This past weekend was one that Shaundra and I look forward to every year--the annual Comicpalooza pop culture extravaganza. Comics, cosplay, celebrities, panels, games--you name it, they have it. It's an event we've been going to every year for the past several, and although they have their share of snafus and WTF? issues, we never fail to have a good time (though, honestly, a lot of it is due to us being two goofy, nerdy fools).
This year's event got off to a negative start for us. We arrived early enough on Friday to grab a spot in our favorite parking lot literally right across from the George R. Brown Convention Center, a massive structure right on the southeast edge of downtown H-Town.
Or, at least, we thought we arrived early enough. In past years, the entire lot (not a huge one) was first come, first served--but apparently this year, Comicpalooza decided to reserve half the lot for folks who had prepaid, three-day passes. I didn't see these passes online when I bought our tickets (otherwise we would've grabbed one if the rate was reasonable), so we were out of luck when we were informed that the half reserved for non-pass-having folks like us was full and we'd have to find another lot. There was one close by, so it wasn't a huge issue, but I was a little bummed nonetheless. Anything a convention can do to squeeze a few extra bucks out of us hapless nerds, I guess.
Since we did already have our badges, we were able to walk right into the GRB and head upstairs to our first panel. The celebrity Q&As are always awesome, but I rate a con by how good their panels are. After all, I'm here to learn how to better myself as a writer and entrepreneur, so, push come to shove, I'll take a good panel over a cool celebrity appearance (something that got put to the test on Saturday). Unfortunately for us, however, the folks who were supposed to present at our first panel, "Building a Podcast," decided to pull a no-call, no-show--leaving us completely SOL. It sucks because while I myself was interested in what they had to say (I've batted the idea of doing a podcast back and forth), it was one of the few panels that Shaundra was really interested in, as she's thinking of doing a podcast for her personal business. With the extra time on our hands, we went to the main lobby and watched people go by until it was time for our next panel.
The rest of the day went off without a hitch--though, by the time we headed home, we had made a few major changes to Saturday's schedule. There were a few celebrity panels we were looking forward to attending, but after realizing where they were scheduled (the same room), when they were scheduled (one after the other, with short breaks between), and the organization's practice of clearing the room completely before letting folks in for the next session, we decided it would be too much of a hassle to subject ourselves to. We wanted to go to all three, but thought (and will think as long as they do this) it was stupid to make people who are already in the room leave, only to get at the back of a line (that was already building while the previous session went on) to go right back in the same room--and most likely get worse seats than the ones they just had. As it was, I had decided against attending a couple panels that really interested me in favor of the celebrity Q&As, so, after weighing things (I could either attend something that would feed my knowledge/interest/passion, or something that would be very cool to be a part of, but ultimately fruitless and empty), we decided to forgo the Q&As in favor of the panels.
I don't regret that decision one bit. The panels we attended were awesome, and we were still able to lay eyes on the celebrities we wanted to see by strolling through the autograph/picture area during a break (we even wound up attending one of the Q&As we had decided against when the panel we wanted to go to got cancelled without letting us know--sloppy work by the convention, but we turned the negative into a positive). The last panel we attended turned out to be a waste of time and we left early to head home, but by that point we had learned what we wanted to and were just looking to fill time to extend our experience.
Sunday was slower, due to being the last day of the convention as well as Mother's Day, but it was another winner for us, as we got in our last bits of junk food (we treated it as a "cheat weekend"), attended a final couple of informative panels on securing a literary agent and budgeting for comic books, and sat in on a couple of celebrity Q&As, one of which featured a WWE star we absolutely adore. We rounded out the day with wrestling by a local indie federation, then headed back to the lair to recoup, recharge, and get ready for the coming week.
We had a blast as usual. I learned a lot, gathered motivation and confidence to continue my creative endeavors, and made some promising connections that might be helpful in bringing those endeavors to fruition. All in all, Comicpalooza 2017 was exactly what I needed it to be. Now it's time for me to get to work. After all...
It'd be cool to be at Comicpalooza as something more than just an attendee. ;)