Convention Report: Comicpalooza 2011

During Memorial Day weekend (May 27-29, 2011), Comicpalooza held its 4th annual multi-genre convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX. I attended the first two days of this three-day convention. First of all, this was my first big convention in Texas and the layout of the convention center was massive. The whole convention took place on the 3rd level of this massive convention center.

The highlights of the convention for me were the opportunities to interact with comic creators, comic fans, and celebrities. I spent a short amount of time on Friday observing the entire Con floor and chatting with various artists and writers in Artist Alley. I also checked out a few things in the Dealers Room. Before leaving for the day, I sat in on panel with comic writer Chris Roberson (I-Zombie), Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies), and Brian Denham (Zombie Fairy Tales) on a panel titled Comics & Zombies. By the name of the panel, you can guess what was discussed.

Saturday was a busy day. I spent almost 8 hours in panels and Q&As. The first panel I attended was titled, How to be a Horror/Sci-Fi Blogger. The panelists for this session were blogger Brian Shirley and blogger/comic writer Marc Bernardin (The Highwaymen). The panel discussed the ins and outs of being a successful horror/sci-fi blogger. The next panel titled, Special Press Announcement, featured actor Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), his son Michael Olmos, and screenwriter/comic creator Bob Layton. In this panel, Edward James Olmos announced a superhero film project titled Mettle. Edward James Olmos is the star of the film. Mettle is a superhero film about a Vietnam soldier who is given superhero powers through a medical experiment. Fast forward years later, Olmos’ character loses his power, deals with post-traumatic stress disorder, and has to defeat a villain from his past. The premise sounds interesting and Olmos said that a comic would be released around the same time as the film.

The next panel I attended was all about Cowboys and Aliens with writer Fred Van Lente. Van Lente discussed the long process of the graphic novel being made into a film. He also shared information on his thoughts on the film adaptation and his writing process. Another panel I attended was called Breaking into Comics and it featured panelists: writer Chris Roberson, artist Joe Eisma (Morning Glories), writer Fred Van Lente, artist Brian Denham, and writer Marc Bernardin. The panelists shared stories on how they found work in the comics industry and their advice on how someone could possibly find work in the comic industry as well.

The last two panels I attended were entertainment-based. The first was a Q&A with Being Human‘s Meaghan Rath. She talked how she got the job on the show. She also discussed her thoughts on season one, her personal favorites in the world of film, and offered behind the scene insights on the show’s production. Before attending this panel, I had never seen an episode of either version of Being Human. Rath’s Q&A definitely provoked me to give the show a watch.

The last panel was the True Blood Q & A with actor Sam Trammell, who plays Sam Merlotte on the HBO series. Trammell discussed his favorite episodes of the past three seasons, his spoiler-free thoughts on what to expect for season four, and his excessive nakedness during the show’s three season run.

Overall, Comicpalooza was a huge success. In two days, I met many comic creators, sat in on hours of panels, and had a very fun time. Comicpalooza is definitely a convention that everyone should check out if you’ve never been to a convention before. It’ll be well worth the price of admission.

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