Comicpalooza Day 3: What Is Real Horror?
Being the Houston Press's resident goth, it's probably not a surprise that I view morning the same way Ron Paul views income tax. It's real, and I hate it with a blinding passion. That being said, for once in my life I wanted to be early for something, so I got to the last day of Comicpalooza almost before anyone else.
I walked with the VIP ticket holders into a convention that was nowhere near set up for the day. Dealers were still uncovering and arranging, the stages were empty and most of the artists seemed to have been off acquiring coffee and bagels. It was, all told, a really boring time, but it did give me a chance to delve into the opinions of the people making the convention happen as they set up.
Though none would go on record, I got the impression that this year's Comicpalooza is both a huge success and somewhat disappointing. The guest list has certainly improved a great deal over last year, with lines stretching 50 deep in order to get George Takei's autograph. At least three comic vendors told me that their sales had simply been staggering. One reported a 30 percent increase from last year, another a mind-boggling 108 percent.
And yet, there were problems. As mentioned in my report on Friday, there were cancelation and technical difficulties galore. The talks by Michael Biehn and Sean Patrick Flanery were hastily moved because the band setup on the main stage blew out equipment when it was tested. Communications seemed to be a consistent complaint, with the organizers being slow to answer questions via e-mail, or not at all.
Noise was also a notable pet peeve. Unlike last year, Comicpalooza wasn't able to secure a solid block of rooms for panels and discussions, which meant that the alternative was curtained-off areas with competing sound systems...none of which could be heard if Arc Attack was playing.
Overall, the convention seems to be having growing pains, having gotten bigger in attendance and scope, but not necessarily in execution. Still, the crowds are big, the dealers seem happy enough with their sales and I think we can look forward to this continuing to build.