The overnight weather may have shuttered other businesses in the city, but it didn’t stop Houston’s annual Comicpalooza from touching down at the George R Brown Convention Center Friday morning.
The event, first started to highlight the works of local creators, has come a long way since its beginnings in a Katy Alamo Drafthouse. Comicpalooza has blossomed from a one-day happening in the lobby of a movie theater to a three-day event in Houston’s largest convention center. The convention is not limited to comics with video game enthusiasts, cosplayers, cinephiles, and more converged near Discovery Green. And even though Comicpalooza is now a national event there are still reminders that it is uniquely Texas.
“Raise your hand if you’re from here,” asked the moderator of the reluctant crowd at the panel for My Hero Accademia, a popular anime about superpowered teenagers. After receiving a lackluster response Monica Rial chimed in.
“You know, if you're trying to get into voice acting, you’re in the right place. This is a tough business but the major places that offer opportunities are Los Angeles, New York, and Texas. If you’re in Dallas or here in Houston you’re in the right place. I, and most of the people on this panel are from right here.”
The panels weren’t just for top rated animation with Comicpalooza offering a little something for everyone. There were panels focused on the behind-the-scenes aspects of content creation like “How to Light your Video Content”, panels highlighting the winning creation of fans paying homage to Star Wars, and even a panel where participants could customize their own Funko Pop.
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“I did this workshop a year ago, but it wasn’t like this,” exclaimed a young woman as she applied paint to a detached Funko Pop doll head. “Last year we were just talking about how to do it but now…now we can actually be hands on. I’m about to graduate and I want to make one of myself with a cap and gown.”
On the lower level in the main convention room artists, comic book stores, cosplayers, game stores, and even members of NASA all congregated to buy and sell items to fans and devotees. Small children raced back and forth from their parents trying to get pictures with Ghostbusters, Spider-Men, anime heroes and villains, characters from Star Wars, and, oddly, a group of Predators.
It was a big opening day for a convention still set for two more days filled with fantasy and sci-fi. What started as a small signing event centered around the release of The Dark Knight has grown into one of the largest pop culture conventions in the Southern United States. The weekend promises to bring the city even more from the occasion…weather permitting.