Fan Expo Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 4: A Dash of Cosplay

Moon Knight!

TV’s Moon Knight welcomes you to a comic-con resurrection!

Once upon a time in 1972 humanity invented a major entertainment show commonly called the Chicago Comic Con, and comics collectors saw that it was good. In the late ’90s it was taken over by Wizard Entertainment, previously a specialist in geek magazine publishing. Wizard World Chicago continued the comic-con tradition for the next two decades, though with a decreasing emphasis on the “comic” aspect as nearly all the publishers withdrew their participation one by one and the show became all about meeting actors, with a nominal Artists Alley still attached in mild deference to its distant origins. Anne and I first attended WWC in 1999 (a Major Life Event for us), then made it an appointment getaway every year between 2010 and 2018. The company had been hemorrhaging cash and fan loyalty for years even before we decided to skip the 2019 edition in favor of our very first Dragon Con, which we consider yet another Major Life Event. The subsequent pandemic did Wizard World no favors, as you can imagine.

After one last gasp of a WWC in late 2021 that we understand was a pale shadow, Wizard World handed off their entire nationwide comic-con portfolio to Fan Expo HQ, a British-owned company whose Canadian comic-con wing has roots dating back to 1995 and who began acquiring inroads into the U.S. market in 2016. This past weekend, that corporate consumption process culminated in the very first Fan Expo Chicago, which is technically the inaugural edition and yet self-branded as a proud continuation of that chain of comic-con provenance, with a 50th-anniversary logo featured in their decor and con souvenirs. Their initial guest-list game was strong enough to lure us back to the suburb of Rosemont to see what we could make of this latest iteration. Would it be an all-new all-different Chicago Comic Con, or Wizard World under a bed sheet with two eye-holes poked in it?

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Indiana Comic Con 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 2: Cosplay!

Powerpuff Girls!

Buttercup! Bubbles! Blossom! The Powerpuff Girls!

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife Anne and I attended the eighth edition of the Indiana Comic Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in scenic downtown Indianapolis. It was formerly called simply “Indiana Comic Con”, then subjected to light cosmetic rephrasing after the owners of the San Diego Comic Con were bitten by a radioactive ambulance chaser and began suing other comic cons in a desperate attempt to prevent the very common phrase “comic con” from becoming a very common phrase for comic cons, as very commonly used by every comic-con attendee ever. Anyone who actually calls it “the Indiana Comic Convention” either has a mandatory work-related reason to do so or far too many neckties in their closet.

ICC 2022 was another opportunity to flip through old comics, meet people who create reading matter, boggle at toy displays, continue watching anime fandom multiply ever more dauntingly, and find space to breathe among or away from those cheerfully ever-growing crowds. Our last time at ICC was back in 2018, the end of a five-year run for us. We missed the 2019 edition due to a severe geek-related schedule conflict and skipped last year’s autumn revival because the short guest list had a certain “too soon” quality to it. After leaving the safety of our home for shows in other states last fall and last weekend, it felt good to be back inside our own hometown shindig space.

While we recuperate and wait for our feet to forgive us for their punishment, please enjoy this collection of cosplayers who brightened the day around the show floor. The jazz-hands photo ops and other obligatory details will be shared in the other chapter because everyone loves costumes. We regret we can only represent a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total cosplay wonderment that was on display this weekend. We’re just an aging couple doing what we can for happy sharing fun. Enjoy! Corrections welcome if we misidentified anyone!

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Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 4: A Piece of the Cosplay Action

Balok!

Yes, there’s an alien after the Star Trek end credits: Balok from “The Corbomite Maneuver”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

The weekend of April 8-10, 2022, marked the inaugural Star Trek Mission, the first in a planned convention series from ReedPOP, the showrunners behind the much-vaunted C2E2 and other comic cons. In this geek endeavor ReedPOP in conjunction with Paramount Pictures hopes to do for Gene Roddenberry’s creation what the Star Wars Celebrations do for that rival galaxy. As it happens, the premier shindig was held in Chicago, a mere three hours away from our humble dwelling. Naturally we had to see…

It wouldn’t be a very special MCC convention miniseries without at least one cosplay gallery. Trek cons are a tricky affair for us appreciators and amateur shutterbugs: plenty of fans attend in costume, but the theme for 95% of them is “me, but in Starfleet”. That’s awesome for inclusivity’s sake — anyone can dress the part and belong instantly — but we can’t just stop and bug everyone we see out of civilian attire. Also, we haven’t watched Discovery or Prodigy (and we’re only partway through Lower Decks), so there’re newer characters outside our recognition zone. Spending a lot of our time in panels and photo-op lines doesn’t help with this secondary objective, either. When time and energy permitted, we compiled the following modest fraction of the total fashion statements represented at the con on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #8: Last Call for Parade Cosplay

Dr. Henry Jones cosplay!

Don’t ask me how I nearly overlooked this pic of the Chibi Bunny I still don’t recognize, Dr. Henry Jones, Anna from Frozen, and Dash from The Incredibles.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

It all comes down to this: one final round of costumes from the Saturday morning cosplay parade through the heart of downtown Atlanta. Calling them “outtakes” seems unfair, but they were omitted from previous chapters for a variety of reasons. Some were redundant. Some had tiny flaws that bugged me. Some were probably arbitrary. Anyway, my fickleness notwithstanding, enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #7: More Cosplay Parade Stumpers

Black winged cosplay!

Winged costumes are among the most elaborate, time-consuming, fascinating costumes around. And it bugs me when I can’t put a name to them. Shark ninja is cool, too.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

Yep, more costumes from that annual cosplay parade. Downtown Atlanta was busy and bustling with hundreds and hundreds of fans dressed to the nines and showing off their fandoms and their togs. We recognized quite a few. Our knowledge bases and pop-culture consumption habits don’t cover all of them. Media and genres range far and wide and hither and yon and recognizing every single name is impossible unless you’re the Dragon Con staffer who processed their parade application.

In this gallery and the previous one, many of the photos sport one or more characters we couldn’t put names to and Google failed to lend us a hand. Or it’s our aging brains holding back on us, which happens a lot. Some might also be the cosplayers’ own original characters that we never stood a chance at guessing. I hate posting costume pics without at least trying to identify the subjects. If you see someone you know, please feel free to shout it out. We do enjoy learning about new universes we don’t know, and we appreciate reminders of the ones we’ve forgotten. And yes, that was the same intro as Chapter 6 with one word changed. It’s been a long week and everyone else who was at Dragon Con has moved on with their lives except me, so it’s corner-cutting time. Enjoy anyway!

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #6: Cosplay Parade Stumpers

Overwatch cosplay!

Youngsters love Overwatch, don’t they? Here, have some Overwatch.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

Yep, more costumes from that annual cosplay parade. Downtown Atlanta was busy and bustling with hundreds and hundreds of fans dressed to the nines and showing off their fandoms and their togs. We recognized quite a few. Our knowledge bases and pop-culture consumption habits don’t cover all of them. Media and genres range far and wide and hither and yon and recognizing every single name is impossible unless you’re the Dragon Con staffer who processed their parade application.

In this gallery and the next one, many of the photos sport one or more characters we couldn’t put names to and Google failed to lend us a hand. Or it’s our aging brains holding back on us, which happens a lot. Some might also be the cosplayers’ own original characters that we never stood a chance at guessing. I hate posting costume pics without at least trying to identify the subjects. If you see someone you know, please feel free to shout it out. We do enjoy learning about new universes we don’t know, and we appreciate reminders of the ones we’ve forgotten. Enjoy despite our inadequate geek taxonomy!

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #5: Still More Cosplay Parade

R2D2 Suit and Mandalorians cosplay!

Sharp-dressed Artoo leads Mandalorians down the runway.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

As promised, another gallery from the annual Saturday morning cosplay parade through downtown Atlanta, this time with specializations in Star Wars, Futurama, chemistry, and more. Corrections and revisions welcome as always. Once more, with feeling: enjoy!

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #4: More Cosplay Parade

Cult of Marriott Carpet cosplay!

The Cult of Marriott Carpet is one of those extremely specific Dragon Con in-jokes. See, there’s a Marriott with this distinctive carpet that looks like Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian made a map of Boston together…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

As promised, another gallery from the annual Saturday morning cosplay parade through downtown Atlanta. Marvel unintentionally dominates this section, but they don’t quite have this one all to themselves. For past comic-cons I used to sort the costumes by company, by genre, or by whatever pop-culture divisions came to mind. That procedure takes extra time and has been suspended for the time being so I can save time and get these done for You, The Viewers At Home. Corrections and revisions welcome as always. Enjoy! Again!

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #3: Some Cosplay Parade

Chuckles Scarlett Zarana Cobra Commander GI Joe!

G.I. Joe role call: Chuckles! Scarlett! Zarana from the Dreadnoks! Cobra Commander! YO, JOE!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

Same as 2019, one of our favorite D*C features was the annual Saturday morning cosplay parade. Each year hundreds of cosplayers team up in appropriate factions or categories, then march around the streets of downtown Atlanta in full regalia, or sometimes drive the route in their geek vehicles. Usually the lineup around the parade route is the best free opportunity for the public at large to join the festivities and get a taste of con life. As with many other aspects of the show, 2021 pandemic protocols restricted the live audience to Dragon Con attendees only, for whom COVID safety protocols were a requirement for participation. Locals were encouraged to watch on TV at home and weren’t supposed to show up. I have no idea whether the Atlanta PD actually cracked down on any badgeless looky-loos.

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #2: A Cosplay Sampler

2020 cleaning supplies cosplay!

A round of applause for those 2020 MVPs, the Hygiene Theater all-stars! Flanked on each side by a pair of…uh, RocketDoge?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

To our surprise and delight, thousands of cosplayers showed up in full effect to showcase their sartorial talents and represent for their fandoms, despite the mandatory masking protocols. Some used plain masks to make them easier to overlook; others chose accessories with matching elements or incorporated them into their costumes. The rules were very specific that attendees couldn’t simply throw on a Ben Cooper plastic mask or a Latex Halloween head and consider themselves compliant. The masks felt and looked odd in a convention setting for about six minutes until we all remembered we’ve been staring at masks, masks, and more masks for over a year now. In a world where everyone’s doing mask cosplay, they were just more visual blips that blended in to our kaleidoscopic surroundings.

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