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My Free Comic Book Day 2017 Results, Best to Least Best

Spectacular Spider-Man!

Spidey and the Vulture, both older than they’ll appear in the next film. Art by Paolo Siqueira, Frank D’Armata, and one of the four credited inkers.

On May 6th my wife and I had the pleasure of once again observing Free Comic Book Day, the least fake holiday of them all. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. This year’s assortment saw a metric ton of all-ages comics far outnumbering the adults-only options, served up by a plethora of publishers great and small, hopefully many of whom will still be around a year from now.

I never grab copies of everything, and this year I restrained myself a bit more than usual. Sometimes reviewing comics can be fun, but I wasn’t in the mood to read that many kids’ comics in a row. Also left behind were a few books based on cartoons and movies, reminders that some publishers see comics more as a second-tier merchandising stream than as a literary medium unto itself.

The fifteen comics in my FCBD 2017 reading pile came out as follows, ranked from Totally Not For Me to I Would Pay Monies For More, complicated by the fact that several of these contain two or more stories. I considered concocting some sort of system involving grade-weighting and averages that would even up the scores, but ultimately I’ve decided to base everything on subjective non-math and internal whims instead. As most listicles are.

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The Complete MCC Convention Photo-Op Jazz Hands Collection (so far)

John Barrowman!

One of many faves from Wizard World Chicago 2016: John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow), who’s game for just about any pose you suggest, several more that never would’ve occurred to you, and a few you’ll never live down.

Here in the doldrums of January, when not much is going on outside our humble abode, my wife Anne and I have already tentatively mapped out our 2017 convention plans, with room for additions if any wild opportunities come up in the months ahead. As an antidote to the soggy winter blues and the current political climate that has all but murdered my enjoyment of most of the internet lately, we’d like to take a look back at the actors we’ve met over the past three years with this very special photo compilation of one of our favorite convention activities: asking actors if they’ll join us in a bit of jazz hands.

Right this way for an easy-to-browse all-star gallery!

My Free Comic Book Day 2015 Results, Best to Least Best

Secret Wars FCBD 2015!

Valeria Richards addresses her troops in Secret Wars #0. Art by Paul Renaud.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I observed Free Comic Book Day 2015 this past Saturday. Readers of multiple demographics, thankfully including lots of youngsters, flocked to our local stores and had the opportunity to enjoy samplers from all the major comic companies and dozens of indie publishers. As an incentive for the younger recruits, the shop we visited split the all-ages material apart from the rest and put up “KIDS ONLY” signs discouraging greedy adults from hoarding everything and leaving nothing behind in their wake.

I never grab copies of everything, and this year I took even fewer items than usual because I don’t really have the time or inclination to be the guy who thinks he’s obligated to read and respond to everything. I came away with a dozen comics of varying interest levels and finished reading the last of them the next morning. In my mind, each issue ought to be a satisfying experience for any new reader who opens the cover without any foreknowledge. Historically, each publisher’s offerings tend to fall into one of six story levels, ranked here in order from “Best Possible Display of Generosity and Salesmanship” to “Had to Slap SOMETHING Together, So Whatever”:

1. New, complete, done-in-one story
2. Complete story reprinted from existing material
3. A complete chapter of a new story with a proper chapter ending
4. Partial excerpt from an upcoming issue that will also contain all these same pages
5. No story, just random pinups or art samples
6. Disposable ad flyer shaped like a comic

The twelve comics in my FCBD 2015 reading pile came out as follows, from least favorite to definite favorite:

Right this way for the countdown!

Indiana State Fair 2014 Photos, Part 4 of 5: Geek Handicraft

geek signpost!

Welcome to the Nexus of All Geek Realities!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides and big-ticket concerts by musicians that other people love. My wife and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context.

When Mom took me to the fair back in the day, I hated, hated, hated walking around the exhibit halls. For me the carnival rides, games, and snacks were the only reasons for its existence. I had no use wandering the 4-H Building looking at posters drawn and pasted together by other children. The farm-product contest entries in the Agricultural/Horticultural Building were mostly vegetables and therefore The Enemy. The dresses on display in the Home & Family Arts Building were obviously not my thing. Sometimes the art and the photography were okay, but only if they painted or took pictures of really cool things such as super-heroes or toys. But the adults were in charge and I followed my marching orders, in exchange for promises of actual fun and games.

My adult perspective has flip-flopped. Rides hurt now. All the games are scams except the water-pistol races, but I don’t have much use for stuffed animals anymore. The State Fair hasn’t brought in a video arcade in years. Meanwhile, sometimes in those formerly boring buildings are lovingly crafted, inspired little treasures if you know where to look.

Right this way for fun acts of artfulness!

Wizard World Chicago 2014 Photos, Part 7 of 7: the Geek Stuff

Rocket Cookie!

Rocket Raccoon: the Cookie! Northbrook bakery Max and Benny’s had a booth selling cookies shaped like numerous characters and personalities. My wife and I split a cookie shaped like Star-Lord’s head. It was great and I wish we’d bought a few dozen more.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This weekend was that time again: our annual excursion to Rosemont, IL, for Wizard World Chicago. My wife and I took plenty of photos as usual, many of them usable. We’ll be sharing those over the next several entries…

…blah blah blah blah blah. And now it all comes down to this, Part Seven, the not-really-grand finale: non-living objects and items that caught our eyes on the premises.

Right this way for random objects of power!

Wizard World Chicago 2014 Photos, Part 1: Costumes! (Movies, Games, Doctor Who)

Sephiroth!

Personal fave of the entire show: 8-bit Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII.

This weekend was that time again: our annual excursion to Rosemont, IL, for Wizard World Chicago, a four-day entertainment convention packed with tens of thousands of attendees seeking actor autographs, viewing the panoply of cosplayers demonstrating their sartorial talents, wandering Artists Alley in search of new comics and art, or hoarding merchandise from the dealers and exhibitors. The big-name comics publishers haven’t attended in years, but WWC seems to be doing well nonetheless, playing to their strengths and not paying total lip service to their comic-con roots.

My wife and I took plenty of photos as usual, many of them usable. We’ll be sharing those over the next several entries, but I’m still too fatigued from the experience to figure out how many entries these will take. Part One begins arbitrarily with costumes from movies, video games, and from Doctor Who, because arbitrary categorization helps me organize my thoughts more clearly. I’m not the kind of guy to upload fifty random cosplay photos and yell, “HERE!” Hence, themes.

Enjoy! Right this way for Round 1…

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