Future Wizard World event?
Houston's Comicpalooza takes a superhero-sized leap: This nerd party suddenlyrocks with intrigue
What a difference a year can make. Comicpalooza took a leap from 2010, bringing big headliners and more events — and taking over a much larger portion of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Big names like Devon Murray, Edward James Olmos and hottie-with-a-body Sam Trammell helped pull in large crowds over this Memorial Day weekend.
Artists and dealer booths began setting up on Friday to a rather medium-sized crowd that was looking to make purchases before the Saturday rush. Early in the evening, news broke that Studio Animetropolis will be partnering with best-selling author Tad Williams to turn William’s first novel, Tailchaser’s Song, into a full feature film.
As the not-so-cool of the day hit, Tony Todd settled in for an hour long Q&A before doing a special showing of his film Candyman. Despite the not-so-stellar time slot, the film was enjoyed by a good amount of fans.
The Dead of Night party was expected to be the place to be late Friday night, however, the venue was looking sparse. The party had nothing to offer in way of alcohol or small bites due to permits and the ethical code of the George R. Brown. However, Houston's own Bedrock City Comics had the fantastic idea of running its own parties off site to give nerds the chance to to loosen up and explore more of Houston.
Thirty minutes before the doors opened on Saturday morning, a line of almost 100 people deep had already formed to get into Comicpalooza. In that one moment, one could easily classify the attendees of the entire conference. The sci-fi nerds, the gamers, the dedicated comic book geeks, the anime enthusiasts and the aspiring artists.
Lunch had not even hit when Edward James Olmos, his son and producer Michael Olmos, and his friend/writer Bob Layton announced their new full-length feature film project Mettle. The story takes an in-depth look into the life of a superhero. It paints the story of what happens after a hero falls ill and loses his powers.
If that wasn’t enough, Olmos also announced that he has officially signed on to be a part of the hit series Dexter. The ink is barely dry, but he will be reading lines and being fitted on Tuesday for his role as a professor of theology and religion.
Sci-fi fans rejoiced as they were able to meet both Meaghan Rath from new series Being Human and favorite Sean Maher of Firefly fame. They both took the time to meet fans and sign for autographs and pose for pictures all the way through Sunday.
Before Saturday afternoon sunk in, many attendees found themselves debating what to focus on doing. The convention was so much larger this year and so full of fillers that several convention-goers lamented that this year was certainly more about quantity over quality.
While there was a chunk of actors on hand that were a treat to meet, the comic artists and creators were lackluster. However, names like Phil Hester, Andy Kuhn and Chad Townsend always pull in quite a few people who want commissions.
Sam Trammell and Devon Murray managed to pull in the largest crowds of anyone. Both woke up Saturday and Sunday morning to long lines awaiting to meet them. Trammel’s Q&A session was polite and simple, though there was that one female shouting out for him to take off his shirt. We don’t blame her.
Murray had to deal with a slew of well-thought-out questions from anxious Potter fans. He took everything in stride with a sweet smile. The theory is that fans just wanted to hear his accent more than anything. He was quick to skirt around any possible hints about the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2.
Throughout the weekend, both Houston Roller Derby games and Doomsday Wrestling matches managed to capture large audiences seeking to take a break and simply be entertained. The ladies of the Houston Roller Derby showed a lot of Southern hospitality by posing with fans, working their own booth and preaching the gospel of the derby. Go HaRD Knocks!
Outside of big names and entertainers, there was a large influx of costumers this year. With several sessions on starting off in cosplaying and more than one costume contest, this came as no surprise. The costumed ones walked while looking over their shoulders in preparation of the next barrage of photographers wanting to capture them in a picture. There wasn’t a shy one in the bunch, not even Mini Iron Man.
Live music, fighting and sword play demonstrations, Quidditch matches and comedy routines were also in abundance throughout the weekend. There was gaming tournaments going on (both of the video and card variety), an outing to a Houston Astros game on Saturday, anime and the horror film festivals and the Steampunk Ball. Comicpalooza truly had it all and much too much for a single person to cover by themselves.
So where does this suddenly large convention go from here? Will its glowing, growing reputation pull in even bigger names? All signs point to yes.
A solid source and comic book store owner let us in on a secret back in November during the Austin Comic Convention. Wizard World, the company which produces the bulk of comic convention and comic related events in North America, is looking to add Houston’s Comicpalooza to its lineup.
How true is this rumor? Well, we saw more than a few Wizard World staff members during the convention. I guess we will have to sit tight until an official announcement is made. Either way, next year is sure to be amazing.