That’s because Norris, the famed action hero, is coming to Houston’s Comicpalooza comic con next weekend at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Unfortunately, he headlines one of the lamest guest lineups in Comicpalooza’s history. (Notice I did not put his name and that word in the same sentence. I don’t mind living dangerously, but I’m not that stupid!)
It actually breaks my heart to say anything remotely negative about Comicpalooza because I consider myself to be one of its biggest supporters. I’ve attended, volunteered at and/or covered nearly every one of the annual conventions since 2009. Over the years they’ve brought in some incredible guests and the show has risen to become not only the largest pop culture event in Texas, but also one of the biggest comic cons in the nation.
That’s why it’s disappointing that the guest lineup is so anemic. Apparently having Norris on board has scared off the cream of the A-list crowd. I know where they went and I’ll share that with you in a moment. In the meantime, please allow me to introduce the list of actors who are brave enough to share the marquee with Norris.
That list includes Anthony Mackie, who plays the Falcon in the Captain America and Avengers franchises; Pom Klementieff, who stars as Mantis in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2;” Mary McDonnell from “Battlestar Galactica,” “Dances With Wolves,” and “Independence Day;” Robert Englund from “Nightmare on Elm Street;” Judge Reinhold from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” and “Gremlins;” Jon Bernthal of “The Punisher,” and “The Walking Dead;” Charlie Cox of “Daredevil;” Mike Colter, who plays Luke Cage; and Finn Jones, who plays Iron Fist.
There is a long list of other celebrity guests, artist, writers and various other performers. It should be noted that Norris and Mackie are there Saturday only. The show runs from Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 14 (Mother’s Day). Many of the top celebrities are only there Saturday and Sunday. Normally Comicpalooza is held on Memorial Day weekend, but it got bumped this year due to a scheduling conflict with the GRB.
At the time of this writing, Comicpalooza is busy announcing some late additions to the lineup, but so far no one that I would consider blockbuster material. I hope that changes, as Comicpalooza is notorious for make some fantastic late announcements. I really hope that happens here. Consider that “Star Wars” is 40 and we are between the releases of two “Star Wars” movies and so far there are no representatives from a galaxy far, far away. We are also celebrating 50 years of “Star Trek,” yet no actors from any incarnation of the televisions shows and movies have beamed aboard.
We also have major comic book movies coming out this year, including “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” With the exception of Klementieff in “Guardians,” none of these films are represented. I think it’s safe to say in that regard that the current Comicpalooza lineup is seriously lacking.
So, where did all the A-listers go?
They’re going to San Antonio for the Alamo City Comic Con on May 26-28 (Memorial Day weekend). Among the many celebs already announced are Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” Saturday only), Val Kilmer (“Batman Forever,” “Top Gun,” “Tombstone”), Dolph Lundgren and Carl Weathers (Rocky movies), Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings,” “Goonies,” Friday only), Corey Feldman (“Goonies”), Ke Huy Quan (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”), Lou Diamond Phillips (“Young Guns,” “La Bamba”), comedians Pauly Shore and Rob Schneider, and John Ratzenberger and George Wendt from “Cheers.”
But wait! There’s more: In addition to having Bautista, who stars in both “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, Alamo City Comic Con offers up “Star Wars” stars Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) and Ratzenberger (“Empire Strikes Back”) and from “Star Trek” we get Karl Urban (Dr. McCoy). Granted, most of these actors are only there Saturday and Sunday, but honestly, how many people from here are going to take Friday off to make the three-hour trip to San Antonio when you can get a better fan experience over the weekend?
Alamo City has many other guests that I’ve not mentioned here and, like Comicpalooza, I anticipate more announcements as show time draws closer.
I still find it ironic that the “Justice League,” “Wonder Woman,” “Spider-Man” and “Thor” movies are all going unrepresented at both conventions. That’s not to mention the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Alien,” “Transformers” and “Planet of the Apes” movies. I’m seeing a lot of missed potential here. I understand there are a lot of complexities to booking celebrities, but still, it could be better.
Perhaps – and this is purely speculation on my part – the fear of having Norris in town is enough to scare away some of these superhero superstars. No matter what the case, at least it’s safe to say that the lineups for both Comicpalooza and Alamo City Comic Con are far better that Space City Comic Con, which apparently suffered its demise last year in a roiling sea of Anarchy.