If you told a 13 year old me he’d one day get paid to cover a three day festival about comic books, video games and podcasting… well he’d probably ask what podcasting was. And what you were doing in his room. And what boobs feel like. OK, you know what let’s start over.
The point is, for the next three days I’ll be attending Comicpalooza 2019 as a media guest. I will primarily be covering the Collegiate Esport Championships, gaming panels and various esport events for the Houston Press. I’ll also be on a side mission to find the best food in and around the conference and generally having a giddy time avoiding work and the real world for three glorious days.
My goal is to take it all in. To enjoy this weekend as a moment of validation towards a goal I’ve spent three years working for — and have by no means achieved.
As I write this I sit in the lobby of a Hilton Hotel across from the conference. So far this morning I’v watched about 45 minutes of collegiate Overwatch play (Maryville swept Carlton 3-0 in the first round of quarterfinals), I wandered the halls of the labyrinthian George R Brown Convention Center, and eventually resigned myself to a boozy breakfast across the street upon realizing the rest of the conference hasn’t actually started yet.
As I prepare to head back in to catch a panel on becoming a successful video game streamer, I sit in sheer awe of the size and scope of this massive event dedicated entirely to a culture many of us grew up ashamed of. As I watch grown men and women in cosplay pushing their baby Groots in strollers, or stand in the middle of the ESPN live esports arena, it’s difficult to equate this moment with the bullying and ridicule so many young people face as as a result of their devotion to these communities.
The mainstream nature of nerd culture today is a bittersweet feeling for people who long suffered in obscurity, fans of art forms and subcultures now owned, marketed and sold by multi-billion dollar corporations. And yet, that mainstream popularity allows for opportunities like this. Opportunities to turn passions and hobbies into careers. To be part of a global movement.
But alas, I digress. We are here, after all, to have fun.
So stay tuned this weekend for more blog posts, Houston Press articles and Instagram stories. In fact, check out my latest story on HP this morning — a feature on Clutch Gaming, the Houston League of Legends team owned by Tilman Fertitta and the Houston Rockets. The team will be at Comicpalooza this weekend for a meet and greet as part of the esports festivities.