There is little research needed to support the truth that "geek" is truly "chic" in the world of mass media entertainment. Summer blockbuster movies have broken box office records, television shows have been renewed and an entire new generation is being introduced to comic book characters in clothing, school supplies, house wears and video games.
What is surprising is that Milwaukee has been a bit slower than other parts of the nation to get back into the geeky background that this city was once known for. Later this month the city has the opportunity to swing the momentum back by way of Fantasticon.
Fantasticon is billed as Milwaukee’s First Comic Con, and will take place on Oct. 24-26 at the Crowne Plaza near Mitchell Airport. Organizers said, "cosplayers, collectors, gamers, fanboys, fangirls, kids, adults and everybody in-between will be celebrating all three days!"
"I’ve been putting on cons (conventions) for the past 10 years, so I’ve been able to gain some great contacts," said Mike Bollow, the director of Fantasticon.
"I was working with some friends from Wisconsin at a con in Chicago," Bollow said. Bollow explained many of the national events won’t come to Milwaukee because they figured true fans would drive the extra distance to Chicago. "My friends told me, why not give the people in Milwaukee what they want – their own con."
Bollow said, that though there have been other cons in Milwaukee, this will be the first that brings everyone together for one big event.
"I didn’t want to create a turnstile convention," Bollow said, explaining that some cons have gotten so big that it is just constantly people waiting in line. "We will have more things going on inside. … I wanted to take the things that I liked about going to cons and put them together."
As a child I remember some old comic conventions that had retail and independent retailers with boxes filled with comic books. That would be the extent of the convention. Bollow said there will be some of that in the dealer section of the convention, but there will be so much more than that.
This year at the Fantasicon will be actors from CW’s super hero shows "Arrow" and the much-anticipated "The Flash."
Lovers of the sci-fi standard "Dr. Who" will also be interested as John Barrowman, who played Jack Harkness on the BBC show, is part of the "Arrow" cast that will be at Fantasticon.
Find a complete list of guests here.
From 1985 to 2002, Gen Con, the largest table-top gaming convention, was held in Milwaukee. People from around the world would dress up in costumes, and get autographs from actors, illustrators, writers and game makers. When TSR, the maker of Dungeons and Dragons was based in Lake Geneva, Milwaukee was the logical spot for this growing event.
People downtown at the time didn’t know what to make of the convention. The elected leadership was even worse, because they simply didn’t get it. They also didn’t get that doing whatever was possible to keep a growing convention in the city would be worth millions upon millions of dollars in the near future.
Now there’s different ownership in TSR, and a different city -- Indianapolis -- has the convention each year.
So, now may be the time, when different officials at city hall and different people at the convention and visitor’s bureau could get behind a grassroots effort to help build a new comic con in our back yard.
INSIDE PERSPECTIVE: Fox News Channel’s "The O’Reilly Factor will present the first primetime cable interview with former CIA chief and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Bill O’Reilly will speak with Panetta about his recent criticism of President Obama and how he handled the troops withdrawal in Iraq. Additionally, Panetta will discuss his forthcoming memoir "Worthy Fights" in which he claims a residual force in Iraq could have made a difference in Iraq today.
On Tuesday, Fox News Channel will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its current primetime lineup, including "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren," "The O’Reilly Factor," "The Kelly File" and "Hannity."
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.