What started as a few tables and a couple of local artists at the Alamo Drafthouse seven years ago has grown into the size a small city that takes over the George R. Brown Convention Center for the four days of Memorial Day weekend--this is Comicpalooza. It is Houston’s annual gathering of people who love what they love in the way that they love it--be it gaming, superheroes, science fiction, anime, cartoons, horror, steampunk, or other bits of pop culture.
Houston Public Library has been an active participant at this event since 2011, hosting a table in the Dealer’s Room and presenting panels on various subjects (sometimes to standing room only). This year, we continue this tradition with seven panels, including an introduction to 3D printing. We can also be spotted at Booth 1145 in the Dealer’s Room.
But why do we return every year? This is what participating staff say:
Alma C. (Central - Kids Room): It's great being able to put HPL out there as an advocate of comics and graphic novels. Our relationship with Comicpalooza has been fantastic, and from the beginning, Mark and his staff always considered libraries as an integral part of comic book culture. It's the outreach event that I look forward to most each year.
Craig B. (Blue Ridge / Vinson Neighborhood Libraries): I love doing panels because people ask really obscure questions during the Q&As. It is one of the few chances during the year my vast repository of useless information makes me look professional.
Sammie R. (Communications Division): This is my first year participating in Comicpalooza as an HPL staff member. I am excited about doing my first ever panel at a convention. I look forward to exposing anime and manga fans to a wider selection of titles than just the ever popular Shounen and Shoujo titles that flood book stands and television!
Chris H. (Library Materials Selection): It is truly fascinating to see the variety of costumes. Gamers, fantasy and science fiction readers, authors and vendors all coming in costume. The level of creativity and energy devoted to these costumes is truly astounding. The one unique costume I remember from years past is the Predator. There have been a plethora of Batmen, Spiderwomen, and Jedi. But only one Predator to my knowledge. (See image at the top of the post!)
Tony G. (Hillendahl / Ring Neighborhood Libraries): Participating in Comicpalooza has been very rewarding, both as a library professional and as a comics enthusiast. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with creators, other fans, and even con-goers interested in becoming librarians because of our participation. Honestly, my favorite part of the con is walking around in whatever costume I’m in that day—I often get stopped and asked to pose for pictures with fans of all ages.
Sally B. (Library Materials Selection): I loved being opposite the autograph tables last year. Who knew my heart would palpitate and I would be hyperventilating to see Captain Jack, much less the past Doctor Whos and Stan Lee (from a long distance)? Also, the people that come to Comicpalooza amazed me – so many from outside Texas. It is getting to be huge.
If you are attending Comicpalooza, please visit one of our panels or stop by the table to say hi. We are fans just like you!
--written by Darcy C., a librarian at Central. She will be participating in the “Comics Are for Everyone!” panel on Friday, May 22, dressed as a librarian from Night Vale
Comicpalooza Panels Involving HPL Staff
Friday, May 22:
10:00AM - Up and Coming Genres - Panel Room 07-370E - featuring Craig B., Chris H. and Jeanette S.
11:30AM - Great Graphic Novels for Kids - Panel Room 07-370E - featuring Sally B. and Alma C.
11:30AM - Comics Are for Everyone! - Panel Room 08-370C - featuring Jeanette S., Darcy C. and community partner
1:00PM - History of LGBTQ Comics - Panel Room 29-372A - featuring Alma C. and Lisa C.
1:00PM - Manga: Beyond Shoujo and Shounen - Panel Room 28-372D - featuring Sammie R. and community partner
2:30PM - History of American Comics - Panel Room 08-370C - Craig B., Carrie T., Tony G. and Jon C.
Saturday, May 23:
10:00AM - Intro to 3D Printing - Panel Room 03-350B - featuring Rachel S.