Science fiction fans gathered this past weekend at the annual Ego Con. Hosted by the North Eastern Wisconsin Friends of the Doctor club, the event was open to fans of any age.
Northeastern Wisconsin Friends of the Doctor, or N.E.W. Friends of the Doctor, was established in November of 1983 and has members from ages 7 to 92. The club is devoted to Doctor Who and all things science fiction.
Ego Con was a haven for all things Doctor Who, a popular British TV show that had its fiftieth anniversary last November. There were Daleks, one of the villains of the series, a life-size TARDIS, the Doctor’s time-traveling ship, and characters aplenty.
Doctor Who is a very popular show, big enough to spark its own conventions and clubs even across the pond. The fact that it has been running for over 50 years gives club members a lot of things to discuss and also leads into all sorts of other common interests. Fans from all eras and factions are represented, from Star Trek to Dungeons and Dragons.
The convention was held at the Elizabeth Inn & Convention Center in Plover on March 22. The tagline for Ego Con reads, “EgoCon – We’re interested in practically everything.”
Many fans are delighted to take part in the con and meet up with other people who share their interests. Peggy McDowell who sells her greeting cards and collages at Ego Con was one of the eager attendees.
“It is one of my favorite events,” McDowell said. “The best part of EgoCon is the people. All ages, all shapes and sizes, many in costume, gathered together because they know this is a place where you can choose to be yourself or be somebody else and know you are welcome.”
There were many guests who came to enjoy the company of other fans, including Linda Godfrey, an author of fantasy novels, J.R. Truner, author of the “Stark Knight” action adventure series, and Stevens Point Paranormal, run by Chris Scharrer and Lisa Bishop.
Events of the day started with a fencing demo followed by Dalek tarot card readings. There was an auction where con-goers could bid on their favorite science fiction goodies, as well as a game of sci-fi Jeopardy.
A popular item to see was the “Jayne Hat” from the show “Firefly.” Fans of the show would recognize Jayne’s bright orange striped hat on posters and on several people at the con. Con-goers have adopted this hat and it has become very common to see it at conventions.
In addition to panels and demonstrations, there were also tabletop games offered as well as prizes and access to special collections.
Vendors at the event included the Book Isle, Dan’s Dog-Eared Books, John’s Toys, Wayne’s World, and Carol’s Collection. Most of these were selling their collections of science fiction books, games, collector’s items, and custom made items.
“There is the most amazing collection of science fiction books, art, collectibles, and memorabilia to buy…things you just cannot find at ordinary stores,” McDowell said.
Ego Con brought its fair share of Doctor Who fans who take the fun to the next level by sporting the outfits of their favorite characters. Dave Duca and Michael Glielmi of the Cult of WISkaro went the extra step and built full-size Dalek replicas.
“I’m one of the guests of Ego Con,” Duca said. “My purpose there is sporting a Dalek from Doctor Who.”
Daleks look like robots with various attachments, from lasers to information-sucking plungers. The cult of Skaro is a clan of Daleks bent on destroying the Doctor. The Daleks have been at Ego Con for the past few years, drawing crowds to take pictures with the true-to-size aliens.
Fans flock from all over Wisconsin to be at Ego Con. The sense of camaraderie is what brings them together and keeps the annual event coming back every year.
“You can talk about the latest Doctor incarnation or paranormal events or what your most powerful D&D character was,” McDowell said. “You can talk about which one of Doctor Who’s companions was your favorite and what happened to K-9 the robot dog. For one day, you get to live in a world where everybody is the same kind of dreamer you are, and it feels like home.”