Animé-Bento-Column (or the ABC’s) is a monthly article by Sara Elkhatib and Jojo Mpora. They cover different aspects of their favorite medium: Animé.
From the stone wheel to the smart phone, our technology can, and has, made our lives infinitely more convenient. Most Animé loves looking into the future and predicting the various ways our technology might evolve with society. There are so many pieces of cool gear in fiction we will probably never have…but that can stop us from wishing we did. Here are our Top Ten Animé Gizmos and Gadgets we would love to get our hands on.
10: Air Trecks from Air Gear
Okay, I know what you’re thinking… ”They’re just shoes with wheels, I can buy them at a sports store.” Well do me a favor and shut your face for two seconds. The Trecks are fully motorized. They include a Wheel Motor, Hydraulic Cushion System, and Power Injection System. So you can go as fast as a car, do tricks, and fall safely back down to earth without worrying about broken limbs. These bad boys are also fully customizable, right down to the screws and colors. If that didn’t sell you, there is also wifi-like connection that tracks your speed and compares you to the other riders in your area. The only thing that kind of sucks is the 100,000 Japanese Yen price, which is just about 1,000 USD just so ya know. It’s a fast commute to work and school and even better for the environment. Engineers: please make this happen!
9: Therm-Optic Camouflage from Ghost in the Shell
Imagine sneaking up on your enemies and taking them out one by one. Or just sneaking around to avoid that one person you’re dreading eye contact with. Becoming invisible is a pretty common fantasy, especially because of Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak. I mean how else do would it be possible to actually sneak into “restricted sections” without being caught? While using the reflection of light and bending of heat, the soldiers of Ghost in the Shell are able to look transparent. However, if technology like this really existed, chances are it would never be for civilian use and if it was, a decent amount of chaos would ensue.
8: Medabots from Medabots
So you have a pet dog, and that is cool and all, but how about trading that pooch for a self-aware, battling robot companion? The Medabots are comprised of four main parts. This includes the “Tinpet”, which is the skeleton of the bot; all the parts which is whatever you see on the outside; the medal, the heart, soul and brain of the bot; and the “Medawatch”, the watch that checks the status of the bot and can even teleport it to where you need it. Why would you not want them? They actually experience emotion and can respond like actual people, but that isn’t the fun part. The main point to having a Medabot is to battle other ones, win, and then take the losers valuable parts. The weapons are plentiful, ranging from machine guns to rockets, from tasers to swords, and many other things to make your bot fly and swim, adding to your strategy and the look of bot. Of course if we make this a reality, these things would probably also be in the military and not in the hands of, say, a middle schooler.
7: Dual Disks from Yu-Gi-Oh
If you are into Animé, you have probably tried some of the Animé based card games. In the shows, they normally have monsters popping out from the cards, attacking the enemy monsters. Introducing the dual disks, a holographic projection system for dual monsters. As we play the card game, we imagine the creatures we summon coming to life, but imagine doing it on the streets, hardcore like a boss with the world to see. It’s pretty obvious why this made it on our list.
6: 3D Maneuver Gear from Attack on Titan
Zipping from building to building, suspended in the air by strings, sounds fun no? And no, I’m not talking about Spider-Man, but rather the equipment of the hunters on A.O.T. Some of the physics may be off in the show, but really how realistic are we trying to be when dreaming? The 3D maneuver gear uses gas pressure to fire its hooks (like a CO2 canister on a paintball gun) from triggers on the handle of the blades into solid surfaces then swing to the next firing point. The way they move is just like flying, which is one of the things that humans have wanted forever, just don’t run out of air.
5: Holographic Housing from Psycho-Pass
In the futuristic world of Psycho-Pass, most of the things you see around are holograms, even your clothing. All it takes is the push of a button or vocal command, and you can control the appearance of almost anything in your life. Your entire room can be customized to your liking and you can just zap on any clothes you want. In this screenshot, Akane’s room originally had no windows or extra decoration, and is in the middle of the city. I don’t know about you, but I get lazy with folding my clothes at times and this could save time and money. The only thing is…I wonder if you are naked if the clothes malfunction?
4: AmuSphere (revised NerveGear) from Sword Art Online
I know that everyone reading this has at one point wished they lived in some alternative world, with powers or cool technology or the ability to fly. Whether you’re a gamer or nnot, we all like to imagine. The improved Nervegear links into your Nervous system through the glasses so you see yourself in the wonderful world of Sword Art Online. This artificial world is so advanced, you can taste the food, hear things, and smell (what seems like) just like in the real world. I think it is safe to say that if this existed, over half of us would lose the rest of our lives to this fantasy world.
3: Pokéball from Pokémon
So imagine this: you are walking your dog, and you come across a store that you really want to got to. You need what is in that store but the building has a strict no animals policy, what are you going to do? You don’t want to tie up your partner and leave him in the hot sun, and you don’t want to risk him getting stolen. It’s such a terrible predicament. Well here is how you do it: grab a Pokéball and safely store him until you get outside. Sounds pretty amazing if you ask me. A Pokéball (for those who didn’t already know) is a device used to store the creatures in the Pokémon world. A capsule with an almost infinite amount of space to carry any creature of any size. “What is in a Pokéball?” you might ask. The writer of “Pokémon” has never truly explained what is in one of them, but what we do know is that the Pokémon is well rested when it is released. There have been many theories by fans that seem pretty plausible, but for the most part it is unknown. But think about it. Having your animals stored in a safe place and making them easier to carry seems pretty legit.
2: Automail from Full Metal Alchemist
Don’t like your current boring flesh and blood limb? Not as badass and it could be? Look no further! Swap out those things for fullmetal! Automail is a prosthetic part that links with the nerves where your lost limb used to be, and operates like an actual body part. Our technology isn’t too far away from accomplishing something similar to this, but the perfection of automail reaction time, between a real limb and an automail one, is outstanding, It moves around like the real deal. There have been many other weaponized parts in the world of Full Metal Alchemist. Of course you must go through the painful process of linking your nerves to the actual part, but it is all the worthwhile when you get to have a cool metal arm or leg. It goes without saying, but the practical use for veterans, or people who suffer accidents is undeniable.
1: Capsules from Dragon Ball
When moving, you have to go to so much trouble packing your stuff. You have to organize it, box it, assemble any friend that isn’t “busy”, get a moving truck, and then finally move EVERYTHING. What If you could simply put all that stuff in your pocket and drive there? In the world of Dragon Ball, there are little capsules that are able to hold a tremendous amount of equipment. Each capsule is assigned to each of your large items so you don’t get them mixed up. From clothes to furniture, houses to transportation, these things are pretty much Pokéballs for inanimate objects. It seems pretty obvious why this would be number one. Plus that phrase, “Yeah, it’s in my back pocket,” won’t be just a sarcastic joke anymore.
All images are owned by other properties and are as follows:
Air Gear, Attack on Titan, Full Metal Alchemist, Dragon Ball, and Psycho-Pass belong to Funimation, Ghost in the Shell belongs to Bandai Entertainment, Medabots belongs to ADV Films, Yu-Gi-Oh belongs to Konami, Sword Art Online belongs to AniPlex of America, Pokémon belongs to Nintendo
Anime-Bento-Column (or the ABC’s) is a monthly article by Sara Elkhatib and Jojo Mpora. They cover different aspects of their favorite medium: Anime.
Although as children we didn’t have bills to pay or papers to file, we still had life altering decisions to make, and they all involved Pokémon training. Your first day as a Pokémon trainer, you must face the ultimate question, which Pokémon starter should you choose? There are many reasons to choose a starter, looks being the most common, but we’d like to take a closer look at what separates Water, Grass, and Fire types.
First up, the Water-type Pokémon. Water Pokémon super-effect fire, ground, and rock while only being weak to electric and grass. However, Water Pokémon have the ability to learn ice type moves, which give them a step up against grass, making electric types their only full-on threat. Water-type Pokémon typically have strong stats all around, with the exception of speed. So basically, just going off of stats and their type advantage alone they are a pretty amazing type. Aside from their specs, Water-type Pokémon are also just very practical when navigating the Pokémon world. First, they are at a great advantage when wondering caves, easily washing out all the ground and rock types. Second, they can learn some of the most important HMs such as surf, waterfall, dive, and whirlpool. While I would not suggest loading your starter up with HMs because they have so many other amazing move to learn, these HMs prove very useful both when traveling and in battle.
Next is grass! You may be thinking of lush green fields and meadows of beautiful flowers, but just remember: a rose has thorns. Grass-types super-effect water, ground, and Rock-type Pokémon while they are weak to fire, ice, poison, flying, and bug. Although that sounds like a lot, many Grass Pokémon have a secondary type of poison or bug, making their only true enemies fire, ice, and flying. It takes some skill to master Grass-type Pokémon, but if you can develop the correct tactic, they become very challenging opponents. They offer a variety of status-based attacks such as poisoning, sleeping, and paralyzing. You could even just slowly steal the life from an opposing Pokémon with leach seed, while you sit back and drink some tea. The fact that they have so many status-effecting moves makes them very useful when catching other Pokémon. You can just put them to sleep, poison them, use leach seed, or a combination of those, instead of hoping you don’t hit too hard or too little (then accidentally killing this Pokémon you’ve been trying to find for 30 minutes).
Finally, there is Fire! Fire-type Pokémon will super-effect grass, ice, bug, and steel, while being weak to water, ground, and rock. Some Fire-types can learn certain electric type moves, substantially lowering its weakness to water; however, this isn’t common and for the most part there’s no way around fire’s weaknesses. Fire-types are heavy hitters. They are not intended to last through lengthy fights, but rather to come in quick and hit hard, wiping out the opponent in no time. They predominantly rely on direct attack but every Fire-type can learn different moves that will burn the opponent, leaving a lasting impression even if your Fire-type faints. One of the main advantages to choosing a Fire-type Pokémon as a starter is the fact that you will easily blow through the first part of any game (as you walk straight into a grassy area or a forest). The majority of your battles, in general, will take way less time. Chances are you’ll be a wonder every time.
The best trainers will have a wide variety of types within their team. However, a good starter Pokémon is important to begin any journey. They will help you before you have anyone else, and most of the time, your acquired team will be based around your choice for a starter. A well-balanced Water-type, a tactful Grass-type, or a powerful Fire-type – which will you chose?
The E3 conference is the biggest in video-gaming. All the top companies bring out their toys to show the world what they have up their sleeves. Usually this comes in the form of gameplay videos, early-stage rendering or simple announcements if the project is in its earliest developmental stages. With the news giants like GameSpot and IGN flooding content through their outlets, it can get a little overwhelming. To make things a bit easier, we’ve listed out the biggest news, accompanied by a brief summarization – in case you’re at work, or you don’t want to spend time sifting through the content. Enjoy!
Far Cry 4
If this game is anything like Far Cry 3, then you have no excuse what so ever not to buy this. That game was amazing and this game has all that plus you get to ride around on elephants! The story seems a little too similar to the previous game in that they have a villain that seems a little too similar to Vas from Far Cry 3. This game is going to be on older systems but it should look absolutely amazing on next gen consoles.
Mortal Kombat X
The wait for the next project from Netherealm studios is over. There were rumors that it might be Injustice 2 but after comments made by Keifer Sutherland regarding voice over work he did for a new Mortal Kombat game. A few days before the event, Ed Boon tweeted pictures of an X and asked fans what it could be talking about. This game will have new characters along with returning characters and the story will span 25 years into the future directly following the end of the last game. New characters such as Cassie Cage, the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, will be joining the cast including a villain that is supposed to be a surprise.
Batman: Arkham Knight
The conclusion to the Arkham Trilogy is finally here and is going to be exclusively for next gen systems. While WB Montreal was busy creating the piece of crap that was Arkham Origins, Rocksteady was using the extra development time to polish this game to perfection. This time around the game world will be fully fleshed out and we will be given the ability to drive the Batmobile.
LEGO Batman 3
Batman goes into outer space in order to stop Brainiac from using the power of the lantern rings to shrink the Earth. there will be 150 unique characters to unlock from both the hero and villain side.
Dead Island 2
This sequel takes place in sunny California after the infection from the island spreads to the mainland. Newly crafted weapons and character classes are really all you can expect from this sequel
Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Trailer
The remakes of Ruby and Sapphire for newer consoles with a possible Delta Emerald in the works
Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End
The final game in the Uncharted series has Nathan Drake coming out of retirement to do one last job. the trailer shows Drake waking up in a hostile environment much like the previews for the last two games. If they get the same people to write for this game that did The Last of Us, then this should be an amazing game coupled with next gen graphics.
Project Spark is a game in which players can create their own video game using tools such as Kinect and SmartGlass.
Assassin’s Creed Unity trailer and Collector’s Edition
Assassin’s Creed players are blessed with not one, but two games this year. Unity will be for the people who have bought next-gen systems only. This years model will have graphical as well as game play updates. This time around players will be given a parkour up and parkour down button to help navigate all terrain as quickly as possible. This iteration is said to focus more on the multiplayer aspect in the story and not just the head to head matches. Players will get a new time period in the French Revolution to run through as well as a new character.
Assassin’s Creed: Comet, the current gen Assassin’s Creed
This new version of Assassins Creed is for people that haven’t yet made the jump to next-gen. It is supposed to be a sequel to AC3 and AC4 and taking place in New York will also feature ships as a part of the story. This seems like a cheap cash in and essentially a rehash of last years AC4. Seeing as details have been a little scarce, I’m not sure how much content besides the story will actually be fresh, but i suppose it is nice that they are still thinking of all of the fans this year. It may be the last year that they do so.
Seems like more of the same only this time around there are three new characters besides sackboy. The content creation is even greater and the worlds will be even more detailed than before. If you have been a fan of the last two iterations than you will most likely enjoy this game as well.
No Man’s Sky
This is an MMO that people need to look up and watch the trailer for themselves, there is no good way of explaining things verbally. Even the developers have a hard time explaining things. It seems like it may be an interesting game to play
Set 15 years after the first Alien movie, you set out as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley to uncover the disappearance of her mother. This seems like a mix between Dead Space and The Last of Us with the survival horror requiring you to scavenge just to stay alive. Seems like it could be interesting but the Alien franchise hasn’t had a great track record as far as games go.
A contaminated energy drink has transformed most of the population into a multitude of toxic mutants. Using unconventional weapons and the ability to run along walls you will fight these mutants and save the city.
Ubisofts big MMO racer that has people in different locales around the country racing to take over a gang.
Forza Horizon 2
Another MMO from the makers of one of the most popular race car games since Gran Turismo. Definitely looks better than The Crew but who knows.
Disney Infinity Marvel Heroes
This is a game for kids that is cashing in on the poplularity of the Marvel movies and the Disney infinity series. I don’t think any adult will genuinely enjoy playing this but this is a great one for the kids.
A 4v1 game that pits four players against one player who controls a monster that has special powers to hunt down the hunters themselves. This seems an awful lot like Left 4 Dead with a twist.
The Evil Within
Play as a cop that witnesses something supernatural while investigating the scene of a murder. This seems like another survival horror game in a year full of them.
Super Smash Bros.
The sequel to melee and brawl, this time around they add new characters and gameplay mechanics. With the current fanbase being so large and dedicated plus the lack of any major games on the Wii U, this is sure to be a hit Nintendo desperately needs
Jump into a united states that has been occupied by North Korea for 4 years. This is a living breathing city that changes based on actions you take. I’ve always wanted a game that played like Red Dawn and now it seems we are finally getting it. I just hope it does the story justice.
Kingdom Hearts III
This is the third game in the series and Sora will be on a new adventure with the cast of Disney. This has been a highly anticipated game and I’m sure it will be awesome just like the last two games.
This is a prequel to the sonic story created in the television show. This is also the first time that players will get to control sticks, one the new characters created in the show.
Mass Effect 4 (Trilogy coming to PS4)
Not much has been said about the game other than the fact that it has been announced. The developers of the game have stated that they didnt even like calling it Mass Effect 4 during the early stages as it implied being after the third game. This was basically an announcement that it exists and nothing more really, it should however be amazing based solely on the screens they have released.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Another entry into the battlefront series, this promises to be bigger than the last games we had. With the advances in tech since we last got a game and the major shift to online play, this game has the potential to be something quite spectacular.
Inside (from the developers of Limbo)
Not really sure what to make of this game. Graphically it is 3d and much better looking than limbo as well as having a different atmosphere. I enjoyed Limbo and I’m sure i will check this out, but I have no idea what to expect.
Until I see some gameplay footage, this looks like a mix of DMC and Lost Planet while simultaneously being a ripoff of both. This game does look cool but I will reserve judgement until I see some actual gameplay footage.
The next game in the series is finally here and it looks better than ever. If you haven’t played the first two then you owe it to yourself to check those out. This seems to be focused more on multiplayer but that is just what i gathered from the trailer.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
This picks up right after the first game and comic book series and shows the real transformation of Lara Croft into the badass we know today. If they take as much care with this as they did with the last game, this should be mind-blowing. I can’t wait for this game.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
This is a sequel to the Guardian of Light, this time around there are 4 players as opposed to 2. I didn’t think the first one sold well enough to make a sequel but apparently it did.
Legend of Zelda Wii U
This was the biggest reveal in the show for Nintendo and they didn’t disappoint. This was a major reveal for them and I’m sure that they wont disappoint with this one. Nintendo really needs a game of this caliber on their system.
Yoshi’s Wooly World Wii U
This is another Yoshi game only this time around the catch is you use balls of yarn. I don’t particularly care for things like this and it seems like a lazy first-party game from Nintendo.
Devil’s Third Wii U
This is from the makers of Ninja Gaiden and looks similar to most hack and slash games. Not much was released about this game other than the developer.
Star Fox Wii U
Yet another first party cash in from Nintendo. Since these are the only games people seem to care about on these systems, they are the only ones that developers put any energy into making decent. Because of this, it is pretty much guaranteed this game will at least be decent. This has been a good E3 for Wii U owners and should be a good next few years as well.
Metal Gear Solid 5
This game is going to be one of the greatest games of this generation. After the great yet lackluster experience that was Ground Zeros, we will finally get the true sequel to Metal Gear 4. I cannot wait for this and I can guarantee this will push the limits of any system it is on.
The next big thing from Bungie, the makers of Halo, this game promises to be the next big FPS for all systems. People have been waiting to see what is next from the makers of such a historic franchise and this looks very promising.
From one of the Developers of Flower and Journey, two critically acclaimed titles, Abzu is the debut project of a new studio. If the other titles are anything to go by, this should be an amazing experience.
This is a remastering of the 1998 game that netted a 9.4 score from IGN. If you haven’t played this game yet, this will be the perfect opportunity to check it out.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The future of the United States always seems so grim in these games. A virus has been released during Black Friday and the country is in shambles. A special unit is dispatched to deal with the fallout. I had heard this was supposed to be an MMO style game but I see no mention of that anymore. Perhaps you can seamlessly join missions with friends instead.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
This is a tactical assault game that has players in a 5v5 match in a completely open environment. The Environment is completely destructible which should open the matches up to complete freedom. This is a game that people should watch the trailer for, it is one of the best ways to describe how this game plays.
The PS4 re-release of one of the biggest games from last year. This looks like an amazing graphical update but I’m sure that the developers have more in mind than just that. The online is supposed to sync up with your account from the last gen so you don’t need to restart from scratch.
Valiant Heroes: The Great War
A World War 1 puzzle game from Ubisoft. I didn’t see much information but based on the price, this looks like a downloadable title.
The Last of Us PS4
If for some reason you haven’t played what was considered one of the greatest games of the last generation, then this is the perfect opportunity to give this game a try. The gameplay and story are nothing short of a masterpiece and you really owe it to yourself to try this game.
Battlefield: Hardline & COD… both rebooting franchise
These are both the obligatory yearly sequels that each franchise wants to put out and then charge another 60 dollars at purchase time to get you for a whole year of DLC. I will probably check out both but I am not sure how excited I am for either.
Memorial Day weekend was crazy for Hush Comics. We made the drip down South to check out the Houston Comicpalooza, where we met up with Hush family member Taylor Lowe. This was another milestone convention for us, where we got the opportunity to go as press for the first time – which was a real pleasure. The experience of Comicpalooza this year was one of the best we’ve had, and we would love to share it with you! This article is our way of giving you OUR experience. Since there were four of us, we were able to cover a lot more ground, so here is the most complete description we could give you of Comicpalooza 2014.
Houston, Texas – it’s not exactly the nerdiest city in the world. There were a lot of people dressed up in the convention, but I felt a bit odd for wearing nerd shirts outside of the convention. It’s not that Houstanians are judgmental or anything, but it’s just not that kind of a city (compared to Seattle and Denver, which both consistently rank in the top ten of most “Nerdiest Cities in America” lists). Just because there might not be as many nerds per capita doesn’t mean there aren’t just as many socially awkward weirdos as we have at home. It’s not a stretch to say that the quality of weirdo is just as high as at the bigger conventions we’ve been to.
I suppose that’s comparatively speaking though, because Houston is a very big city. Unlike San Diego and New York (home to the two biggest cons in similarly huge cities), Houston’s downtown area surrounding the convention center is full of corporate office buildings with not a lot of “fun stuff” to do. The George R Brown Convention Center is right in between Minute Maid Stadium (home to the Houston Astros, consistently baseball’s saddest team) and the Toyota Center (where the NBA Houston Rockets play), but other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to do in the surrounding areas like there are in the aforementioned cities. Houston is full of big-time oil & gas companies, and it’s something the city is very proud of, making this much more of a business. Outside George R Brown, however, was this beautiful sprawling green space, as well as an outdoor area for kids to play, that made this an ideal picnic spot or place to take the kids if the convention gets overwhelming.
Being a huge business focal point in America, there are plenty of hotels nearby, and they’re all reasonably priced. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to do anything fun downtown that doesn’t include bar-hopping, you’ll need a car to get around the city. And because the city and its suburbs are massive, that means lots of traffic and at least 30-45 minutes to get anywhere. Public transportation in Houston is actually pretty extensive, so you can catch a ride to the museum district pretty easily, but for after-con adventures, The Woodlands were the spot for us – where we watched X-Men: Days of Future Past (movie review here), and we ate (and ate and ate). I’d suggest at least venturing over there for some TexMex – by far the best food in Houston. Some of our favorites were: Berry Hill Baja Grill, Spring Creek BBQ, and Lupe Tortilla.
As far as the weather, Houston is humid and hot almost all year-round, which can make dressing up in face make-up a nightmare. We saw numerous people who cosplayed in facepaint that were just dripping down their faces it was so hot outside. Also, everywhere you go in Houston, the air conditioning is full-blast, which led to us bringing jackets to the con in 90 degree weather. Our search for the indoors, as well as a free day to peruse local shops, led us to three unique and awesome comic book shops around the city.
The first of which was Third Planet, the aptly-described Sci-Fi Super-Store. There’s practically no way to peruse the store without picking up something out of nostalgia or avarice. Old Batman and X-Men animated series’ toys? Check. Enough Funko product to resurrect James Brown? Yes. I’d say the specialty here is novelty items – statues, replicas, and other awesome stuff that you can spend your cash on. It is a ginormous store that doesn’t feel overwhelming or impersonal. The selection of trade paperbacks is probably the highest of any store in the city. However, there wasn’t a great selection of back-issues, but we got the impression that single issues aren’t in high demand in Houston. This is a guaranteed stop for me anytime I come to town.
The next stop was to Fat Ogre Games and Comics, where Taylor Lowe gets his weekly fix from. This was a smaller shop that specializes in table-top gaming. It was full of like-minded nerds who were crushing each other in HeroClix, a popular superhero themed game. Fat Ogre had a great community feel and quite a few cool collectibles to add to the stacks of graphic novels on the shelf. Gamers will feel right at home here.
Our favorite shop was Space Cadets. Tucked away in cozy shopping center, Space Cadets had one of the most complete stores we’ve ever seen. My sister geeked out at the Pokémon cards while Taylor raided the shelves for Star Wars toys. Adrian took a trip back in time with their retro toys and I scanned the premium figures and statues. Any person of any nerd interest would find something to geek out here. While a lot of the back-issues weren’t in great condition, I saw a lot that were – from packaged collections of George Pérez and Marv Wolfman’s All New Teen Titans to signed copies of Jim Lee’s Superman: For Tomorrow. And unlike the other shops, there was a definite realization that Comicpalooza was that weekend, meaning spotlighted issues for: Neal Adams, Stan Lee, Greg Capullo and more. These guys were in touch with the community, a big plus for us. We even stopped by before leaving town for an impromptu game of chess. The people there are great, too, with a pretty deep selection of table-top gaming themselves, and a warm mom & pop attitude we couldn’t find anywhere else.
Space cadets vintage Care Bears
Space Cadets X-Men toys
Space Cadets all the toys
Space Cadets He Man Castle. “I used to have that!” was a common phrase
Space Cadets single issue stands
Space Cadets LEGO
Sara with a Toothless stand-out at the movie theater
How Comicpalooza Works
Alright, it’s coming – that Texas “big” cliché. You didn’t think you could read an article on the biggest comic book convention in the state and not see the words “it’s bigger in Texas,” did you? Comicpalooza has found its home in the George R Brown Convention Center (which isn’t the first Brown building I’ve been in; as an Engineer at Colorado School of Mines, a majority of my classes were held in the George R Brown Hall. Crazy, right?!). This massive convention center is much larger (Exhibitors Hall, anyway) than anything we’ve been in at all, let alone for a convention. The exhibitor’s hall of Brown is bigger than at SDCC – the largest con in the freakin’ world. Here’s how it stacks up against other convention centers’ exhibit hall:
George R Brown Convention Center = 853,500 square feet
(San Diego Comic Con) San Diego Convention Center = 615,700 square feet
(Denver Comic Con) Colorado Convention Center = 584,000 square feet
(Emerald City Comic Con)Washington State Convention Center = 205,700 square feet (misleading since the con had two ex. halls)
* This data might seem daunting but it is via wikipedia; what the hell do they know?
The spacious floors lead to TONS of room to do whatever you want. It allowed exhibitors ample spacing between booths and cosplayers the freedom to stop mid-stride to take pictures without being trampled to death. At one point, I started spinning around in circles like a farmer who had just seen rain for the first time all year. One of the biggest turn-offs of any type of convention is the ridiculous crowd. Here, we were able stroll at our leisure without worrying about being in somebody’s way.
The layout of the convention was really simple. There were no hidden floors, or panels you had to be at another building to attend – something that really annoyed us about Emerald City. We were a little lost at first, but quickly found our way around once we knew where to look. Everything was made easier with the Comicpalooza mobile app. Trying to boot everybody into the smartphone era, Comicpalooza all but did away with paper programming and went completely digital, although you could buy a “collector’s” program for ten bucks. The app itself was amazing; it constantly updated with scheduling changes, information on photo ops and signings, and a slew of other useful options. You can even add some customizable touches by creating a To-do list or a personalized schedule to avoid thumbing through all the events. We’ve used comic con apps before, but this one was completely reliable (even in airplane mode) and user-friendly. That is unless, of course, you don’t have a smart phone, which could make it quite a pain to find out where you need to go. It also won’t help carrying around a packet with times and locations of panels when schedule changes occurred – and they occurred fairly frequently. Overall, the app is genius, and I can only hope that other conventions follow suit.
Froggy’s Photos took up professional photography duties again, but this time, everything made much more sense and felt a lot more personal. There was more than sufficient time to get all the autographs and photo ops we wanted, with practically no wait time to meet people that we had been geeking out over since we were children. Due to the size of the convention, and the number of people attending, Comicpalooza felt much more intimate than others we’ve been to. We got to shake hands with Stan Lee, Spike and just chit chat with the same celebrities that, just a couple months earlier at ECCC, we weren’t even allowed to make eye contact with unless we’d been in line for an hour or paid for a professional shot.
James Marsters with Adrian and I
Stan Lee and the gang
The other added bonus of a smaller convention is that we got to do pretty much everything that we wanted to: panels, exhibitor’s hall, autographs and photos. There weren’t nearly as many volunteers here, and that’s a good thing. The logical layout of the convention center, in addition to the accessibility (nothing was really off-limits), meant that you didn’t need to be constantly asking for help. The volunteers at Comicpalooza were some of the nicest, most helpful individuals we’ve come across. Maybe it’s the high stress of the other conventions, but everything about Comicpalooza felt casual and fun. There were no worries if so-and-so would run out of prints, or if the panel you wanted to go to would be capped. Couple that with the plentiful free space to just sit down and hang out when you feel tired or need to formulate a game plan, and you have a stress-free experience.
Tim Burton’s Batmobile
Adrian and I being awesome, and not being trampled
Wonder Woman homemade armor
Taylor and I Hulkin out
Houston may not be the nerdiest city in the world, but the nerds that show up are nerds through and through. Because Seattle is such a hipster community, and Denver’s con is so new, it attracts a butt-load of intrigued yet uninformed people that wander aimlessly, standing in lines for people they don’t know and taking up seats in a Panel Room because lots of other people are doing the same thing – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it was refreshing to see so many passionate fans. I mean, we saw live action Pokémon battles, guys. Upstairs were old-school arcade games and table-top figure painting, while downstairs held more of the extra-curricular events.
Houston is one of the most technologically-driven cities in the world; from Oil & Gas to Space technology, there is a strong emphasis on the science in science fiction, and it was definitely prevalent at Comicpalooza. There was a separate section of the con devoted to: robotics, computer gaming and (my personal favorite) 3D printing. It was refreshing to know that nerds can be evil scientists in real life, too.
Sara, literally drawing with her mind.
3D Printers for days!
When it all comes down to it, Hush Comics had an exceptionally fun time at this convention. There weren’t a large amount of comic book creators, but that led us to mingle with more independent people. The star power, on the other hand, was ridiculous, and was enough to get us down to Houston even before we heard about Stan Lee. The only thing I wish I would have seen more of is back-issues and comic book selection, but this is a feeling I had of every store we visited in the city. The seventh year of Comicpalooza brought a lot order to a massive convention, with optimal fun and minimal stress. Whether you’re a hardcore geek or just passing by to check out a celebrity, Comicpalooza should be a mandatory visit.
What really set Comicpalooza apart from any other convention was the amount of extra stuff to do there. If we really wanted to, we could have been there from 10AM – 10PM every day. Every niche nerd thing had events going on after and throughout the panels. We didn’t get to do it all, but we sure tried. Adjacent to the enormous exhibitor’s hall were a series of large performance stages, where a bunch of the interactive stuff went down.
Every day, Geeks Who Drink had a quiz competition in one of the ballrooms. Adrian and I have done a couple of the themed ones in Denver. One with Breaking Bad, where we kicked ass on placed in the top ten out of over fifty teams, and a Community themed one that we absolutely bombed. The quizzes were structured and prizes are given out for placing high, but not as nerdy as I would have expected, but we still had a fun time.
Elsewhere, LARPing was in full effect. In one section, there were trained swordsmen teaching noobs like us how to correctly wield a wooden blade. There was actually a separate area you could go to watch people go rounds and battle each other. We sat down and watched one of these intense bouts and became enthralled, giving the fighters nicknames, origin stories and grew quite attached. While there were plenty of big kids that took to the death-match with the gravity of real combat, we saw everyone from grown men and women to adorable little girls. Weird? Hell yeah. But these people were being themselves, letting go of the cultural boundaries they came here to escape, and they were entertaining themselves and others. You literally can’t ask for anything more.
Next up were the Quidditch matches. That’s right, the Harry Potter game is a real thing. Outside of Hogwartz, it’s referred to as Muggle Quidditch. It plays like a mixture of lacrosse, dodge-ball and flag football. I was confused by the rules, but after an hour or so of watching, I was pretty eager to try it out. I became so enthralled that I didn’t even notice how ridiculous(ly awesome!) all the players looked with pseudo-broomsticks in between their legs.When it comes down to it, there’s nothing cooler than playing a fun sport with a bunch of people who are used to getting picked last.
Our favorite post-con event had to be the James Marsters concert. James Marsters is better known as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where he crooned for fans in the musical episode, “Once More With Feeling.” Before the spin-off show, Angel, had ended in 2004, Marsters was already selling out gigs at LA clubs as a solo singer, and as the lead singer to his band Ghost of the Robot. That was all a round-about way of saying that the man knows how to woo a crowd. For nearly an hour, Marsters swooned the crowd with lovely acoustic songs. It was one of the coolest things you can find at a comic book convention.
He was in love with Adrian’s tattoo!
From LARPing and hardcore Quidditch matches to roller derby and professional wrestling, there was always something going on in the convention. Nobody acted “too cool” to join in the fun. If you’re willing to let yourself just enjoy the show, there’s no way you won’t have a blast.
Meet the Press!
If you haven’t heard us freak out about it yet, I’ll fill you in. Comicpalooza is the first convention that Hush Comics has been to as “Press.” What does that mean, you ask? Not as much as you would think. We did get some pretty sweet zombie Deadpool badges, and some special treatment as far as getting ushered to the front of a few of the more-crowded panels. Also, it meant that our passes were paid for. This allowed us to give away all the passes that Taylor bought us for Christmas, which we did through Facebook. One of our winners was able to attend her very first con, which made us feel pretty darn cool! Here’s her account of the weekend:
Greetings Fellow Comic-conians!!
A huge thanks to HushComics for giving me the chance to experience my very first Comic-con. (Comicpalooza) Yes the cherry has been popped and I’m coming back for more. What a blast to see such amazing art pieces, crafts, actors and let’s not forget the cosplay. I’m very inspired and ready to participate in cosplay for next year. May the Comic-God’s smile upon you.”
Peace and Love,
Our first con was mind-blowing, so we’re glad that we were able to help somebody else get to experience that as well.
Perhaps the coolest thing about going as press was the opportunity to interview comic book creators. Comicpalooza didn’t have a whole lot of creators, but we knew of one that we absolutely had to sit down with. His name is Greg Capullo, and he has been the artist on Batman for nearly three years. We figured that, because he’s such a big deal in comic books, we wouldn’t be able to get a spot with him. After a little persistence and a lot of help from the media manager at CP, Rosario Perez (you’re the best!), we were able to get in contact with Greg’s wife and set up an interview. It was terrifying to say the least, but we were able to pull off something cohesive enough. Crazy story, while we were sitting down to talk with Mr. Capullo in this back-room break area for celebs, Stan Lee comes casually strolling across the room, sits down, and takes a power nap that only the 91 year-old Godfather of comic books could do – great ice breaker.
Tips for Future CP-ers:
Before the convention starts, make a list of things you want to do, and plan it out according to which days things are happening. If you plan things out, there’s a good chance you can get to it all.
Cosplaying is amazing, but what’s even better is wearing comfortable shoes. You will spend hours walking, standing, rinsing, repeating. On a similar note, please do shower and wear deodorant. Yes, people will know it’s you, and they will judge you for it. The dreaded “con smell” is ten times worse with the humidity.
Far be it for me to tell you how to cosplay, but avoid paints and makeup that will melt easily.
If you get cold often, bring a sweatshirt in the convention center; it might be 90 outside, but it’s likely refrigerated inside.
Know where the art supply booth is. Grab any sleeves for prints/pictures you need to avoid getting them all smashed up.
Come prepared to buy stuff: artists prints, doo-hickies, collectibles, and of course, comic books. Also know that you will be having to bring or send this stuff back home with you. Some of the best things to prepare are:
Comic book portfolio: holds approx ten issues for signing and collecting.
Poster tube or picture hard-sleeve: don’t let those prints/signatures get bent. Trust me, hiding it in a book will not cut it.
Know where a nearby FedEx is to ship back the really valuable stuff
Take a fair amount of cash with you. A lot of the booths and special events only accept cash – not to mention cash only parking lots in the surrounding area – so avoid getting caught cashless when a good opportunity arises. There are multiple ATMs but they are total leeches, only allowing you to pull out $100 per transaction with a $5 fine attached to it. Bleh.
There is so much food in Houston. Don’t waste your appetite on $10 cheapo food in the convention center. Instead, bring snacks and gorge later.
Avoid the creepy 4th floor at George R Brown. It will be your doom.
Use the app as often as you can; hopefully, next year’s app will be just as helpful.
If you saw this week’s episode of Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you know that s*** just got real! Tying into the fallout of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (review here), S.H.I.E.L.D. has just gotten shaken up in a big way. Even better is news that Nick Fury and Maria Hill will be showing up in the television series. #HAILHYDRA
Bit by bit, we are getting a better look at Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This week begets character posters of each turtle holding their respective weapon(s). Story be damned, this movie is going to look awesome.
Wreck-it-Ralph fans can anticipate a return to the arcades, as Disney is currently in development for a sequel.
Hogwarts is coming to California! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a mini-park inside Universal Studios Florida, will be joining the California park in 2016. A round of Butterbeer for all my friends, please.
Also in theme park news, Universal Studios will be getting a Fast and the Furious attraction. This franchise will never run out of ways to make money off of itself.
Professional wrestling Hall of Fame inductee (just three days into induction) Ultimate Warrior has passed away. Check out some of his in-ring highlights if you didn’t know who he was.
The next edition of Super Smash Bros.will also come out on the 3DS and feature an online mode; it will also feature Charizard. Between this and Scribblenauts: Unmasked, we’re one nudge away from owning a Nintendo system.
DC Comics will be relaunching two of their super teams in Suicide Squad and Teen Titans this summer. I’m pretty stoked to see Deathstroke and Black Manta on a team together, and it’s great to see Raven and Beast Boy finally back on the Teen Titans squad.
I would say “SPOILER Alert,” but this news is literally all over the internet – even CNN is talking about it. The death of Archie Andrews is coming. I’m not gonna touch this one…
The legendary Roots crew, known by many as Jimmy Fallon’s band, has released a single from their upcoming album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, called “When the People Cheer.” The album is due out in a month, and you can find a streaming version of the single at okayplayer.com.
If you needed another reason to hate EA, the reigning worst company in America, look no further than the fact that they were sitting on a Darth Maul game, supposedly inspired by the Batman: Arkham series. Now that Disney has the rights to the franchise, that game is shelved permanently – just like 1313 before it. Seriously, f*** those guys.
On the other hand, EA’s next UFC installment will feature the Dragon, Bruce Lee, in all his glory as a playable character.
Microsoft finally revealed Cortana, the Windows Phone’s answer to Siri. Anybody who has an iPhone can tell you that she is a complete idiot, so the there’s no reason to think that the Halo babe could make Appleheads jump ship.
Robot Chicken DC Special 2: Villains in Paradise airs this Sunday on Cartoon Network. Check out this sneak peak from DC: All Access. Solomon Grundy want pants, too!
Tonight’s episode of Arrow is titled “Deathstroke.” After the events of last week’s “Birds of Prey,” Things have gotten so real! Manu Bennett AKA Crixus AKA Slade Wilson is killin’ it right now!
Everybody’s favorite asshole doctor show, House M.D., is now streaming on Netflix. I fell off the wagon right after Season 5, so I’m excited to see how the show wrapped up.
Monday marked the end of How I Met Your Mother. The show has been a staple in American television for nearly a decade, so not matter how you felt about the finale, you gotta give credit where it’s due. I’m excited to see what Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris are going to do next.
Superman: Unchained #7 will come out whenever the hell it feels like. The series with the juggernaut creative team (Jim Lee, Scott Synder) has released six issues in eight months, and will be taking another month hiatus.
Get your sewing kit out! There is going to be a Marvel-themed Project Runway show airing tomorrow. I actually used these words: “Babe, could you DVR the next Project Runway for me?” Man card revoked.
Here comes some news in a half-shell! The new TMNT movie trailer will debut in the previews for Captain America: Winter Soldier – one more reason to get geeked for Cap. The TMNT movie has been under a lot of scrutiny (the whole Michael Bay alien thing), so this will be it’s time to shine.
Cowabunga! Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are reuniting for a 30th anniversary issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This doesn’t seem to be a one-time thing, as they and the voice actors from the original TMNT cartoon will be making appearances on the Nickelodeon series.
Sarah Michelle Gellar was the top hit on Yahoo! this morning, and for good reason. After years of fan debate, Buffy herself has finally answered the age-old question: Angel or Spike?
Better Call Jesse Pinkman? Not quite, but Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul has been rumored to be making appearances on the straight-to-Netflix series, Better Call Saul, released this November.
The Pokémon series that raised a generation in the 90s is now streaming via Netflix. Now you can Catch Em All at your own pace!
Barry Allen’s Flash costume has been revealed – at least the mask has, anyway. CW has done such an extraordinary job with Arrow that a Flash series has got to be worth watching.
In preparation of the film, a mobile game based off the X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released in May. They’re really milking this story-line, but it looks to be a fun play-through.
The DC MMORPG Infinite Crisis will be getting comic book and collectible tie-ins. We’re particular fans of Pajama Party Harley – sounds festive!
Telltale’s story-driven The Walking Dead game releases its next installment (Season Two: Episode Two) on Tuesday, March 4th. Clementine isn’t the same innocent girl she was in the First Season and we’re excited for more gory glory.
DC is prepping it’s next full-scale event – oh God, here we go again – and it’s called Futures End. Equipped with 3D holographic covers and the whole shebang, I’m skeptical of any of the “events” DC and Marvel push, but the concept of all our heroes in the futures is enticing enough to give a few of them a look.
With the release of the various X-Files Conspiracy books (Ghostbusters, Transformers, TMNT), IDW Comics is looking for collaborating on a grand scale. The Super Secret Crisis War(a bastardization of DC and Marvel events) will include a slew of Cartoon Network characters (Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Dexter, Ben 10 and Ed, Edd & Eddy) taking on all the villains from their respective series. We’re sold, but… where is Johnny Bravo?
The 86th Academy Awards have begun. We’ll be checking up on it in between commercials of The Walking Dead. Check out our past TWD reviews here, and see how we weighed in with our Oscar picks tomorrow.