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Top 10 Things Not to Miss at Comicpalooza

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Comicpalooza this year is bigger than ever before, with more stars and more than 300 hours worth of programming to keep you busy. Just to give you a heads up, here are the ten things you absolutely don't want to skip.

10. Cryptozoology 101: You might remember our own Ken Gerhard as a pillar of the goth music community with bands like Flowers and Machines. Turns out he actually managed to score an even more awesome post-rock star career, hunting Bigfoot and other legendary monsters. Gerhard will offer a basic guide to the field of monster hunting science, as well as stories gleaned from his own considerable research.

9. Quidditch: Believe it or not, Quidditch is incredibly fun to watch. Yes, running around holding a stick between your legs looks a little ridiculous, but the matches are high-speed and exciting, with truly dedicated collegiate players vying for championship status. Until we can figure out flying broom sticks (Or hoverboards, Mattel. The clock is ticking) Quidditch will remain ground based sport, albeit a very, very entertaining one.

Flashback Comicpalooza Day 3: What Is Real Horror?

8. Guests: Some of the bigger names have unfortunately cancelled such as Cary Elwes and the Fifth Doctor Peter Davison. Still there are some extremely choice people that you will want to say you've met. Top of that list is Patrick Stewart, and I'm not even going to bother naming what he's been in because there is no chance you clicked on a Comicpalooza article and don't know who Patrick Stewart is. Doctor Who fans may be out a Doctor, but the man behind the longest-running companion Jamie McCrimmon, Frazer Hines, will still be attending. Plus, you can meet Machete himself, Danny Trejo. All good folks.

7. Dollar Baby Presentations: Stephen King does this awesome thing where he allows independent filmmakers to help get their work out there by licensing his novels and stories for $1. It's a very generous thing to do, and Comicpalooza has two of the results being screened. The first is a much more faithful adaptation of "The Lawnmower Man" than that sci-fi train wreck starring Jeff Fahey. James Gonis' short returns it to its more psychotic roots in his short, while Jim Cole adapts the sad suicide story 'Last Ring on the Ladder."

6. Holy God That's a Lot of Steampunk: Perhaps no scene in geekdom has risen so high and fast as the steampunk movement. Even LEGO is going steampunk these days. In addition to the annual Steampunk Ball, there are dozens of discussions that offer help crafting gear, building personas, establishing a local community, and tons of vendors in the main buy area. If you've been wondering what it's all about, now's a good time to find out. There's even a forum on "Steampunk and Social Issues."Comicpalooza Day 1: Ron Paul Endorses Ghostbusters

5. MechCorps: Did you know that Houston has a place where you can step into a pod and control giant robots in an all out online battle? We do, and it's called MechCorps. Even in a world of constant online play and HD graphics the you still can't beat the thrill of personally piloting battle mechs like a freakin' Robot Jock. It's totally worth every dime.

4. Star Warz: Unscripted: Sometimes it's easy to forget that when you boil it down Star Wars isn't really a very good movie. Its plot is very unoriginal, and the dialogue sounds like it was written against its will. But could you do better? That's what this improvisational comedic workshop from Comedy Sportz will find out by using audience suggestion to reinvent everything about A New Hope in order to make it funnier. Warning, not for kids. It gets raunchy.

3. Bard Fiction: And on a similar note... do you like Pulp Fiction? Of course you do, now imagine Tarantino's celebrated work as written with all the fuckless eloquence of one, William Shakespeare. That what Bard Fiction from the Classical Theatre Company is, and there is no way it's not going to kick Bottom. Now if anyone asks you what the opposite of Baz Luhrman is, you can tell them before they get unfriended for being the kind of lunatic who would ask that question.

2. Cosplay Chess: You might have seen human chess before, where real people stand in for the pieces on a giant board. Sometimes the games follow traditional rules, sometimes they're staged, choreographed events, and sometimes it's a mixture of the two. The Official Texas Cosplay Chess Group (Please tell me there's an unofficial one that they feud with over legitimacy!) ups the ante even more by replacing kings and bishops with anime and video game characters. I have to declare here and now that this is the single nerdiest thing I have ever heard of, and I'm a guy that wrote a detailed article comparing the strength of the Hyrulean rupee to the Mushroom Kingdom's gold coins.

There's also an opportunity to use cosplayers in a Pokemon battle... OK, that's the nerdiest thing ever.

1. Turn That Movie Into a Book: This might just be me and my personal obsession with novelizations, but I can't wait to hear Kevin J. Anderson and Alan Dean Foster, two of the greatest novelization artists ever, explore just what it takes to turn a script into a beach read. Foster alone is responsible for some of the finest literature ever to come out of the form, including Alien and Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Comicpalooza is actually a sci-fi/fantasy writer's wet dream this year, with one of the largest collections of authors ever for a convention offering dozens of forums dedicated to teaching their craft to the next generation.

There's so much more I haven't even scratched the surface. Keep an eye out all week for our build-up to Houston's biggest geek event of the year.

We weren't kidding about that article comparing video game currencies. Nor were we missing the opportunity to remind you of the Top 10 Novelizations That Are Actually Worth Reading.

Jef With One F is a recovering rock star taking it one day at a time. You can read about his adventures in The Bible Spelled Backwards or connect with him on Facebook.

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