ComicCon-ing: Learning How to Be Press at Conventions

Slowly, we have been making the transition from convention attendee to convention observer.  Still, there is a lot of room for improvement in this field.  Every time I leave a con I think of a thousand things I could have done better as a reporter.

Here are a few:

  • Paying more attention to Cosplayers. This is my biggest weakness as media at cons.  I see these people work so hard and yet I don’t take nearly enough pictures of Cosplayers.  I think it goes to my natural shyness and the awkwardness of asking someone to take their picture.  I need to do a better job of that.  Also, I really need to start interviewing cosplayers.  Why did they pick that cosplay? What led them to cosplay? How did they make their costume?  I think it would enhance the blog to do this more.
  • Splitting up with Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple. OK, not that kind of splitting up.  It’s just that we often do the same things at cons.  We could double the amount of ground to cover if we split up.  We did this at Celebration, and I think it really showed in our followed up podcast since we had so much more to talk about.
  • Ask comic creators for short interviews.  This is really hard because they are there to make money. This is their livelihoo. Plus, when I do ask, I often feel imposter syndrome. I know more than I think I do, but I feel intimidated asking creators questions.
  • Attend more panels.  Panels can be hit or miss.  Panels with celebrities need to be moderated well. Fan questions sometimes venture into character/actor confusion. Still, they can give great insights into the craft.  Fan lead panels need to be well thought out and truly planned.  Getting up on a stage and talking about something is like being in a class with an unprepared teacher.  The planned out panels can be treasure mine of great information.
  • Interview independent vendors.  A lot of artists at shows are local artists selling their wares. Every con we go to we see one person who has such a unique idea that we end up spending lots of time talking to the artist…without our microphone.  Other vendors go to con to con.  They must have great convention stories that haven’t been broadcasted.

Running this blog is becoming a full-time job in the amount of hours it takes to work.  I often wake up at 5 am and write until 6, and then do the photo editing at night after work. Organizing my time was the first big move I had to make to learn how to do this blog as a news source.  Now, it’s time to work on gathering the information so I can write more interesting blogs about conventions.

ComicCon-ing: Gaming at Comicpalooza

Comicpalooza amazed us at its size.  The George R. Brown Convention Center is a large convention hall designed for the downtown area of the fourth largest city in the United States.  We had more steps walking the convention center floor on our pedometer than we did at Star Wars Celebration (and for Celebration, we had to park about a mile away…here our hotel was attached to the convention center).  We spent Friday in the main hall. Upstairs, there was an area for sports (roller derby and combat training).  Most of the panel rooms were upstairs.

Also upstairs, was the gaming area.

First, there was the electronic gaming area.  This was a bigger area than most cons gaming areas.  Some indie companies games were putting on their latest games.  There was a classic gaming space and place to learn about making games.  Then we entered the George Bush Ballroom, a massive space.  Half of it was dedicated to table top games.  Still, half of the area was actually larger than some cons we have attended.

The amount of table top games being played show how active this community is.  People were huddled in a circle playing Werewolf, a father and son were playing Destiny (and the kid is probably better than I am at the game), and groups were enjoying Settlers of Cataan.

Please click the pictures to make them larger!  If any of these pictures are of you, and you would like the original file, we can send it to you.  Also, if you would like to share your gaming experience at Comicpalooza with us, we would love to post your story!

Star Wars-ing: Star Wars at Comicpalooza

Every con we go to, we like to make Star Wars connections.  I usually am meticulous with my research for this kind of blog, but this week my real job is taking most of my time, so I’m kind of doing this one on the fly.

  • Jessica Henwick: The star of Iron Fist was also Jess Testor in The Force Awakens
  • James Robinson and Tony Harris:  This comic team brought us the one off for C3PO.  But don’t be fooled by the one-off. This is one of the best single issue comics in the new Marvel line of Star Wars comics.  It brings up serious issues about artificial intelligence in a moving and thought-provoking way.  It is simply fantastic.
  • Ben Templesmith did work in the previous Marvel Star Wars runs.
  • On Friday at 10 am, there will be a panel on the Storytelling of Story Wars in 370D.
  • Later at 4 that same day, there will be a Star Wars improv show in room 362A.  On Saturday, at 2:30 this will be repeated.
  • At 4:30 on Friday in room 361C, a local theater troop will put on a reading of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.  At 4:30 on Saturday, the reading will do the second half of it.
  • On Saturday at 1, there will be a Star Wars Enthusiasts of Huston Mega Cosplay Photo Shoot in Hall B3 if you want to see some great Star Wars costumes.
  • Saturday evening at 9 pm, there will be a discussion as to what is better Star Wars or Star Trek.  Personally, that’s comparing apples and oranges to me, but I love both equally!

May the force be with you!

ComicCon-ing: Comicpalooza Literary Panels

One my favorite types of panels at any con is the writer panels. Comicpalooza has tons of these roundtables, which is a great thing for those that go to cons to learn.  There are quite a few people who attend cons for these types of panels.

Comicpalooza has tons of these panels, but here is a few that we would love to attend.

Friday

11:30-12:30 – Beyond Hogwarts: What’s New In Potterverse featuring H.C.H. Ritz, Cornelia G. Amiri, and Fern Brady

11:30 – 12:30 – The Writer’s Guide to Crossing Genres featuring Jim Butcher, C. Stuart Hardwick, Tex Thompson, Michelle Muenzler

5:30 – 6:30 – Folklore and Mythology for Writers featuring Jim Butcher, Michael Wilson, Carrie Patel, and C. Robert Cargill

Saturday

10-11 – Mental Illness in Speculative Fiction featuring Deborah L. Davitt, K. M. Tolan, Paige E. Ewing, Arylias Nova, and Kate Pentecost

11:30-12:30 QA with Doctor Strange Writer C. Robert Cargill

1-2 Working on Novels vs. Comics featuring Jim Butcher, Mat Johnson, and Michael Ashleigh Finn

4-5 Meet Lev Grossman: Author of The Magicians Trilogy

Sunday

11:30-12:30 Writing in the Fantasy Genre featuring Lev Grossman, Jim Butcher, Tex Thompson, Martha Wells, and Carrie Patel

2:30-3:30 Featured Guest Q&A with Jim Butcher

4-5 The Rise of AI in Science Fiction featuring C. M. Bratton, C. Stuart Hardwick, William Ledbetter, John Moore.

Again, this is just a few of the literary panels at Comicpalooza.  The full list is listed here.

Can’t wait to see you at Comicpalooza!

ComicCon-ing: Why We Go to Conventions

Doing all my post-Star Wars Celebration write-ups and the podcast, I took the time to think about why do we go to cons.  They can be expensive, frustrating, and exhausting experiences.  Yet, we keep going and going.

Yet, we keep going and going.

Yes, we are collectors.  We love collecting autographs.  I know collecting signatures doesn’t make sense to some people, but I usually counter that argument by asking the person what they collect and point out why THAT is absurd.  (When you really think about it, collecting is an absurd practice). We love meeting the celebrities and crew members of films.  We want to show our appreciation for them. Both of our collections are extensive.  But this isn’t the reason why we go to cons.

Yes, we like to fill our house with geek art and objects. I love our Batman in New Orleans prints.  I love all the Zelda pieces my wife buys because she loves them. Our goal is to make one of our rooms, the Nola Nerd Couple Lounge. But this isn’t the reason why we go to cons.

We love collecting comic books.  We collect all Star Wars comics.  We love going to panels at cons where comic book creators are speaking and then searching out their books for them to sign.  One of my most prized pieces is the issue of Iron Fist that marks the first appearance of Misty Knight.  Misty’s creator, Tony Isabella, signed our copy.  It is framed and hanging in our Nola Nerd Couple Lounge right next to our Stan Lee signed comic.  But this isn’t the reason why we go to cons.

When we drove back from the con we, along with Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s sister, debriefed each other on our day.  The part where we got the most excited was when we were talking about talking with people in lines.

The real reason we go to cons is that we love being around individuals who love the same things as us.  It’s the fandoms that make cons enjoyable.

I waited for two and half hours for Hayden Christensen. While meeting him was fantastic, it also was a blur.  However, the guy from the UK in front of me had, not surprisingly, the same interests as me.  We talked about cons.  We spoke about music. I didn’t feel like I waited for two hours. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple had the same stories about people she met in line. She told me more about the guy she was in line with for Tiya Sircar, then she did about Mr. Sircar. Waiting for Phil Noto, the person in front of me chatted about comics books. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple joined an online group of autograph collectors and did a meet up with them on Friday and had a great time.

If you check other write-ups and podcasts of Star Wars Celebration, you will notice that meeting other fans is the usually the number one reason why people do this.  Being with other fans is where the real lasting memories are made.

In my very first blog about a con, I entitled it Nerds of the World Unite. That was my first con. I was just glib with the title. Now, I understand how correct I was in my title. We go to cons to feel united with other people like us.  We do this the same way people go to football games, political rallies, or book clubs.

We go to be with our tribe.

 

ComicCon-ing: Megacon Orlando Is Living Up to Its Name

To see our previous coverage of MegaCon, click here.

MegaCon, which takes place on Memorial Day Weekend in Orlando, keeps turning into a top-notch convention. Here are the latest additions.

  • Alice Cooper:  The rock star who brought a new level of theatricality to live performances will be at MegaCon.
  • Jason Aaron:  If you read this blog often, you will notice that we are huge Star Wars fans.  At our local comic shop, we pull all Star Wars Comics.  The writer for the main title, Mr. Aaron, will be there.  He also presently writes for Thor.
  • Nolan North, Troy Baker, and Jennifer Hale:  These veteran voice actors will be at MegaCon.  Nolan North and Troy Baker are part of my favorite game series of all time, Uncharted.

They have also added some more comic creators such as:

  • Mike Zeck
  • Cat Staggs
  • Eddy Barrows
  • Zim Zub
  • Sanford Greene
  • Katie Cook
  • Mike Perkins
  • Georges Jeanty
  • Nick Bradshaw
  • Ant Lucia
  • Aaron Lopresti
  • Tony Harris
  • Giselle Lagace
  • Matt ‘Batt” Banning
  • Mike McKone

We can’t wait to see you there. You will be able to recognize us because we will be the happy couple celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary!

ComicCon-ing: Comicpalooza’s Story Includes Authors

Comicpalooza works hard to make sure authors are included in their lineup. From nationally known and widely acclaimed to the local author, this con understands that every author has a story to tell and that those stories deserve to find an audience.

Jim Butcher leads the well-known artist list.  Mr. Butcher is an author known for the The Codex Alera and The Dresden File. The Magicians Trilogy author Lev Grossman will be there. Mat Johnson, a writer of Loving Day and Pym, will be signing books. Bring your copy of Doctor Strange Blu-ray because screenwriter C. Robert Cargill will be at Comicpalooza.

For a list of authors at Comicpalooza, click here.  Stop by an authors booth, ask them about their books. You never know you might find a new favorite book!