Comicpalooza is officially turning 10 this weekend and, once again, the George R. Brown Convention Center will open its doors to all the geeks — comic-book nerds, cosplayers, gamers, franchise fanboys, sci-fi/fantasy nuts, anime obsessives — from this fine state and elsewhere.
But let’s say this is your first time at Comicpalooza and you’re looking for some advice on what to look out for and what not to do during this three-day, pop-culture extravaganza. It’s a good thing CultureMap contacted local artist and comic-book inker Mostafa Moussa, 39, who has been a guest at past Comicpaloozas and will be there this weekend to sign and sell his illustrated items.
Here are some tips he gave us on how to be an ideal Comicpalooza attendee:
Moussa says that if you’re planning to spend all weekend at Comicpalooza, really plan for it. “I would say to bring snacks, bring water, figure it out why is it you’re going there,” he says. And if you’re there to have people sign comics, posters or other ephemera, have all that at the ready. Also, be sure that the signer actually had something to do with whatever you want them to sign. As Moussa simply says, “Do your research.”
Respect the guests
Comicpalooza will have an onslaught of star talent this weekend. John Cusack, Walton Goggins, Krysten Ritter, Michael Chiklis, and current Spider-Man Tom Holland are a few of the big names scheduled to show up and autograph stuff. Some of them may also be available for photo opps. But if a celeb isn’t willing to take a pic, don’t try to be slick and sneak a snapshot. Moussa says that’s not cool. “Sometimes, the celebrities don’t like taking pictures without asking,” he says.
Respect the artists and the artwork
Of course, there will also be plenty of top-tier artists and writers on hand, from comic-book scribe Mark Waid (Daredevil, The Avengers) to cover artist Arthur Suydam (aka “The Zombie King”). So, please treat them and their artwork with the utmost respect. “Don’t set cold drinks on artwork,” says Moussa. “That’s definitely a no-no.” Also, respect the wishes of the artist if they don’t want their work photographed or put on Instagram. Moussa has occasionally seen people take sly selfies of an artist’s portfolio without permission. But he usually finds a way to ruin someone’s shot. “I just photobomb the artwork,” he says.
Please, don’t act weird around the cosplayers
A lot of people take the act of dressing like popular, fictional characters seriously, especially whenever conventions like Comicpalooza rolls around. So, if you want to take photos with any of these people and their elaborate, extravagant costumes, for the love of Stan Lee, don’t be odd or pervy about it. “There’s always a pretty good cosplay community here,” says Moussa. “Just ask before you take a picture. To hover around somebody and not say anything is pretty creepy.”
Finally, just have a good time
Whether you are looking for some rare comics, tracking down hard-to-find memorabilia or just want to hang with the guy who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation (yes, Brent Spiner will be in attendance!), always remember to enjoy yourself. Because whether you’re into DC or Marvel, Star Wars or Star Trek, The Evil Dead or The Walking Dead, you’re all there to enthusiastically take part in a summit of geekdom, right here in H-Town. “I think that it’s good to see a big convention in my hometown,” says Moussa. “Make sure to have fun. Make sure to realize that we’re all a part of the same thing. We all kind of like the same thing. It’s kind of a celebration of that. So, treat it that way.”
Comicpalooza runs Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-853-8383 or visit the website. Tickets $10-$275. Doors open at 10 am daily.