Comics Update: My Current Lineup and 2019 Pros and Cons

Comics 2019!

Nearly all my 2019 purchases, sorted in alphabetical piles from A to Y.

Comics collecting has been my primary geek interest since age 6, but I have a tough time writing about it with any regularity. My comics-judging criteria can seem weird and unfair to other fans who don’t share them. I like discussing them if asked, which is rare, but I loathe debating them. It doesn’t help that I skip most crossovers and tend to gravitate toward titles with smaller audiences. Whenever a larger company axes titles for the sake of their bottom line or internal politics, my favorites are usually first on the chopping block. I doubt many comics readers follow MCC anyway, so it’s really the best possible place for me to talk about comics unharmed, albeit all to myself. Whee.

Continue reading

“Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker”: The Third Series Finale

Episode 9 wreckage!

Our cast ponders life after Episode VIII’s messy deconstruction.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: 91 previous entries on this site bear a “Star Wars” tag, signifying that George Lucas’ beloved universe has been a major part of our entire lives, from the films to the books to the music to the fanfic to the conventions, including our all-time greatest celebrity encounter, which in turn led to that time Star Wars got me interviewed on local TV. Star Wars has been kind of a big deal in our household.

Continue reading

MCC Home Video Scorecard #17: My Thanksgiving Letdown with Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda!

“Only begun, the meme wars have…”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the recurring feature that’s more like a newsletter in which I’ve jotted down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched at home. The last installment was eight months ago because I’ve found myself pretty easy to distract this year. Time flies when I’m going to bed earlier every night due to encroaching oldness, depriving myself of precious writing time, barely making a dent in my topical backlog, and therefore not yet forcing myself into a corner where I have to mine everything I do for creative writing fodder. Plan A for Thanksgiving weekend had been a combination of reading, writing, and watching. One of those three won out thanks to a confluence of unrelated factors, all involving TVs and streaming media.

Continue reading

Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 24: Dragon Con Cosplay Parade Special Bonus Encore

Bluepool and Dancing Girls!

Alternate shot of Bluepool and the Captain America: The First Avenger Dancing Girls Costuming Group.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover 2½ months ago:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

Upon our return home, I did my best to post our photos of the experience as quickly as possible, twelve chapters’ worth plus prologue and epilogue. Seven of those galleries were devoted to their gargantuan cosplay parade through the streets of Atlanta

Continue reading

MCC Live-Tweeting: That Final Trailer for “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker”

Threepio!

Threepio jacked in Matrix-style, trying to be among the first 300 to see the new trailer and get misty-eyed.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last spring my wife and I had the sincere pleasure of watching the first full-length trailer Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in its premiere airing at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, surrounded by thousands of fellow fans:

The crowd watched as one. We cheered as one. We whooped and hollered as one. Together we held our breath in the seconds before the subtitle was revealed to the entire world at that very moment after years of speculation. Together we got it. Tens of thousands of voices cried out in Chicago with the interjections and expletives of their choosing. To say nothing of the reactions of the Viewers at Home.

Whether the setting is a state-of-the-art theater or an extra-large flea market, there’s something about a geek harmonic convergence that convention showrunner fiat and any number of internet trolls can’t blast away.

There was no convention to attend for the new trailer’s premiere tonight during Monday Night Football halftime, unless you count the game itself. I doubt they showed the trailer live at the stadium, but who knows. No, for this event I was at home at the same time as millions of other viewers, online and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. It wasn’t nearly the same kind of experience as the previous trailer, especially since I was trying to watch Black Lightning when it finally premiered around 9:50 pm EDT, give or take a few minutes, right in the middle of a key development with the Pierce family.

Continue reading

Our Cincinnati Comic Expo 2019 Photo Gallery

Morena Baccarin!

You might remember Morena Baccarin from such works as Firefly, Gotham, and Deadpool. You might remember him from other goofy photos on this site.

It’s convention time yet again! Yes, AGAIN. Yes, ALREADY. I KNOW, OKAY.

Saturday morning my wife Anne and I drove two hours southeast of Indianapolis to attend the tenth annual Cincinnati Comic Expo in the heart of their downtown that’s not so different from ours. After our great big Dragon Con experience and our happy return to HorrorHound Indianapolis, CCE was our third con in thirty days. We were in danger of burnout, but we each had personal quests to complete.

Continue reading

Dragon Con 2019 Photos #4: Still More Cosplay on Parade

Maleficent and two fairies!

Maleficent with her foes Flora and Merryweather.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

..such as that Saturday morning parade through downtown Atlanta. In this installment we focus on characters of the Grand Disney Empire, including Marvel and Star Wars because why not.

Same cautions apply as last time: we’re pros, not fans; corrections are very welcome if we misname anyone; we do take requests, but can’t guarantee we photographed every parade participant; enjoy!

Continue reading

My 2019 Reading Stacks #1

Anne's books!

So far this year’s list includes a few library books and two loaners from my wife, pictured above. Borrowed reading is still reading!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: at the beginning of each year I spend weeks writing year-in-review entries that cover the gamut of my entertainment intake, including capsule reviews for all the books and graphic novels I’ve read. Every book gets a full capsule summary apiece, because my now-canceled 29-year subscription to Entertainment Weekly got me addicted to the capsule format. I refrain from devoting entries to full-length book reviews because 999 times out of 1000 I’m finishing a given work decades after the rest of the world is already done and moved on from it. 2000-word essays on old works tend to be in severely low demand by the fly-by-night search-engine users who are MCC’s largest visitor demographic.

Back in the day (December 2013 to January 2019) I would write my book/graphic-novel capsule reviews as I went, store them offsite, then dump them here on MCC all at once during entertainment year-in-review season. It was an inefficient system, but it was mine. This year I’m changing up my protocols. Effective here and now, the reading capsules are a recurring feature. As time permits and the finished books pile up, I’ll be charting my full list of books, graphic novels, and trade collections in a staggered, exclusive manner here, for all that’s worth to the outside world. Seven months into 2019 I have some catch-up to do, so these initially won’t be listed in actual reading order.

Due to the way I structure my media-consumption time blocks, the list will always feature more graphic novels than works of prose and pure text. Novels and non-pictographic nonfiction will pop up here and there, albeit in a minority capacity for a few different reasons. Triple bonus points to any longtime MCC readers who can tell which items I bought at which comic/entertainment conventions we’ve attended over the past few years.

And now:…it’s readin’ time.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #12 of 12: What We Did in the Star Wars

Buckle Up Baby!

Did YOU spot all the appearances of Donald Glover’s Young Lando in this very special maxiseries? I mean, you don’t win a prize or anything and I’m not even keeping track of them myself. I was just curious, is all.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

…and it all ends here, by which I mean we finally stop trying to prolong the magic of that eventful weekend. We’ve covered the cosplayers we saw; the actors we met; the big, big trailer we watched with thousands of other fans in an awkward communal setting; the one panel we were permitted to attend; the geek stuff we bought; and the other geek stuff we walked past.

Here on MCC, many such lists end with me promising all that “and more, more, MORE!” At long last, it’s time for the mores.

Continue reading

Peter Mayhew 1944-2019

Peter Mayhew!

A fond souvenir from our personal archives.

Fans grieved hard enough years ago when Chewbacca died in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, crushed by a moon. Hearing today of the death of Peter Mayhew, the man who brought George Lucas’ original Wookiee to life, was far more sorrowing. Everybody loves Chewbacca. Not even The Star Wars Holiday Special could damage him or our appreciation for the heart and muscle and loyalty he brought to the other, much shorter heroes of that faraway galaxy.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #11 of 12: Fashion and Shopping

Crimson Guard mannequin!

The most vivid mannequin I’ve ever seen in my life.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

Most attendees of any given con spend a good 90% of their weekend in the exhibit hall. Sure, it’s cool to meet famous people, see the work of impressive artists, photograph cosplayers, and attend panels, and not always in that order. But the average ticketholder does the majority of their walking up and down the aisles past the various licensed merchandisers, collectible dealers, comic shop owners, toy eBay-ers, and other small businesses and large companies dying to trade pop culture miscellanea for all that disposable income.

Times may have been tough for Celebration dealers, though. Thousands of fans were far more interested in the official Celebration Store and its coveted exclusives than in any used-Star-Wars retailers. At a show where the unifying theme was ostensibly Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS, nearly every vendor assumed we were all there to buy nothing but Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars STAR WARS. Some booths sold different kinds of Star Wars, but it was still Star-Wars-brand Star Wars. After a while, all those identically stamped and trademarked products began to blend together. By the time we concluded our weekend, the exhibit hall had paradoxically morphed before our very eyes into a rather mundane bazaar.

A few hardy professionals did their best to stand out anyway…

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #10: Welcome to Our World of Space Toys

Elite Praetorian Guards!

Elite Praetorian Guards from Kotobukiya. Pricier than you think.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

TOYS! Studies show 106% of all viewers who ever enjoyed a Star Wars film have owned at least one Star Wars toy in their lives. Anne and I don’t actively collect them anymore, but we haven’t yet parted with our respective collections. Frankly, it would take a while. Hers is ten times the size of mine, even after gifting a few extras to kiddie relatives. We nonetheless continue to admire Star Wars toys and toy-like products from afar, amazed at how far toy design technology has come since the ancient times when action figures with more than five movable joints were illegal in forty-two states because too much articulation might encourage naughty posing.

Naturally Lucasfilm invited some of their fanciest licensees to Celebration to display their wares, from the rulers of the commonest big-box toy aisles to the higher-end collectible craftspeople. Each of those vendors also had exclusive Celebration pins for sale, a value-added incentive for window shoppers to take a closer look. When the pin-bug bit Anne, we did a little of exactly that.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #9: World of Wheels and Wings

Mustafar truck!

Maybe you’ve seen muscle cars with awesome fire decals, but have you seen a truck engulfed in the very flames of Mustafar?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

Vehicles are one of the key components of the Star Wars Universe. Mechanically inclined fans naturally paid tribute to those motorin’ machines, whether with faithful recreations of starships from the films themselves or with Terran vehicles transformed into eye-popping, street-legal homages.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #8: Adventures in Official Merchandising

Galaxy's Edge Falcon!

Lucasfilm’s answer to “Hi, we’re in…Delaware.”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

The exhibit hall was littered with dozens of vendors plying wares old and new, but if you treated the Celebration website and program as your concierges, their strongest recommendations to you were two particular stops most directly tied to Lucasfilm itself, each demanding either that weekend’s disposable income or a promise of your future vacationing dollars. Both had everyone’s attention. Both had long lines. Neither was guaranteed to satisfy everyone.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #7: How to Draw Star Wars the Marvel Way

TIE Fighter covers!

TIE Fighter #1 hit comic shops this past Wednesday. Above are variant covers by Tommy Lee Edwards for the next three issues.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

Thursday had very nearly zero panels scheduled. The panels scheduled Friday and Saturday largely broke down into the following groups:

  1. Panels that might’ve been cool if the annoying lottery system hadn’t made them attendance-prohibitive
  2. Panels for fans by fans about fan stuff
  3. Panels about novels we haven’t read
  4. Writing advice
  5. The official Marvel Comics panel

Larger panels filled up quickly. Numerous panels, especially those devoted to Star Wars novelists, were often capped because too many people were interested. But as a comics fan, one who’s spending a fair amount per month to keep up with much of Marvel’s Star Wars output (not all of it), I felt compelled to make a greater effort to get a foot in the door. Getting in line 45 minutes before showtime did the trick.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #6: The Droids We Weren’t Looking For

purple light-up astromech!

Purple light-up astromech guts.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

It was a Star Wars Celebration. Of course there was a veritable droid army on the premises. Far more than we’d expected, once we stumbled upon their barely advertised hiding place. Granted, there were a couple patrolling the exhibit hall…

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #5: The Stars in Our Galaxy

Katee Sackhoff!

She played a recurring Mandalorian on Clone Wars and Rebels, but you might also know Katee Sackhoff from such series as Battlestar Galactica, The Flash, and that not-bad Bionic Woman update that lasted about three minutes.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

It’s not a Celebration without a bevy of actors who’ve appeared on various planets throughout the Star Wars universe. We had our choice among a mixture of old pros from the original trilogy, a few big names from the prequels and from Rogue One, exactly one (1) actor from Episodes VII and VIII, and a wide array of all-star voice actors from various animated projects and video games. Though we’d met quite a few already, we zeroed in on a few key names and once again added to our jazz-hands photo-op collection.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #4: Rising with Skywalkers

Colbert Abrams Kennedy!

Our host Stephen Colbert., director J.J. Abrams, and producer Kathleen Kennedy, streaming to us live from a galaxy far, far away.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

The centerpiece of the entire weekend, its biggest event, its most anticipated breaking news story, was the long-awaited first trailer for Star Wars Episode IX, as yet un-subtitled when the convention began. The trailer’s release was scheduled as part of an hour-long presentation which would star director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, at the very least. Additional unnamed guests were promised. It was fair to assume these surprise pop-ins would be the big, big-name costars from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, almost none of whom were on the show’s main guest list.

Everyone wanted in on that event. Everyone wanted to be part of that live magic. Everyone wanted to count their first viewing of the trailer among their greatest SWCC 2019 memories. Not everyone got their wish.

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #3: Scum and Villainy Cosplay

Darth Mauls!

Darth Mauls. Presumably they’ve killed their master so their total Sith count is back down to two again.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning. Based on past posting experience, the most popular part of every convention experience is cosplay, so those photos get to go first…

In our last call for cosplay photos, we bring on the bad guys and the gray-area dwellers — the Sith, the bounty hunters, the Mandalorians, and more, more more. Boo hiss!

Continue reading

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #2: The Right Side of the Force Cosplay

X-Wing Pilots!

Anyone can wear the X-Wing flight suit. You could wear the X-Wing flight suit.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning. Based on past posting experience, the most popular part of every convention experience is cosplay, so those photos get to go first…

Next up: the good guys! Yahoooooo!

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: