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…