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Comicpalooza 2021: How to Cram a Con Into a Single Day

Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.

I’ll be attending Comicpalooza as press this year, but will only be going Saturday, July 17th due to work obligations. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone to every Comicpalooza since 2014. My wife, myself, and usually our friend would get a hotel room and dress in cosplay all three or four days and it was a ton of fun. COVID killed all conventions in 2020 and 2021 was reduced to a single weekend since everything was so unpredictable until the vaccinations really began to kick in.

In recent years, since Comicpalooza has begun distancing itself more and more from comic book related guests despite, “COMIC,” being a major part of its name, the panels have been getting less and less interesting. The programming in general is a bit of a bust. The schedule has been released, but the panels are a little lacking. There’s a Q&A with Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat at 4:30pm, but I’m not sure I’ll be staying that long to attend. If you want something to do in the later hours, the cosplay contest will be from 7pm-11pm on the main stage. Seeing the different costumes is really entertaining, but the skits are usually awful.

A picture of the dealer's room at Comicpalooza in 2016.

A picture of the dealer's room at Comicpalooza in 2016.

The guest list for 2021 is a bit underwhelming, as well. I managed to get Ron Perlman’s autograph back when he came through Houston during the disaster that was Space City Comic Con. It’s not often that someone of Perlman’s status has no line at a con that size, but that’s exactly what occurred. I’m also a big fan of Donny Cates’ run on Thanos and Cosmic Ghost Rider is amazing. It’s a shame I don’t anything of his to get signed though and I’m just not that into comics anymore.

The Dragon Ball fan in me is debating on getting a singular item signed by both Christopher Sabat and Sean Schemmel. However, I was able to get Sabat’s autograph at a mini-convention here in Houston earlier this year and Schemmel’s autograph earlier this month at a Zobie Productions signing. I had Sabat sign the Blu-ray steelbook of volume 1 of Dragon Ball Z while Schemmel signed volume 2. I’d like to have both sign volume 9 since Vegito is on the cover. Both guys are huge in the anime community though and their lines are going to be excruciating to stand in. I’ll likely spend all day standing in line if I go this route.

My wife and I dressed as Fancy Deadpool and Lady Deadpool (the two on the right) at Comicpalooza 2013.

My wife and I dressed as Fancy Deadpool and Lady Deadpool (the two on the right) at Comicpalooza 2013.

Comicpalooza recently released the artists and exhibitors who will be a part of the dealer’s room this year. I’m always on the lookout for cool Dragon Ball and Godzilla figures and statues for a reasonable price (or not so reasonable if they’re really awesome), but I wanted to point out a few awesome artists I come across every year you should totally swing by or even purchase from.

I tell myself every year that I’m going to get out of buying art prints. I have so many that I still haven’t gotten frames for, but it’s really difficult to stick to when you find artists you really like that keep putting out quality pieces.

An arcade free for guests at Comicpalooza 2018.

An arcade free for guests at Comicpalooza 2018.

Wizyakuza does some really amazing anime inspired pieces and I already own a ton of Dragon Ball and My Hero Academia ones. The artist will be located at booths 1547 and 1549. Be sure to check out his 3D and metal prints if they’re on display. Personally though, I’m really into his new Demon Slayer print from the Mugen Train film as well as his Buu related Mr. Steal Your Powers lenticular print.

Artist Abe/Abraham Lopez is probably best known for his Stitch and Harley Quinn related pieces. He was one of the first artists I purchased like 5-8 prints from in one transaction. I highly recommend his Haunted Arkham Asylum print. I’ve been watching Dragon Ball again from the beginning with my wife and his Stitch Turtle House Training print is really talking to me because of it. Artist Abe will be at booth 1911.

My wife, myself, and some of our friends dressed as Batman villains from Comicpalooza 2016.

My wife, myself, and some of our friends dressed as Batman villains from Comicpalooza 2016.

I eyeball Josie Devora’s RoosterPOP artwork every year and have yet to pull the trigger on actually owning any of his stuff. I usually just can’t decide because all of his stuff is so good. His pieces feature well-known characters with such humorous facial expressions and incredible body language. I’m not sure of what all will be on hand from his website, but I’m looking at his Lemongrab vinyl car window decal, his Bill Cypher big sticker, and the Scary Terry love card. My wedding anniversary is coming up on Halloween and that card would be perfect to give my wife.

Located near Papadeaux’s Seafood will be a Dragon Ball Z Exhibit by ConLive! They will have life-size 1:1 replicas of Vegeta, Frieza, Goku, and the Saiyan pod. It should at least be worth a few pictures.

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I always recommend checking out the live art charity auction if you have the opportunity every year. Even if you don’t bid on anything it’s a cool experience to see so many artists working in their element and finishing a piece right before your very eyes. It’s usually a really cool place to take pictures and witness unique artwork be created right in front of you. It will be in Hall E at 8pm this year.

Author's Note: I wrote this about a week before the convention took place. Press credentials were approved and plans were set to attend. My full-time job had other plans though. Physical exhaustion, not enough help, and a busy work schedule with little to no time off kept me from attending Comicpalooza this year. Hopefully next year will be different.

© 2021 Chris Sawin

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