Our team has traveled to hundreds of game industry events from all across the world, and have to say that Comicpalooza is special for several reasons. 2015’s event was our second year attending this local Houstonian comic palooza. We came away fulfilled that a weekend was well spent, and still admiring the great art statues, Pop! characters, and comic books that now fill our office.
What happened at Comicpalooza 2015? A lot! Here’s our take…
We can’t avoid starting with the most obvious presentation at the event – the sprawling show floor. We managed to sneak in a few minutes early before it started, so got a good look at what was on display. It may just be our imagination, but the entire convention was more packed than last year’s event, and we’re talking both vendor presence, extravagant cosplay roaming around, and visitors trying to get around them.
We’ll describe one end of the vendor hall and then move to the other, starting at where the bulk of the food vendors resided on the west side. Any event attendee knows that a meal at the start of the day is required for the energy to walk all day long. There was a sufficient selection of snacks and dinner menu items to satisfy even the most ravenous comic fanatic, including a couple of chain restaurants like Chick ‘o Filet. There’s nothing like snacking on healthy pile of fries as you shop for a Pop! character, or randomly running into a Deadpool cosplayer.
Across from the food arena was another type of arena with Robot Racing, an event where home-made robots compete against each other on an obstacle course. Speaking of battlefields and competitions, it wasn’t a couple of paces further over that you could participate in a fun bit of laser tag. We spoke to the organizers of this event, whom suggested that laser tagging was only the beginning. With Oculus Rift and other virtual reality headsets on the horizon, the next level of “Virtual Tagging” was just a few years away.
Moving toward the other end of the hall, we entered a colorful and vibrant section of booths in what is known as Artist’s alley. As the name prominently suggests, there was everything from comic books, Pop! characters, and of course an amazing array of art pieces on display. Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dr. Who memorabilia were sprinkled throughout. We even happened across several interest booths promoting regional LARP events and tournaments. Did we mention Pop! characters? Yes, we’re a fan…
COSPLAY & GUESTS
At the opposite end of the hall was an area reserved for several rows of booths with autograph hungry fans waiting to have actors, cosplay artists, and other prominent persons sign their posters, t-shirts, and various other belongings. The most famous and wildly popular of all guests was of course Stan Lee, a comic book writer. Stan had a line about as long as every other autograph booth… combined! Other famous artists included Jeremy Renner from Dahmer (2002), George Takei from the original Star Trek series, Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Barry Bostwick, a Tony Award winning actor best known for his role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Whether it’s comic, anime, or computer game themes, cosplay costumes were all across the board this year. We even saw a few Dalek’s roaming around, threatening other cosplayers with their Gunsticks and Manipulator Arms! Cosplay isn’t just for showing off on the showfloor either, as anyone can do that with a little bit of string, duct tape, and a can of spray paint. There was also a Craftsmanship Judging event where judges evaluated your costume and awarded the top winners some hefty prize money. Even younger children could get in on the fun with the Children’s Cosplay event that ran alongside the main activities.
A PLETHORA OF GAMING ROOMS
If you didn’t read the extremely prominent signs upon entering the main floor area, or the well designed guidebooks handed to at registration, you may have missed all the other cool activities that Comicpalooza tucks away in the bowels of the George R. Brown convention center. The space itself is so large, it’s a bit daunting to get around.
The second and third floors housed the main gaming rooms, starting with the Sports Arena. A vast area that had way more room than was actually used, but perfect for space hungry events like Roller Derby, LARPing, Doomsday Wrestling, Quidditch, and of course Dalek Races. There were even a few instances of computer gaming events that we ran across, including a competitive League of Legends tournament. This isn’t just a ‘Comic’ convention kiddos!
SHOULD YOU ATTEND COMICPALOOZA 2016?
In a word with a large exclamation point after it… YES! As we’ve already shouted out, Comicpalooza isn’t just for comic fans. While the event clearly caters to the comic loving crowd, there’s much more to see. We can confidently say that even if you dislike comics, there’s enough to enjoy elsewhere to appease you for the entire weekend. You just have to look for it in the maze of halls and rooms of the convention center.
Look for more about Comicpalooza from us in 2016 as next year’s event ramps up. We were so excited by this year’s turnout, that we plan to cover next years event in all its ‘palooza’ details!