Top

arts

Stories

 

Comicpalooza: How Houston’s Comics Convention Came Back From the Dead to Become One of the Best in the Country

One of the best comics conventions in the nation is here in Houston

image

The Ultimate Fantasy rendered comics convention-going in Houston all but extinct.

James Bedward is roaming the halls of the George R. Brown Convention Center dressed as Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow, complete with his action hero's signature hood and bow. It's a new look for Bedward, a 28-year-old Houstonian who has been going to conventions since the age of eight.

At previous comics conventions, he'd gone as Luke Skywalker's father, Anakin, as portrayed by Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones, or as Dr. Horrible. But he knew Doctor Who, Torchwood and Arrow actor John Barrowman would be at Houston's Comicpalooza 2014.

Heyoo! It’s Steve the Bandit Raider and mascot for the Borderlands video games posing in the dealer hall at Comicpalooza.
Chuck Cook
Heyoo! It’s Steve the Bandit Raider and mascot for the Borderlands video games posing in the dealer hall at Comicpalooza.
J. August Richards, Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg from the hit television Avengers spin-off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. watch as legendary Marvel comics creator Stan Lee takes the microphone at a panel discussion.
Chuck Cook
J. August Richards, Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg from the hit television Avengers spin-off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. watch as legendary Marvel comics creator Stan Lee takes the microphone at a panel discussion.

It was too good a chance to play off his own likeness to Stephen Amell, who stars in The CW's ­Arrow, now into its third season.

Walking by Barrowman's table, chock-full of fans waiting to get the John Hancock of Malcolm Merlyn (his Arrow persona) and Captain Jack Harkness (on Doctor Who and Torchwood), Bedward pauses with his hood lowered just at Barrowman's peripheral vision. Glancing up from under his hood, he notices Barrowman looking up briefly, then doing a double take before returning to his signing.

Then Barrowman slowly lifts his head and in a menacing tone of voice, spits out Arrow's catchphrase, "You have failed this city!" in Bedward's direction. The actor jumps up from his seat and runs toward Bedward, grabbing him from behind just as Merlyn would in an action scene with Arrow.

Bedward thinks, "Oh, are we really doing this? We're totally doing this!" as Barrowman tells someone to take Bedward's camera and snap a picture.

"Put your hand behind my head," Barrowman tells Bedward, and the two struggle while people clap and take photos.

Talk about comics convention-goer bliss. Bedward had skipped the long lines for autographs (paid) and photos (paid) and the even longer lines to get into one of the panels and instead had gotten an up-close-and-personal with one of the convention's stars, who'd re-enacted a scene from Arrow with him.

If you spend any time around Comicpalooza these days, you'll find that amazing stories of fan interaction like this are becoming more and more commonplace. In addition to his stunt with Bedward, Barrowman wandered around the con floor taking pictures with little kids dressed as tiny Time Lords and stopped by local comics shop booths such as 8th Dimension's to chat with the owners and pick up Doctor Who swag to take home as gifts.

Jason Mewes of Clerks and Dogma fame was in his element, spending endless amounts of time away from his signing table and casually talking to fans one on one.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer star James Marsters dined on cupcakes prepared and decorated by Lori Brewer before heading out to mingle among the guests on the way to a panel. Those cupcakes came recommended by Miltos Yerolemou, Syrio Forel in Game of Thrones, who came out to bow and worship Brewer when she first offered him some at Space City Con.

Now she's known among the guests as Cupcake Girl.

Geek culture as represented by Comicpalooza has exploded in Houston. The 2014 convention drew nearly 33,000 attendees, a 55 percent increase from last year and nearly triple the 11,000 attendance of 2012. An independent survey firm said that Comicpalooza resulted in at least 10,000 hotel room nights being booked over the weekend, most of them in downtown Houston, and according to estimates by the Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, brought more than $10 million into the city. True, right now Comicpalooza's draw is still a fraction of the 130,000 people who attend San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con, but each year the growth becomes more and more pronounced. In 2007 NYCC pulled only 15,000, so it's not inconceivable that Comicpalooza could rise from its current state to take its place as a national geek destination with industry support.

That would be something, but it's been a long time coming. For nearly three straight decades, Houston has been without any sort of significant comics convention presence. In fact, the demise of the A-level convention reputation Houston once had was so spectacular that it rendered the city toxic to guests and dealers alike. Until now.
_____________________

In 1982 there was supposed to be a con to end all cons here in Houston. And there was, but not in a good way. It was billed as the Ultimate Fantasy, a product paired with the respected name of Houstoncon, which had been providing a quality and successful con experience in the city since 1967.

Thereafter it would be known as the Con of Wrath, or the Ultimate Fiasco, and its failure is the stuff of geek song and legend.

Ultimate Fantasy was the brainchild of Jerry Wilhite, one of the many people involved in the comics convention scene trying to fill some very big shoes. Houstoncon had begun in the '60s as part of a powerful consortium of Southwestern cons that included Dallas and Oklahoma City. When the rotating convention was dissolved after Dallas bucked the rotation trying to impress the site committee of WorldCon (the science fiction con that hosts the Hugo Awards), Houstoncon continued to grow and grow on its own.

That was because of a man named Earl Blair Jr. Blair was a master promoter. He's the one who opened the con up from the snobbish, comics-only mind-set that used to get Star Trek fans mocked and laughed out of conventions. He invited big mainstream stars such as Roy Rogers and advertised by going on Dialing for Dollars. Under Blair's leadership, Houston quickly became a major player in the convention scene drawing guests from all areas and fans from around the country.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
ooaiaa12
ooaiaa12

Fashion and popular items,in order to thank everyone, characteristic, novel style,varieties, low price and good quality,and the low sale price.Thank everyone Welcome to ====  http://www.fashionfast.net ==

New Balance $65

Air Jordan (1-24) shoes $45

Jordan (1-22)&2014 shoes $48

Nike shox (R4, NZ, OZ, TL1, TL2, TL3) $35

Handbags ( Coach Lv fendi D&G) $30

T-shirts (polo, ed hardy, lacoste) $14

Jean (True Religion, ed hardy, coogi)$34

Sunglasses ( Oakey, coach, Gucci, Armaini)$15

New era cap $16

Biki ni (Ed hardy, polo) $18  

FREE SHIPPING

http://www.fashionfast.net 


 http://www.fashionfast.net 


  http://www.fashionfast.net 


 http://www.fashionfast.net 

 http://www.fashionfast.net 


 http://www.fashionfast.net 


  http://www.fashionfast.net 


 http://www.fashionfast.net 


===( http://www.fashionfast.net )===


===( http://www.fashionfast.net )===


===( http://www.fashionfast.net )===


===( http://www.fashionfast.net )===


===( http://www.fashionfast.net  )===


===( http://www.fashionfast.net  )===

This is a shopping paradise

We need your support and trust


markie19
markie19 topcommenter


Kerry Goad6 minutes ago via YouTubeOnly Me
  • READ THEME MY LIFE MARKERRY SOLL GOAD -MARKIE MC NIGHT SISTER TO DARROW K SOLL KILLED NO SUICIDE -I AM A MEDIUM PROPHET DANGEROUS HERE CAN NOT CALL PEOPLE THEY HAVE TRIED TO DRUG AND KILL ME MANY TIMES I CALL POLICE AND THEY WILL AGAIN CHILD STOLEN BY CPS HUGE RING THEY SELL CHILDREN SEX AND MORE -I GREW UP IN IT-FAMILY-GOVERNOR AND SHERIFF DIRTY CAREFUL VERY -MANY COPS DEAD I GET THEM SEAN DRENTH AND LARRY DEVER -MYRON CHISEM-A FEW DIED I THINK BECAUSE OF ME -READ MARKIE MC NIGHT WATCH SKULLS MOST LAYERS IN THIS TOWN ROGER MORRIS-ED NOVAK MOST PUBLIC DEFENDERS CPS-NEED NON DIRTY FBI JOHN SANDWEG FUCKED ME AND HIS DAD IS IN THE FBI READ MARKERRY SOLL CHILD KENNEDY KORY I NEED HER ASAP-SHE IS LIKE ME THEY WANT HER DOWN NAMED AFTER DARROW READPelican Brief Trailerwww.youtube.comFirst-rate legal thriller based on John Grisham's #1 bestseller. http://www.johngrishamonline.com
LikeLike ·  · Subscribe on YouTube · Share

thenightgalleria
thenightgalleria

Being the Sound Engineer for the Ultimate Fantasy as well as the AV guy at the Shamrock Hilton at that time, I would now like to extend my personal apologies to the city of Houston and the cast and crew of Star Trek:The Wrath of Khan for us completely destroying the convention scene here in Houston for the last 30 years. It makes me very happy to know that our city has finally recovered, and that Comicpalooza is doing so well now to erase all the bad memories that we caused. I pray that Comicpalooza goes on to live in this city forever. and I hope you all forgive us for the mess we made. We were trying to do something amazing. As they say... the best laid plans, etc. It was a fun time though, despite what happened. Memories I wouldn't trade for anything. To Houston and Comicpalooza I say, Live Long and Prosper.

Mike Rose

 
Loading...