Over memorial weekend I made my fourth trip to Houston’s Comic-Con, Comicpalooza. Comicpalooza takes place at the George R. Brown Convention center and has expanded from taking place an Alamo Drafthouse Lobby in 2009 to the entire George R. Brown Convention Center.
The first noticeable thing is that the George R. Brown is under construction. Houston will be hosting the Superbowl in 2017 so there is a lot of construction downtown. There are several new hotels being built in the area and the light rail lines are expanding. This translated to there being a lot of construction on the streets in front of George R. Brown along with some construction to the inside of the building. The good news is that other then looking messy none of this construction really impacted the convention. The actual convention floors are not getting any work done on them so other than some sheets on the walls it wasn’t any different then past years.
The biggest bummer of the weekend happened on Friday when Hayley Atwell’s Q&A was pushed up an hour and we missed all of it except the last question. Apparently the only way to know was to be notified through the Comicpalooza app, or if you happen to see it on Twitter. Even with the app the change was made at the very last minute so if you hadn’t checked the app within the hour of her going on stage you still wouldn’t have known.
The only other panel I went to on day 1 was for Joel Hodgeman of Mystery Science Theater 3000. He seemed a bit tired and cranky but other than that he was really funny and it was a good panel. Joel had even brought his own travel Tom Servo with him.
The dealer’s floor was great. There were booths taking up most of the first floor of George R. Brown while the ends of the convention center held the tables for celebrities and the food court. I winded up eating at the convention, against my own advice and the food was actually pretty good and decently priced.
Funko Pop Vinyl figures were sold by almost every booth across the floor. The pricing on these was really odd. Some booths did have exclusives or some of the rare figures for higher prices ($20 to $75 for rarer figures) there were still on par for what they cost online. A lot of booths were just over charging for the common figures that are readily in stock everywhere. I saw prices of $15 to $20 for figures that you could easily find online or even at other booths in the convention for $10.
My first days buys were a Captain ‘Murica Tee Shirt from Tee Turtle and two graphic novels, Catwoman Vol. 1 from Ed Brubaker and Darwin Cooke, and Devine Right by Jim Lee.
First thing we did was to see the Comic Book Men panel, which was great. Ming and Mike had come to Comicpalooza last year and mentioned what a great time they had and how they enjoyed being in Houston. Bryan was booked to come to last year’s Comicpalooza but had gotten sick and wasn’t able to make it. Having three of the guys at the panel was great, Bryan truly give zero fucks and having him there really mixed things up.
Next we went and saw Cobie Smulders Q&A which was fantastic. She was really funny and engaging with the fans there. Of all the panels we saw Cobie seems to really be having the most fun.
After those talks I did a lot of shopping. I bought variant edition of Secret Wars 1 (2015) from Space Cadet Collection Collection. They are a local shop in Houston that I happen to visit a couple weeks prior to Comicpalooza.
I picked up a bunch of elseworlds stories from an unmarked comic seller. I was able to find Superman Speeding Bullets, Supergirl Wings, Wonder Woman The Blue Amazon, Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham, and a couple of the 1994 Elseworlds Annuals (Batman, Superman, and Detective Comics). The guy who owned the stand notice all the Elseworlds I bought and tipped me off that he had a bundle of 12 of the 1994 annuals which I also picked up.
This was my most exciting find of the whole convention. I had heard about these annuals before really wanted to pick up a few of them but had no luck finding them at other stalls at the convention. Finding some many bundled was great and may or may be subject of future blog posts…
I also picked up some awesome art prints of Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and Catwoman from Spicy Donut. I had seen these before on Pinterest so it was pretty sweet to see the actual artist at Comicpalooza and be able to buy some prints.
The last event of the evening was the Cosplay Costume Contest, which has notoriously been a hot mess. Last year it started over an hour late and was completely unorganized. One would think that this year they would have learned from their mistakes. However, learn they did not. This year it also started nearly an hour late and we had seats close enough to the stage to see some of the drama go down. The organizers had not actually selected judges and were pulling some of the minor celebrities from the audience to judge. We waited until the event was officially 50 minutes late before bailing. Literally as we stood up to leave some one did announce things would be starting shortly. However, we were pretty tired by then and there was still no sign that it was actually going to start, so we just left not having seen any of the show. The saddest part was we could see the cosplayers in the back lined up and ready to go with no hope in sight. It seems to have just been a complete logistical failing on part of the Comicpalooza organizers.
Day three was the biggest day for panels. We started off the day with the man, the legend, Stan Lee. He was as charming, sharp, and funny as ever. If I have even half of charisma and wit that Stan has when I’m 91 it will be a godsend.
Next we saw the Gotham Panel which had Camren Bicondova who plays Selina Kyle / Catwoman, Sean Pertwee who plays Alfred, Donal Logue who plays Harvey Bullock, Cory Michael Smith who plays Edward Nygma / The Riddler, and Cameron Monaghan who played Jerome (the Joker). Everyone on the panel was really great and were super excited about the show and that it got picked up for another season. It had been Camren’s birthday the day before and the organizers had gotten her a Catwoman Birthday cake and the whole crew got to spend the day at NASA. It was really cool of the organizers to do that for them and give them a taste or our great city during the short time they spent with us.
Chloe Bennet aka Skye aka Daisey from Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. was next. Chloe was schedule for one of the smaller rooms and it was clear that it was going to be too small for all the fans. The organizers did a amazing job of moving all of the people from the ballroom to the main auditorium and Chloe was still able to start her panel on time. Chloe was really funny and outside of Colbie Smulders really seemed to enjoy being there the most.
Last we saw Rosario Dawson aka Night Nurse. Rosario was great she answered a lot of questions about being on Daredevil and Rent along with some of the activism work she does. Because Chloe’s panel was moved to the auditorium, Rosario’s panel started as soon as Chloe’s was complete which seemed to be fine and people were able to get into the room without any issues.
My only day three buy was Wonder Woman issue 614 which was the last one I needed to complete the Wonder Woman Odyssey arc.
Comicpalooza is a four day convention but I didn’t make it out to the fourth day. I had pretty much bought and seen every thing from the floor I wanted and there weren’t really any more panels I wanted to go to.
Overall it was a great time. I really enjoy going to Comicpalooza and it’s been amazing to see it grow as much as it has over the last few years. I’ve already got my calendar marked and ready to go for next year’s convention.
Full disclosure I was not paid to write any of this and paid for my admission with my own money. Comicpalooza does have an official blogger/podcast partnership which this site would love to be a part of next year…
Lastly I have a selection of pictures of Cosplayers from the convention.