Monday, May 26, 2014

Comicpalooza 2014 - Part 2 : Poisitve Thoughts

I'm so giddy about this part. I get to relive large moments of a great con, and let my readers in on so many things that media and news won't cover because they weren't REALLY there. However, I'm going to break this down a little, so that people can go to the sections that interested them. I don't want to waste your time.

Registration-

It was FAST. It may have been a huge line, but man did it move. The individual running Will Call was excellent at making sure his volunteers were always handling a customer, and those volunteers were expedient, friendly, and genuinely happy to be there and helping.

As a VIP my shwag bag was missing a few things that I had not noticed at the time of registration. I didn't have to worry. About an hour later I walked up to one of the volunteers and told them, and they quickly drug me over to a booth, filled my bag up with the goodies I was missing and a few extra to boot. It was awesome.

(However, my VIP badge apparently belonged to another individual originally as it had her name on the back. When I went to ask someone about this, the three volunteers standing around not doing anything actually told me "Well, be glad you got a badge"... that irked me, but yanno... not every volunteer is useful, nice, etc and the excellent treatment made up for that small annoyance)

Artists-

The talent this year held many of the same wonderful artists from years back, but on top of that several very large names in comics were in attendance, and everybody was glad to see me and any other individual that came to their table. (except Mike Mignola and Neal Adams... they just did not appear to be enjoying themselves nor felt like engaging their HUGE fan base. Bad day? Maybe. Rough night? Possibly. Eithere way, small bits of some peoples soul were chipped away by the reception they got from these two individuals)

Stan Lee. Seriously. Generalissimo! Regardless of where you fall in liking Stan Lee due to the Kirby Conspiracy or not... he's such an enjoyable figure. He was friendly, engaging, and must have a bionic hand (seriously... thousands of signatures I'm sure). His handlers might have been a little "move it along and don't waste our time", but I can't actually blame them for that... there were a lot of people and everybody needed their fan time.

CGC. They've never been a presence at 'Palooza before that I have seen. They were very noticeable this year, and it was a great thing. I feel like seeing several signs for folks grading comics is one of the true signs of becoming a big convention. Not only can you have a great time meeting the creators of your childhood, but you can verify that you had that great time with a memory that will last forever in it's air tight packaging!!

The Live Art Auction. This is my FAVORITE part of this entire show. The chance to watch so many amazing artists perform in front of you is not only a treat but an awe inspiring event. Not only that but all of the money raised goes to the Ronald McDonald House. It's a wonderful cause, and an amazing chance to own some of the most amazing art!!! (I continued my streak of winning a few pieces and could not be happier!)

Games-

If you read my negative thoughts, you might be shocked to hear this, but the entire set up was superbly done. Schedules were met, tons of prizes and free gifts were handed out as well as many a newcomer taught how to play games. Whoever ran this part of the convention needs a pay raise. They nailed it hard!!!

They had an extensive library of games that you could rent by simply giving the coordinator your drivers license until you were done, and he was quite knowledgeable on many of the games and a really enjoyable individual to listen to. He was passionate about his gaming, while also able to refrain from being overbearing. It was a perfect combination for a man in his position, and it allowed me to learn several new games too! (Takenoko, Smashup, Dixit, Small World, and Kittens in a Blender *no actual kittens were harmed in the playing of this game)

Vendors-

Far from overbearing. Willing to haggle with their prices. Eager to help you find what you wanted. Unique. Original works. They were there to make money, but they weren't draining you of every dime you owned. Some of the best vendors I've seen at conventions.

Comic book sellers. There were sooo many more than last year. It was refreshing and wonderful for us hardcore comic nerds. There is nothing quite like rooting through bins looking for that one issue you need or finding a gem inside of a box of comics. (To find this gem I suggest Floyd's comics, because he had some SERIOUSLY awesome goods in his dollar boxes of comics and even if he was shocked to see it, he'd sell it for the dollar anyways!)

Panels/Shows-

I really wish I'd gotten around to more panels and I'm not sure I can truly give any type of comments on them in detail, but I can say that After Midnight was a treat as always, and the Video Game Themed Burlesque show by Dem Damn Dames was uproariously funny and one of the best memories of the convention (Not JUST because of bewbs. Their Mega Man MC had me rolling in tears of laughter). I really hope they bring them back next year. It was worth every bit of my time.

Celebrities-

Every now and again you may end up with a few stuffy celebrities that just don't seem fun, or may not appear to enjoy their fans and the atmosphere. Not this year.

Everybody was smiles, waves and eager to give their fans memories, though one man stood out from the crowd and not only went the extra mile, but did a couple of laps while he was at it.

John Barrowman. Malcolm Merlyn. Captain Jack. If he wasn't hamming it up and feeding his fans his own enthusiasm, he could be found hugging a special service animal, witnessing a gay couples engagement at the front of his booth, or making out with a Cosplaying Pam's Dolphin puppet while sitting in her lap (Seriously... there are pictures). Even of site there was a story by my friend that he, Cary Elwes, and several others were the loudest and happiest people in Mia's for dinner and were enjoying themselves immensely!

He has the recipe down. He knows that life is about enjoyment and he seeks it out and drags his fans along with him for the ride. This man is doin it right! And I honestly wasn't much of a fan until after this convention. I've watched some of Arrow, and I hear about Torchwood occasionally, but until he showed how deep his love for his fans and these conventions were, I just didn't know how awesome he was.

---

So there. There is so much more to tell. I could go on for days. But this will have to do unless I get more interest. I'm afraid these long blogs may get a lot of tl;dr, but this was as short as I could make them.

In closing, Comicpalooza is the largest Southwest Comic Convention in the United States. They offer awesomeness for all walks of the nerd life, and they have proven very thoroughly throughout the years that they are not only worth my money, but they are worthy of my promotion and eagerness to see them continue to grow.

Thank you 'Palooza for giving me so many amazing memories for years to come.