Comicpalooza 2019

Photo Credit: Comicpalooza

Photo Credit: Comicpalooza

Comicpalooza 2019 has come to a close, and I honestly can’t wait for 2020. There is always so much to look forward to, and it seems to get better every year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. There are a few small things I would like to see changed for future events, but this post isn’t about that.

This post is to celebrate what Texas’ largest pop culture festival has to offer. Trust me…it’s a lot.

CELEBRITIES

Comicpalooza has been able to get top notch celebrities to come as guests. Fans can take pictures and get autographs from actors, voice actors, comic creators, and other cultural icons. This year, the top headliner was Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones, Solo, Terminator: Genisys, and more. The ability for Comicpalooza to get guests that everyone wants to meet and be seen with will help this convention grow each year.

COSPLAY

Is there a lot of cosplay at Comicpalooza? Of course there is! It’s a comic convention!

The cosplay that can be seen at Comicpalooza can range from ages 0-100. It’s so much fun to see the characters that everyone else connects with. There are always amazing costumes created each year, but I personally have some favorites. I love getting to see younger kids work so hard on becoming the characters they love. Honestly…I love those characters too.

On top of all the amazing cosplay, Comicpalooza has a designated area for cosplay repairs. So if you’re worried about creating a character because you’re worried it will just get destroyed, don’t worry. You will have the opportunity to make some modifications that will get you back on the show floor in no time.

VENDORS

If it has anything to do with pop culture, chances are you will be able to find it at Comicpalooza.

The bottom floor of George R. Brown Convention Center is packed with aisles of vendors from artists, shops, crafters, and much more. You can find that comic you’ve been looking for right next to your new favorite board game.

Comicpalooza is the perfect one-stop shopping experience.

BOARD GAMES

If you love board games, then the gaming room is just for you. Dragon’s Lair was there this year to host the board game room. Con goers can sit at a table and play their favorite TTRPG, or find a new obsession without needing to purchase it before playing.

I was really upset that I didn’t get the chance to take full advantage of the activities this year, but I’m happy that this gamer centric activity exists. How many times have you heard someone say they would like to try D&D, but don’t know anyone who plays? This is exactly who this is for. Mingle with everyone there, and find a new passion.

PODCASTS

Last on this list, but certainly not least, Comicpalooza is dedicated to getting podcasts more involved at the convention.

Obviously I am very passionate about this, and we were lucky to get Hi hungry I’m Dad and The Mundane and The Arcane into the CP Pod Family. Both had live shows and panels throughout the weekend, and they couldn’t have been more fun. Getting the opportunity to engage directly with the audience was a positive change from just sitting at a mic to record.

We did notice a few things that we would like to see changed when it comes to the podcasting portion of the convention, but we also realize that it will never be a main focus. Comicpalooza is all about the fans, and giving them what they want to see. If they start to demand more from the podcast program, I have no doubt the Comicpalooza will make sure they get what they want.

Comicpalooza really is an amazing experience. This list doesn’t cover everything that is offered, just some of my own personal favorites. What do you love about this event, or what would you like to see changed? After all, this event is made for you….the fans.

The End of a PodCon Era

Photo Credit: Jared McClelland

Photo Credit: Jared McClelland

In the beginning months of 2017, an Indiegogo campaign popped up for a podcast event that would bring fans and creators together for one glorious weekend. With over 3,000 backers and 81% of its goal, PodCon was determined to make the best podcast convention imaginable.

PodCon was created by Hank Green, Joseph Fink, Jerrey Cranor, and Travis McElroy to be a “place where people got together to really get into podcasts together for a couple days”. That’s exactly what happened.

I was lucky enough to attend PodCon for the past two years, and it has been my favorite convention to ever be a part of. Fans and creators roamed the floors and mingled as true fans of podcasts. Over the past two years, I was lucky enough to meet many influential podcasters that I admire through meet ups, creator chats, and a pizza party (for backers of a certain level and above). This would have never been possible without PodCon.

I will have fond memories like how I was the first person at the convention to recognize Paul Bae from The Black Tapes and The Big Loop, or that I sat and talked with the very pleasant Helen Austwick Zaltzman from The Allusionist at the hotel bar, and the time I discussed Magic the Gathering with Roman Mars from 99% Invisible. Who knew that last one would ever even be an option?

Now, the end of an era is upon us.

PodCon’s official Twitter page posted a tweet expressing their love for the community that has supported them. In that same tweet, they also blindsided the fans with the news that a third year of the event would not happen.

This comes as a shock to me personally since the second year of the event’s Indiegogo campaign was funded with a 23% increase from the year prior. I think it’s fair to say that the fans were ready to make sure PodCon happened on a yearly basis.

The problem is that running a convention is expensive, and you can’t just rely on the fans. Hank Green wrote that the main reason PodCon will end after two years is because it just isn’t sustainable. The creators of popular shows have less time and require more money to book them for a weekend, and sponsors seemed to be hard to acquire. Restructuring is an option, but not one that the creators could justify doing. So, here we are.

There are other podcast conventions that are still out there. Some in their first year, and probably more coming in the future. It’s possible that someone will swoop in to replace the void that PodCon is leaving in the hearts of thousands. This particular fan can only hope.