Road Trip Origins, Part 2 of 2: Our First Wizard World Chicago

Wizard World Chicago 1999!

July 17, 1999, a day that shall live on in the hearts and minds of at least two geeks.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. Every tradition begins somewhere. As longtime friends and readers might expect, ours began with a convention.

Enter Wizard World Chicago 1999. It was probably the largest comic con within 500 miles of home. We figured if we could handle a 2½-hour excursion southeast to Kings Island, then we could handle driving three or four hours northwest to Chicago.

Thus did two twentysomething best friends embark on their first real road trip, arrive at their destination in the Chicagoland town of Rosemont, and walk into the largest geek convention they’d ever seen in their lives.

Right this way for our grainy 35mm photo gallery and a big batch of exhumed memories!

Road Trip Origins, Part 1 of 2: From Wallflowers to Wanderers

Anne + Randy 1999!

Flashback to 1999: two twentysomething youngsters enjoy a church fish-fry with no clue what their future held in store.

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. From 2004 to 2011 we recounted our experiences online at length for a close circle of friends. From 2012 to the present we’ve presented our annual travelogues here on Midlife Crisis Crossover for You, the Viewers at Home, which I’m grateful includes some of those same friends. (For newcomers to the site, our complete road trip checklist will direct you to hundreds of previous entries covering our explorations, including remastered retellings of our pre-MCC outings in 2001, 2006, and 2011.

Every tradition begins somewhere. As longtime friends and readers might expect, ours began with a convention.

Right this way for a very special presentation starring our 1999 counterparts!

Wizard World Chicago Clip Show: Memories of 2011, 2010, and 1999

My wife and I have just a few days left until we take off for tiny, action-packed Rosemont, IL, for Wizard World Chicago 2012. Even though this will be our fourth WWC, we’re still preparing and weighing our options. I, for one, have my comics want-lists to update and mull over. Do I really feel like rooting through countless musty longboxes for single issues I’ve been missing since childhood? Do I really think this will be the year I find Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool #5 and achieve closure with Alan Weiss’ underrated working-man sci-fi miniseries at last? Or should I aim instead for the bargain boxes stuffed with $5 trade paperbacks, 90% of which are Marvel Ultimate comics?

Then there’s the matter of autograph pricing (is Scott Bakula’s autograph really worth three Amber Bensons?), autograph materials to bring along for the actors (which season of Buffy or TV’s Angel was really Juliet Landau’s best?) as well as for the comics creators (must dig out Hourman #1…or was there a more apropos issue?), and the little things such as emergency snacks and note-taking supplies. Lots to do, lots to put off till the last minute because that’s when I do all my best thinking, unless you count everything I’ll forget because of the time pressure.

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