Where else can you get comic books, anime, science fiction, and pop culture all in one location? At Comicpalooza – the largest comic and pop culture event in Texas! At this year’s Comicpalooza, we saw everything from cosplay to Star Wars and even a PORT Mockup of NASA’s Orion capsule. We also experienced a Light Saber Parade, viewed films at the Crypt TV Presents Comicpalooza Film Fest, saw a Quidditch match, and walked by roller derby girls in T-Rex costumes.

The event also had a bigger overall experience compared to last year, which had gaming, Kids Zone, cosplay, celebrity laser tag, celebrity karaoke, panels, and various contests as well. This year, featured guests were Kate Beckinsale, Ric Flair, John Ostrander, Sigourney Weaver, and the cast of Aliens. Other guests included Charlie Hunnam, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Norman Reedus. Comicpalooza 2016 created a great synergy of cosplay, stories, art, creators, and movies and the best part was seeing the community’s creativity.

Panels and Comicpalooza Booth

Comicpalooza BoothSome of our ikan employees were involved in various aspects of the event. One of our dealers, Microsearch, also had a booth at Comicpalooza. At the booth, you could find our latest line of gimbals including the FLY-X3-PLUS and some lights such as the iLED-MA. Attendees were very interested in our gimbals and a couple of celebrities even came by and bought a FLY-X3-PLUS including Austin St. John, the original Red Power Ranger and Robert Duncan McNeill aka Lieutenant Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager. We also had some bloggers, vloggers, people involved in video production, and hobbyists stop by. It’s interesting to see the look of curiosity on everyone’s face when they see the gimbals because many have heard of them, but never had seen a gimbal stabilizer up close or ever seen a demo. The Houston Film Commission, SWAMP, members of the Comicpalooza podcast program, and vloggers also shared the booth with our dealer, Microsearch. It was exciting to see the podcasters do live shows while at the booth.

Besides the booth at Comicpalooza, some team members from ikan also presented at panels. Barry Garcia, product manager at ikan, presented on the panel, “The Basics of Filmmaking” with Carlos Tovar, a local director and producer. They talked about the process of making a movie from pre-production to post-production, filmmaking, script writing, script distribution, and the pitfalls that you run into when you’re trying to get your vision created. One piece of advice that Barry kept reiterating was to not give up. You have to keep going even during hard times. Other panels included sessions on photography, a presentation on being a great cinematographer by Houston Director of Photography, Orlando Briones, storyboarding presented by SWAMP, podcasting, and sessions with various directors. It was great spending time and learning from the local film community.

Artist Alley and Live Art Auction

If you didn’t know, Comicpalooza actually has a ton of great artwork on display at the event. At Artist Alley, you can walk through numerous aisles seeing original art from local artists, celebrity artists, and also comic book artists.

Ashley, a graphic designer at ikan, had a unique perspective at Comicpalooza this year. Instead of just attending the event, she and some friends had a booth and sold artwork. Ashley created traditional media fan art pieces where she took popular comics and illustrated them in her own style. She draws inspiration from pop culture, cult classic movies, and comic books.

Fox Tail Ink - Comicpalooza

The Artist Alley was amazing because half of the people there were local while the other half were people that worked with comic book companies such as illustrators, character designers, writers, sketch artists, inkists, and colorists. It’s a really great opportunity to get to talk to people working with comic book companies. They were really down to earth and they gave extra insight on how they sold their items, how they got to the position that they are in now, and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about working in the creative field. You learn so much from talking to people; for example, one thing I learned was that eight people worked on each page of a comic.

One artist that Ashely met was Meghan Hetrick, who has created covers for companies such as Marvel, DC, and Valiant, and has her own underground comic. Ashley also met Dirk Strangely, a local artist, who created the “Darkened Bedtime Stories” and “Graveyard Girl”. The Artist Alley is a great place to showcase artwork, network with others as well as with the press, and do business. Artists also trade their artwork, costumes, and accessories with each other.

It’s interesting to see how the Artist Alley has grown so much. When Ashley first started selling artwork at Comicpalooza, the Artist Alley consisted of various 8 foot tables that were lined up against the walls of the hallways in between panels. It was hard to pull attention away from the panels. Now, the Artist Alley has become more of an event at the convention and has its own area. It’s a wonderful chance for people to buy local artwork or artwork in general that they wouldn’t have known where to purchase otherwise. At this year’s Comicpalooza, there were at least 2,000 Artist Alley vendors. The most popular characters this year were Deadpool, Steven Universe, The Avengers, Beetlejuice, and Star Wars.

Live Art AuctionIn addition to Artist Alley, Comicpalooza also put on a live art auction where you could see various local and famous artists create one-of-a-kind art. At the end of the night, you could bid on pieces in a silent auction with all proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston. It’s very interesting to experience and see their process of creating art with it all being for a good cause.

Until Next Year

We had a great time at Comicpalooza 2016! We hope to see you next year!

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