Comicpalooza 2016 Wrap-up

Chris Van Deelen

What a weekend.

What an exhausting weekend!

What a great Weekend!

I spent the 16th to the 20th with my son in Houston working at Comicpalooza. It was a great time with my fellow writers and more importantly my friends at this convention.  As it typically is with each year, I got next to no sleep, and that’s hard on a man of my advanced age.

My 21 year old son could handle it, and he has been doing just that for the past year – after all he works three jobs, sometimes all three in one day!

At any rate – most of this blog will cover my experiences at the convention, and then I’ll get around to talking about my projects and what the future holds for me. What I won’t be doing is any reviews this week, as I did not have all that much time to watch anything or read!

For my readers, all two or three of you (heh), you know how much a fan of Aliens I am.

Fan… that’s too trivial a word. Fanatic really would be more appropriate. Then again, isn’t fan just an abbreviation of fanatic? Yes, yes it  is.

You know I have a full suit of colonial marine armor and a fully functional airsoft Pulse Rifle. My pride and joy of my fairly extensive Aliens collection. In 2014 Bill Paxton started the trend by autographing my armor for free.

I made him laugh.

Same expo Lance Henrickson got in on it, as well as Michael Rooker – despite the fact he had nothing to do with the movie. So I decided I would bide my time and try to collect as many more autographs as I could.

Well, after this weekend I have pretty much the entire cast now. Even Sigorney Weaver, who has pretty much the dead center spot on my breastplate.

It’s awesome! And most people I encountered thought it was epic as well.

Yes I have insured my armor as a result. Big time!

So that was the highlight of my trip.

I spent most of the time in the booth trying to sell stuff, and managed to get a few sales. I even had a fan of my work specifically come to see me so he could get an autographed copy of my first publication with Skirmisher. That was pretty neat, and I hope this trend will continue over the following years.

After all, this time next year I’m hoping to have an even larger presence at the booth, with more books than ever!

Sales were down for several reasons. The past two years we were pretty much in the center, so traffic was pretty heavy, and that made a difference. We also had four days to sell those past two years, which made a major difference. This year we had only three days and were stuck at the very end of one aisle, and I noticed how much slower the traffic was. It’s cool, next year we’ll going to do far better.

Another highlight from the expo was getting a chance to meet and party with the man who made my armor for me. Spat Oktan from Spatcave Studios. First – it honestly is rare to meet someone who is the way he acts on Facebook. No bullshit, no fake crap – what you see is what you get! A genuinely nice guy who had a ton of stories to tell, and all around awesome dude to be around! I certainly enjoyed partying with him on Friday and Saturday night!

I even made him laugh. When I first met him, I told him I thought he was shorter in real life. He got quite the chuckle out of that.

If you ever get a chance to meet him, DO NOT pass it up! And of course his little lady Bella, say howdy to her too!

Gary and I had only one potentially unpleasant encounter in Houston.

Friday night we were in the bar chatting with Spat and there was this drunk dude with no hair but he had a goatee.

Drump was mentioned in passing and he threatened violence because I used the derogatory term.

Things would not have ended well for him – after all Gary and I are both black belts in Shaolin Kung Fu, and Gary has well over a hundred street-fights experience, so the boy knows how to handle a situation.

I’m just very glad it did not resort to violence, as our drunk Texan friend would have had a very unpleasant time of it. I was happy we resolved the situation peacefully.

I needed to remember I was no longer in Canada!

One thing that happened during my time working the booth was a guy came by and attempted to 'poach' me from Skirmisher.

His 'offer' was to write a series of free adventures and post them online.

EVERYONE knows I don't work for free. Even the articles I write and post for free are done knowing full well they are going to be cleaned up, formatted and eventually published so I CAN make money.

I tried to be nice, and both Gary and Brendan were surprised at my patience with him.

Hell I was surprised.

I eventually told him I did not have the time due to my current commitments, and I want to get PAID. He finally left before Brendan got involved. I've got loyalty. And I won't work for free.


It's like those companies and other people who want artists to work for exposure. I have a shit-ton of that already from my work. Exposure does not buy my toys or keep me happy.

Money does.

Oh and my wife. She keeps me happy! Then again if you follow my blog you already know that.

Oh yeah – another first... I was professionally photographed in my armour! I’m just waiting for the photographer to post the images on his site. Pretty excited to see the final result!

Had a shit-Ton of fun running the booth with Gary and Brenda. It also included Harley Quinn, Deadpool and Rey from Star Wars.

Ask for details.

It was fun hanging with Clint, Alison and her great hubby Todd (sorry I kept calling you John).

Pierce, love ya man, you're awesome! Looking forward to going to the range with you next year!

I didn't get to party with any of the actors from Aliens, which was disappointing, but what the hell.

I didn't take anywhere near as many photos as I typically do, but it was because I was pretty busy, and I decided to mainly take photos of NEW costumes and unique.

Oh Dawn, had fun talking with you and your son is great! Proud momma!

If I missed anyone, I am sorry. I’m STILL tired and trying to remember all the highlights.

Lastly, thanks Michael! I am glad to have helped, and we did a lot of brain-storming, and my projects are looking bright.

Now about all my projects.

I’m currently working on cleaning up (again) my Mutation book. I was pretty psyched about getting it produced as a single volume, but after a long chat with Michael, Clint and Brendan we’re going back to selling it as three separate books as we had talked about years ago. I’m also going to be making some significant changes to this publication and removing some of the content.

I still have a shit-load of notes that require writing up and the project is going to take time, but I’ve sat on it for over five years.

No more.

And again after speaking with the three of them, selling the Conversion book as a single entity is insane. It’s going to be over 600 pages long. That’s too much! I have to cut it up into manageable chunks, so I’m going to try and do it as themes – you know, like humanoids, animals, nasty critters, that sort of thing.

I figure around 100 or so creatures per book, maybe less, see how it goes.

And that’s it for now. I’m going to get back to reviews and stuff like that next week, but I really wanted to share my experiences from Comicaplooza.

I’m eager for 2017!

Stay happy and continue to enjoy life!