What’s a struggling mall to do these days? How about turning off the air conditioning . . . and hosting a comic-book convention! Robert W. Boyd reports from the scene:
Despite a great location [on Highway 6 between Westheimer and Richmond] and not bad interior, West Oaks Mall is plagued with vacancies. And unlike malls like Memorial City Mall, West Oaks is not able to hide the gaps. . . .
West Oaks needed to occupy its empty stores (even if temporarily), or at least cover them up. And it needed to get people in the mall who could at least potentially patronize the remaining stores. So that’s where Comicpalooza came in.
A few of the shuttered stores:
So . . . how about that convention?
Their main dealer room was in an abandoned clothing store.
There were still dressing rooms left over from the previous tenant.
The other dealer’s tables were in the mall’s corridors, many of them strategically placed in front of empty storefronts.
As for the con, it was pretty modest. The dealers leaned heavily towards people selling their own artwork and/or self-published books. . . . The special guest was David Mack. My favorite tables belonged to Rev. Chris Self from Katy, David Hopkins, and “Kaley.” Self does a comic called Sack Tap.
It’s amazing to imagine a comic book being published in Katy. Next thing you know, someone will tell me that there is a free jazz combo in Kingwood, or a conceptual artist in Sugarland.
The fun never [stops] at West Oaks Mall!
Even West Oak’s sign looks pathetic.
So Comicpalooza was not the greatest con I’ve attended (but far from the worst!). The turn out was pretty decent despite the swine flu craziness. For West Oaks Mall, they probably made a little money out of it.
So malls that are suffering from high vacancies–turn your empty stores over to comic conventions, or craft shows, or bridge tournaments, or even avant-garde art installations!
- Scenes from a Mall [Boyd’s Blog]
- Comicpalooza Houston Comic Convention 2009 Location [Comicpalooza]
- Previously on Swamplot: Delinquent Debt: West Oaks Mall Sale!
Photos: Robert W. Boyd