Cosplays at Comicpalooza Are Always Fun

It’s amazing how people react to me when I put on a Spider-Man costume. I don’t know how many kids, teens, and adults either fist-bumped, hugged, or posed for pictures with me on Saturday at Comicpalooza, but it was a lot. I know they’re responding to the costume, and the positive associations they have with Spider-Man when they see me, and it’s always a rewarding experience.

I like to think there’s at least one part I bring to the cosplay that goes beyond just the costume, though. Striking dynamic poses and imitating Spider-Man’s mannerisms is something I’ve come to also enjoy about “being” Spider-Man. I’ve studied his movements from movies, cartoons, and video games, and do what I can to incorporate them into my disguise.

I know I’ve gotten more than a couple of good-natured giggles when I’ve crouched up on the seat of a chair, knees bent and arms gripping the front of the seat between my legs, turning my head in short, quick motions. Con-goers and fans have often reacted with surprise and admiration when I’ve crouched into a Spidey pose for a picture. I also make a point of talking in a friendly, interested manner to any little kids who notice me, something that parents always seem to appreciate.

During the con, I had one little girl, a tiny, cute little thing whom I could scarcely believe was old enough to be walking, run up to me and give me a hug. She was so far ahead of her mother that we finished the hug before the mother was able to catch up with her, so she had to hug me again in order for her mother to take the picture. When we were done, her mother was so grateful and happy that her daughter got to give her favorite superhero a hug.

Another little boy was so excited to see me, he ran to get into the picture I was taking with his older brother, yelling, “SPIDER-MAAAAAN!!” all the way until he crashed into me with a hug. It was without a doubt one of the funniest, most satisfying moments of the weekend. I high-fived both brothers afterwards, told them to enjoy the con, and wished them and their parents well as they headed off into the growing crowd.

These are the kinds of moments I live for. They’re one of the big reasons I do cosplays in the first place.

Spider-Man in particular gets a lot of love at these kinds of events, though he’s by no means the only cosplay I’ve done. Past costumes have included Nightwing, Hawkeye, the Crow, and an anonymous Jedi. I consider them all wins, as I’ve always gotten at least one compliment from an onlooker. I realize that may make my standards low, but I think as long as anyone has enjoyed the cosplay I’ve put together, then that’s all I need to know.

To say I enjoy doing cosplays would be an understatement. I look for any and every reason to put on a costume and let my nerd flag fly. Just ask any of my co-workers!

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Achievement Unlocked: The Latter Half of the Web-Line

Those of you who know me are well aware of my obsession with a certain web-slinging superhero.  For the last few years, I’ve been on a quest to collect the full run of Amazing Spider-Man, and for the most part I’d say I’ve been pretty successful in making progress to that goal.  Today at Comicpalooza, I found a number of issues from the 400s (and/or that horrible volume 2 “relaunch” that I only barely acknowledge) that have unlocked what I feel is a personal achievement.

I don’t know if I’ll actually ever complete a full Picture 23run of ASM, but I can at least now claim I’ve completed the latter half of the original 700-issue run (yes, there are more issues since those, but I’ve got all of them, as I’ve been subscribing to ASM since 2012), as the acquisition of these issues–in addition to the 9/11 “black” issue earlier this week–mean that I now have every issue of Amazing Spider-Man from #300-700.  It’s taken me about four years of searching and hunting, and spending, but I now have a massively unbroken streak of these comics that more than comprises the latter half of the original run.

To be sure, I have plenty of other issues in my collection previous to #300 (though numbers 298 and 299 are literally the highest numbers of the comic that I currently do not have), and I’m gradually filling in those gaps as I’m able to.  I have already gotten my hands on every one of the anniversary issues (#100, 200, 300, and so on), and even got #100 signed by Stan Lee a couple years ago–at Comicpalooza, of course (more about that at another time). Now my main focus is probably going to be to work my way backwards, as the key issues get more expensive, and the older issues get rarer and harder to find.

Since I’ve gone ahead and given my achievement a name, I figure I’ll create one and add some text to it:

  • The Latter Half of the Web-Line: Collect an unbroken run of Amazing Spider-Man from #351-700.

In fact, I think I’ll add a couple more to this particular quest for now, as I think they’re worthy of mention (and this is fun!):

  • Happy Anniversary: Collect each of the anniversary issues of Amazing Spider-Man.
    • ASM #100
    • ASM #200
    • ASM #300
    • ASM #400
    • ASM #500
    • ASM #600
    • ASM #700
  • Questionable Allies: Collect the first appearances of Morbius, Punisher, and Black Cat.
    • ASM #101
    • ASM #129
    • ASM #194

And if you take a look at my collection thus far, you’ll see I’ve completed Happy Anniversary, but not Questionable Allies yet.  And it may be awhile before I do.  I think I may try to come up with some more achievements for collecting ASM, later.

Anyway, it’s been a long, and exhausting, but ultimately rewarding day at Comicpalooza.  I’m looking forward to more pictures and fun tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll have more to talk about soon.

Scarlet Spider CP 2016
Yep, that’s me at the GRB, ready for Comicpalooza to start.  Did you know that Scarlet Spider stole Cap’s shield from him once, too?  Why would I make this up?

Comicpalooza, Then and Now

Comicpalooza is arguably the best comics and pop culture convention in Houston, but I  can remember when it got started as nothing more than a loose association of local artists and collectors.  Or, to put on my “hipster” hat, I remember it before it was so big and popular and cool.

And I’m genuinely glad it’s gotten to the size and renown that it has.

If you look at Comicpalooza’s website for their media coverage over the years, they only link to two stories from 2009.  I remember that year fondly, as it was at the West Oaks mall, and was noticeably less celebrity-heavy than it’s gotten now (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  Guests were comics industry people, and they had tables set up in the mall, and it was really easy to get to them and talk to them personally for a few minutes.

It was also the year before Comicpalooza moved to the George R. Brown Convention Center, where it’s been held ever since to a justifiably grown attendee crowd.

But I’m here to tell you that 2009 isn’t the first year Comicpalooza was held.

Nope.  It was 2008.

I had been working for the library for a little over a year at that point, and in July of 2008 I was overjoyed to suddenly find out there was a very small comic book convention happening in Houston–I don’t think we’d had any in years at that point, and certainly none since I’d arrived in town.  Even better was that I was able to convince my supervisor to let me attend as part of a library outreach, on work time.  I got to bring library calendars, talk to attendees, creators, and convention staff at the Alamo Drafthouse in Katy about possible collaborative opportunities.  Terry Moore was there (among many other local artists and creators), and I met him for the first time at this first Comicpalooza.

Since 2009, Comicpalooza has grown, at a seemingly exponential rate.  It’s gotten comparable to size and scale to some of the larger and more famous cons, and each year attendance seems to get even bigger.  I think I’ve been every year except for one, and it’s easy for me to say I’ve watched this con grow from its very infancy.  There’s definitely an affection here that I can’t claim to have for the other cons that have since popped up around Comicpalooza’s success.

Not that there’s anything wrong with them.  Well, except for Space City Comic Con this year.  They seem to have really dropped the ball.  But hey, they’ll learn or they’ll sink.

Which is not the attitude I have towards Comicpalooza.  Their success matters to me in a very real and tangible way.  I want them to be the best, and as far as I’m concerned they are the best that Houston has to offer in terms of fan conventions.  When they report bigger attendance numbers, I get genuinely happy for them.  If ever there is a major problem with how they run things, I will be upset and will want to know everything about it.

As I get ready to attend this weekend’s festivities, I have the occasional thought that perhaps I’m doing this out of a sense of obligation or rote.  I’ve done Tony Comicpalooza 2016outreaches to Comicpalooza in the past, I’ve liaised between them and the library for many of the last few years, and I’m more than familiar with how things are laid out and done here.

But then I remember how much fun I have at events like this.  Seeing fellow fans in cosplay, cosplaying along with them (I’ll be Hawkeye and/or some version of Spider-Man, in case anyone is curious), attending panels and perusing the dealer room and artist alley.  I also recall that I missed Comicpalooza one year, and I’ve always regretted it.  I always see friends at this con, and I usually make new ones.

So, I’ll see everyone there.  This event is as important to me as many of my comics-related quirks, and I’m excited to continue to grow and develop with it.