Milwaukee. It means a lot to us and we’re very sorry that we are letting you down.

Right this way for a few more stories, and our own upcoming con plans…

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