Houston's Comicpalooza Gets Some Good Ink

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The Comicpalooza convention next month is a gamble -- its a big step up for an event that started three years ago in an Alamo Drafthouse, moved last year to a shopping mall and is now taking over the George R. Brown convention center.

Last fall a similar event, the inaugural Crypticon, also brought in horror-movie "stars" like Adrienne Barbeau, but didn't get quite the response in terms of attendance as hoped.

Comicpalooza is bringing in Bruce Campbell and the guy who played Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so maybe that constitutes bigger draws than Barbeau. We'll see.

But the effort got a nice boost from Portfolio magazine, the financial/luxury/lifestyle publication, which did a piece on how the event is drawing some big-name sponsors.

Comicpalooza. The name sounds like a grandiose gathering of the biggest names in the comic-book industry, which has a fiercely loyal following. But you're wrong--for now. A small events company is looking to make a twofold splash by turning the gathering in Houston into the gigantic event its name would suggest.

The weekend convention, being organized by Startling Events LLC, has attracted interest from McDonald's Corp....

The end result is to make the event well known, moving it not only up locally and regionally, but also talked about amongst the national names, such as the San Diego Comic-Con International and the Big Apple Comic-Con in New York.

"The comic industry [in Houston] is kind of behind [other cities], so we want to help the local creators be more known in the community," [organizer John] Simons says.

Other sponsors include the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the University of Houston creative writing department, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, the Southwest Alternate Media Project, and MTGFanatic.com Inc., a gaming supplier.

So maybe it's got a shot. The event is scheduled for the weekend of March 26.

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