Comicpalooza Comes Into Its Own
Word on the Internet is that Houston is enjoying a great weekend of weather.
Comic junkies are too busy hanging out at the George R. Brown for Comicpalooza to notice. It is hard to believe that three years ago, this convention wasn’t a convention at all and that it was held in an Alamo Drafthouse.
This weekend's event marks a huge step for the convention. Cult favorite Bruce Campbell made an appearance and openly admitted that he hates Dallas, Nicholas Brendon, most known as Xander from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, met fans and allowed all of the ladies to drool all over him. The guy who played Chewbacca was hilarious.
The artist alley may have been small, but it made up for it with big names. The talented and sweet Humberto Ramos sat at an undecorated table and spent his time drawing and inking artwork for fans. Andy Kuhn made it a point to really talk with attendees that stopped by his table. Rob Liefeld, creator of Deadpool and Cable, and artist J.H. Williams III — who has drawn for Hellboy, Batman, Green Lantern, Wolverine, and a slew of other big titles — got in on the action and spent the bulk of one day chatting, drawing in sketchbooks, and even giving pointers.
The tradeshow area was the best place to go to spend your (or your mother’s) entire paycheck. Bedrock City Comics had a huge spread to purchase gaming cards, graphic novels, and a few very rare pieces. All Star Comics from Nederland, Texas, had some of the best sales around. Entire comic series were neatly packed, priced, and then discounted 50 percent.
The entire X-Men Unlimited series for $50? Yes, please!
A Droid's World
There were steampunk booths, anime booths, and even a booth where guests could grab a light saber and take a picture in front of a green screen with Darth Vader and a few Storm Troopers. Webcomic big wigs, Phil Fogolio of Girl Genius and David Malki of Wondermark both strutted their stuff and gave emerging artists hope. Fantasy artist Larry Elmore sold his work before running off to a panel where he spoke about how he does what he does.
Some of the better panels and workshops included Breaking into Print and Publishing Your Own Comics. The tech workshop, Building Your Own Droid, and Prop Collecting, featured a show and tell with film favorite props from Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Men in Black, Firefly, and Terminator. Speaking of props, the Alamo Drafthouse booth displayed both the helmet from Iron Man and the Terminator arm (the robot one, not Arnold's actual appendage).
Besides booths, artists, stars, and workshops, Comicpalooza made an effort to give back. There was a celebrity auction where the winners won brunches with the actors they bid on — with the money going to the celebrity’s chosen charity. There was also an art charity event where Comic artists drew live on stage an auctioned off their pieces.
Local supporters — the Houston Roller Derby, SWAMP, Skirmisher Publishing LLC, 104.1 KRBE, 103.7 FM, and both the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — all worked hard to make Comicpalooza better this year, and their efforts certainly paid off.
Somewhere between all of the nerd love going on was the SWAMP sponsored Film Festival, a costume contest, and a DJ area — all of which did not get nearly enough attention. Hopefully the success of Comicpalooza this year will draw more independent film buffs next year.
The DJ thing may have to be dropped unless they plan to sponsor real parties next time around because let’s face it, no one was interested in raving at 1 p.m and that's when the music events kicked into gear this weekend.
Overall, Comicpalooza can be marked off as a success. Sure, they could work on building a larger artist alley with more big-name artists and the convention desperately needs sponsored parties, but those things come with time and experience. Comicpalooza was a fairly big hit and can easily become a “must attend” in the near future.
Get ready for more nerds, Houston.