Con Review: Comicpalooza 2016 Blew Us Away

Credit: Comicpalooza
Credit: Comicpalooza

Hey 4 Your Excitement readers!

Right now, we are in the middle of the big boom of Con season. It seems like everyone has a Con lately to get to which climaxes toward the end of July with the San Diego Comic Con.

During the past three days, I had the privilege of exploring one of Texas’ largest Comic Cons: Comicpalooza 2016.

It was fun. It was loud. It was also surprisingly educational.

FRIDAY

To be honest, Friday was more of a gentle easing into the whole Comicpalooza experience. Kudos to the staff and volunteers manning the event though, everything was (for me) efficient as hell. No muss. No fuss. The lines moved at a brisk pace. From what I could see when I went to go to check out Artist Alley, the autograph lines moved fairly quickly as well.

You know, that’s a good thing to see. No one wants to spend most of their Con waiting in line. Or, at least, I don’t.

The most difficult part of the Con was trying to fine which room I was supposed to be in. General areas were marked with the various tracks: Literary, Entertainment, etc. I, personally, would have appreciated some bolder signs for the rooms.

Still, as part of the easing in thing, the first day was fairly light overall. Most of the panels that I went to were run by the kickass team at the Houston Public Library, who gave the best panel of the day with History of American Comics. It was a fun hour and even a comic nerd like me learned a couple of really cool things.

Now I stuck mostly to the comic panels and the sci-fi panels due to personal preference. At Comicpalooza, however, there is a pretty large offering to everyone: Gaming, Writing, Cosplay Tutorials are just some of what is offered here. CryptTV runs the films for the Comicpalooza film contest almost all day. So if you’re between panels, then you can pop in and check them out.

Most of what I enjoyed of the Comicpalooza that first day was the really nice low key atmosphere. Geeks, nerds, whatever you want to call yourself do get a bum rap for being like Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons or something. But everyone there is just really nice and passionate about what they love. It felt like a safe space to be in and as someone who got picked on for being a geek, I liked that kind of welcoming atmosphere.

SATURDAY

On Saturday, the Con literally exploded everywhere. Lines as far as the eye can see, and I missed the calm of Friday. But it was still nice to see so many passionate people running about. There were some mishaps were overcrowding in the autograph lines, but it seemed to run pretty smoothly.

Most of my day, I went to check out the more educational panels.

Why?

Because I’m a nerd and I like to listen to people talk about how our media reflects our real-life attitudes and how it can be a response to those attitudes. That’s why. I like discourse. I like to talk about how the films and the comics and the TV shows that we love can be read and interpreted. Is it for everyone? No. But I wanted to see how I would have the best Con experience at Comicpalooza.

Also, no offense to Aliens fans, but I am not one. As a film person, I am required to watch the series because it is brilliant. But I do it with the lights on and under a heap of blankets. I am not a horror person. Due to availability, I guess, most of the Q&A’s that I wanted to cover were on Sunday.

One thing that I will admit annoyance at is the bizarre scheduling decisions. I had to struggle bus on panels that I would have loved to go to. The two panels on Feminism in comics were at the same time as were the two panels on LGBTQ+ depiction in media. Overall though, I was pretty satisfied with the panels that I went to check out. I had three favorites of the day: X-Men and Social Movements, The Real Wonder Women and You, and Mental Illness in Media.

But overall, the panels that I went to had people who knew their subjects back to front and talked about them eloquently and passionately. No one at the panels was scared to share their experience, which went hand in hand with the open atmosphere that I felt in Comicpalooza. Everyone was valid, and no one was going to be judged based on these experiences.

Maybe that’s just how Cons are. I admit that Comicpalooza was the first one that I have ever gone to. (I’m easing my way in for when 4 Your Excitement takes San Diego in July.) I just really dug the atmosphere all day long. People just bonded. Even though, for the most part, I tend to blend and observe. I just liked seeing different people come together to share what they were passionate about.

SUNDAY

The last day of the Con was, of course, my biggest with the two Q&A sessions that I wanted to check out above all else: Preacher‘s/Agent Carter‘s Dominic Cooper and The Boondock Saints cast.

Let’s talk the Q&A’s! Except not really because you can read the Dominic Cooper one here and The Boondock Saints will be coming very shortly.

The last day was super lowkey. I enjoyed the panels with Cooper and The Boondock Saints. The other panel I saw was about reading comics as serious literature. It was a fun one that I really enjoyed.

It was a definitely a day of winding down that I cannot overly elaborate on since we have separate cover. I still enjoyed myself.

OVERALL

Comicpalooza is definitely a good Con for newbies. I found it to help me slide into, what I am sure, will be something very crazy in about a month. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot of stuff, and pretty much enjoyed myself. The bumps in the road were pretty minor. I would like some better signage for finding the rooms and stuff for panels.

I recommend Comicpalooza for anyone in the Texas area or who can make the trip. It was definitely three fun days.

Bec Heim

Senior Editor at 4YE
Rebecca "Bec" Heim is the Senior Editor for 4YE. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Scranton. She also has an MA in Film-Radio-Television from Syracuse University and an MFA in Screenwriting from Boston University. She enjoys reading through her ever growing mountain of books, talking way too much about superheroes, and trying to reach transcendental state.
Bec Heim
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