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Last year, Houston's Comicpalooza attracted nearly 44,000 visitors—some of them zombies.

Image: Thomas Hawk

Starting as a one-day event back in 2008 with a crowd of 500, Comicpalooza has come an incredibly long way. The annual gathering, which takes over downtown this weekend, is now the largest annual comic book, sci-fi, anime, gaming and pop culture convention in the South, attracting 43,800 attendees last year.

The weekend’s headliner is legendary martial artist Chuck Norris, but he’s far from the only star who will be appearing: There’s former Disney actor Danielle Panabaker, Vampire Diaries heartthrob Paul Wesley, and Daredevil Charlie Cox, among many others, offering autograph sessions, photo-ops, workshops, and comic book panels.

This is the fifth year for the event’s film festival, which now attracts filmmakers from across the globe and features screenings all three days. The weekend’s now famous cosplay competition takes place Saturday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. and will be judged by drag artist Tatiana Mala-Niña and costume designer Nephi Garcia. And there’s all sorts of live entertainment on the roster, from comedy to music to theater to bellydancing.

We know the gamers will be posted on the third floor, where consoles, renowned gamers, and tournaments will be consuming most of their time, but there will be so much great people-watching to be done, they’ll have to tear themselves away.   

 $10–275 per ticket; May 12–14; George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, comicpalooza.com. For a full schedule, click here.

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