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Houston Brings Residents the Largest Pop Culture Con in the Southwest

By S. Mathur

In a short period of seven years, Comicpalooza has established itself on the pop fiesta calendar. Beginning in 2008, with 500 visitors attending a signing event to coincide with the launch of The Dark Knight, it has found its identity as a multi-format pop culture con attracting new visitors from all over the southwest and beyond. The 2015 event was attended by 40,000 people, despite widespread flooding and tornado warnings.

Why should you go to Comicpalooza? John Simons, Founder and Chairman of Comicpalooza says that "People like fan events like comic cons because those events bring comics, books, movies, and TV into a fan's real life in a way that will never happen otherwise. When you are bored sitting on your couch clicking channels, or dreaming about more interesting lives, or enjoying a hobby, or thinking about tomorrow, that is life whispering that you should go to Comicpalooza."

More seriously, he adds: "Comicpalooza brings people in touch with many interests, not just comics. You may be interested in film or art or Japanese culture or animation or wrestling or soccer or Disney or lots of other things. You may be an aspiring writer or film maker or voice actor. Or you may just be a person who likes the summer blockbuster movies. Nearly everyone can find something that speaks to them powerfully at Comicpalooza."

Comicpalooza, as Simons says, is "a hurricane of activity." With panels, workshops, gaming, celebrity Q&As, robot exhibits, writers workshops, video game tournaments, sword fighting lessons, programming workshops, celebrity laser tag, BMX demonstrations, costume contests, live art events, professional wrestling, a film festival, kids activities and more, there are at least three or four places you want to be in at the same time. In 2015, there were over 2,400 hours of programming as compared to the 35 hours achieved by comparable comic cons.

For the 2016 event, there are some high powered names among the two hundred or so guests who have confirmed so far. These include twelve cast members from Aliens, including Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton, celebrating the 30th anniversary reunion; Kate Beckinsale, Norman Reedus and the cast of Boondock Saints. There will be more than one hundred authors, comic creators Adam Kubert and Mike Zeck, astronaut Shannon Walker, physicists, film makers, voice actors Eva Bella and Livvy Stubenrauch from Frozen, Japanese fashion designers, wrestlers Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, video game developer Chris Avellone, and many others.

What actually happens at Comicpalooza? Attendees have a chance to interact with guests, getting autographs and pictures with celebrities. There are panels featuring authors and film makers discussing their craft and their work. There are book signings by writers, and artists might do sketches on the spot for fans. Scientists discuss "where science fiction meets science fact." And of course, there are the costumes. Everyone from Wonder Woman to Harry Potter will be there. You should go.

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